Big chatter on Detroit blogs the last couple of days stems from a radio interview that Tigers manager Jim Leyland did last week on WFAN radio in New York. Tom Gage, the veteran baseball writer for the Detroit News, posted this on his blog:
"In a WFAN-New York interview on Friday before a charity roast for Don Zimmer in Connecticut, Jim Leyland said he got a call from umpire Randy Marsh "three weeks into the off season" to apologize for missing the one-out pitch with the bases loaded that hit Brandon Inge in the playoff game against Minnesota.
"Had the umpires called it, the Tigers would have taken at least a one-run lead into the bottom of the 12th, the inning in which they lost the game to the Twins.
(Above photo by Brian Peterson)
Makes me wonder if Gardy got a call from Phil Cuzzi over the winter to apologize for blowing the fair/foul call on Joe Mauer's 11th-inning fly ball down the left-field line in Game 2of the ALDS.
Before we get carried away with these seeming travesties of justice, keep in mind that the Twins' lack of timely hitting in that game resulted in 17 men being left on base. So, yeah, Cuzzi's call sucked. But the Twins did more than enough to lose that game on their own.
And any sympathy I have for Inge and the Tigers is muted more than a little by the fact that Inge was wearing a uniform top about 12 sizes too big.
As ESPN's Rob Neyer wrote: "If an umpire's going to blow a call, that's exactly the call you'd like him to blow. Why? Because while it's probably necessary to award first base to a player whose clothing has been grazed by a baseball, it's also regrettable. Inge was wearing a particularly loose jersey, and while the baseball certainly did touch the jersey, it might also have been two or three inches away from touching Inge's person. The spirit of the rule is intended to discourage pitchers from striking batters with baseballs; it's not to discourage pitchers from throwing within two or three inches."