Sportnet's coverage of the eighth inning of Tuesday's Blue Jays vs. Astros game in Houston was, to say the least, confusing. Photo Credit: Sportsnet Photo Credit: Sportsnet

The bottom of the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros was confusing. It was especially not only Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez calling the game on Sportsnet, but anyone watching that broadcast.

Houston’s Alex Bregman came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with one out and two runners on base. Kyle Tucker was on first base while José Altuve was on third. Bregman hit a popup behind the plate, which catcher Alejandro Kirk caught for the second out. Toronto skipper John Schneider came out to replace pitcher Tim Mayza. While it seemed like nothing out of the ordinary happened, that wasn’t quite so. But it took a while to figure it out.

When the broadcast returned from commercial, Sportsnet cameras were focused on Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker standing in the dugout, arguing with the umpires. Shulman noted, “Not sure exactly what it is, this started during the pitching change when Chad Green was on his way in from the bullpen. Not sure what this is.” Martinez added that he “didn’t have any clue” when Shulman realized that Tucker was standing on second base.

Shulman quickly guessed what happened. “Maybe Tucker took off and play was still live. I don’t know exactly — like, he walked and Bregman fouled out. But Kyle Tucker’s standing on second base right now. Maybe that has something to do with it. However he got there, he’s there right now.”

As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened. Tucker, realizing that the Blue Jays weren’t paying close attention to him, tagged up when Kirk caught Bregman’s popup and made it to second base without a throw. The Blue Jays were arguing that time had been called — but to no avail.

“I mean did he just take off after Kirk caught the ball? And just kind of snuck over to second. He got there somehow,” Shulman said.

“Yeah, that’s what I think happened,” Martinez responded. “The popup to Kirk and he must have tagged and advanced. But everybody was focused on Kirk. I don’t think — I don’t know. I honestly don’t know how he got there.”

After Green’s 1-2 pitch to Houston’s Yainer Díaz, the broadcast went to a replay of Bregman’s popup. A camera picked up Tucker tagging up and running safely into second base. For the Blue Jays and their fans, that was the good news. The bad news was that time timing of the replay was terrible. Because while Sportsnet was showing a replay of Tucker tagging up, Altuve made a critical baserunning mistake, straying too far off of third base. Kirk fired to third baseman Ernie Clement, who tagged Altuve out.

The broadcast returned from the replay of Tucker tagging up to show Altuve walking, without a helmet to his second base position. The next shot was of Kirk in the dugout. Meanwhile, the scorebug remained unchanged and more notably, the broadcast was silent for roughly 15 seconds before Shulman’s voice was heard again.

“And now as we were in the replay, the inning has come to an end,” Shulman said. He then narrated the play before the broadcast returned to commercial.

When the decision was made to show the replay of the tag-up after that pitch, the eyes of the announcers went to the monitors. Additionally, like Tucker tagging to second base, Kirk’s throw to retire Altuve was also delayed.

Here, the Toronto broadcast was victimized by bad luck more than anything.

[Photo Credit: Sportsnet]

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