08/31/08 12:13 AM ET
Replay not used in close Polanco call
Towering fly down left-field line ruled foul ball and not reviewed
By David Just / MLB.com
Tigers manager Jim Leyland approached third-base umpire Tom Hallion after Placido Polanco hit a high fly ball down the left-field line that would have been a home run, if fair. Hallion ruled it foul.
The Tigers skipper felt the play deserved a second look, if not by the umpiring crew, then by the new replay system.
There has not been a case in which replay has been used since it debuted on Thursday, but Polanco's drive was certainly the closest call yet.
"That's always a tough one," Leyland said after the game. "I went out to question it because, to be honest with you, I wasn't sure. And this is how Tom handled it, which I thought was pretty good. I said, 'Tommy, would you check, because I'm not really sure, but I think it might have been a fair ball.'
"[Hallion] said, 'Well, I'll check with the home-plate umpire, but I am positive it was a foul ball.' They conferred, and they obviously either saw it the same way or nobody said anything. He was only gonna check with the home-plate umpire, which I thought was fair -- the home-plate umpire is looking at it right down the line."
Unlike football, a manager is not allowed to request that replay be used. That decision is only allowed to be made by the umpire crew chief, who will also make the final determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed.
"That's one that I probably would have requested, but you're not allowed to do that," Leyland said. "The umpire has to think that it warrants looking at the replay, and obviously, Tommy did not. As a manager, you accept that. I thought he was fair in saying he would check. They said foul ball, and there's nothing I can do about it."
There was disagreement among the Tigers staff and players over whether or not the ball was actually fair.
"Some of the players were saying fair ball," Leyland said. "So, I don't really know. I can't really tell on the replay."
The Royals dugout was sure, though, that it was, in fact, foul.
"We could see it pretty clear from where we were that, unless it had had more height, it definitely went on the left side of the foul pole [and was foul]," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.
"I was hoping," Mark Teahen said. "If they were going to have it, I was hoping to be on the field the first time they've used it. But it was pretty clearly foul. But it's history, you know."
With the score being 13-3 in favor of the Royals at the time, the home run would have had very little bearing on the outcome of the game.
One reporter asked Leyland if he thought replay would have been used, had the game been closer.
"That's a great question," Leyland said. "You'd have to ask the umpire that question. ... I might ask him that question myself."
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.