On Tuesday night, the New York Yankees hosted the Houston Astros at Yankee stadium, but lost the contest 5-3. But manager Joe Girardi had his team finish the game out under protest after the home plate umpire refused to call Carlos Correa out for interference in a pivotal 8th inning at bat.
In the top of the 8th of a 2-2 game, Correa hit a dribbler back to the pitcher (Dellin Betances) on the first base side of the mound. As Betances fielded the ball, he looked towards first to make his throw, but didn’t have a clear shot at the base (with Correa in the way). As a result, he sailed the ball over the first baseman’s head and into left field, allowing the runner on second to score (and take the lead).
Girardi immediately ran out to argue the play and was quite animated in his disagreement. However, the home plate umpire did not believe Correa was impeding the throw on the play, and allowed the call on the field to stand. You can see the play and the immediate fall out here:
But that’s just the set up. It’s what came after that makes this story something else. Given the impactful nature of the play and subsequent protest from the Yankees, the “Umpires Post Game Quote Sheet” made its way out to the public, and contains one soon to be famous line from home plate umpire Dana DeMuth:
"Do it. Throw it into the runner's back" – crew chief Dana DeMuth pic.twitter.com/WZZY5n0eMw
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) April 5, 2016
“Do it. Throw it into the runner’s back” is DeMuth’s response to the complaint that Betances had nowhere to throw the ball, if not into Correa’s back. What a hilarious and unusually honest response from an umpire. You can read more on the actual rules and the umpire’s decision here.
As for the play itself, I tend to agree that the call was correct, but disagree with the umpire’s reasoning. If this play is a judgment call, like DeMuth repeatedly suggests, then the umpires should be able to decide whether Correa was impeding the play or not, without further “evidence.” They should not need, in other words, the ball to actually hit the runner, to determine whether or not the batter caused interference.
But, in the end, I’m glad how exactly how it all shook out. Because now, that beautiful, hilarious, probably-too-honest quote from crew chief Dana DeMuth will live on forever.