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How big of a deal was the missed call on Brandon Inge's HBP?

(Image courtesy of With Leather)

Any Tigers fans out there upset about this no-call? In the top of the decisive 12th inning, Detroit’s Brandon Inge was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which would have scored the go-ahead run and make it 6-5 and keep the bases loaded for Gerald Laird.

The only problem is that home plate umpire Randy Marsh didn’t call it. Inge proceeded to hit into a 4-2 fielder’s choice and Laird fanned with a full count, setting the stage for the Twins’ heroics in the bottom of the inning.

Its understandable for Marsh to miss this at full speed, but his quote after the game is a little puzzling, considering the stark visual evidence to the contrary.

“I did not have the ball hitting him,” Marsh told a pool reporter. “We

looked at replays, too. And the replays that we’ve looked at, to be

honest with you, were inconclusive. I did not see a replay that showed

that it hit him.”

For his part, Inge was adamant that the ball did hit him, but seemed to understand how the frenzied environment at the Metrodome could have made it difficult for Marsh.

“Actually, every time I’ve been hit in the shirt, it’s been caught,”

Inge said. “Because it makes two distinct, pretty good noises. Now, I

will give him the benefit that this is one of the loudest places I’ve

ever been in my life.”

As someone who grew up with the Tigers in my blood, I can honestly say I’m not that worked up about this call, or the somewhat ridiculous strike three call on Placido Polanco in the ninth. Yesterday’s game was without a doubt one of the finer examples of nerve-wracking baseball we’ve seen in a long time. And just as the players made mistakes when the pressure was on, so too did the umpires.

It’s going to happen. And it shouldn’t take away from an instant classic. That’s part of the deal, that unpredictable way the situation is going to be amplified.

All that said, it doesn’t make blowing a seven-game lead in the last month any easier for supporters of the Old English ‘D’.