One call in the second inning may have changed the whole game for the Detroit Tigers Monday and manager Jim Leyland wasn't about to let it go.
With two outs and a runner on second, Mike Aviles had two strikes on him when he swung and missed at a pitch that Detroit catcher Gerald Laird appeared to have caught for a third strike.
Instead, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that the ball had struck the ground first, making it a foul ball. On appeal, first base umpire Bill Welke agreed.
The inning continued and the Sox added three runs while Leyland and third base coach Gene Lamont were ejected for arguing the call.
Welke later acknowledged that the umpires had made a mistake.
"What looks crystal clear (on video)," said Welke, "didn't look crystal clear from the first base line."
That didn't mollify Leyland.
"There shouldn't have been a second-inning rally," Leyland said. "I mean, there should not have been a second-inning rally. There's three outs. I've been in the game a long time; when a catcher catches the ball and it's strike three you call the guy out. It's that simple, isn't it?"
When Leyland was asked what explanation he received from the umpires, he launched into a rant.
"He said the ball hit the ground," said Leyland. "I'm sorry. I'm the most patient man in the world with umpires; protect them more than anybody. And I understand there's the human element involved in the game. But you're 120 feet away? I mean, you gotta be 110 percent sure. You can't be guessing at that call. That's that simple. I mean, come on."
And the more Leyland spoke, the angrier he became, turning his frustration toward the media.
"Was that a ridiculous call? Then write it that it was a expletive ridiculous call," he said, his voice rising. "Write that it was a expletive ridiculous call; not just a bad call, a maybe call, a expletive ridiculous call. Write the expletive thing. That's all. I protect them more than anybody; I'm not mad at the expletive umpires, but expletive it's a ridiculous expletive call, you saw it, you think it's a ridiculous call, write it, expletive I don't have to say it.
"I'm not a expletive writer, I'm a expletive manager."