The Detroit Tigers had an Opening Day walk-off win taken away from them Friday when what looked to be a safe, 10th-inning slide into home from Nicholas Castellanos was overturned on review. If you believe Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, MLB admitted the call was botched.
Gardenhire caught an ejection for arguing the reversal, which came after a stoppage that was twice as long as MLB’s two-minute replay review limit. Gardenhire told reporters today that he had talked with MLB reps in New York, and they admitted an error in the review. Via MLive:
“We heard what we wanted to hear,” Gardenhire said. “I will tell you that. They told us what we knew was right. There you have it.”
Gardenhire said the message was conveyed in a conversation between Tigers general manager Al Avila and MLB’s New York offices.
“The explanation was they didn’t really have conclusive evidence that somebody tagged him,” Gardenhire said. “Yes, he might have got him. ‘We think he got him’ is not good enough. In this situation, it has to be definitive. It has to be, “Yeah, I see him (tag) him.’ It’s not, ‘Well, he looked like he touched his sleeve.’ That can’t happen. It’s got to be conclusive. Obviously it didn’t happen. There were mistakes made. That’s fine. It won’t bring anything back.”
It’s weird and kind of frustrating that MLB will admit this behind close doors but won’t have any public transparency about its replay reviews. Regardless, Gardenhire and the Tigers can take solace in this small victory—and not the actual one, since the Pirates won 13-10 after 13 innings.
Update (6:00 p.m. ET): MLB has released a statement contradicting Gardenhire, saying that the replay provided conclusive evidence:
“The nature of the exchange with the Tigers was that the replay officials made the correct call based on conclusive evidence,” MLB said. “The video clearly shows the catcher applying the tag on the upper right arm of the runner.’’