Umps talk and get the calls right

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

NEW YORK -- One slap was all it took.

Whack!

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez gave Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo's extended glove a "girly man" slap with his left hand running to first base.

In a matter of moments, the shrine known at Yankee Stadium was suddenly the Bronx Zoo. Again.

What ensued will not be shown on Major League Baseball's official 2004 wrap video, unless it is sublet it to Don Cherry's Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em videos.

After umpires overturned the play, which saw the ball roll into foul ground down the right-field line, allowing Derek Jeter to score and Rodriguez to go to second, the field was showered with debris.

In the top of the ninth, plate ump Joe West demanded protection for his crew, so 20 riot police officers lined foul ground against the stands down both left- and right-field lines.

Jeter was on first, after his RBI single made it 4-2 in the eighth, when Rodriguez hit a dribbler into no man's land -- up the first base line.

That led indecision on the part of reliever Arroyo and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who both went for the ball, leaving no one at first.

Finally, Arroyo attempted to tag Rodriguez, who slapped the ball loose.

Out of the third base dugout Sox manager Terry Francona popped, headed for first base umpire Randy Marsh.

"You could see Alex take a swipe but I couldn't get on to the field because people were circling the bases," Francona said.

After a brief discussion between Francona and Marsh which was the second huddle by the the six umps, Marsh signalled Rodriguez out for interference and pointed into the Yanks dugout signalling Jeter back to first.

The Yanks dugout yelled "tilt" and some other words. Rodriguez stood on second raising his arms into the air, asking why and inciting the crowd?

Bottles, baseballs, programs came tumbling down from above -- everything but a Sox fan -- and there was a four-minute delay.

ANOTHER HUDDLE

In the fourth, the umps had huddled again as Jim Joyce ruled Mark Bellhorn's two-run, double stayed in the park.

"We have a horrible view from our dugout, but (third base coach) Dale Sveum signalling a home run and he explained it to me."

After that discussion it was correctly adjudged a three-run homer.

"It's tough to get the best angle down the line, Jim thought the ball was still in play," Marsh said. "What would have happened if we hadn't got together?

"Every other umpire on the crew thought it was a home run."

Replays showed that the umps got that one right and the Yanks were real upset about the first huddle.

"The play at first wasn't like whether the ball went over the fence," Yanks manager Joe Torre said.

"I had a little problem with the one at first.

"No one was closer to the play than Randy Marsh. I was upset for a couple of reasons: Arroyo was in motion too, there was also another Boston player in the way who didn't have the ball, so it could have been an obstruction call."

Marsh said Mientkiewicz blocked his view on the play, as the over turned call changed it from a 4-3 Sox lead, with the tying run at second with one out, to a 4-2 score with a man on first and two out.

"When Francona came out, I thought was there something I didn't see?" Marsh said. "Joe West came down the line and did some outstanding umpiring.

"It's unusual when you have us overturning two calls in the same game. Years ago that process wasn't used."

They got both calls right.

The right way to settle a Game 7?

Do we hear 16 innings?


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