Let’s Check In On The Reactions To Last Night’s “Worst Home Plate Call Ever”
As expected, the controversial call that ended last night's 19-inning game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves has been much discussed this morning. We've seen everything from a defense of Jerry Meals' call, to proclamations that it was the worst umpire mess-up of all time. Let's take a look at what people are saying, shall we?
Rob Neyer, the National Baseball Editor at Baseball Nation, defended Meals' call, writing that there's no video evidence to prove that the wrong call was made.
I'm sorry, but I still have not seen a conclusive replay. I've read a lot of Tweets from people claiming the replays or screen-captures are conclusive, but I'm looking at the same things and I'm just not seeing it. I'm not seeing a for sure in any of them.
Yes, the throw beat Lugo by 10 feet and that's usually an automatic out. And hey, don't we get pissed off at umpires who assume outs, just because the throw's there in plenty of time? I do.
ESPN's David Schoenfield, on the other hand, is so sure that the call was incorrect that he's nominating it as the worst call in the history of baseball.
Like the Joyce call a year ago, the day will be spent arguing about the need for instant replay, instead of admiring a remarkable baseball game that had seen both bullpens combine for 26 scoreless innings, including six from Braves reliever Cristhian Martinez. The debate is necessary, if not fun. You can also debate that baseball should have a rule that rotates the home-plate ump after 12 innings or 500 pitches or whatever. Maybe a fresher set of eyes would have gotten the right call.
Fresh eyes. Mine are tired right now. But I'll be back Wednesday night, watching more baseball, hoping for something remarkable to happen again in this sport we love.
I just hope it has a happier ending.
USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz was just as convinced that Meals' got it wrong, referring to the missed call as an "obvious" one.
The Braves spent 19 innings Tuesday/Wednesday fending off those pesky Pirates, and were it not for an obviously blown call by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals, the two sides may still be going at it now.
As expected, one columnist is calling for the implementation of instant replay in baseball, and that columnist is Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan.
Baseball applies no logic to replay, no whit of rationale. Selig and his anti-replay brigade muddle the argument by saying how replay would slow the game down, ignoring the fact that baseball is slower than ever because under his watch the sport instituted longer breaks in between innings to sell more commercials. Selig lost the moral argument long ago, and the lemmings that buy it need to stop and understand the imperative.
Hardball Talk's Bob Harkin's is also in favor of the use of instant replay to eliminate such calls from being controversial.
I believe that over the course of a marathon season, the calls tend to even out. But at some point there has to be some accountability. The explanations of “oh sorry, I might have blown that call,” start to ring hollow after a while, especially when the technology is there to help them get it right. Yes, the umpires make mistakes. But some of these mistakes don’t have to happen.
Another popular thought seems to be that after almost seven hours worth of baseball, the 49-year-old Meals was just ready to go home- a theory implied by The Wall Street Journal's David Roth.
To be fair to Jerry Meals, anyone would have wanted to go home after six hours and 39 minutes of high-stress work. But there was little fair about how Meals ended his workday as a home plate umpire on Tuesday night. After 19 innings of baseball between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves, Meals brought things to a close by making what appeared to be a disastrously blown call on a play at home plate.
And as for Meals, himself? He stands by his call, given the technology (or lack thereof) that he had available.
"I saw the tag, but he looked like he oléd him and I called him safe for that," Meals said. "I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened I didn't see a tag."
But despite Meals' insistence that the right call was made, the Pirates (expectedly) remain unhappy, and have filed a protest with Major League Baseball regarding the game's outcome, although nothing is likely to come from it, since the call in question was a judgement call. Therefore, it makes the protest impermissible under Major League rules.
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