What did Angel Hernandez see, and how did he see it?
Ken Rosenthal's got the scoop:
Hernandez, the crew chief, viewed the replays in high definition with two other umpires who helped him review the call. The feeds were the same ones that fans saw, and the umpires viewed them on 19-inch full resolution HD broadcast monitors made by Panasonic and similar to those commonly used in TV production trucks.
"It was not evident on the TV we had that it was a home run," Hernandez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there’s 100 percent evidence."
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations, issued a statement Thursday saying that Hernandez’s call was incorrect — and dismissing the umpire’s suggestion that he saw the replay in a lesser form.
"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night," Torre said. "Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made."
I don't know how much difference HD makes. The guys in the broadcast booths, both home and away, were probably looking at HD feeds and seemed 100-percent sure the umpires were going to reverse the call. I wasn't looking at an HD feed, and I was 95-percent sure.
You know, the technology must exist, or could exist, to allow the digital recreation of any batted ball, which would allow the creation of a sort of animated replay showing exactly where the ball was at every split-second of its flight. It's funny, not so many years ago what they're doing now would have seemed revolutionary, but at this moment it seems almost primitive. I'll bet you that in five years, or maybe 10 at the outside, we're not having conversations like these.
Which doesn't excuse Hernandez, assuming that everybody else is telling the truth.