Kyle Tucker Jul 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker (30) slides into home plate to score the game winning run while beating the tag of Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) during the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

By now, those of us who follow Major League Baseball on a consistent basis should know that any close play that’s reviewed by replay is not getting overturned unless there is clear and sufficient evidence to override the call on the field. Whether it’s right or not, the replay center in New York is sticking with the call on the field on bang-bang plays in most instances.

That happened in the bottom of the ninth inning of Monday’s game between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. With runners on first and second, Yanier Diaz dunked a game-winning RBI single into right field to lift the Astros to a 10-9 win. Though, it was a close play at the plate as the throw from the cut-off man to home plate got there just as Kyle Tucker slid in. 

He was ruled safe.

The Rangers, having nothing to lose—except the game—and everything to gain decided to challenge the close play at the plate. The question wasn’t whether Tucker beat the tag or not, but if his lead foot touched the top of the plate.

There surely wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field and even the Rangers announcers on Bally Sports Southwest admitted that they weren’t sure, as they contemplated whether Tucker was out at the plate or not.

There was no definitive evidence to suggest either way, but Rangers’ play-by-play voice Dave Raymond for some reason was adamant that Tucker’s lead foot didn’t touch home plate.

“I think he’s out,” Raymond said. 

“That would be amazing,” Rangers color commentator and play-by-paly analyst C.J. Nitkowski suggested.

After the umpire crew announced that the ruling on the field stood, you can hear Raymond let out an emphatic “WHAT?!?” in the booth in between victory fireworks blasting off at Minute Maid Park in Houston. 

After going back and forth, Nitkowski and Raymond were definitive that Tucker was out and there was not enough evidence to suggest that his foot touched the plate. Guess what? There wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that he didn’t touch the plate, which is why the call on the field stood.

“They must’ve saw the font of that foot actually hit and when it was down actually said that it caught the plate because other than that, I don’t see it,” Nitkowski said.

Raymond was insistent that neither Tucker’s lead foot or heel touched home plate and that Rangers catcher Jonah Heim tagged him out on the knee.

“You know what, that may be a missed call,” Nitkowski said. “I’m with you on that one. Because from that angle, you can see the heel in the air.”

“I get it. That would’ve been outrageous to overturn that and this place would go crazy, but I think the proper call would’ve been out,” Raymond said. “I don’t know, based on what I saw…they must’ve had something different back in New York.”

Raymond continued to carry on about the call, telling viewers that they could continue to scratch their heads on Rangers Live! Postgame.

Look, we don’t expect local broadcasts to always be objective, and that’s totally fine, but being up in arms over a call that could’ve gone either way is a bit over the top. Maybe the umpires got the call wrong. Maybe they got the call right. In any event, there was not enough evidence to suggest that the call on the field should be overturned, no matter what Raymond or Nitkowski claimed.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.