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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Twins fall victim to controversial replay call in loss to Blue Jays

Twins replay review call

The Minnesota Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli were livid after a controversial replay decision cost his team in an extra innings loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays scored the winning run of Sunday’s game in the top of the tenth inning, when catcher Gary Sanchez was ruled to have blocked the plate on Whit Merrifield’s attempt to score on a sacrifice fly. Merrifield was called out live, but a replay review led to Sanchez being called for interference and awarding the run.

Baldelli was furious at the time and was ejected, and his mood had not improved after the game. He tore into the umpires handling the replay review and said the rules about blocking the plate were never applied the way they were in this scenario.

“That play has not been called since the beginning of replay more than a couple of times. In all of baseball, the thousands and thousands of games and plays at home where the catcher actually does block the plate, over and over and over again, that play has virtually never been called,” Baldelli said. “For someone to step in in that situation and ultimately make a decision that that was blocking the plate, that’s beyond embarrassing for our game, for all the players out there on both sides of the field working their a– off for the entire game. It’s completely unacceptable. I can’t even believe I’m sitting here talking to you guys about this right now. It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen of umpiring in any game I’ve ever been a part of in baseball, and I think it was pathetic what just played out.

“I could go on and on and on about this. The umpires on the field have nothing to do with it. They made a play on the field which was the right call, which every person in all of baseball including the umpires know is the proper call, and someone in New York decided that that was worthy of being overturned on the field.”

Major League Baseball issued a statement saying Sanchez’s “movements into foul territory were not in reaction to the trajectory of the throw” and thus “hindered and impeded the runner.”

Under the league’s rules, catchers cannot block home plate unless they are moving to catch a throw. If they catch the throw in advance of the runner’s arrival, they are expected to re-establish position so the runner has a lane to slide. In this instance, the league evidently felt that Sanchez failed to give Merrifield that lane by putting his knee down where he did after catching the ball. Sanchez, for what it’s worth, barely even had time to react or establish himself before the Merrifield’s arrival.

The so-called “Buster Posey rule” has been a source of controversy for both catchers and baserunners since its implementation. In this instance, it is quite difficult to see how the call on the field was not allowed to stand, and it’s easy to understand why Baldelli was so furious.

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