Flexing the Jeffrey Maier Muscle

Yankee fans are entitled to a Saturday morning headache today and not just the kind of headache you get when that first cup of coffee arrives later on a Saturday than during the week.

The 9-8 loss in 13 innings to Cleveland in the ALDS was brutal because they squandered a five run lead. It was especially brutal because replays showed umpire Dan Iassogna incorrectly awarded Lonnie Chisenhall first base on a hit batsman call just before Francisco Lindor’s game-changing grand slam in the sixth inning. It was excruciatingly brutal because manager Joe Girardi didn’t challenge the call.

It’s ironic that Girardi didn’t review the call because Girardi called for expanded replay after a couple of incorrect calls by the umpires cost the Yankees Game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers in 2012. Five years ago, a frustrated Girardi said, “Let’s have instant replay and not just … homerun, fair, foul.” Five years later, expanded replay was available but Girardi didn’t call for it. Joe Girardi is one of the best managers in baseball but he made a mistake last night.

Of course, for people not rooting for a 28th World Championship by the Bronx Bombers, the reflexive response is “Jeffrey Maier.” They’ll point to 12-year old Jeffrey’s interference on Derek Jeter’s pivotal  “homerun” in the Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles and show how it not only lead to a win in Game 1 but winning that ALCS and winning four World Series in five seasons.

The Yankees have dug themselves a hole but they can dig themselves out quickly if Tanaka pitches well and the Yankees win Game 3.

Yankee fans, your headache will pass. The future is bright for the Bombers. Be grateful it’s not a Jeffrey Maier headache. Those things can last for years if you let them.

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