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WORLD SERIES / TORONTO BLUE JAYS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES : NOTES : Umpire Admits Mistake, Says Sanders ‘Probably’ Was Out

Bob Davidson, the second base umpire in Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday night, admitted he “probably” blew a call that would have given the Toronto Blue Jays the second triple play in Series history.

Davidson ruled that the Atlanta Braves’ Deion Sanders, who would have been the third out on the play in the fourth inning, was not tagged by Kelly Gruber as they both dived toward second base.

But after viewing the play and studying a photograph on Page 1 of the Toronto Sun newspaper Wednesday morning, Davidson said he probably made a mistake. He agreed that Gruber probably tagged Sanders’ heel.

“When I first called the play, I thought I was 100% right, it was right there, it was right in front of me,” Davidson said. “Then I saw the replays and the picture and I thought I probably missed the play.”

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Davidson added: “No one feels worse about it than I do. I don’t like to miss plays.”

Davidson, a 10-year National League veteran, is appearing in his first World Series.

Although the Blue Jays complained at the time, they were in a somewhat forgiving mood Wednesday.

“They’ve got a job to do, and we can’t say anything about that job or we all get in trouble,” said Roberto Alomar, Blue Jay second baseman. “All of us make mistakes. We just go on.”

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Two seasons ago, the leagues stopped choosing umpires for the postseason on a rotation basis and began choosing them on merit.

“Now, we get whomever we want as long as they have five complete years,” said Marty Springstead, executive director of umpiring for the American League. “We look at the guys who we think are due to work an event and choose from among that basic pool on the merits of the season they’ve just had.”

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Jimmy Key, Wednesday’s starter who is eligible to become a free agent this winter, will be extremely close to negotiations.

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His agent is his wife, Cindy. He is the only major leaguer with such an arrangement.

“The Players’ Assn. has no problem with it . . . She is a lot tougher than I am,” Key said. “I’m the kind of person that will give in on a lot of issues. I will say that I don’t want or need certain things. She will say, ‘Hey, you deserve them.’ ”

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The Dodgers’ hopes of signing potential free agent Tom Henke were dampened earlier this week when Henke, the Blue Jays’ standout relief pitcher, said he didn’t embrace the idea of a big city.

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“Big cities do scare me, I have to admit,” said Henke, a former bricklayer who lives in Jefferson City, Mo. “I know the Dodgers (have) a great organization. Alfredo Griffin has told me a lot of good things about it. . . . But would my wife and family be comfortable there? I don’t know.”

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One day after his spectacular catch while running into the center field wall, Devon White said he didn’t feel defense was appreciated by enough teams.

One of the biggest offenders, he said, were the Angels.

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“The Angels don’t appreciate people until they are gone,” White said. “They didn’t realize what they had.”

White grew up in the Angel organization but was traded after the 1990 season. The Angels are still looking for a center fielder.

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There is a reason that upbeat rock music blares from the SkyDome loudspeakers when the Blue Jays are taking batting practice, while funeral dirges accompany the Braves’ pregame workouts.

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“The idea is to get (the Braves) relaxed,” said Nick Poulakis, audio programmer for the SkyDome.

The Blue Jays get to pick their music, which changes depending on their tastes.

“We don’t have time to get (opponents) favorite hits,” said David Garrick, SkyDome vice president. “So maybe we play a little elevator music, you know?”


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