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Jeff Nelson made one of the worst safe calls you’ll ever see

Oct 14, 2012, 7:49 PM EDT

My belief isn’t that we need more instant replay in baseball because umpire’s are incompetent. My belief is that it’s needed because a lot of things happen in baseball that are way too tough to call at normal speed.

This, however, was not one of those plays.

In the eighth inning of Sunday’s ALCS Game 2, second base ump Jeff Nelson ruled Omar Infante safe here.

source: AP

Infante was trying to make it back to second after rounding the bag too far on a single. He obviously failed. It should have been the third out of the inning. Instead, he and one more baserunner came around to score in the frame, upping the Tigers’ lead from one run to three.

Now, the Yankees didn’t lose today because of Jeff Nelson. They lost because they couldn’t hit. And while it was a horrendous call, the play only arose because of Infante’s sloppy play. The Yankees were robbed of an out, but they gave up the two runs because they allowed hits to four straight batters.

Regardless, Nelson’s call was bad enough that it’d be justified to bench him for the rest of the postseason, if MLB did things like that. Since it doesn’t, he’ll be right back out there on Tuesday.


Here’s the video:

  1. jayscarpa - Oct 14, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    He’s looking right at it, nothing in his way. What the heck goes through his mind?

    • protius - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM


  2. 50milessouthofdetroit - Oct 14, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    it happens. just remember galarraga’s perfect game. oh, wait….

  3. jason9696 - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Brutal call. I’m surprised the Yankee fans didn’t litter the field like the Braves fans did. Kudos to them.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      They’ve done it before, many moons ago (but during the Jeter era), just can’t remember which game it was.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        After A-Rod chopped Arroyo’s arm, IIRC.

  4. greymares - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    It was a beautiful thing. it ticked off the Yankee fans and had nothing to do with the results.

    • cdeangelus - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      If you ever listen to Yankee’s broadcast you’ll hear Michael Kay talk about the Fallacy of the Predetermined Outcome. This is a great example of when to use that phrase.

      You can’t make the argument that it had nothing to do with the results, because how the Yankees approach hitting down by 1 vs down by 3 are two different things. If he is out on that play, perhaps the Yankee batters take a different approach at the plate from there on out.

      I’m in no way saying that the Yankees would go on to score, but things like this *do* affect the outcome of games.

      • josemartez - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        100% agree with cdeangelus. Nobody can predict how a team will respond to a completely different score.

      • greymares - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:42 PM

        until the tieing run is in scoring position the approach is the same SEE THE BALL, HIT THE BALL. it’s not as much a science as your making it out to be.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        until the tieing run is in scoring position the approach is the same SEE THE BALL, HIT THE BALL. it’s not as much a science as your making it out to be.

        It’s Yankee Stadium, as soon as someone steps to the plate they are in scoring position.

      • mississippimusicman - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        I agree, and that’s what I was telling people about the Infamous Infield Fly Game. If the bases had been loaded, they couldn’t have pitched around McCann and maybe there’s a rally there.

      • polegojim - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:06 PM

        @cdeangelus… NOT… and why I won’t be listening to Yank’s broadcaster Michael Kay…

        You’re telling me… that a team that scored 0 runs in ANY event, would have won? Actually NEVER seen that happen!

        You’re telling me that the Yankee’s STOPPED TRYING because 3 freaking runs is just TOOOOOO MUCH for them… Wait, didn’t they score 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4 the night before?

        You’re telling me that the Yankees are SOOOO tempermental, that that blow call completely put their heads in the toilets and out of the game??? You must have think that you have a bunch of weak minded bafoons on the NY gear.

        You’re telling me that the Tigers can BLOW a 4 run lead… and still play to win… but the Yankees can’t???

        That’s excuse making crap…. you and Michael have a warped view of your Yankee’s.

      • protius - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:55 PM

        polegojim is recovering from a frontal lobotomy, and he needs our help.

        Anyone who would like to make a donation, can send a check to The Empty Head Foundation, in care of polegojim at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, NY, NY.

      • polegojim - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM

        @protius… the first sign of a weak argument is a weak personal attack.

        Congrats… you win the award!

        Besides, I had my labotomy years ago and recovered nicely.

        It helped me see facts as facts and not cry in my beer. You should try it.

      • protius - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:24 PM


        Re-read my comments. There are no arguments, weak or strong. It’s sarcastic humor……….duh. Do you even know what an argument is? I don’t think so….LMAO.

        Get over yourself.

        BTW: What is this “pure and simple” thing with you?

        Why should the readers believe that your point of view remains untainted by the world around you, or that your comments are any more basic then any other reader? Who do you think you are?

      • polegojim - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM

        @Pro… pure and simple… I’m very typically right on-point.

        Yes, I enjoy my comments and many others that are not so overtly biased and steeped in denial and excuses.

        I don’t run at people like you do. I do thoroughly enjoy getting under the skin of folks who think just because they launch an insult, everybody will just go away to avoid confrontation.

        Now, you know who I am, and who I think I am. Who are you?

