The Yankees took a big lead but the feisty Orioles came back hard and had several chances late but just couldn't convert. It didn't help that future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera was brought in during the eighth to quell a rally. It also did not help that the home plate umpire, Ed Rapuano, gave two absolutely disgusting calls to Rivera that basically took the bat out of the hands of two big Orioles sluggers.
For the last out of the eighth, with a runner on first, Jay Payton backed off from an inside fastball that was clearly about six inches off the plate. Strike three called, emphatically. The Orioles commentary team were completely perplexed. The replay of the 'strike' call only made things worse, the pitch simply was not even close. A learning disabled monkey with bad eye sight could have made a better call on that pitch, so why does a 'professional' like Ed Rapuano make such a completely horrible call?
Worse was to come.
Bottom of the ninth, tying run on second, slugger Nick Markakis at the plate. Mariano Rivera coils and fires. Way outside. No, wait, Strike three, looking.
Once again the umpire takes the bat out of the Orioles hands and basically gifts the Yankees a win. The second call was worse than the first. We are talking easily 6-7 inches off the plate. Nowhere close. The three replays after the event showed inches of daylight between the plate and the ball.
Several questions on this, why on earth does MLB accept this level of pathetic umpiring from their employees? Why did the Orioles pretty much accept their fate? The two batters were naturally argumentative but I don't understand how the coach didn't get tossed at least once there.
The bottom line is, what exactly is the point in playing the game of baseball when the very people meant to lay down the law, the umpires, are flagrantly ignoring the rules of the game?
What's the point?
Did Ed Rapuano have a stack of cash on the Yankees last night? His two big calls were just that bad that you have to ask that question, and that's sad.