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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Schoenfield: We have a new worst call ever

Last night’s Meals on Weals game that will forever leave a mark on Pirate fans…

Did I stay up until 2 a.m. watching the Pirates-Braves game that ended on the most controversial call since Jim Joyce ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game?

Yes, I did.

And it was something.

Twitter exploded immediately, with sympathy coming from across the country for America’s team. A Pirates fan who has lived in Italy for 19 years was watching the game and tweeted me in horror. Other Pirates fans called it the worst Pirates loss since the “Sid Bream Game” in 1992. Page 2 writer and Pirates fan DJ Gallo wondered just exactly where home plate umpire Jerry Meals had to go at 2 a.m. Joe Sheehan wrote that baseball is a wonderful game that deserves better than its umpires.

I simply said the call made me sad.

You can watch the video of the play in the bottom of the 19th inning that gave the Braves the 4-3 win. You can see a photo here. And a better one here. People tweeted that they saw a replay that was 100 percent conclusive that catcher Michael McKenry tagged out Julio Lugo (yes, Julio Lugo is still in the majors)

Repoz Posted: July 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM | 276 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, game recaps, pirates

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   1. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM (#3886323)
It looked like the ump was about to call him out (because ####### christ almighty the guy was out by a mile) and then thought, "It's late, I'm tired and screw this." Just an awful, awful call and now the Pirates are in 3rd placed instead of first.

edit: And it was kind of gross to see the Braves jumping around and celebrating that. They should have just headed straight to the locker room as quickly as possible before Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or Odin whomever came down from the heavens to make that call right again.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM (#3886329)
Awful.

Why do these shitty umps keep giving ammunition to those who want the montrosity of replay?
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM (#3886330)
Holy #### was that an awful call. I mean, wow.
   4. BFFB Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM (#3886333)
I was expecting something a little closer than what I just saw. Bloody hell that was an egregious call. Just wow.

Whomever that ump is should be sent away. Somewhere far away. Preferably for an eye test.
   5. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:27 PM (#3886334)
is there any reason that the pirates left meek and hanrahan in the bullpen through 19 innings?
   6. Stevis Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM (#3886337)
I think I see what Meals thought.

He saw the glove hand continue in a smooth motion, as if it didn't make contact, and the glove never appears to flop or bend.

Not saying he was right, but I think that's the information he used to process it, filtered through the fatigue of 19 innings at the dish. If you're going to counter the "expected" call (in this case, because the ball beat the runner by so much), you've got to be more certain than he could have been (i.e., actually see daylight between player and glove.) Meals's postgame comments don't imply that he did. Lugo's body language certainly suggests he thought he was grazed.
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM (#3886338)
Wow. The catcher is kind of interesting on the play - he is so sure the runner was out that, when the ump calls him seafe, the catcher isn't even mad, at first. He's sort of like, "I'm sorry, I misunderstood your body language. He is out, of course."
   8. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM (#3886339)
It was almost like the umpire was punishing the catcher for making such a nonchalant sweep tag.
I think he blew the call, but it's not a solid tag at all.

The umpire was right on the play, so if he didn't see the catcher's mitt bend when he swept across the lead leg, then I guess that's why he called him safe.
   9. flournoy Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3886340)
I have no idea why I stayed up until 2:00 to finish watching that game, but I'm glad I did.

I've seen a couple of doozy extra inning games like this 17 inning game that I attended in person which also featured a long rain delay and the Mike Stanton Game I remember so well from my youth that featured a 7 run ninth inning comeback to tie it, and Mike Stanton going 2-2 at the plate including the game winning RBI bunt single in the 15th inning.

