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Updated: MLB executive defends umpires in ALCS

October 22, 2009 |  6:51 pm

A Major League Baseball official defended the umpires in the American League Championship Series in spite of several controversial calls, some of which the umpires later agreed were in error.

"Do they miss? Yes, but again, it's the frequency and how much they try to minimize those misses that we aspire to," Mike Port, the MLB's vice president in charge of umpires, said today before Game 5 of the ALCS at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

There were at least two blown calls Tuesday night in Game 4 by umpire Tim McClelland, who acknowledged after the game that "unfortunately there was, by instant replay, two missed calls." TV replays have shown that other umpires also made mistaken calls.

In one case, Angels catcher Mike Napoli tagged out two Yankees base runners who were just off third base in Game 4, but only one runner was called out.

“What happened, happened, no denying that," Port said. "But I would say that, based on what either of those [umpires] did over the course of the regular season, yes, they belonged in the postseason.”

The umpires don't have the luxury of instant replays on such calls, Port noted, and said the umpires' situation is the same as when "a player says, 'Gee, I wish I had that pitch back, I wish I had one more swing at that pitch.' "

The umpires are "going to do their best, they know we’re going to have [TV] reviews, and it’s part of the landscape," Port said. "I hope that all the calls are accurate and . . . I find it outstanding when there's a great or excellent call."

The Associated Pess, however, reported earlier Thursday that MLB, in response to the rash of blown calls, would break tradition and use only experienced umpires for this year's World Series. In 24 of the last 25 World Series, the umpiring crew has included at least one umpire working the event for the first time, the Associated Press said.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Angels catcher Mike Napoli tags out both the Yankees' Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada (No. 20) in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Angel Stadium on Tuesday night. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency/Andrew Gombert.