I usually don’t get fired up over umpire miscues — these things have a way of evening out over the course of a (too long) season. But when the same umpire comically screws a team twice over a one-month span, it bears scrutiny.
So umpire Marty Foster has a history with the Tampa Bay Rays and manager Joe Maddon. Back in early April, Foster uncorked a ludicrous strike-three call on the Rays’ Ben Zobrist to end the game with the Rangers — a 5-4 Texas victory (see video below). There was a runner on first at the time and Joe Nathan was leaking oil, but got the gift. In fact, he got three — none of Nathan’s pitches in the at-bat were strikes, but three were called by Foster.
Foster said after that game:
“I saw the pitch and, of course I don’t have the chance to do it again, but if I did, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike. Joe was not violent. Joe was very professional. He was frustrated and I understand. He acted probably the best he can under that situation.”
Joe was not so understanding today.
It’s Rays vs. Blue Jays, with Foster again behind the plate. Bottom of the second, no outs and a runner on third for the Rays, down 1-0. Jose Molina bunts on a safety squeeze attempt, which first baseman Edwin Encarnacion scoops and throws home. Rays’ runner Sean Rodriguez seems to avoid the tag of catcher J.P. Arencibia, sliding his fingers over the plate to tie the game. But no — Foster calls him out. A look at the photo above shows the call was wrong.
Maddon freaks. Is ejected. Twitter reacts.
Got to credit Tampa Tribune columnist Martin Fennelly for this quip: home plate umpire Marty Foster travels with his own pool reporter
— Ira Kaufman (@IKaufmanTBO) May 8, 2013
Roberto Hernandez is giving us exactly what we needed.Marty Foster is giving us exactly what we expected.
— Lenn Fraraccio (@RaysFanGio) May 8, 2013
Dear Marty Foster, You might find yourself on the Maury show if you keep screwing teams. you just may be the babys daddy.Signed,EPT
— RaysRallyPlantains (@RallyPlantains) May 8, 2013
— Jason Hanselman (@SandyKazmir) May 7, 2013
The game isn’t over, so we’ll have to wait to hear from Maddon, and, hopefully, Foster. My guess is the ump won’t say anything. How do you apologize twice to the same manager?
How much do you think the Rays would be fined if they had a Marty Foster Blindfolded Bobblehead Day?
UPDATE: Blue Jays win, 6-4. And just to top things off:
Marty Foster ejects Edwin Encarnacion for arguing after he struck out to end ninth
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 8, 2013
Photo via Matthew Sommer.