But this one takes the cake. Six shutout innings by Cristhian Martinez! Three shutout innings by Scott Proctor?!? I don't think he's ever gone so long without giving up twelve homers. Nate McLouth and Fredi Gonzalez were thrown out, Brian McCann left with an injury, and Jordan Schafer should have left with an injury, but there wasn't anyone left to replace him. Not to mention the most obnoxious fan of all time. Seriously, she was screaming, "LET'S GO PIRAAAAAAAAAATES" for the whole game. It was ear-bleedingly awful. And then it all ended on the worst call I've ever seen. By the way, on that last play, the Pirates would have easily turned a double play to send the game to the 20th inning, since Proctor didn't get out of the box too quickly...
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM (#3886341)
I think I see what Meals thought.
What he thought was that he didn't see him tag him. And if he didn't see him apply the tag, and he *did* see the runner touch the plate, then the runner has to be safe.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM (#3886342)
Livid doesn't even begin to describe it.
   12. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:36 PM (#3886343)
On the reverse angle you can see the glove clearly makes contact with Lugo. Even then, if the catcher had missed Lugo, he had a chance to tag Lugo before he touches the plate because Lugo just figures he's a dead man and just stand there for a beat or two, but the catcher doesn't think he needs to because, Lugo is deader than a thousand Discos. Plus the ump wasn't in a position where he can see if the tag missed Lugo or not. Common sense in that situation is the runner is out.
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#3886344)
is there any reason that the pirates left meek and hanrahan in the bullpen through 19 innings?


Meek's on the 60-day DL.

Hurdle said that he was trying not to use Hanrahan because he'd pitched in each of the last two games prior to this one.
   14. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#3886345)
I doubt this is the case because when you're going by all of your instincts at this point as a catcher and it doesn't look like McKenry was trying to avoid a more direct tag...

but on Monday night he got called for catcher's interference on an inside pitch David Ross (I think) swung at and clobbered him on his glove hand. McKenry was in a good bit of pain. He played last night obviously, and even hit a home run. But it looked like the kind of thing that would be pretty sore and direct impact on the back of his hand may not be the greatest idea.
   15. Rusty Priske Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM (#3886346)
Why do people keep posting photos of the catcher NOT tagging the runner as proof that he was out?

I watched the video. He looked safe to me. He SHOULD have been out but the catcher didn't tag him.

(NOTE: I'm not saying he didn't tag him. I'm jsut syaing I have yet to see a photo or video where I could SEE him tagging him.)
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM (#3886347)
Wow. The catcher is kind of interesting on the play - he is so sure the runner was out that, when the ump calls him seafe, the catcher isn't even mad, at first. He's sort of like, "I'm sorry, I misunderstood your body language. He is out, of course."


He isn't the only one. Two or three other players were trying to get McKenry to throw to first to complete the DP. Everyone was just flabbergasted when Meals called Lugo safe.
   17. flournoy Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3886348)
Julio Lugo himself was quite obviously shocked at the call.
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3886349)
Why do people keep posting photos of the catcher NOT tagging the runner as proof that he was out?


You aren't fooling anyone, Mr. Meals.
   19. stanmvp48 Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3886351)
I didn't see the play and am just reading about it. The play by play description has the runner stealing second on "defensive indifference". Would this have been a 5-4-3 DP otherwise?
   20. pyrite Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3886352)
Here's a pretty clear photo of the tag. What an awful call.

In other Bucs news, Overbay went 1-for-8 during the game and is now at 231/298/348 on the year and has been between -5 and -8 on defense (depending on whether you believe UZR or the Fielding Bible). If Overbay is still the starting 1B after the trading deadline, that's a huge failure by the Bucs.
   21. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM (#3886354)
What he thought was that he didn't see him tag him. And if he didn't see him apply the tag, and he *did* see the runner touch the plate, then the runner has to be safe.

This actually isn't true. The runner only "has" to be safe if the runner was not tagged by the catcher, and touched home plate. What the umpire thought he saw or didn't see doesn't really come into what "has" to happen.
   22. Stevis Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM (#3886355)
Plus the ump wasn't in a position where he can see if the tag missed Lugo or not.

3b line extended is where the umps like to get when the throw is coming in from that angle. But it's tougher to react in time on the infield grounder, even when you haven't already done two full games that evening.

I can't get my hackles up on this one as if it were a Denkinger or Joyce "were you even in the same stadium as that play" bad call. He kicked it, but not through gross incompetence.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM (#3886356)
The angle on ESPN makes it look like Lugo never got tagged and none of the photos are particularly compelling.

There is probably a better angle and Lugo's reaction makes it clear to me that he thought he was out but this is far from "the worst call ever."

Understanding that McKenry had done yeoman work he has to do a better job blocking the plate there. There was no need for a swipe tag, he needed to get in front and absolutely wipe out Lugo, make certain he didn't reach the plate.
   24. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:01 PM (#3886357)
The angle on ESPN makes it look like Lugo never got tagged and none of the photos are particularly compelling.

