MLB to Japan: the umpiring confuses us, too

From the Newsroom

ANAHEIM, CA — The Appeal Heard ‘Round The World continued to reverberate on Monday, as Nippon Professional Baseball officials said they planned to officially protest the call that erased a run, costing their team a 4-3 loss to the USA on Sunday. “The play was representative of a systematic failure on the part of the World Baseball Classic’s organization and its one-sided planning,” said Kazuo Hasegawa, NPB’s general secretary.

Japan’s sacrifice-fly go-ahead run in the eighth inning was first upheld by second-base umpire Brian Knight, then overruled by home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Replays showed that Japanese runner Tsuyoshi Nishioka did not leave third base until USA left fielder Randy Wynn had caught the ball.

Nishioka himself didn’t seem to feel the deck was stacked against non-US teams. “The fans here gave us a standing ovation for our defense. You have to appreciate their passion for the game and respect that,” he said. “Likewise, I have a lot of respect for the American team and for the major leaguers. That has not changed. But about the umpiring, well, that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever understand.” Welcome to our world.

At press time, MLB and the umpires’ union had not made an official statement, but if they had, it might have been something like “you think that’s bad, you should have seen the Super Bowl.”

Published March 14, 2006

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