Gary Sheffield was out by a mile of a half-step.
Obviously, the first-base ump blew the call. Replay after TV replay confirmed that Wednesday night's game at Yankee Stadium should have been over.
But, down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the "Old" York Yankees lived. A single, a double and the score was tied. And the home team won it in the 10th, on a home run by the guy who used to be Jason Giambi.
Pittsburgh was robbed.
The Pirates' Jose Mesa, who deserved a save, took the loss and took it hard. Of the Sheffield play, Mesa said: "It was an out you could see it on the replay."
The Pirates could see it on clubhouse TV replays. We could see it all night and all morning on "SportsCenter" replays. But the umpires didn't have that advantage after the game's outcome flashed before their eyes.
They should have.
Baseball should have adopted replay officiating long before the NFL or the NBA. But of course, baseball sells its past, not its future. Baseball would sooner force managers to quit wearing player uniforms than make a change that would improve the game dramatically.
Baseball was made for replay.
My eyes were first opened to this by the rolling eyes of Texas.
Texas E. Schramm was known as the NFL's "godfather of instant replay." Tex Schramm pushed for NFL replay as early as 1975. When Schramm wasn't helping Pete Rozelle run the NFL through the 1960s, '70s and '80s, he was president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.
Schramm had no use for baseball "a slow damn game." But in the summer of 1979, while campaigning for NFL replay officiating, Schramm made a harrumphing point to me about what he sarcastically referred to as "America's pastime."
Schramm said: "Baseball is already so slow that replay could fit in perfectly. I hear the so-called baseball 'purists' say, 'Oh, the human element has always been a part of our game.' So the purists enjoy mistakes? Balderdash!
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Again, this was 26 years ago.
Until Schramm died about two years ago, he remained deeply frustrated with the NFL's execution of his beloved replay. He despised the concept of giving coaches a limited number of challenges. What if, Schramm said, a game-changing referee error occurs after challenges have been used up? What if a challenge from a legendary coach is more persuasive than one from an unproven coach?
Schramm wanted every controversial call reviewed solely by a replay official in a press box booth. Now, that happens only in the last two minutes.
Schramm did not want this replay official to be a permanent member of the officiating crew. That way, he wouldn't be friends with on-field refs and hesitate to overrule, and perhaps embarrass, them. Schramm wanted this official to take one or two quick looks at a debatable play "just like you and I do in our living rooms" and rule that the refs blew it or that the replay angles aren't completely conclusive.