MLB.com has a reverse angle that shows the tag better than ESPN.
   25. Tommy in CT Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3886358)
The angle on ESPN makes it look like Lugo never got tagged and none of the photos are particularly compelling.


Take a look at this video, beginning at about the 1:15 mark. The tag is unmistakable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ahCqEJEg5U
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3886362)
Shooty's clip is the one that gets it. He tagged him. I still think McKenry set himself up for the bad call, the swipe tag there is the wrong play.
   27. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3886364)
Meals was not the only one wanting to get home late last night: in the bottom half of the 18th, with Freeman on second and two gone, Gonzalez hit a line drive back up in the middle. Caray immediately got excited, saying the ball was in center field, only to have Cedeno snare the two-hopper at the edge of the dirt and throw to first for the third out.
   28. DA Baracus Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3886365)
Page 2 writer and Pirates fan DJ Gallo wondered just exactly where home plate umpire Jerry Meals had to go at 2 a.m.


He wanted to make it the bar in time for last call, duh.
   29. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3886366)
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a horrible call is just a horrible call. There's absolutely no question that he was out. Full stop.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#3886370)
I was shocked watching it live. He tagged him. And the thing is that both the catcher and Lugo acted in real time as if Lugo was clearly out. There's a difference between a defensive player trying to sell a call and a defensive player simply behaving as if he made the tag. The catcher thought it was clear he tagged Lugo, and turned towards third to check on the runner. Lugo behaved as if he was flat out as well.

And, yes, as Proctor fell down leaving the box, the Pirates were probably going to get out of the inning with a throw to first.
   31. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3886371)
Charlie Wilmoth:
Let me say this. Pirates fans have been fixated for 19 years on a certain play at the plate that involved the Atlanta Braves. Now they're in the midst of what might be their first winning season since then. If the Bucs' season starts to go south after this - as the result of another play at the plate involving the Atlanta Braves, and a thoroughly blown call at that - I could see a scenario in which Jerry Meals became a villain of epic proportions among Pittsburgh sports fans.
   32. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:36 PM (#3886373)
Take a look at this video, beginning at about the 1:15 mark. The tag is unmistakable.
You have a different definition of unmistakable than I do. I think the photo in #20 is more convincing, but given the blurring even that falls a bit short of definitive.

A few things:

1) Lugo's reaction tells you absolutely nothing, because he was *so* dead to rights that most runners would expect to be called out there unless an attempted tag was nowhere close (at best, he *just* missed him), or he had executed some kind of fancy slide to elude the tag (he didn't).

2) Lugo was *so* dead to rights that Meals has to be *absolutely* certain that McHenry missed the tag to call him safe there. It's hard to see how he could be that certain, and his comments don't give the impression that he was.

Again, to be clear: Lugo should absolutely have been called out.
   33. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:44 PM (#3886376)
1) Lugo's reaction tells you absolutely nothing, because he was *so* dead to rights that most runners would expect to be called out there unless an attempted tag was nowhere close (at best, he *just* missed him), or he had executed some kind of fancy slide to elude the tag (he didn't).

I'm sorry, but a runner who successfully eludes a tag will never ever just accept that he will be called out as a foregone conclusion.
   34. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3886377)
Hmmm, do Meals' postgame comments mean that he is somewhat unlikely to pull a Jim Joyce this evening and start blubbering like a baby when the lineup cards are brought out?
   35. Tommy in CT Posted: July 27, 2011 at 01:59 PM (#3886380)
You have a different definition of unmistakable than I do.


You were on the Casey Anthony jury, weren't you?
   36. spike Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:04 PM (#3886382)
And it was kind of gross to see the Braves jumping around and celebrating

Dude, they are scuffling a bit right now, just lost The Best Catcher In Baseball for a couple weeks in mid-game, and just won a 19 inning ball game

That merits some jumping around, come on.
   37. Babe Adams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3886383)
The play by play description has the runner stealing second on "defensive indifference". Would this have been a 5-4-3 DP otherwise?


