From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Joe Girardi could have used a birthday present Sunday: increased instant replay for umpires.The Yankees manager was ejected from Game 2 of the AL championship series on his 48th birthday after arguing a pivotal missed call by second base umpire Jeff Nelson in a 3-0 loss to Detroit that left New York in a 2-0 deficit.Nelson admitted he blew the call on second baseman Robinson Cano's tag, which should have ended the eighth inning before Detroit expanded its lead from one run to three. And Girardi still was steamed Cano was called out by Jeff Kellogg on a close play in the opener, a 6-4, 12-inning loss."Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us," Girardi said with passion in his voice.New York was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the eighth Sunday when Austin Jackson singled with Omar Infante on first. Right fielder Nick Swisher threw to second, where Infante had run past the base, and Cano tagged him on the chest sliding back."I had the tag late and the hand going into the bag before the tag on the chest," Nelson said.Then he watched the replay after the game."The hand did not get in before the tag. The call was incorrect," Nelson explained.After Boone Logan relieved, pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia blooped a single to right for a 2-0 lead and Girardi returned to the mound to bring in Joba Chamberlain. Girardi got into a heated discussion with Nelson and was tossed. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera followed with another single for a 3-0 lead."He told me let it go. He was trying to keep me in the game," Girardi said. "It's hard to let it go, you know, when it changes the complexion of the game."Infante knew he should have been called out."I think the umpire got confused cause he saw my hand," he said. "Something with my hand made him think I was safe."New York felt it was a turning point."That's a monster play in that situation," Swisher said. "It's a lot different as a one-run game than it is a three-run game."Four of Girardi's five ejections this year have come in games against Detroit. He's been tossed 22 times overall, including 19 as a manager."In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change," Girardi said. "I have been thrown out of games enough to know it would be quicker to get the call right or wrong or right on replay than for me to go out there and argue."Baseball began video review by umpires late in the 2008 season, but it is used only to determine whether potential home runs went over the fence or were fair. The commissioner's office is considering an expansion to allow for video to determine whether balls down the lines are fair and whether fly balls are trapped.Equipment was installed this year at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field to test technology. But the expansion of replay under consideration wouldn't have included Sunday's tag play."I understand Joey's frustration. You want everything to be perfect, and it's not perfect," said MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, Girardi's former manager with the Yankees."The sad part about it is umpires, players, managers, they are all human. And it happens. Certainly we don't mean for it to happen. And the umpires, you have to be in that room to appreciate how the effect it has on an umpire that missed a call, especially in postseason, where obviously the chips are on the table," he said.
Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at CSN -- will take a look at the world of college basketball: Games to watch each week, players who might be on the Celtics' radar come draft time, what's going on locally . . . and, of course, power rankings (which will eventually morph into bracketology). Enjoy!
After a Saturday for the ages came and went this past weekend, it's clear offensive efficiency is ruling the college basketball world. Villanova, UCLA, Creighton, Indiana, UNC, Kentucky, and a slew of other teams are shooting the lights out early in the season. In a rare switch, offensive efficiency is proving more valuable than defensive efficiency early on this year. We aren't used to seeing shooting quite like this, but it makes for great basketball watching. We also have some surprise teams making big moves in the rankings, and I'm sure the shake-ups will keep coming week-by-week with no slowing down.
1. Villanova (8-0) - The defending champs spent a nice week destroying fellow Big 5 teams. On top of that, the Wildcats watched Kentucky fall (more on that later), which moves them up to the top spot. I can make a great case for the two teams behind them to be ahead, but I'll reward a defending champion going undefeated every day of the week.
2. Baylor (8-0) - SURPRISE! The Bears just keep on winning against really good competition. Scott Drew's club has now beaten four top 25 teams in Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and, most recently, Xavier. (I understand it's likely two of those teams won't be ranked this week, but they're still really good.) This is the most impressive early season resume in a long time.
3. UCLA (9-0) - It's one thing to put up massive offensive numbers against lowly competition. It's a completely different thing when you go into Rupp Arena and put up 97 points against Kentucky. Lonzo Ball had a rough go in the first half but he was helped by fellow freshman T.J. Leaf, who is absolutely balling.
4. Kentucky (7-1) - I'm keeping the Wildcats right here because I still saw a lot I liked in the loss to UCLA. Mainly, I think De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk make up the best backcourt in the country. This team still has so much room to grow.
5. Kansas (7-1) - Shockingly, Kansas has decided to go with a small, four-guard lineup as of late. The Jayhawks have benched Landen Lucas and it's working having Lagerald Vick join Graham, Mason and Jackson in the backcourt. I applaud Bill Self for the outside-the-box thinking.
6. Duke (8-1) - Great to finally see the Blue Devils get some of their freshman back, albeit against Maine. The Dukies will probably shoot further up the power rankings next week as they get their fresh legs under them. As of now, I'm still slightly underwhelmed by the overall product (which is being harsh), but I love what I'm seeing from Luke Kennard who -- shhhhhhh -- is a better overall player than Grayson Allen.
