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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Upon further review ...

If it seems like Major League Baseball's various umpiring crews have spent a lot of time watching video of potential Delmon Young home runs ... well, they have.

They had to go to video to uphold a home run on July 5th — the first of Young's four homers in four games — to make sure it cleared the railing in right field.

Then, of course, there was the infamous fair-or-foul debate in last Tuesday's game at Kansas City. You can see the video of that below.

Then, there was Saturday night, where Young hit a shot to deep left-center field at Comerica Park, the ball hitting off the yellow stripe that extends from the bullpen fence into the bushes. It took a few minutes of replay to discern that it was a ball in play, leaving Young with a triple.

Manager Jim Leyland has no problem going out to talk to the umpiring crew to see if they'd might be want to look at it — but he cannot ask.

"Most of the time probably they have an idea that they probably want to talk it over, to see whether they should review it. I’m not allowed to ask an umpire to look at replay," Leyland said Sunday, kick-starting a discussion about the two most recent incidents. "But I cannot — under any circumstances — ask them to go look at a replay. Not allowed to do that."

He can, however, plant the seed of doubt in their minds.

"It’s to make an effort to have them think about looking at it. Because sometimes, I’ve got pretty good eyes, but I can’t always tell. I’ll be the first to tell you, I can’t tell way out there, with the bricks in right-center field. It’s a little dark ... I can’t tell. Obviously no one else that’s closer can, either. That’s why they’re reviewing it, because they weren’t sure. So how can I see it from a lot further back than they are?" the manager said.

"All I do is say, ‘Hey, that ball hit a pole or something.’ Then they say, ‘Just hold it a minute,’ and they get together and say ‘We’ll take a look at it.’ They were great about it. They were great about it in Kansas City. The thing is, once they see their decision on the replay, whether it’s inconclusive or conclusive ... I can’t argue about it."

He can plant the seed of doubt, even if he doubts what he's saying, as well.

"I really wasn’t sure about that one. I knew if it hit the yellow line, that it was in play. It could hit the yellow line and conceivably fall over into the bullpen. Then that’s a home run. But if it stays on the field of play, then it’s whatever happens," he said of Young's shot on Saturday, which caromed around enough to be played into a triple, once it rebounded back onto the field of play.

He REALLY wasn't sure about the one on Tuesday, either, but he presented a case, anyway.

"When I went out, I said, ‘Geez, I thought the ball curved around the pole.’ I said, ‘I’m not sure.’ And I was (B.S.-ing), to be honest with you. When I first saw it with the naked eye, I thought it was a foul ball. But when the players were talking that it curved around, well then I gotta go defend my player. So on my way out there, I thought ‘How am I going to say this?’ " Leyland recalled.

"So I (B.S.-ed), told him that I thought the ball curved around the pole. And by me doing that it was enough to say ‘Well, I can take a look at it.’ I said, ‘Well, I really appreciate it.’ "

In Leyland's experience, it's not something that the umpires are unwilling to do, anyway.

 "They want to get every play right. There’s no umpire that wants to get plays wrong. That’s what the replay process is for. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?" he said. "If I was an umpire I’d be, ‘Well, I don’t want to miss this thing, if it was a home run. I want to make sure I got it.’ I think it’s common sense to take a peek at it."

That doesn't mean that Leyland wants a TON of replays, but he's always been an advocate of extending it beyond just home run calls.

"I do. I do. That's one of my big bugaboos. I do, but I want to see very little. I've made this point 1,000 times. It does not make sense to me in a 10-1 game to go out and look at a home run and say, yes, it's a home run that makes it 11-1. And in the seventh game of the World Series a line drive that's hit down the left-field line that's clearly that much fair and they call it foul but they don't look at it. That doesn't make sense to me," he said.

"I don't want to make it a circus either. But in defense of them, you can't do it like over the bag necessarily because the guy might catch the ball and not throw it and then they go look at a replay and say it was fair, well, the guy called it foul so the guy didn't throw it. But I think at least maybe a line drive that reaches outfield grass, at least. You know, it happened with the Twins and the Yankees a few of years ago in the playoffs. The guy was clearly fair that much, the guy called it a foul ball, and that was a huge turnaround in that series, in that game. That doesn't make sense to me. They'll give a guy a home run if he hits it, but they won't give a guy a double with the bases loaded in a tie game in the World Series if he legitimately hit a double. That doesn't make sense."

How about managerial challenges?

"No. I'm not going to stand there with a flag up my (butt) to throw out there on the field. No. I'm not doing it. No. Buzz somebody. Do whatever you want," Leyland said. "But when I've got to throw a red flag, that means I throw the red flag to go home."


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