Upon review, Posey's steal under scrutiny
Safe ruling on Giants rookie in fourth may have been wrong
SAN FRANCISCO -- A freeze-frame of a fourth-inning steal on Thursday night shows Buster Posey mid-slide just short of the second-base bag while Brooks Conrad appears to apply the tag waist high.Paul Emmel, the second-base umpire, called Posey safe, and the Giants went on to score the game's only run as the Braves lost, 1-0, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park. "I thought we had him out, but we didn't get the call," Conrad said. "It didn't go our way, and there's nothing you can do about it. I had to reach out for him, and I tagged him high. I thought we had him.
"Obviously it was a tough call, but we've got to find some way to put some runs on the board."
Posey was running as Pat Burrell struck out swinging. On television instant replays, it was tough to tell from some angles whether Posey had planted his foot on the bag before the tag. The freeze-frame left less doubt."I couldn't see it, but I thought the throw was in time," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "It was one of those bang-bang plays. That's the way it goes." Posey smiled when asked about it.
"It was a beautiful slide, wasn't it?" he said.The rookie catcher then scored on a Cody Ross single that bounced under the glove of third baseman Omar Infante. Tim Lincecum made the run stand up for the remainder of the game, tossing a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts. Asked by a pool reporter what he saw at second base, Emmel was pretty explicit. "I saw him safe, that's what I called," he said. Did Conrad say anything? "Nobody said a thing out there," Emmel said. Had he viewed the replay? "No, I haven't." Retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox said he had no vantage point from the first-base dugout to determine whether Posey was safe or out. "I haven't seen [the replay]," he said. "Some of the guys came down after that inning and said he was out by 6-8 inches. From the dugout you can't see anything, and I didn't see a reaction from the infielders." Braves right-hander Derek Lowe, who had perhaps the best vantage point on the field from the mound after whiffing Burrell, said there was no doubt about it in his mind. "He was out from where I was, and replays show it," said Lowe, who took the loss. "But that's all part of it. There are calls that go in your direction when guys are out. It's frustrating, no doubt. But you tip your cap to the guy and come back tomorrow with a fresh attitude and try to score some early runs." Replay can only be utilized on boundary calls for home runs -- fair or foul, in or out. Any expansion of replay is being studied by Commissioner Bud Selig's special committee reviewing changes and enhancements to the game, but no determination on that will be made until the offseason. Cox said he isn't in favor of expanding replay. "I'd just leave it as it is," Cox said. "It's fine the way it is. We would be arguing and throwing red flags 10 times a night." Not Thursday night. There was no argument on the field even immediately after the play. But freeze-frame images left little doubt.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.