If you’re just waking up to it now, know that home plate umpire Jerry Meals made one of the worst calls you’ll ever see in a baseball game early this morning, calling Julio Lugo safe at home in the bottom of the 19th inning of the Pirates-Braves game, handing Atlanta the win. The photo to the right is the best one I’ve seen.
Not that there’s a ton of room for analysis or debate here. It was a pure blown call. The ump admitted it himself after the game. I went back and watched the replay from the Braves telecast and even Chip Caray and Joe Simpson — two of the biggest homers you’ll ever hear in a broadcast booth — couldn’t spin it, nor did they even try. So all we’re left with is reaction.
Now, normally when we troll reaction of a big baseball event with a “what they’re saying about …” post, we go with what pundits and bloggers write. This time it seems that the immediacy of the moment captures it better than any sober reflection will, so I’m going with the instant reactions from my Twitter feed:
- Buster_ESPN: If there was ever an argument for five-man umpiring crews–with one in the booth, overseeing replay to correct mistakes– it was just made.
- Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens, via the tweet of LangoschMLB: “”For some reason, somebody didn’t want us to play anymore. So the game was ended.”
- BizballMaury: Sun was in his eyes (I think Maury may be offering a touch of sarcasm here)
- Maholm28: Unbelievable game. I have never seen anything like it. Thats all I got (yes, that’s Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm)
- SeanEP1: Other 3 umpires looked like they wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.
- edrainey: I hear Jerry Meals has missed some time this year while serving on the Casey Anthony jury. May be why he is rusty. (Ooooh, ouch)
- dodgerthoughts: When does the Jerry Meals-Daniel McCutchen book come out?
- nvasconcelos: I’m just glad the human element of umpiring is preserved. That’s the important thing.
- joe_sheehan: McKenry tagged Lugo on the leg and then the arm. Maybe Meals figured they canceled each other out.
- 4Who4What: I can name 5 bad umpires before I can even think of 1 good one. The ineptitude is amazing.
- DaleMurphy3 (yes, that’s the real Dale Murphy): On ‘swipe’ tags you usually see guys called out when they aren’t tagged, seldom do you see a guy get tagged, and then be called safe…weird
- allenw111: give me robot umpires, please…instant replay for all plays, I don’t care if it makes every game 4 hours long
- keithlaw: Holy …
Note: If you can render Keith Law mostly speechless, you know you’ve done something monumental.
Instant. Replay. Now.
If tonight was his last night in a Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday made the most of it.
After sitting out most of the second half with a fractured thumb, the 36-year-old was activated from the disabled list on Friday and slotted in as a pinch-hitter during the seventh inning of the Cardinals’ 7-0 shutout. What happened next could hardly have elicited more sentiment had it been scripted:
The solo shot was Holliday’s first home run as a pinch-hitter, and his first home run of any kind since August 9. The triumphant moment might have been the last of its kind in St. Louis, as it was reported earlier today that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Holliday’s option in 2017.
Prior to the game, the left fielder released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for the past eight seasons with the Cardinals’ organization:
I would like to thank Mr. Dewitt, Mo and the entire ownership group for the opportunity to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.
I am proud of what we have accomplished on and off the field during the past seven years. I have also been humbled by the incredible support and participation in our Homers for Health program.
It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true.
While I’m disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on.
I’d like to express my love and admiration for Tony, Mike and all of the coaches and staff that I have had the pleasure to do life with these past seven-plus years.
The most emotional part of this is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with some of these guys over the years. Particularly, Adam and Yadi, to be considered part of the core with two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.
Finally, I’m eternally thankful for the Lord bringing me to the city of St. Louis in August of 2008. Lots of cool stuff has happened since then. On behalf of my wife Leslee and our children Jackson, Ethan, Gracyn and Reed: Thank you!
Don’t interrupt Angel Pagan in the middle of a wild card race. Better yet, don’t interrupt him at all.
A fan learned that the hard way during Friday’s Giants-Dodgers game. In the fourth inning, a group of fans ran onto the field with white flowers in their hands, presumably to hand to Giants players. According to eyewitness accounts, one player was reprimanded by San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, while Buster Posey fended off another.
Angel Pagan, however, took more extreme and inventive measures.
On-field security started closing in on the fan as he approached Pagan, but didn’t appear to pick up the pace until the outfielder dropped him on the field.
Vin Scully, who was wrapping up the third-to-last game of his career, provided play-by-play of the incident.
A couple of kids, trying to steal a moment, slow down the game, running on the field and just taking a big moment on the big stage. They’ve got one of them in right field, and the other one is nailed down by Pagan in left field. And the crowd loved that! They went up to do something with Angel Pagan, but [Pagan] grabbed him and slammed him to the ground, and they’re taking him off the field. […] Doesn’t that bring you back to the ’60s, and the flower children? Oh what, you don’t remember the ’60s? Okay.
The next time you want to send a message to a player, maybe try a tweet (throw in a flower emoji or two if you feel so inclined). Just don’t make a showy display of affection in the middle of a game. It’s bound to go badly, at least where Angel Pagan is concerned.