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Phil Cuzzi's call in Yankees-Twins game among the worst ever?

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phil-cuzzi-foul-ball-yankees-twins.jpgPhil Cuzzi is lucky his horrendous call benefited the New York Yankees and hurt the Minnesota Twins. Had it been the other way around, those big meanies in the Big Apple -- who don't share our tempered Midwestern disposition -- may have made things real unpleasant for him.

Cuzzi, a veteran umpire, blew a call in the top of the 11th inning when he ruled a ball of the bat of Joe Mauer foul.

It was nowhere near foul.

The ball bounced into the stands and would have been a leadoff double if called properly. Mauer proceeded to single in an inning that saw the Twins load the bases with no outs and then fail to score.

Mark Teixeira's walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the frame ended the game and gave the Yankees a 2-0 edge in the series as it heads to Minnesota.

It's the latest in a string of botched umpiring decisions that has some on these here Interwebs grumbling about expanded instant replay. First, there was the no call on Brandon Inge's hit-by-pitch in the AL Central tiebreaker. Then, it was CB Bucknor's forgettable night in Anaheim. Now this.

It's getting harder and harded to defend the guys in blue, who on the whole do a heck of a job. A part of you has to feel for them, but another has to expect them to get it right the first time.

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I hope Phil sleeps well tonight knowing he gave the cheating yankees the win. Plain and simple that's what he did tonight

Dont worry adam he will, hes on the yankee payroll

It was a bad call, Adam, but I wouldn't call the Yankees cheaters here because of that. Any team would have taken that call without complaint if it was in their favor. As for Inge's jersey, yeah, his over-sized shirt did get hit by the pitch. No telling how that Tiebreaker game would have turned out if Inge had gotten an RBI walk out of that. Instead of wining, the Twins might have just tied, or still won, or choked with the added pressure. There's no good way of determining what might have happened in this game, which is why it's important to get as many calls correct as possible.

It's done and over, though. I am sitting in a snowy Minnesota today rather depressed about it. Hopefully, MLB is looking into ways to reduce errors like this in the future. Let the players decide the outcome of the game. If hitting an ill-fitting jersey is not in the spirit of the rule about hitting a player, then the rule needs to be modified. If instant replay can be an asset to the game, then perhaps it needs to be expanded beyond just determining whether or not a homerun ball is foul or not.

I'd hate to see it used to determine balls and strikes, though. There's just something that's essential to baseball, I believe, about a strike zone that wavers a bit. The pitching and batting game is about players making the adjustments.

Cuzzi is from New Jersey so he must have had a vested interest in seeing the Yankees win. The worst call I have seen in my life.

Really? The ump blew a call, and so that makes the Yankees cheaters? I suppose the Twins are cheaters, too, since there was a blown call in their one game playoff with the Tigers that cost the Tigers a run. And that blown call would 100% guaranteed have resulted in a run. Mauer got on base anyway, so this blown call cost him a base. With the leadoff runner on second and first base open, Girardi likely would have intentionally walked the next batter to set up the double play. The end result of which would have been exactly what we wound up with last night - Mauer on second, another Twin on first, and nobody out.

It's not the Yankees' fault the Twins could not score with the bases loaded and nobody out. It certainly doesn't make them cheaters that the ump blew a call. It happens in sports, get over it.

In response to John Beach's comment:

I agree with you 100% that there should be a role for instant replay in baseball, but that it should not be used for arguing balls and strikes. What I would love to see would be a challenge system similar to the NFL. Umps should be able to use replay any time they are not sure about foul/fair, or whether a ball bounced before winding up in a fielder's glove, or to check close plays on base or at the plate. But, if they do not check a close play, each manager should get two or three challenges a game to force a replay in those situations. I don't believe this would slow the game down that much. Certainly no more than having a 10 minute argument with the ump, followed by ejections, currently does.

Just my $.02

Not one call but two. He missed the initial touch by Cabrera and then the ball clearly landing in fair territory. Two of the worst non-base related calls in history. And that was his only job- A dang foul line umpire. Fire him.

Umps miss calls all the time. Instant replay shouldn't be used to check every call, but follow the NFLs lead. Give the manager 2-3 shots at calling for an instant replay. It can't slow the game down any's already slow.

The photo on the front page of the NY Post says it all. Cuzzi is standing less than 15 feet from the play and has an unobstructed view. There is absolutely no way he could have blown the call, UNLESS HE WANTED TO!! It would be easier to climb Mt Everest....backwards....than to convince us that the dude really missed seeing the ball glance off Cabrera's glove AND land 10 inches INSIDE the foul line from 15 feet!!!

The Twins had the bases loaded with no outs and couldn't get the run in. And you can't assume the single after the "should've been Mauer double" would have scored the run. Maybe Mauer would have been thrown out at the plate. Maybe he would have tripped and fell rounding third. Bottom line is AFTER the bad call the bases were drunk and nobody was out. Bad as the call was, Cuzzi is off the hook at that point.

Could not have said it better myself Mike S.

Brutal call but I'm not looking for instant replay. What I do want is for that ump to HAVE to go to a press conference and explain it. It's all I've ever wanted, I want them to explain. Now that he saw the replay himself, what happened? Did he not see the ball and guessed? Was he out of position? Did he get blocked? Be accountable, that's what I really want from the umps.

If baseball continues to use Cuzzi after this tremendous blunder???????????(I'm not convinced it wasn't intentional), it just goes to show integrity of the game is secondary. They are supposed to be using the best umpires for playoff games. Either they are just stupid in their selection process or the process is probably political. That call clearly changed the momentum and robbed the Twins.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on October 10, 2009 12:18 AM.

CB Bucknor the new Buckner in Red Sox' loss to Angels was the previous entry in this blog.

Florida Gator Tim Tebow's status against LSU a big mystery is the next entry in this blog.

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