The Blue Jays won 11 straight games after the trade deadline. They won six in a row heading into the last week of the regular season, and they've won three in a row against the Rangers this year. They can win three games again.
But, yeah. This isn't going well. Baseball giveth, baseball taketh away, baseball flushes the toilet when you're taking a shower, and baseball steals your credit card information just because it can. The Blue Jays are down 0-2 in the ALDS to a team that was supposed to lose 90 games this year, and all of that post-deadline momentum might be a pile of ash before Monday. And the worst part is that it might all be because of a blown call.
I mean, maybe. Here, you look:
With two outs, Rougned Odor rounded second base aggressively. He got back in time, but his foot came off the bag. Unless it didn't. Unless, of course it did, what are we talking about? It's so obvious that ... actually, maybe it's not obvious. A moving image that automatically repeats:
You see it, right? The foot comes off, and then it jerks back to the bag. Unless he's pushed by the glove. Or unless there's exactly one cleat electron touching a second base electron the entire time.
Alternate angles are of no help.
That's the farthest off the bag that Odor's foot was. The motion of the leg sure made it look like he came off, but at no point did we see the tan of the dirt or the green of the turf behind him in any shot.
My personal opinion is a two-parter:
- He probably came off the bag and should have been out.
- There is no way you can overturn that.
Just no way. Odor was called safe, the call was understandably upheld, and he came in to score the winning run. Instead of the Blue Jays heading to the 14th inning (or 15th or 16th or ...) in a tie game, they were down. And now they're either perfect for the rest of the ALDS or crushed for the rest of the offseason.
You knew this was coming. After a week of video review, we all saw what it looked like for a play to be too close to overturn. With most of them, we knew why it was too close to overturn, even if we had a sneaking suspicion it should be overturned. It was a part of replay. Better than the alternatives! Even then, though, one of my first thoughts was what if that happens in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series?
This wasn't Game 7 of the World Series. But it was pretty damned important to the Blue Jays' season. An overturned call, and they might still be playing. An upheld call, and they might be going to Texas needing to sweep the rest of the series. We have a hunch that they got jobbed. But we understand why they were.
So here's your reminder that instant replay is imperfect, and that it will always be a struggle to catch up with physics and real life. My crystal ball shows at least two columns about the base-sensors that will be installed in six years, with four columns about the base-lasers in 2020. If I'm still employed. Which, well, regardless, it will forever be an arms race to catch up with reality. Robot umps are a beautiful dream until they murder us all, and even then, it's going to be nearly impossible to get everything right when it needs to be.
The sort-of-questionable-but-maybe-the-garbage-camera-angle-was-the-real-problem strike zone? That's a different story. For now, know that the Blue Jays got screwed after waiting Carlos Correa's entire lifetime to get here, unless they were beaten fair and square because the tip of a cleat touched a fiber of a base. We'll never know. And six seconds into Sunday, the Blue Jays won't care. Or can't care. Same thing.
As long as we agree that baseball is awful.