Probably, since Proctor fell down. It seems to that it should be a stolen base, since there was an advantage to having the runner on second and avoiding the double play?
   38. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3886384)
That merits some jumping around, come on.

Naw, that was a handshake and pat on the back win, at best.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3886386)
Jerry Meals looks like he's about 5 foot 3 in the subsequent arguments with the Pirates coaches.

Understanding that McKenry had done yeoman work he has to do a better job blocking the plate there. There was no need for a swipe tag, he needed to get in front and absolutely wipe out Lugo, make certain he didn't reach the plate.

You mean "get wiped out by Lugo". Maybe he was reluctant to do that because of his glove hand getting hit by David Ross's bat yesterday.
   40. Sam M. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#3886387)
It wasn't the worst call ever. But it'll certainly take its place up there in the HOF, inner circle. I don't think, BTW, it was a "swipe tag." It was the catcher coming up after the tag to show the ump the ball, the way catchers have been doing for, oh, about 100 or more years now. Because the tag was so frigging obvious (or so he -- and Lugo -- thought).

I notice Hutcheson hasn't yet made an appearance. If this had gone the other way, you can get all sorts of carnage and violence would be promised throughout this thread....
   41. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3886389)
Cry, cry. Whinge, whinge. Homeplate ump gets tired after 19 innings, has brain go fuzzy, makes himself believe he didn't see the glove get the runner on the pop-up slide. Wah.

The only story of note out of this game was Brian McCann pulling an oblique in the 10th and going on the 15 day disabled list. The Bucs lost a game. If they can't make that game up, they don't deserve to win the Central. The Braves lost their best player for at least 15 days.
   42. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3886393)
Lugo behaved as if he was flat out as well.

The best part is that Lugo has an "oh ####\" moment and lunges to touch the plate after being called safe.
   43. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3886395)
I WANT NECKSTABBING ############! NECKSTABBING!
   44. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#3886396)
I could see a scenario in which Jerry Meals became a villain of epic proportions among Pittsburgh sports fans.


I think Meals is lucky that the game was in Atlanta. If it had been in Pittsburgh, he might not have gotten out of the stadium alive and in one piece.
   45. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3886399)
At least it wasn't a playoff game where the idiots called an obvious double a HR.
   46. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:24 PM (#3886401)
get wiped out by Lugo


Surely that's the first time in history that phrase has been used.
   47. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3886403)
Let's turn our attention to another element of the play. Did Scott Proctor intentionally fall down after hitting the ball, trying confuse the fielders and try to get Ålvarez to throw to first instead of home?
   48. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3886405)
The best part is that Lugo has an "oh ####\" moment and lunges to touch the plate after being called safe.


No, Dayn, that's just the look Lugo always has when he invokes his Shadowcat powers.
   49. Lassus Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3886407)
I know the fact that I'm the A1 prime umpire defender means little, but that seemed to be a bad call not just once but twice.

I mean, allowing for the swipe tag weirdness gets you to a spot where you can imagine the eyes deceiving you, but it seems that Lugo actually ran into McKenry's arm after that.

I really don't think it's the worst call of all damn time, but it's still a bad call.


Cry, cry. Whinge, whinge. Homeplate ump gets tired after 19 innings, has brain go fuzzy, makes himself believe he didn't see the glove get the runner on the pop-up slide. Wah.

Well, that's the most satisfying part of all this, you hand-waving away the call. Hilarious. And your gimpy catcher being gimpy is not news, sorry.
   50. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3886409)
The Braves lost their best player for at least 15 days.


Yeah, but it's not like the ump whacked him on the knee with a retractable club. Injuries are impartial (unlike Meals, apparently).
   51. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3886410)
It wasn't the worst call ever. But it'll certainly take its place up there in the HOF, inner circle.

Behind Randy Marsh missing an obvious HBP, bases loaded in extra innings, 2009 Game 163.

And Marsh didn't have the late night fuzzies excuse; his royal #### up was during the dinner hour.
   52. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3886411)
Cry, cry. Whinge, whinge...If they can't make that game up, they don't deserve to win


I felt the same way in 1985.


And I still haven't seen any proof. Looks to me like he might have missed the tag. All these photos and most of the clips just show bad angles and people who don't understand perspective.
   53. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3886415)
Let's turn our attention to another element of the play. Did Scott Proctor intentionally fall down after hitting the ball, trying confuse the fielders and try to get Ålvarez to throw to first instead of home?


