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Holy neighborhood play, Batman! Tim Welke blows a call badly

May 2, 2012, 5:32 PM EDT

You often see an umpire call the runner out even though the first baseman steps away from the bag a bit after fielding the throw. Or especially on plays at second base where a middle infielder’s good faith effort to prevent having his legs broken results in an “out” call even if he doesn’t touch the bag at exactly the same moment he has the ball.

It’s called the “neighborhood play” and it’s not something that people normally get too bent out of shape about.  But one just happened in the Dodgers-Rockies game that deserves people getting bent out of shape about.

Tell me: what “neighborhood” was Todd Helton in here when Jerry Hairston was called out by first base umpire Tim Welke?


I don’t expect anyone from MLB to comment. But man, really?  You tellin’ me that a fifth umpire in the booth couldn’t have and shouldn’t have fixed this in about ten seconds?

But hey, Human Element, man.

  1. titknocker - May 2, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    he was probably calling the hot dog vender “out” for being out of hot dogs.

  2. randygnyc - May 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM


  3. vansloot - May 2, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Maybe Tim Welke is in favor of expanded replay and is simply trying to force the issue?

    • mississippimusicman - May 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      If so, well played.

  4. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - May 2, 2012 at 5:43 PM


  5. charlutes - May 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    do you seriously end sentences with, man?

    • jsjack2002 - May 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      when it came to being annoying, charlutes was the man!

    • mybrunoblog - May 2, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      It’s a baseball blog we aint writing Shakespeare here man

      • protius - May 2, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        Who’s this “we” you’re talkin’ about? You got a mouse in your pocket….man?

    • deadeyedesign23 - May 2, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Did you just end a sentence with man?

  6. sabatimus - May 2, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I don’t see Welke in the picture above. I bet his line of vision was blocked by Helton. If so, the home plate umpire should’ve overruled him.

    • tjwilliams - May 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Mattingly asked the home plate umpire to intervene and he wouldn’t.

      And even if Welke was screened by Helton, he didn’t notice the first baseman was three feet closer to him compared to the runner? He didn’t watch Helton stand up and see that he was standing three feet away from the bag?

  7. jonirocit - May 2, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Do you seriously go on here and correct people?

    • protius - May 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

      Get over yourself…

  8. ufullpj - May 2, 2012 at 6:36 PM


  9. Gordon - May 2, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Wow…an Eric Gregg strike zone seems downright reasonable next to this. How does this guy keep his job?

    • vallewho - May 2, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      The union…

  10. rbkahn - May 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Maybe Hairston was being punished for swatting the ball away from Wilson Ramos and ruining the golden boy’s first outfield assist on Saturday?

  11. qcubed3 - May 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I saw the play, and Welke’s line of sight went right through Todd Helton to the bag. From that direct line of sight, it would have been more difficult to determine if Helton’s foot was on the bag. While he certainly did not have the view from the picture above, it was still a terrible call.

    • sabatimus - May 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      If he didn’t have a good view he should as another ump for assistance. This need only take a few extra seconds, particularly in this case. Why the umps (particularly the hp ump or crew chief) don’t take the extra time to get a call right more often speaks to a shortcoming of the culture of the game. I’m not necessarily an advocate of having another ump in the press box or something, but this was so egregious that SOME thing ought to be done about it.

      • sabatimus - May 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM


      • protius - May 2, 2012 at 10:18 PM

        I like as much better.

  12. bigleagues - May 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Uh, that shouldn’t look like Helton was on the bag to any infield umpire.

    Then again maybe I’m just flaunting my 20/12 vision and being intolerant of blind umpires.

  13. iranuke - May 2, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I always thought that the “human element” should be the players on the field, and all calls being made correctly was the ideal. The game will still have a “human element” to it even if it was officiated by robots who always got the call right so long as it is played by humans. Obviously wrong calls offend me. The idea of a “neighborhood play” offends me. Get an official in the booth to correct all the bogus calls, and while he is at it, he can also be the official scorer.

  14. Timothy Richards - May 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Two things. First there is no neighborhood play at first base. As a sports writer Mr. Calcaterra should know this. Second, on judgement calls such as this an umpire, by rule, is not allowed to ask for help on a call. It is shocking that a sports writer would not know these basic clarifications. Also, it seems to me that more and more it is the ego of an umpire that gets in the way. Mr. Weilke is the only one that could change the call and it would not have been appropriate to do so except if done within seconds of the original call. You can tell by the look on his face on the replay that he knew immediately he missed the call, but his bloated ego kept him from correcting it. Shame on you sir….

    • cggarb - May 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Please cite the rule that says umpires can’t ask for assistance, and must make a call even if they don’t see the play. It is shocking that someone who posts comments on blogs would not know these basic clarifications.

      • Timothy Richards - May 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Under MLB Rules of interest- The umpire section 9.02. Thank you for your thoughtful inquiry.

  15. osbornesmith - May 3, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    @ Tim Richards

    According to my thoughtful inquiry (

    “If there is reasonable doubt that any umpire’s decision may be in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. Such appeal shall be made only to the umpire who made the protested decision.
    If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.”

    Thus the manager cannot appeal to another ump for a correction, but the umpire who made the original call most certainly can!

    • Timprichards - May 3, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Read the entire rule. The bottom line is the call was made. There was therefore no opportunity to ask for help. Let me ask, have you ever seen a bang, bang play reversed at first base? According to the rule I sighted there is no on the field process to change a judgement call of that sort, even in the most extreme circumstances. Does the name Jim Joyce mean anything to you. If there was ever time a bang, bang play at first should have been reversed it was that one.

      • osbornesmith - May 3, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        I know I’m not going to change your mind on this, but I did read the entire rule. In fact, my quoted section above is part b (and c) from section 9.02.

        No one is suggesting that it is common for an umpire to ask to be overruled by another ump. What people objected to in your original comment is the claim that “on judgement calls such as this an umpire, by rule, is not allowed to ask for help on a call.” That is just not true — per sections b and c of the rule you cited. Section a, which I guess you were relying on, places a prohibition on a “player, coach, manager, or substitute”; it doesn’t prevent the umpire from asking for help.

        Read the entire rule.

      • cmutimmah - May 3, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        This isn’t a bang bang play, Tim. I have witnessed multiple times in my life where an umpire asked for help on whether or not a players foot was on a base. This call would have been easy to see from home (or third, or probably even second). The rules do NOT stop the umpire from asking for help. You’re wrong.

  16. foreverchipper10 - May 3, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    There are no words for this.

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