A few hours after the White Sox lost Wednesday in part because of a controversial play at the plate, the confusion over catcher collisions struck again in New York.
Trailing by a run in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals, Mets manager Terry Collins asked for an umpire review after Matt den Dekker was clearly thrown out at home plate on a grounder to short — a ruling that was upheld by review officials.
Same as the White Sox were confused when officials overturned an out call on Giants runner Gregor Blanco — a ruling that led to manager Robin Ventura's ejection and a dusty display of anger — the Mets wondered why the call was made the way it was.
On Wednesday night, Collins told reporters in New York: "Four hours ago (in San Francisco) he is safe, as we saw on the tv tonight, four hours later he is out, so I do not know what to say."
Collins said on Thursday that he has spoken with Major League Baseball's Joe Torre about the confusion. Collins also thinks that for now each ruling is essentially a flip of the coin.
"Oh no question," Collins said. "I went out last night and I said ‘Listen, I want you to look at this.’ I have absolutely no idea if he’s out or safe. None. But you gotta look at it. So, I mean, there’s nothing else to say. Because I’m going to tell you: If you went out and said ‘Do you think he blocked the plate?’ and they (would) look at you and say they’re going to look at it. Same thing. I’m sure you guys reviewed the play yesterday in San Francisco. Please tell me the difference. One guy was safe and one guy was out. And again, I know it’s a work in progress. And I talked to Joe (Torre) about it and I know that by next year, there’ll be some definite things that’ll get cleared up (with) the rule."
Part of Ventura's displeasure with Wednesday's call was an opposite ruling on Tuesday night on a similar play. Jordan Danks was easily thrown out at the plate of that game but Ventura asked for a review because Buster Posey was close enough and Ventura said the rule is "vague."
Similar to Danks, Blanco was out by at least seven feet when Tyler Flowers caught a throw from first baseman Jose Abreu and applied the tag. But as Blanco raced down the line, at one point Flowers did block the plate to the plate without the ball — a no-no in the rule book. Flowers agreed that by the letter of the law he had blocked the plate but argued about how quickly the play occurred and how far Blanco was away from home plate at the instant the catcher was in the lane.
Even though the block was brief and had no bearing on the play, officials determined after four minutes, 55 seconds that Flowers had blocked the plate, which sent Ventura charging out of the dugout. The Giants scored seven times in the inning and won by six runs.
"You look at the spirit of the rule of what they were trying to do and what they're actually doing and it's a joke," Ventura said.