I think he's just a spaz.

Or possibly precognitive, and thus temporarily stunned when he realized the enormity of Meals's impending ######.
   54. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3886416)
Did Scott Proctor intentionally fall down after hitting the ball, trying confuse the fielders and try to get Ålvarez to throw to first instead of home?


A good rule of thumb is to never attribute to skill or strategy that which can be more easily explained by Scott Proctor's incompetence.
   55. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3886417)
get wiped out by Lugo


Surely that's the first time in history that phrase has been used.


Julio Lugo's wife begs to differ.
   56. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3886419)
Oh #55, that was brilliant.
   57. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3886420)
Yeah, but it's not like the ump whacked him on the knee with a retractable club. Injuries are impartial (unlike Meals, apparently).


Until that call Meals had been making calls the Pirates way all night. That's why Nate McLouth and Fredi Gonzalez were both watching the game from the clubhouse, and why an injured Jordan Schafer was still playing CF in the 19th.
   58. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3886421)
I mean, allowing for the swipe tag weirdness gets you to a spot where you can imagine the eyes deceiving you, but it seems that Lugo actually ran into McKenry's arm after that.


He almost certainly skimmed the leg on the original swipe, but he absolutely did not touch the arm or any other part of the runner's body on the follow through after that original swipe. Watch the replay from TBS. It looks like he got him on the original swipe, though it's close and certainly not conclusive from the replay. If he *did* miss the first swipe, then the runner was actually safe, because he did not touch him with the glove or ball after that initial swipe, obviously.
   59. Barnaby Jones Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3886423)
You have a different definition of unmistakable than I do. I think the photo in #20 is more convincing, but given the blurring even that falls a bit short of definitive.


This. I think he was probably out, and if I was a Pirate fan I would be FURIOUS, but I don't get all the "100% CERTAINTY HE WAS OUT" and "WORST CALL EVAR!!!" cries. It looks an awful lot like he went for the sweep tag and missed, and none of the "conclusive" photos actually prove to me otherwise. Comparing this to the Galaragga call is nonsense.
   60. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3886425)
Julio Lugo's wife begs to differ.


+1
   61. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3886426)
It wasn't the worst call ever.


What would be? Extra points for the stakes (World Series, for example). I would guess Denkinger's call in '85 is way up there. Bill Summers calling Jackie Robinson safe in the '55 World Series. Drew Coble calling Ron Gant out after being lifted by Hrbek in the '91 Series. What others?
   62. Jeltzandini Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3886427)
Sam H, this is what you said last year when the umps blew a call that handed the Phillies a win over the Marlins:

That call could very well decide the *entire season* in the NL East. The Phillies lost that game.


Couldn't this call very well decide the entire season in the NL Central? Why is it a moral imperative for the Pirates to make up the blown game this year, but wasn't for the Braves last year?
   63. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3886428)
This. I think he was probably out, and if I was a Pirate fan I would be FURIOUS, but I don't get all the "100% CERTAINTY HE WAS OUT" and "WORST CALL EVAR!!!" cries. It looks an awful lot like he went for the sweep tag and missed, and none of the "conclusive" photos actually prove to me otherwise. Comparing this to the Galaragga call is nonsense.


How weird is it that Pirates fans are engaged enough, in a game in late July, to even bother being furious? They're so quaint and cuddly with their new little "baseball team" these days.
   64. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#3886430)
What would be? Extra points for the stakes (World Series, for example). I would guess Denkinger's call in '85 is way up there. Bill Summers calling Jackie Robinson safe in the '55 World Series. What others?
Joyce's from last year is an obvious candidate. The Jeffrey Maier call has to be up there.
   65. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3886434)
What others?

Denkinger's is obviously the worst.

Others of note would include Randy Marsh, noted in 51; the last pitch strike call on Van Slyke with the Pirates down 1-0 and the tying run on third, Game 6 1991 NLCS; and Eric Gregg's general reign of error behind the plate in the '97 NLCS clincher.
   66. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3886435)
@62 - That was different. That was my team.
   67. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3886437)
The double tag of the Yanks at third has to be one of the worst. I mean, it's right there. Maier certainly....last night's might not even be a wrong call, nevermind 'the worst'.
   68. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3886438)
Was Meals simply sticking it to the little girl in LF that yelled "Let's go Pirates" every fifteen seconds for hours and hours?

