Umpire Phil Cuzzi’s Blown Call on Joe Mauer Fly Ball Helped Give Yankees Win

Joe Mauer fly ball ruled foul by Phil Cuzzi

Friday’s ALDS Game 2 had to be excruciating to watch for a Twins fan. They had opportunity after opportunity to put the Yankees away and couldn’t do it. Even with all their blown chances, a bad call by the umpire down the left field line in the top of the 11th cost them a run. Joe Mauer sliced a ball down the line that bounced in fair territory and hopped out of play. What should have been a ground rule double wound up being called a foul ball. Mauer wound up singling up the middle. Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer followed with singles, the latter of which would have scored Mauer at the least. Granted, Mark Teixeira delivered in a big way with the walk off home run to win it in the bottom half, but that should have only tied it. You figure with the middle of the lineup to follow they could have scored more but you never know — the Twins pitching held them down well.

It really was meant to be for the Yankees in Game 2. The Twins had them on the ropes after scoring twice in the 8th to go up 3-1, and they even scored a run off Rivera for some insurance. Alex Rodriguez broke his Yankee postseason curse with a 2-run home run to tie it in the 9th off Joe Nathan and send it to extras, that was after he had singled in the 6th to tie it at 1. It really is amazing that they pulled it off and that the Twins blew it so badly. Things really broke well for the Yankees — they look like a World Series team through two playoff games. Scary.

Lastly, why do third base coaches play it so conservatively like the Twins did, holding up Mauer no the Cuddyer single that loaded the bases? Why not force the defense to make the play? Why take the chance? I’ve seen teams squander opportunities by holding up their runners when they have the chance to score. It’s not as if Mauer can’t run well. Bad call.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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  • William Ward

    The fix was in. This league is a disgrace.

  • Lyle

    Once again the Yankees have the umpires in their back pockets. How much do they pay them? More than their players?? 2 bad calls at first base in the first game and now this. Next thing we’ll find out is that the umps are the ones shooting A-Rod up with steroids in the locker room. Or is that Kate’s job now?
    Take the Yanks out by the kneecaps at the Dome. They’ve got it coming.

  • Evan

    Sad, sad, sad day. I suppose you can send a complaint to The World Umpires Association that represents the MLB umpires but I dunno how much they pay attention to in-game matters (http://tinyurl.com/yhfrs8g). I dunno…calls like this make me want to stop watching professional sports for a little while. This idiocy just hurt too much. He’s a frigging LEFT FIELD UMP 20 feet from the play and its half a foot fair ball AND hit Cabrera’s glove. You have to be kidding me. Phil Cuzzi is a north Jersey resident and long time Yankees fan. This stinks of unprofessional bias. Either that or stinks of MLB holding on to bad umps for too long. This should be an offense worthy of losing your job. Sorry…you can’t hack it. You blew a big call in a big game. There’s the door.

  • guy

    the ump even looks like one of those mafia guys from the Sopranos…..

  • John Miller

    Here’s how to call the offices of Major League Baseball to leave a message if you have an opinion of umpire Phil Cuzzi. (212) 931-7800

    In case you’re interested, here’s what happens in the voicemail system, so you can be more well prepared

    Message Voice: “You have reached the office of major league baseball” …. “Press 1 for company directory”

    My advice: don’t bother, it asks you to press the first three letters of the person’s last name. I already tried S-E-L for Selig (Commissioner Bud Selig) and it doesn’t have any listings. So just hold the line to wait for the “general mailbox.”

    It asks you several questions for you to reply to

    1) ” Whom are you trying to reach? ”

    2) ” Who’s calling Please? ”

    3) ” At what number can you be reached? ”

    4) ” What’s this in reference to? ”

    5) “What additional message would you like to leave ?”

  • Jeff J

    That has to be the worst call I’ve ever seen in baseball EVER. Sure home plate umpires sometimes get it wrong, because the strike zone is an invisible plane, but the foul lines are chalk, so there is no way to miss a fair or foul ball.

    Watching it live, I have to say, I was unsure if it went foul or not, but that was because the live shot was from a camera towards home plate and the angle wasn’t great. Once they showed the replay and the ump 10 (not 20) feet from the ball, and the ball clearly 6 inches inside the line, I knew the fix was in. It wasn’t like it hit the chalk, and they weren’t sure which side of the line it was on, this ball was not even close to being foul, NOT EVEN CLOSE.

    I didn’t know until reading the comment above that Cuzzi is a North Jersey resident. Why in god’s name do they have a local umpire who happens to be a fan umpiring a game of his hometown team. That is crazy. The Umps for this game should be from places like St. Louis, or Atlanta, or Florida, where they don’t have a bias towards either team playing. You know if this had been reversed, and a fair ball Jeter hit in the corner was called foul, Bud Selig would have instant replay installed in time for game 3. The game is becoming a mockery, and needs to move into the 21st century. A play like this is too important to leave up to human error any more.

  • Robert Wayne

    I’m not really a Twins fan, but watching the New York Yankees getting every call their way during this series has really soured me on MLB and the way it’s controlled by the TV networks. I’m the first to admit that Minnesota and Colorado didn’t play well before being eliminated this year, but it’s no secret that the TV networks want the big market teams to win and if it means shady umpiring I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s bad enough we have to put up with ESPN constantly acting as if there are only the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers and Angels in the majors. Now we have to put up with only the big market teams in the post season and World Series.

  • lars wyrick

    Cuzzi hands the game again to a New York team. This time the Mets in San Francisco against the GIANTS. What a cowardly act to call Ishakawa out at home plate to make it go extra innings and deny the GIANTS a sweep of the Mets. A gutless misserable one sided biased umpiring job. He has no business umpiring.