As the Yankees leapfrog the Red Sox for first place in the AL East, CSTB instead chooses to live in denial and focus on the peripheral matter of Curt Schilling’s continuing feud with Lou Piniella, with Julio “When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?” Lugo added to the mix for fun. From the St. Petersburg Times’ Marc Topkin.

Umpire Dana DeMuth said he was just trying to get the call right. Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said he never should have needed any help.

DeMuth’s reversal of a ninth-inning call Monday night in Tampa Bay’s 3-1 win drew an explosive reaction from Piniella (above), who showed some of his old fiery self in charging onto the field, screaming at the umpires enough to get ejected, then throwing his hat across the diamond and having to be forcibly restrained by first-base coach Billy Hatcher.

“I’ve never seen a home-plate umpire overrule a first-base umpire, especially when the first-base umpire is right there,” Piniella said.

But that was exactly what happened after DeMuth, the first-base umpire, initially called Julio Lugo safe on what would have been an infield hit and an RBI, ruling Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling missed the base.

After a lengthy protest from Schilling, who may have bumped DeMuth, and Sox manager Terry Francona, the veteran umpire decided his view was blocked by the base and agreed to consult home-plate umpire Laz Diaz, whom he thought had “a better angle.”

Piniella didn’t buy it and wondered where it could lead.

“You throw a pitch at the knees, what are we going to do at home plate, go ask the first-base umpire if it was at the knees? Did the guy at second base see if it was on the outside corner when the home-plate umpire thought it was 3 inches outside?” Piniella said. “You’ve got one base to call; make the call and stand by it.”

Lugo, who said there was no doubt he was safe, also couldn’t believe what happened. “I used to admire Curt Schilling, but I’ve got more admiration for him now that he (could) come out and beg for a call and get it,” Lugo said. “I don’t think nobody in baseball could do that. I admire Curt Schilling. He’s the man for me. … I’ve never seen anything like that.”

I hope we can all agree that Manny Ramirez ducking into the Green Monster scoreboard to check his myspace profile throughout the game was very unprofessional.