Friday, October 9, 2009

ALDS Game 2: Yankees 4, Twins 3, 11 innings

Ouch. And double ouch.

The bitter part of me jeers that Mark Teixeira's walk-off homer was just as inside the line as Joe Mauer's leadoff "foul ball" in the top half of the 11th inning.

But the fact remains that the Twins had the bases loaded with nobody out in the 11th and did nothing with it. Both Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez went out on the first pitch, although Young did hit a hard liner. Go-Go was fooled but went ahead with his first-pitch hack anyway.

And, of course, Gomez's pratfall early in the game cost the Twins a run.

Bottom line: The Twins found ways, again, to blow an imminently winnable game at Yankee Stadium.

You can blame the umpire if you want. But Phil Cuzzi's missed call — like Randy Marsh's missed calls in Tuesday's Game 163 — had less of an effect on the outcome than the mistakes and blunders of the players.

And now the Twins are down 2-0 in a best of five series.


One aspect of this year's division series that is jumping out at me is the horrid umpiring. C.B. Bucknor had a brutal game at first base in the Thursday opener of the Angels-Red Sox series. Chuck Meriweather, if the TBS pitch track graphic has any accuracy at all, had no idea where the outside corner was Friday in the Twins game. Cuzzi's mistake in that same game was blatant. Bob Davidson, my personal choice as worst umpire going, has had a plate assignment.

And while Game 163 wasn't actually a playoff game, it was not well umpired either.

Some of these guys, to put it brutally, have little business umping major league games, period, much less playoff games.

As I understand it, the World Series and LCS assignments are based strictly on merit. The playoffs, not so much. Merit counts, but there's a rotation used as well — and let's face it, there aren't enough really top-flight umpires to fill 24 slots.

The more screwups they have in the postseason, the more calls there will be to install instant replay reviews for everything. As if games involving the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals aren't too long already.

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