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The squirrel that stole a strike

Oct 5, 2011, 7:36 PM EDT

squirrel cardinals

Just as Roy Oswalt‘s 1-1 pitch crossed the plate in the bottom of the fifth of Wednesday’s NLDS Game 4, a squirrel took off through the batter’s box, racing from the Cardinals dugout area across the field into the stands down the third-base line.

And Angel Hernandez was so distracted by the scene that he neglected to notice that Roy Oswalt had fired a strike.

The pitch was allowed to stand, but what was pretty clearly a strike on the inside corner was instead ruled a ball by Hernandez. Oswalt was upset initially because he thought Hernandez had ruled a dead ball; by the time he learned he was behind 2-1 in the count, he was clearly infuriated. After a discussion with Hernandez between the mound and the plate, he turned his head, mouthed “wow” and promptly got Skip Schumaker to hit a flyout to center for the second out of the inning.

  1. dracko19 - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Where’s Joe West when you need him?

  2. uberfatty - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Anyone have vidoe or a GIF yet? unable to watch live.

  3. sknut - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Squirrels are natures free loaders. Where is a usher when you need one.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 5, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Oswalt getting squeezed the whole game so this wasn’t just him being distracted by the squirrel. Hernandez blows.

    • lukeslice - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      OMG the Phils lost and the fans are crying…CRAZY!!!

      • kellyb9 - Oct 6, 2011 at 8:18 AM

        Dude, what do you expect? I love how people flip out about a fan sticking up for their team.. isn’t that by definition what fans do? All that aside, I saw several pitches called a ball that were called a strike a half inning earlier – particularly on the low outside corner. Maybe Chooch isn’t as good framing the ball – that’s all I can figure. It is also Angel Hernandez… I’m shocked he didn’t eject Oswalt for having the gall to ask him for clarification on the squirrel play.

  5. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Nothing is clearly a strike with Angel Hernandez.

    • paperlions - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:50 PM

      Yeah, I groaned when I saw he was the home plate ump…it is easy for me to not be bothered by his performance because my team won and he appeared to err on the side of the Cardinals when he did….but the man has no business being an MLB ump, much less doing any playoff series.

      The good thing, I am pretty sure MLB umps are only allowed 1 post-season series per year….so Hernandez and West are done after this round.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:17 PM

        I thought he started out OK, but in the 4th inning all of a sudden the strike zone was different. I read in another thread, you said that he missed calls on 8 pitches that did not favor the Phillies and 0 mistakes that did not favor the Cardinals. That is amazing. I’m not going to lie, stuff like that irritates me.

  6. firedude7160 - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    That squirrel actually managed to become a trending topic on twitter.

    • kellyb9 - Oct 6, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      It’s sad that I have to ask this… but, which one? Wednesday’s Squirrel or Tuesday’s Squirrel? Does anyone know if they were the same squirrel. Good move not running into the Phillies dugout… Charlie is from West Virginia, he probably eats those things.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 6, 2011 at 8:25 AM

        It is believed to be the same squirrel. It was captured before the game but escaped from it’s beer room prison.

  7. firedude7160 - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    For some reason, I can’t see the rest of the comments, but here is video of the squirrel

  8. firedude7160 - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I just wanna see the comments!!!!

  9. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Are the comments not being shown for anybody else on this thread unless you post a comment?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:47 PM

      apparently so.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:53 PM

        Yup. Obviously, it’s Theo Epstein’s fault.

      • firedude7160 - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:34 PM

        That was bugging me for a while. I couldn’t see the comments on any thread unless I commented.

  10. crispybasil - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Nice try Craig.

  11. kyleortonsarm - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Frillies suck. I guess all the Philadelphia dream teams are bad.

  12. halladaysbiceps - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Is there a technical problem with this thread? I see comments accruing (11 to 13), but can’t view the comments.

  13. lukeslice - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    So do you think when Oswalt’s out hunting this off-season he’s gonna shoot every squirrel he sees?

  14. stoutfiles - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    The batter flew out two pitches later. No runs were scored that inning. Other than briefly annoying Oswalt, this did nothing to change the game.

    The squirrel is a non-story.

  15. badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    La Russa’s little-known squirrel deception strategy.

  16. hank10 - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Dang squirrel would umpire better than Hernandez. (So would most of my dead relatives for that matter.)

  17. mikedi33 - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Charlie actually said in his post game press conference that he is a squirrel hunter and if he had his gun there he is a good shot

  18. The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    I guess I might be the only one who was thinking of this, but seriously, it’s spot on:

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      Oh, and don’t play that at work. Sorry, I’d have edited in a NSFW, but, well, you know.

  19. Chris K - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Sort of unrelated but I feel that most umpires are crap at their job. Not their fault, just basic human error being worked in. However, it’s people like West and Hernandez who purposely attract controversy that bring this mass hatred from fans upon themselves. I’m willing to bet if they kept their head low and just went with the easy calls, we wouldn’t be talking about them.

  20. cleverbob - Oct 6, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Something something Philly taser.

  21. tjwilliams - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    PitchFX thought it was a ball.

    • firedude7160 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:29 AM

      Wrong pitch. The pitch the was in question was called ball 2, bringing the count to 2-1. The graph you posted shows a 1-1 count with the third pitch being a ball hit in play

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