I also want to know what the dude did with his tower of cups.
   69. Jeltzandini Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3886439)
@62 - That was different. That was my team.


Fair enough!
   70. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 27, 2011 at 02:59 PM (#3886441)
Denkinger gets my vote when you add the circumstances to the situation. I think given the way the call was traditionally made you can argue that the Merkle call was at the very least a misapplication of the rule.

I think the Gant/Hrbek call is the most "overrated" bad call in history. At live speed with one look at it I think it's easy to conclude that Gant's momentum was the driving force in him coming off the bag.

A big part of this is that we see these calls in a way we never did before. I wouldn't be surprised if in the course of baseball history there were a great many calls much worse than even Denkinger or Joyce that no one ever saw.

And I'm with Barnaby in #59, I don't think this call is even close to being on one of these lists.
   71. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3886443)
There are innumerable calls that are mind meltingly bad that I don't think there is any way to rank them to arrive at a worst call ever. Unless you want to incorporate some sort of leverage index, but that's not the point. The point is whether the umpire, regardless of all other factors, made a call that was completely indefensible.

There was a call a couple years ago in a Cubs game where Fukudome slid into second on a force play and was safe by 5 feet. And the ump called him out. That is tied with all the other instances of that kind of thing for worst call ever. Calling a ball foul that lands 2 feet fair. And so on.

This is one notch above those calls. Congratulations, Jerry Meals.
   72. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3886444)
In terms of tags that weren't called on Braves, I think this is still not as bad as the missed tag call by Gruber on Sanders that would have given the Jays a World Series triple-play.
   73. bjhanke Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#3886453)
I saw the TV replay, the clip here and both stills. The two clips and the first photo make it look like the catcher used the sweep tag and was too high, missing Lugo's leg. In particular the first still shows shadow on Lugo's leg under all of the glove, which can't happen unless there's separation between the leg and the glove. The second still looks like the catcher may have made the tag with the back of his wrist. There's still shadow under all the other parts of the glove, but not at the far back, over the wrist. The umpire seems to have a very good position to look at Lugo's leg, except for that one part where the back of the wrist seems to hit it. My belief is that the runner was out, but it's maybe a 55%/45% call to me, and not a bad call by the ump. What little he could not fully see was the only place where the tag looks like it was made. It might be worth noting that this was the Braves' backup catcher, as McCann got hurt earlier in the game. - Brock Hanke
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3886454)
1) Lugo's reaction tells you absolutely nothing, because he was *so* dead to rights that most runners would expect to be called out there unless an attempted tag was nowhere close (at best, he *just* missed him), or he had executed some kind of fancy slide to elude the tag (he didn't).

I'm sorry, but a runner who successfully eludes a tag will never ever just accept that he will be called out as a foregone conclusion.


Yeah, that comment made no sense.
   75. Brian C Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3886456)
And I still haven't seen any proof. Looks to me like he might have missed the tag. All these photos and most of the clips just show bad angles and people who don't understand perspective.

Give it up, dude. Even Meals isn't reaching this much to defend the call.
   76. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3886461)
Meals said the same ####### thing I did. He might have been safe.
   77. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3886467)
Meals is the one that admitted he messed up the non-call on Utley last year in the 2003 NLDS. So at least he has been apologetic in the past. OTOH, he has also ###### up big time in the past too.
   78. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3886469)
I'll second #59. While in real time he looked out and "deserved" to be out, I've not seen a replay angle or photo that convinces me a tag was made.
   79. Dale Sams Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3886472)
Worst call ever: Softball game, man on first, one out. Looping line drive to the 1B that lands four feet in front of the first baseman. Ump calls me out for "Infield fly rule".

Indoor soccer, shot hits the wall 3 feet to the left of the goal. Ref rules 'goal' saying it hit a bar inside the goal and bounced out.

Outdoor soccer, one of those combo soccer goals/football goalposts. A shot goes through a hole in the net near the crossbar, ref rules it went inbetween the soccer crossbar and the football crossbar.

