Every post season in major league sports has at least one controversy every year. Who remembers the missed pass interference call in the 2019 NFL playoffs? How about the major penalty called against the Golden Knights when they played the Sharks?  We can’t forget about the decision to suspend Draymond Green in the 2016 NBA Finals. Baseball is no different. In game 6 of the World Series, Trea Turner was called out due to interference. The called obviously sparked a lot of controversy especially when the Umpires were reviewing it when they couldn’t actually change the call.  On October 30th, hosts Sharp and Shapiro discussed the miscall. 

 

Shapiro sets the scene:

An interesting situation took place in latter inning.  The situation is you got a runner at first (no outs) and it looks as though it should have been runners at second and third with no outs but we have Trea Turner running to first base.  All of a sudden, the ball gets thrown away and you think it he gets to second and all of sudden the umpire calls him out.”

 

My initial reaction was also shock.  It looked to me to be a regular error in baseball.  I have played baseball almost my entire life and I thought nothing of it watching it live. The fact that an umpire is willing to make that kind of a call is hard to conceive.  At the end of the day it was a judgement call and he definitely made a judgement. In reality, that play should have changed the outcome of the World Series but luckily the Nationals were able to push forward.

 

Sharp gives his explanation for the call:

“The rule is that you cannot run inside the line.  He was probably 6 or 7 inches to the left of the line. He was inside the line until about the last 10 feet of getting towards first base. Now the rule also states that as long as your last step is within the line, and his last step was definitely inside the line, it’s okay.  The problem is the play is not reviewable. They reviewed it for no reason.

 

I think that they umpire staff got overwhelmed.  They wanted to convene together and take a look at it.  When you have that many people in the stadium and millions more watching at home it’s easy to forget what can be overturned versus what can’t. The only problem is that we as the audience knew that information much quicker than they did.  The annoyance caused by a missed call combined with the fact it was mulled over for so long without any more pitches being thrown made things much worse.

 

Sharp adds: 

“Thankfully Rendon hit that bomb.  I believe it actually saved major league baseball in the eyes of a lot of fans.

 

Egregious calls are forgotten over time. However, it reigns over the sports world like the Black Plague in the following week.  People call for rule changes and petitions are singed throughout the country. This, of course, is just people going through the seven stages of grief before finally coping with the fact the call cannot be changed.  It ended up not being a big deal since the Nationals still won the game, but the principal remains. I don’t believe it would have ruined baseball had the Astros won. After the missed pass interference call against the Saints the NFL ratings were still great.

 

Shapiro gives his twist on the situation:

You could make the argument is actually helped the Nationals.  You have a pitcher on the mound who was getting cold and then he threw a meatball.

 

This is purely theoretical in nature.  Any baseball manager would rather have runners at second and third with no outs.  You can’t depend on a slightly cold pitcher to give up a home run in game 7 of the World Series.  The delay in the game surely had a factor in Rendon’s bomb but the right call should have been made.

 

Sharp brings up an interesting point:

At this point Bryan, do you think Clayton Kershaw is worse than Justin Verlander (in the post season) or do you think they are on the same line just kind at the bottom?

Shapiro responds:

No. No.  I think Verlander in all is a much better pitcher than Kershaw.

 

Verlander definitely has not been the greatest post season pitcher in the history of baseball.  A post season career ERA of 3.40 is nothing to flaunt about. With that being said, it is not really comparable to Clayton Kershaw.  Let’s take a look at their “head to head” matchup in the 2017 World Series. Verlander had a 3.75 ERA to Kershaw’s 4.02. Verlander only gave up 5 hits while Kershaw had 9.  Ultimately, Verlander took that World Series over him which gives him an immediate advantage. Kershaw also had a 7.36 ERA in the 2018 World Series although Verlander had an 11.25 ERA in the 2012 World Series which doesn’t sound physically possible.  He even had a 5.73 ERA in the 2019 World Series. The title of worst post season pitcher might be closer than I first imagined. 

 

Shapiro talks about the stakes of game 7 at the time: 

“If you don’t know who Mattress Mack is, he is in a position to win 22 million dollars if the Astros win the World Series and he has wagers of about 12 million dollars.”

 

Professional betters always have a backup plan.  Mattress Mack, the owner of Gallery Furniture, wagered about 13 million dollars on game 7 of the World Series.  After the Nationals took that game, it would appear he went straight for a negative loss. Well it turned out he had a crazy backup plan.  He hedged his bet but not in the typical fashion. He had a crazy mattress promotion during the World Series claiming he would pay off everyone’s mattress if he won his bet.  He claims he made about 25 million in mattress sales during that time and broke even when it was all said and done. Not that any of us were feeling bad for a man who has 12 million dollars to wager.

 

Sharp gave his prediction for game 7:

“I think Scherzer wins his first World Series. I think that the way Greinke pitches, the Yankees didn’t match up well with him because they are home run hitters, the Nationals are contact hitters.  He doesn’t throw hard. He throws a lot of different junk. He’s 36 years old. I think the game probably goes over and I like the Nationals to win. 

Sharp concerns me sometimes.  I reviewed the betting odds to reveal the Nationals at +125 and the over/under set at 7.5.  The final score ended up being 6-2 in favor of the Nationals. Greinke gave up 2 runs on 2 hits.  Cousin Sal better watch out for his job at ESPN.

 

Did you want to listen to this full segment and more amazing content? Just go to thevegastake.com and anywhere you listen to podcast! 

 

Spencer Ostrovsky

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