The Guardians were in their dugout, certain that they had avoided a bad break in the top of the first inning of their game Tuesday.
With two outs and the Tigers’ Javy Baez at second base, Detroit’s Harold Castro hit a grounder up the middle. Guardians shortstop Tyler Freeman appeared to be in position to make an easy play but the ball hit second base and kicked back toward the hole.
Freeman scrambled to get to the ball, then fired it home and Cleveland catcher Austin Hedges tagged out Baez, who was trying to score. Baez didn’t complain about the call and the Guardians retreated to their dugout. However, the Tigers challenged, saying Hedges had illegally blocked the plate.
Top 1st - @Tigers challenge call that there was no violation of the HP Collision Rule; call of no violation is overturned; runner had no pathway to home plate and was hindered and impeded by the catcher while not in possession of the ball, runner is safe. Powered by @Mitel pic.twitter.com/cVrDNs1SQT
— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) August 17, 2022
The next batter, Kerry Carpenter, hit a home run and the Tigers had a 3-0 lead. They went on to win 4-3, so the overturned call ended up being huge.
After the game, Hedges unloaded on the umpires.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 17, 2022
“First of all, it cost the game,” Hedges said. “It’s a play that’s been called a few times now recently that really has never been called before. For some reason, New York feels like they need to take over the game and change the way the game’s played. Guys are just out.
“There’s plays at home that are beating the runners, and for 150 years you’re out. And now, we’re calling some type of rule that is really tricky to define. To be able to take the game into their own hands that way and to, first of all, that cost one run automatically. And then what ended up transitioning. Honestly, it’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing. I think New York owes (Cleveland starter) Zach Plesac specifically an apology because they took the game out of his hands. The guy was throwing the ball amazing. And overturning that call right there, like I said, it cost the game.”
Hedges then said Major League Baseball umpires have no accountability.
“I don’t need to get into the rest of the debacle with the umpires because it was a really, really poor executed job by them,” Hedges said. “It’s too bad. It’s too bad when we play a sport where we get held accountable. Where we say something, we get held accountable, we get mocked, we get shamed. There’s no accountability on their part right now. And that’s really, really sad. I don’t know why, but there needs to be a little bit of, you know we talk about equality in this world right now, there ain’t no equality with that. These guys are going out there with no responsibilities. They say ‘OK, here’s a play where I can show my power. Here’s a play where I can take over the game.’
“And that’s not the game that we play. That’s not the game that we’ve played for forever. They’re trying to take over the game and they’re trying to change the game. And it’s disappointing. For a team that goes out there and fights every single night to win every game, for it to cost us a game when we’re trying to win a division, we’re trying to make the playoffs. We’re trying to do something special. For that to be taken out of our hands like that is a disgrace and it’s extremely disappointing. I’m disappointed and that’s all I have to say. Thank you.”
Guardians manager Terry Francona, who was ejected in the ninth inning over an out call, called the play at the plate frustrating.
“It goes to New York, I get that,” Francona told reporters after the game. “I’ve been told by every umpire that I’ve come across, don’t challenge a throw from the infield because it’s not enough space. And then I didn’t think it was egregious anyway to overturn. Frustrating.”