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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Yankees’ Joe Girardi hot under collar on cold day after non-call

Manager Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees

Manager Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees argues with home plate umpire Dana DeMuth during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Girardi started Opening Day on Tuesday wearing pink and ended it seeing red.

The Yankees manager showed his charitable side during his pregame news conference at Yankee Stadium by wearing a pink T-shirt for the nonprofit “Ainsley’s Angels,” which raises money to support wheelchair-bound and special needs athletes.

Girardi said he’s going to wear a different charity’s shirt for all 81 of his home pregame appearances. He also got a chance to wax poetic about Opening Day.

“There’s excitement,” Girardi said, “because there’s hope.”

Awwww . . .

After the game, however, Girardi was still seething over an umpire’s call that he felt cost the Yankees the go-ahead run in their 5-3 loss to the Astros.

Hope? Nope. Not on this chilly day.

Girardi thought Carlos Correa should have been called out for interference when he ran well inside the baseline on a swinging bunt in the eighth inning of a 2-2 game. Dellin Betances, who fielded the ball, had no lane and tried to throw it over Correa to Mark Teixeira at first.

The problem was Betances threw it so high Teixeira would have needed to be as tall as Betances plus hop on a ladder to reach it. Jose Altuve scored from second on the error and the Astros went on to a decisive three-run inning.

Girardi came out to argue and got his money’s worth. Adding to his frustration was that the play is not reviewable under replay. (Why not? Good question.)

Girardi yelled. He pointed. He asked the umpires to huddle. They did, and the call stood. So Girardi yelled and pointed some more and told the umpires he was playing the rest of the game under protest — a noble gesture, but one that will ultimately prove futile.

Surprisingly, he was not tossed out of the game.

“I was a little surprised I was still in,” Girardi said. “But I was somewhat animated because it’s a big play in the game. It’s frustrating that that’s kind of how the game got out of control.”

Yankees fans aren’t going to want to read this (spoiler alert!), but the umpires got it right as far as the rules are written. Interference can only be called if the runner impeded Teixeira’s ability to catch the throw.

As Teixeira himself pointed out, it’s just like waving off pass interference in the NFL when the pass is deemed to be uncatchable. Now, the baseline play could and should be reviewable under replay, but even that wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

The only thing that would have changed things? It’s kind of cockamamie, but if Betances had thrown the ball at Correa instead of over him, the umps would have called interference. Crew chief Dana DeMuth confirmed this to a pool reporter after the game.

“That doesn’t make any sense to me,” Girardi said, “because now you’re asking one of our players to assault theirs.”

Imagine the possibilities, though. If you’re a fan of real old-time baseball, then this solution must appeal to you. Back in the 1800s, batter/runners could be put out by having the ball hurled at them. Perhaps it’s time to bring that option back to help baseball appeal to a younger generation?

Perhaps not.

Still, it wouldn’t shock us to see Girardi have his pitchers doing a drill next spring training in which they peg the ball at a runner going inside the first-base line. You never know when it might come up again.

Alex Rodriguez, who for once was not involved in a controversial moment, perhaps summed it up best when he was asked his opinion on the play.

“I’ve never read a rule book,” A-Rod said. “I don’t know anything about rules.”

No comment.

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