In the bottom of the eleventh inning, at a sold-out Citizens Bank Park, with two strikes and two outs to Greg Dobbs, Dobbs hit a ball that came just about as close to being a homerun as you possibly can.
The ball went directly over the foul pole, or so it seemed on the replay Comcast SportsNet showed during their game broadcast. But, after a long pause on the field, first base umpire Jim Joyce signalled foul, much to the dismay of all 45, 321 fans and the Phillies’ dugout.
The call lured Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel out of the dugout. When Manuel discussed the call with Joyce, you could see Joyce shake his head and say something like, “we’re not reviewing this one.”
In September of 2008, Major League Baseball (MLB) implemented an instant replay system which can be used for only three purposes, all of which involve homeruns:
- fair (home run) or foul
- whether the ball actually left the playing field
- whether the ball was subject to spectator interference
Tonight’s scenario fits into bullet point one. So why wasn’t the call reviewed?
Could it have been the umpire’s ego getting in the way? Possibly. But, Manuel addressed the situation in his post-game news conference. “He said they weren’t going to review it. They didn’t want to review it is basically what [Joyce] said. I asked him why. I said I wanted it reviewed. He said it’s my call
“He said he saw it. I asked him a lot of questions about it. He said, ‘I stayed on it Charlie.’ He said it was foul, he said, ‘I know it was foul.’ I said to him it’s not where it lands, it’s where it goes out. And he said, ‘I stayed on it. I’ve been doing this a little while too.'”
“…he said it’s not reviewable, it’s my call, or something similar to that.”
And with that non-review, the Phillies proceeded to fall to the Boston Red Sox 5-2, after the Sox scored three runs of Kyle Kendrick in the thirteenth.