Even casual baseball fans know the name Jeffrey Maier. In the 1996 American League Championship Series, Maier reached over and interfered with a Derek Jeter fly ball at Yankee Stadium.
The umpires amazingly ruled that the interference was a home run. Back then, there was no replay. Plays such as this is why replay is being used especially in the playoffs.
Even with replay, the umpires mistakenly gave Mike Moustakas a home run, which helped Kansas City to win Game 6 and the American League pennant.
Maier interfered with the ball in Game 1 in 1996. Caleb Humphries will forever be known at least in Canada, but he likely will never have to buy a drink in Kansas City, once the 19-year-old is old enough to drink.
The Toronto Blue Jays had plenty of problems. Difficulty in driving in runs in scoring position. A beleaguered bullpen made even worse with Brett Cecil's injury. Inconsistent offense throughout the entire postseason. Ryan Goins calling for a fly ball and then having it drop in Game 2.
Teams that win overcome such issues. There were ultimately too many problems and that is why the Blue Jays fell short.
The team united Canada, even during a national election period. #ComeTogether was a prominent hashtag, but it really was true.
The end is very frustrating, but the whole of the last few months has been electric. Hopefully, the U.S. noticed that Canada really likes baseball and its fans can catch foul balls (take that, Harold Reynolds).
The Toronto players were clearly communicating in a sign language all its own. This was part of the charm of this team, and a heartwarming feature that broadcasters normally jump on. The Fox crew didn't even think about asking about these signs throughout the 11 Blue Jays games the network covered.
The crew even messed that up when David Price was giving the signal in the ALDS in Texas. But even with sideline reporters, they showed no curiosity at all.
The fan interference wasn't the only horrible call the Blue Jays had to overcome in the postseason. The tag in the 14th inning against Texas that the umpires missed even with replay. The absolutely horrible ball-strike calls that will haunt the American League 2015 postseason for years to come. And MLB's outright refusal to open up the roof at Rogers Centre.
The 7th inning of Game 3 may not have been the worst with horrible 3rd strike calls against Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin but the fact that Tulowitzki was tossed out of the game for hundreds of feet away show the lack of professionalism from the umpire crew.
You could easily argue that Texas was the better team in the ALDS and Kansas City was the better team in the ALCS. But it would have been nice to see that on the field instead of being a theoretical concept.
Cliff Pennington was almost an afterthought when acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for infield depth. The injury to Troy Tulowitzki opened up a lot of playing time, including when Tulowitzki was thrown out of Game 3.
Pennington will now be forever known as the position player who got to pitch in the postseason. He relieved Mark Lowe with 2 out and runners on first and second in the 9th inning in Game 4.
Pennington gave up a broken-bat single to Paulo Orlando and a 2-run single to Alcides Escobar. He got Ben Zobrist on a foul pop to end the inning.
His first pitch was harder (90 mph) than anything Toronto starter R.A. Dickey had thrown in years. Since the runners were Lowe's responsibility, Pennington escaped with a 0.00 ERA.
Postseason games usually require diligence for a comeback of any kind. Game 4 was not that game; if anything, Pennington could have come in sooner.
Joe Buck opened one of the telecasts in Toronto by comparing Lake Ontario to the Indian Ocean. Buck talked about how there was a lot going on in Toronto in a positive manner. Was Buck comparing Toronto to a city in India? That is one of 10 possibilities.
Since Buck likes Toronto, and we're pretty sure this is the first time Buck has been in Toronto professionally, hopefully, he can talk Fox into doing more Blue Jays games.
The Toronto Blue Jays drew bad starting times throughout the playoffs and had to compete with a National League playoffs picture that was a better TV fit.
The first 4 games of the ALCS averaged 3.7 million viewers. Games 1-3 averaged 3.8 million viewers in Canada for Rogers Sportsnet.
This is the part where we mention that Canada has 11% the size of the U.S. population.
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