Home plate umpire Toby Basner ruled that Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph interfered with the Rangers' Elvis Andrus during an attempted hit-and-run in the third inning, awarding Andrus first base and advancing Shin-Soo Choo into scoring position.
Basner saw Joseph’s glove affect Andrus’ haphazard swing as he tried to make contact with a high-and-inside pitch. Joseph, though, believed that the jolt he felt was a result of the ball impacting his glove, not the slugger’s bat.
The play, which resulted in an error for Joseph on catcher's interference, helped spark a three-run inning for the Rangers.
“It was a pretty awkward play,” Joseph said. “I’m trying to be aggressive, throw the guy out. I was convinced at the time that it was the ball that hit my glove.”
The entire umpiring crew huddled and upheld the decision, igniting a heated disagreement from Showalter, who argued for more than 2 minutes but avoided an ejection.
Later, during the 1-hour, 38-minute rain delay that interrupted the eighth inning, Showalter and Joseph watched slow-motion replays that verified Basner’s ruling.
“Looking back on it, I’m glad I didn’t make a complete jerk of myself,” Showalter said. “I would not have been that vehement if I had known what I know now. Toby got it right.”
Showalter has previously expressed his longing for years prior to video replay, when managers would confront umpires over controversial calls instead of biding time before requesting a challenge.
But Wednesday’s incident, which could not be revisited under current rules -- even though similar plays, like determining whether or not a pitch hit a batter, can be reviewed -- prompted Showalter to predict a future with a more expansive replay system.
“We have the technology to do it,” Showalter said. “It shouldn’t take more than a minute, and they would’ve found out they were right.”