Skip to content

After blown call costs Pirates, can we please have expanded replay?

Jul 27, 2011, 3:33 AM EDT

braves-110726.standard[1]

I hope that if the Pittsburgh Pirates miss the playoffs this season, it will be by more than one game.

The Pirates, who at 53-48 trail the NL Central-leading Cardinals by one game, were handed a 4-3, 19-inning defeat early Wednesday morning when Atlanta’s Julio Lugo was called safe by umpire Jerry Meals on a not-so-close play at the plate.

(Watch the video here)

Lugo was awarded the run despite the ball arriving to Pirates catcher Michael McKenry several feet before he did. He was called safe despite McKenry standing out in front of the plate as he tagged Lugo. Lugo didn’t even touch the plate until after McKenry turned to show the ball to Meals.

There is no guarantee the Pirates would have won the contest. Lugo would have been the second out, and the Braves would have still had runners on first and second. But Meals’ call put an end to a game that had no business ending, and the whole thing looked like the actions of an umpire who was ready to go to back to the hotel and go to sleep.

To his credit, Meals spoke to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman after the game and more or less admitted that he blew the call.

“I saw the tag, but he looked like he oléd him and I called him safe for that.  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.

“I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn’t see the glove hit his leg.”

Now I’m not one who spends a lot of time complaining about umpires, as it’s largely a frustrating and fruitless exercise. The umpires have a difficult job. They have to judge whether fleet-footed players are safe or out on the base paths, and whether bullet-like fastballs and filthy breaking balls are in or out of the strike zone. Errors are going to be made, and 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.

Bud Selig is not thrilled about the idea of expanding instant replay. But if he needed a watershed moment to give him the necessary kick in the rear, perhaps this is it.

You can follow Bob on Twitter, and get all your HBT updates here.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: George Springer makes another catch at the wall

    May 5, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    springer getty Getty Images

    George Springer has been robbing opponents all season, and he did it again Tuesday night …

  2. Christian Yelich expected to rejoin Marlins on Friday

    May 5, 2015, 10:22 PM EDT

    yelich getty Getty Images

    Some very good news here for the Marlins …

  3. Devin Mesoraco could need hip surgery

    May 5, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    Screenshot 2015-05-05 at 5.21.58 PM Getty Images

    Mesoraco is still unable to squat and acknowledged to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday that he might need surgery to get over the injury — a surgery that would come with a four-month rehab.

  4. Video: Todd Frazier takes NL lead with ninth home run

    May 5, 2015, 8:29 PM EDT

    Screenshot 2015-05-05 at 7.08.27 PM Getty Images

    Frazier’s last five hits have been home runs and he has now leapfrogged Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the National League lead in that category (at nine total).

  5. Marco Gonzales to return from AAA disabled list Saturday

    May 5, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    marco gonzales getty Getty Images

    He’ll be on a pitch count in his first game back, but if the outing goes well and Lyons struggles there will probably be strong consideration given to promoting Gonzales late next week.

  6. Padres lose Brandon Morrow to shoulder injury

    May 5, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT

    morrow getty Getty Images

    The 30-year-old righty was looking like a tremendous offseason find for the Padres on a one-year, $2.5 million free agent deal.

  7. Alex Cobb confirmed to have elbow ligament tear

    May 5, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT

    cobb getty Getty Images

    It’s an awful situation for the Rays, who are off to a surprising 14-12 start this season. Cobb, 27, boasts a 2.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 8.2 K/9 over his last 309 2/3 innings.

  8. Royals expected to get closer Greg Holland back tomorrow

    May 5, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    Greg Holland Getty Getty Images

    Kansas City’s bullpen has an MLB-best 1.00 ERA this season.

  9. Indians activate Nick Swisher, demote Tyler Holt to Triple-A

    May 5, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Nick Swisher AP

    Nick Swisher has made it back from a pair of knee surgeries.

  10. Brewers activate Scooter Gennett from DL after shower injury

    May 5, 2015, 2:32 PM EDT

    Scooter Gennett Brewers AP

    As far as silly injuries go slicing your hand open while reaching for some shampoo in the shower is pretty bad.

  11. Alex Cobb may have a torn elbow ligament

    May 5, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    alex cobb getty Getty Images

    It’s just “informed speculation” at the moment. But the speculator tends to be pretty well-informed.

  12. Four men in a hot tub, Johnny Damon’s naked pull-ups and Curt Leskanic’s naked monkey walk

    May 5, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Red Sox

    Pedro Martinez says his Red Sox teams led the league in hugs, handshakes and bad hair. Sounds like they led the league in being buck naked too.

  13. Marlins didn’t find a taker for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, will release him

    May 5, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia AP

    Miami cut Saltalamacchia loose with about $15 million remaining on a three-year, $21 million deal signed last offseason.

  14. The Brewers may deal, but they aren’t going to deal Jonathan Lucroy

    May 5, 2015, 11:32 AM EDT

    Jonathan Lucroy Getty Getty Images

    The Brewers’ catcher is on a team-friendly deal and is viewed as a cornerstone of the franchise.

  15. Mets GM: “It’s just hard to say” when David Wright will return

    May 5, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    David Wright Getty Getty Images

    “Until he gets into a game situation and feels confident with the leg, we’re not going to know.”

  16. Josh Hamilton played his first game since October

    May 5, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Josh Hamilton AP

    GM says Hamilton “seems to be 100 percent” healthy.

  17. Joc Pederson’s last five hits have been homers

    May 5, 2015, 9:41 AM EDT

    Joc Pederson

    He’s also struck out ten times over that span, so he’s becoming Dave Kingman I guess.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. A. Rendon (3629)
  2. A. Cobb (2970)
  3. J. Hamilton (2872)
  4. D. Wright (2828)
  5. A. Colome (2699)
  1. D. Span (2612)
  2. A. Pujols (2572)
  3. A. Escobar (2393)
  4. G. Holland (2361)
  5. D. Jennings (2308)