MLB: Umpire crew mistakenly used replay

June 26, 2009 6:54:55 PM PDT
Turns out umpires are still learning the rules for instant replay, too. Major League Baseball told an umpiring crew Friday that it mistakenly went to a video review the previous night on a ball hit by Tampa Bay's Pat Burrell that bounced into the stands at Tropicana Field.

MLB vice president of umpiring Mike Port told crew chief Gary Cederstrom on Friday that he had made an error.

It was the first time since baseball began using replay last August that the system was incorrectly employed. There have been 23 calls reviewed this year, and eight of them were reversed.

Replay is to be used only on potential home runs involving boundary calls - was the ball fair or foul, did it clear the wall, was there fan interference?

Cederstrom, who ordered the video review in Tampa Bay to determine if there was fan interference, acknowledged the mistake and apologized before working Friday night's game in Texas between the Rangers and San Diego.

"I'm sorry about the confusion that was raised," Cederstrom said, reading from a prepared statement. "As you know, instant replay is to be used only in boundary or fair-foul calls involving home runs or potential home runs. I regret the error that we had."

Tampa Bay led Philadelphia 10-4 with two outs in the seventh inning Thursday night when Burrell batted with Carl Crawford on first base.

Burrell hit a drive to left-center field that bounced into the seats, and the speedy Crawford rounded third base and headed home. Umpires went to replay, checking to see whether a fan touched the ball as it hopped up.

If there had been interference, they could have awarded Crawford home plate. But umpires must make that determination on their own, without replay.

After a video review of 1 minute, 36 seconds, umpires said the ball cleanly skipped into the seats, calling it a ground-rule double and sending Crawford back to third. Carlos Pena then popped up to end the inning, and the Rays wound up winning 10-4.

Cederstrom had twice used replay earlier this season. His crew took away a home run from Baltimore's Melvin Mora and called him out because of fan interference, and also let stand a homer by Houston's Miguel Tejada.

Baseball adopted replay last year, following the NFL, NBA, NHL, some NCAA competitions and Grand Slam tennis. Other sports have tinkered with their replay rules, leading many baseball players and fans to wonder whether video review might be used even more in the future.

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