06/14/09 12:30 AM ET
Kauffman Stadium gets first replay
Royals' Butler hits foul ball, prompting umpire review
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The incident came with the Royals ahead, 5-3, in the bottom of the fourth against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo.Billy Butler's line drive down the left-field line and into the seats was ruled a foul ball by third-base umpire Tony Randazzo. Royals manager Trey Hillman, watching from the first-base dugout, came out to question the call. "From my angle, I thought it went just fair and then quickly foul," Hillman said. "The umpiring crew handled it great, and it shows how difficult those calls are. Even when our guys looked at it on replay, they had to watch it six or seven times and slow it down frame-by-frame. Tony made a good call." After Hillman's inquiry, the umpires decided to use the video review. Crew chief Jerry Layne and two of the other three umpires went to the tunnel next to the umpires' room near third base to view a replay from Major League Baseball offices in New York. After a brief delay, Layne emerged and indicated the call was correct and play resumed. Butler got back in the box and grounded out to second base. When he hit the long drive off Arroyo's 2-1 pitch, though, Butler figured he had a home run. "I thought it was fair off my bat," Butler said. "I stayed inside of it. I hit it well and I ran and thought I kept inside the foul ball, but that's why we have umpires, and they thought it was foul. They went and reviewed it, took the proper precautions. It was close." Umpires supervisor Steve Palermo, observing from the press box, said the umpires executed the review by the book. The replay rule was put into effect last season to aid umpires ruling on questionable home runs, such as whether a ball is fair or foul and if there was fan interference, and Saturday in Kansas City marked the 26th time the rule was used in a game.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.