Results tagged ‘ Richie Garcia ’
Where was Jeffrey Maieir when the Yankees could have used him? The New Jersey schoolboy of 1996 American League Championship Series lore came to mind in the fifth inning Saturday night when Robinson Cano hit a ball off the top of the wall in left field. Fans cheered believing it was a two-run home run, but umpires held up Cano at second base.
Unlike 15 years ago when umpires were not allowed to view video replays to determine contested home run calls, the six umpires were able by since adopted rules to review the play at the request of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who believed Cano had homered and given the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
The skipper was half right. The umpires upheld the call of a double for Cano but allowed Curtis Granderson, who was running from first base full speed, to score that put the Yankees ahead, 2-1.
Yankees fans along the left field fence obviously were aware of the dangers of interfering with a ball near the wall. Two fans wearing yellow slickers put their hands in the air and away from the wall so that they would not make contact with Cano’s drive which hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field.
In Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Jeter was credited with a home run on a drive to right field that was caught by Maier wearing a glove and extending his arms over the fence. Richie Garcia, the right field umpire, did not call interference on the young fan. The ruling gave Jeter a game-tying home run in the eighth inning of a game that the Yankees won over the Orioles in the 11th on a homer by Bernie Williams. The Yankees went on to win the best-of-7 series in 5 games.
Garcia later admitted that he blew the call and should have ruled interference that would have left Jeter at second base. Fortunately for the Yankees at that time, the rule that is in place now was not then.
For the first time in the American League Championship Series, the Rangers did not score in the first inning, which was an encouraging early sign for A.J. Burnett. The Yankees also took an early lead for the first time in the series, which was an encouraging sign, period.
It was a busy second inning for umpire Jim Reynolds, who was working the right field line. Robinson Cano got the first hit of the game, his third home run of the series, which featured a scene out of Yankees post-season history. As Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz jumped at the wall and reached for the ball, the outstretched hands of two fans in the front row came into view as the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced into the stands.
Cruz claimed interference, and Rangers manager Ron Washington exited the dugout to talk to Reynolds. The exchange was not heated, so Washington apparently accepted the ruling. The situation brought to mind Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between the Yankees and the Orioles when a New Jersey schoolboy named Jeffrey Maier interfered with a drive by Derek Jeter for a home run. The difference that night was that after the game right field ump Richie Garcia admitted he made the wrong call.
The umpires may now use televised replays on questionable home runs but did not in that case. Two batters later, they did, however. Lance Berkman’s high drive to right kept hooking and from my seat in the press box where the right field foul pole is directly in my view the ball veered foul into the second deck.
I was astonished to see Reynolds signal a home run. The crowd loved it. Pitcher Tommy Hunter and catcher Bengie Molina did not. Washington was out of the dugout again, but he was taking nobody’s word for it until the play was reviewed. The call was correctly reversed to a foul ball. Now Yankees fans were upset, but as the replay plainly revealed the ball hooked in front of the pole and landed in foul territory.
Burnett could have used that extra run, too, because the Rangers came back to score two runs in the third without a ball leaving the infield. After two perfect innings, Burnett had his first burst of wildness. He walked David Murphy and hit Molina with a pitch. Molina was attempting to sacrifice, so Burnett hit a guy who was giving him an out.
After Mitch Moreland bunted the runners over, Mark Teixeira made an excellent, short-hop pickup of a grounder by Elvis Andrus but could not set himself for a throw home. Tex tossed to Burnett covering first instead as Andrus scored the tying run. Michael Young followed with a slow roller to third that Alex Rodriguez had trouble getting out of his glove and beat the throw at first for a single that scored Molina for a 2-1 Texas lead.
The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the inning with the run also coming on an infield hit. With two out, Jeter missed a home run by inches as the ball hit near the top of the center field fence next to the 408-foot sign. The ball caromed back toward the infield, and Jeter hustled it into a triple.
Curtis Granderson followed with a hard, one-bouncer that ate up second baseman for a single as Jeter crossed the plate with his 32nd run scored in ALCS play. It broke the record he had shared with former teammate Bernie Williams, who just happened to have thrown out the ceremonial first pitch.