Those are the worst calls ever.
   80. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3886473)
I saw the play without knowledge of who won the game (also, without sound): my first thought was - whoa, he missed the call! ... probably. Very bad call, no doubt, but I could see how he missed it.

I'll take it.
   81. Guapo Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3886474)
Worst call ever- what jumps to mind was this play in the 2009 Twins-Yankees ALDS. I mean, this wasn't even close...
   82. Sam M. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3886475)
I gotta say, I'm truly amazed at the POV being expressed by Dale Sams and bjhanke here. Please tell me you guys have a designated driver available. I'm concerned.

As for Hutcheson, his use of the standard of selective justice utilized by the Spanish Inquisition remains my own personal inspiration.
   83. stanmvp48 Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3886476)
Worst calls: Both by Phil Cuzzi; the Mauer double that he called foul and calling Ishikawa out at home last year against the Mets. Similar play to this one except the catcher didn't come close to making the tag and Cuzzi called him out on the grounds that he "made a good effort".

Does anyone remember a play where Mickey Morandini was called out on a steal in the 98 playoffs and it looked as though the fielder had missed the tag? As I recall, the network came back from commercial and showed only the original view and declared that the other views were inconclusive .
   84. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3886480)
It might be worth noting that this was the Braves' backup catcher, as McCann got hurt earlier in the game.

We're talking about the Pirates' catcher.
   85. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3886481)
Meals said the same ####### thing I did. He might have been safe.


Oh, he *was* safe. Safe and out is determined only by the umpire's call. Now, he may have been safe on a bad call, or safe on a brilliant call that looks bad from all the replay angles we can get to, but he was most definitely safe. You could tell because the Braves got all happy and then went home.
   86. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3886490)
Meals is the one that admitted he messed up the non-call on Utley last year in the 2003 NLDS.


It was two years ago, and the 2009 NLDS, but yeah I thought of that too without even realizing it was Meals. That horrible call led directly to the winning run being scored in a postseason game, so it's gotta be up there. Except that thanks to MLB's bizarre notion of scheduling, the play literally took place around 2 am back in Philadelphia, so no one saw it happen.
   87. Sam M. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3886492)
Safe and out is determined only by the umpire's call.

Oh, goody. I hope you've had a chance to sit down with Bobby Cox and explain this positive law approach, so that he can go and apologize to Bill Hohn for not appreciating that his many calls over the years simply made it so, and thus that Cox was being a jackass and a knave for not just staying quietly and meekly in the dugout, accepting that the pitches were where Hohn said they were, the runners were either out or safe as Hohn said they were, the balls were fair or foul as called, etc.

It's one thing to wonder what color the sky is on the planet where you live. It's another for it to change by the half-inning.
   88. Lassus Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3886497)
Meals is the one that admitted he messed up the non-call on Utley last year in the 2003 NLDS.

Help, I'm temporally trapped in this sentence. Please call someone.
   89. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3886500)
This brouhaha is over shadowing the more amazing facts about this game. Christhian Martinez and Scott Proctor combined for NINE SHUTOUT INNINGS!
   90. Sweatpants Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3886507)
This brouhaha is over shadowing the more amazing facts about this game. Christhian Martinez and Scott Proctor combined for NINE SHUTOUT INNINGS!
I had no faith in Proctor last night, but Martinez had a relief appearance earlier this season in which he threw four perfect innings and was 1-1 with a double. Martinez isn't bad, and he's by far the most likely reliever on the staff to throw that many innings.
   91. Craig in MN Posted: July 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3886508)
I'm sorry, but a runner who successfully eludes a tag will never ever just accept that he will be called out as a foregone conclusion.

Yeah, that comment made no sense.


FWIW, there was some flailing of arms after the tag and before Lugo touched home. The players made contact a few times in the chaos, and Lugo could have thought one touch involved the mitt, since it is the catchers absolute goal to make that happen and there was plenty of time to make that happen.


My opinion on the tag is that he was probably out, but it is not beyond a reasonable doubt. Even after the play from two angles and thinking that he is out, someone could tell me they found a replay from a new camera angle that showed he was absolutely safe, and I'd accept that easily. Same if there was a new angle that showed him being obviously out.
   92. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3886513)
It's one thing to wonder what color the sky is on the planet where you live. It's another for it to change by the half-inning.


