Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is extremely protective of his players and staff, and would never publicly single out one of them for blame. So when the Twins declined to challenge an incorrect call during Saturday’s 12-7 win over Texas — a C.J. Cron fly ball that was called foul by umpire Greg Gibson but landed just inside the foul line — Baldelli called it a collective failure.
“We ultimately missed that one. Our process is good, and I believe strongly in it and what we do, and that was just one that we didn’t get right,” the manager said. “We take it as a group. We’ll do better on the next one.”
But Nate Dammann, the Twins’ video coordinator, was more direct about what happened.
“I got it wrong,” Dammann admitted. “It was my mistake.”
The problem, he said, was caused by an optical illusion. From his seat in front of video monitors in the Twins’ clubhouse, Dammann didn’t initially realize that the ball had fallen short of the wall, and the best replay that he could access quickly made it appear that the ball may have glanced off the wall in foul territory before landing just fair.
Teams have only 30 seconds to challenge a call on the field, and Dammann couldn’t find a replay in time that more clearly showed the ball missing the wall. Fearing that the video umpire wouldn’t find conclusive evidence to overturn the call, he advised the dugout to let it go.
“Ten seconds later, I knew what happened,” Dammann said ruefully. “Too late.”