7. Gonzaga (8-0) - They haven't missed a beat, putting away frisky Arizona on Saturday. The Dogs are now on cruise control and have a real shot at being the last undefeated team standing this season.
8. Creighton (8-0) - Speaking of undefeated, the Bluejays of Omaha are maybe the hottest offensive team in the country, led by three of the best guards in all of college basketball. (They may even be better than Kentucky's backcourt.) Creighton will be a force in the Big East this year.
9. Indiana (7-1) - The hardest thing about doing rankings is Jekyll-and-Hyde teams like the Hoosiers. What can you say about a team that beat Kansas, lost to Fort Wayne, and then rebounded with a win over North Carolina? You rank them 9. That's what you do.
10. North Carolina (7-1) - Speaking of North Carolina, last week I thought the Tar Heels were the hottest team in college hoops and now they're licking their wounds after being beaten pretty good by Indiana. They're still extremely well-rounded, and should still be in the Top 5 conversation later in the year.
11. Virginia (7-1) - For the first time in years, the Cavaliers lost a home non-conference game. The slugfest with West Virginia went as expected as the two unique defenses went at each other. Hard to drop UVA too far, as they still boast the nation's second-best defense.
12. Butler (8-0) - Hard to believe we're into December and still have three undefeated Big East teams and none of them are Xavier. Butler has looked really balanced this year in wins over Arizona and Utah. I would still like to see more scoring from the guards.
13. Louisville (7-1) - The Cardinals successfully rebounded from a not-bad-at-all loss to Baylor and took down Purdue in a game they tried very hard to lose. Louisville's biggest issue is offensive consistency, which has grinded to a halt at times this season. Defensively, however, there are no issues.
14. Xavier (7-1) - Hey, look, it's another team that lost to Baylor. The loss isn't necessarily bad, but the way X is playing hasn't been totally solid. They're getting almost all of their offense from three players, and their depth hasn't been great. They will still be a really good team, but are starting to look less like a dark horse Final Four team.
15. West Virginia (6-1) - What a win for WVU in Charlottesville. Huggy Bear's press continues to give opponents problems and keeps the Mountaineers in games even when they aren't hitting their shots. They were 25th in the AP poll last week, but are now No. 9 in kenpom. Expect a move once the pollsters read this column.
Providence - What a week for the Friars. They took out previously ranked in-state rivals Rhode Island and are now 6-2 with a quality win. Rodney Bullock is carrying the scoring load, and I have to say I'm very surprised by the development of Kyron Cartwright. His ball-handling and passing have been phenomenal. Ed Cooley is doing wonders with this group..
Rhode Island - Speaking of the Rams, they'll be just fine. A true road loss (albeit still in-state) is nothing to worry about. Now they'll hope Providence becomes a Top 50, or at the very least Top 100, RPI team, and the loss won't even look bad. What Rhody does need to worry about is finding a way to beat good teams. They now have three losses -- to Duke, Valpo (road), and Providence (road). They do have a quality win over a very good Cincinnati team, so they'll just need to take care of conference play and find a way to get a little more from their bench.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
- Tuesday December 6: Florida vs Duke (at Madison Square Garden)
- Saturday December 10: Villanova vs Notre Dame (Prudential Center); Michigan at UCLA
POTENTIAL FUTURE CELTICS TO WATCH
Jayson Tatum - Duke finally has a couple of its freshman back, and this is the guy to watch. I was pumped about him prior to the season because he's a 6-foot-7 wing player who does everything effortlessly. Tatum had 10 points and 8 rebounds in his opener despite being very rusty. It's only up from here.
De'Aaron Fox - Kentucky's point guard is the real deal and is so fun to watch. He's a 6-6 bean stalk, so he doesn't necessarily look like a point guard . . . until you see him pass. Fox can also get to the rim and play suffocating 'D'. He's still working on his jump shot, but it's coming along. NBA teams will drool over this guy.
Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully getting in the holiday spirit by getting the family Christmas tree this week.
*Very good and very sobering story about Craig Cunningham’s slow recovery, and his large support system with the AHL Roadrunners team he is captaining this season. It sounds like it might be a bit of a long road for him, so he and his family will need that support from those around him.
*Tyler Seguin has his shot back, and that’s great news for the Dallas Stars power play. So is that like Stella getting her groove back?
*A KHL player went into a sliding dab formation in order to celebrate a goal on the ice, and we salute him for that.
*The Maple Leafs are trying to fortify their backup goaltending situation after waiving Jhonas Enroth this week.
*Interesting Bob McKenzie piece about a young man that’s hoping to challenge conventional thinking in the hockey coaching ranks.
*TSN’s Scott Cullen takes a look at Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine’s shooting skills as part of his “Statistically Speaking” column.
*For something completely different: the hits just keep on coming for Netflix as they’re going to double their TV series output over the next year.