I do not abide by you quaint, anachronistic little rules by which you delineate your small, sad little worlds.

Also, grievance over the failure of justice by means of positive law, wherein the judge is proven incompetent or corrupt, is *exactly* the sort of thing that would lead to justified rebuke of the system itself. Which is why Bobby was so awesome, and why Clint Hurdle nearly chased Meaks into the umpires room last night.

Get your head out of a law book and throw a bomb once in a while, kid.
   93. bunyon Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3886516)
I'm obviously biased as well, Sam M., but I see the same thing the "doubters" do. I have yet to see a conclusive photo of a tag. It certainly looks like he tagged him (and the fact that Meals himself seems to waver adds to this) but I can definitely see how it looks like he missed him. And I think he may actually have missed him. Find me a clear, non-blurry photo or frame with glove on uniform from an angle that can show that and I'll happily admit I'm wrong.

Having said that, I do come down, also, with the folks who say an ump who makes that call had better be very damned sure and it seems Meals wasn't/isn't. Which I find odd. But, then, that last call may not even be the worst call he made all night. He was lousy and inconsistent even way back when he should have been fresh.
   94. Shredder Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3886529)
I’m inclined to agree with the ump based on the video I've seen. However, I have a hard time believing the ump could really tell whether the player was tagged or not. In that case, under the circumstances, I’d probably call the runner out based on the evidence available. When the ball beats the runner by that much, and the slide doesn’t reach home plate, I’d have to be absolutely 100% sure that the catcher missed the tag before I called the runner safe.
   95. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3886532)
Having said that, I do come down, also, with the folks who say an ump who makes that call had better be very damned sure and it seems Meals wasn't/isn't. Which I find odd.


This is actually a mark in Meals' favor. The worst thing an umpire can be is an infallible god in his own mind. It's far better to explain what he saw in real time, why he made the call, and then admit the replay blurs that line a little (though, obviously, not erasing it entirely.) Baseball can live with umpires who make honest calls, even if they're sometimes wrong, and then behave accordingly. BAseball can not live with umpires who primp and preen as if they're the reason the game is being played, and refuse to admit the mere possibility that they may have been wrong.
   96. bfan Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3886542)
A good rule of thumb is to never attribute to skill or strategy that which can be more easily explained by Scott Proctor's incompetence.


This on a day he throws 3 shut-out innings and drives in the winning run (kind of)?
   97. Sam M. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3886543)
Get your head out of a law book and throw a bomb once in a while, kid.

That, I can do.

The Pirates got robbed by a glorified Emmett Kelly impersonator who decided, \"#### this ####, I have one of Atlanta's finest transvestite hookers and a bottle of rotgut, all bought and paid for by Frank Wren, waiting for me at the Clairmont Hotel. That moron third base coach for the Braves better send that ############# runner at third, because I don't give a rat's ass if the catcher tags him out 25 feet up the line, lubes him up, and calls him Betty, he's gonna be safe and we're all getting the hell out of here."

That umpire cheated the Pirates -- not the downtrodden Pirates of all these awful years, who would have been 25+ games out by now and who would have ultimately cared that much -- but the Pirates who finally have a chance -- out of a game they might have won. It was a disgrace, and every Braves' fan on this thread who has ####### and moaned and cried about umpires right along with Bobby Cox for the last two decades should just admit it. Screw you all if you don't.

Ka-boom.
   98. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3886545)
Weak tea, M. Weak, weak tea.

We don't drink rot gut. We drink purple drank. Gawd.
   99. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3886553)
I've looked at all the pics and video in this thread. I still haven't seen a tag.

He probably tagged him, based on Lugo's reaction. But the ump has to make the call immediately, not look at Lugo and go "oh, he thinks he's out, guess I'll call him out."
   100. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: July 27, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3886561)
BAseball can not live with umpires who primp and preen as if they're the reason the game is being played, and refuse to admit the mere possibility that they may have been wrong.

While I agree with this, Meals was certainly confrontational earlier in the game. He did a pretty horrible job in the innings I watched. His strike zone was all over the place.

I'm not convinced that he blew this call, but if he was right, I think it was through dumb luck.
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