The world of sports is going crazy over hand signals, and last night we had the unfortunate experience of seeing what can happen when they are used improperly.
In last night's ALCS game, the Chicago White Sox defeted The The Angels Angels of Anaheim, in the bottom of the 9th inning because of a bad call and some confusion over the umpires hand signals.
The home plate umpire called the third strike, clinched his fist, and gave the out signal. The the Angels Angels assumed this meant the Chicago batter was out, and started to leave the field. The umpire then reversed his call claiming that the pitch had hit the dirt (which it hadn't). In that situation, the catcher is obliged to either tag the runner or throw out at 1st. The catcher heard the out call. The pitcher saw the out call. The runner ended up on first base.
A few pitches later he scored.
Horrible refereeing - incorrect hand-signals.
In a post game interview, the referee claimed that the clinched fist out signal was simply part of his normal motion. Ouch!
Yes, it makes a difference.