      • protius - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:01 AM


        Yes, your comments are eccentric and excessively creepy, and you attack people like everyone else, for example: “@protius… Dude are YOU kidding? Do you really need an in-depth explanation of why the extra two runs… didn’t freaking matter? So… there was no pressure on Coke with 3 runs? Remind me… didn’t the Yanks score 4 the night before in the 9th??? Um… yep. U don’t think THAT added pressure to Detroit? Um… Yep again… thought so. Give it a rest. The Yankee’s will win one soon.” This was your response to a post that was not even addressed to you. Nice to meet you too, Captain Weirdo.
        And how about this response: “@Stiller43.. Ok, I’ll play…And what about Valverde’s melt down that gave NY EVERY chance to be back in it and win? The Tigers maximized their opportunities and had the mental fortitude to overcome adversity.They Yankee’s DID NOT. They LOST. Pure and simple, no excuses.” You are down right cordial. No bias, here….noooo, none at all. No confrontation either, you are just the sweetest guy on the boards.
        Here’s what I take you for, and how I think you are perceived by other’s: You’re unsophisticated, mundane, pretentious and gratuitously smug.

        Usually, when someone is self-righteous there’s a reason, but you have nothing going for you: You know very little about baseball; your critical thinking skills are horrible; you can’t distinguish between humor and argument; and you pick and choose what arguments you respond to, which is bad form, and you insist on using this “pure and simple” nonsense, which comes across as timid and girlish. You get under people’s skin, not by the strength of your argument or your baseball commonsense, but rather, by the sissyness of your replies.

        Now you know what I think of you.

        Who you think you are is irrelevant. Who I am is also irrelevant, but I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t let anyone fight my battles for me, invited or uninvited. It’ll only prove your sissyness. Capisce?

      • polegojim - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        Holy freaking stalker dude… how many of my comments do you analyze and collect?

        U accuse me of having problems? WOW!

        I don’t care what you think of me. Bye.

    • daisycutter1 - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      I can’t wait until your team gets ratfucked by the umpires.

      • greymares - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        followed my team for 60 years they never had a call go against them. lol.

      • polegojim - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM

        Hey Daisy… did you see the strike zone for Fister versus Pettitte in game one?

        That pretty much qualifies and fits the profile of your statement… but Fister and the Tigers overcame it.

        That’s what the Yanks could have done and should have done. Pure and simple.

      • daisycutter1 - Oct 14, 2012 at 11:06 PM

        Take a look at and get back to me on that strike zone thing. (The link to the strikezone plot images is exceedingly long…just go to the site.)

        What it shows is that Detroit pitchers feasted on a huge zone for Yankee lefty hitters, while Yankee pitchers got some low calls on Detroit’s right-handed hitters.

        And, overall, Detroit pitchers came out a little ahead, but not ridiculously so. There were a few more strikes called out of the actual strike zone (not the “typical” zone) for Detroit pitchers than there were for Yankee pitchers.

      • polegojim - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:09 AM

        Ok Daisy… you win that one… but the Yankees are still down 2-0.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    And of course, we all saw on replay that he blew the call in about 6 seconds, but instead Girardi came out screaming and took about 10 minutes before play resumed. And in the end, the incorrect call stood.

    So really? Replay is what will slow things down and erode the integrity of the game?

    • vallewho - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Bud says….

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:22 AM

      Yes CC. Replay takes entirely too much time.

  6. proudlycanadian - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    The look on Infante’s face when he was called safe was priceless. These calls are supposed to even out over the season, but to the fans of each team, on a net basis their team got screwed by too many bad calls. Fans of 29 teams are virtually unanimous in their belief that the Yankees have the majority of bad calls go in their favor.

  7. husky2score - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Finally a blown call against the Yankees. Sheesh, bout time.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      So the blown call against Cano in the 2nd inning of the first game didn’t count? Or was that too long ago?

      • polegojim - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        @church…. it’s baseball…

        Last time I checked, the Yankee’s still hold bats at the plate.

        Last time I checked, the Yankee’s still pitch to Detroit batters who hold the same lumber.

        Winners don’t whine, they step up in the face of bad calls… just like BAD PITCHING.

        Yanks are only victims of their own ineptitude right now.

      • daisycutter1 - Oct 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        An apostrophe does not mean “the next letter is ‘s’ “.

        You’ll thank me later, I guarantee it.

      • protius - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM


        He has no idea what you’re talking about.

  8. xjokerz - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Who gives a shit? lol @ the yankee excuse train
    your trash team had 4 hits..all game…ZERO runs…..

    you lose anyway

    get over it
    sorry, the tigers werent bringing in Valverde this game to bail your your ass like he did last night, valverde’s days as a tiger…are almost up

  9. yourfavoriteteamsucksbigtime - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Must of had money on this game. That was horrible man.

  10. tigers182 - Oct 14, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    What’s Nelsons WAR?

  11. frank433 - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    My first thought in real time is the tag missed and Infante slid around it. Cano didn’t do himself any favors by going wide and tagging Infante in the abdomen where the ump can’t see the tag. Big break for my team, but Cano helped make it that way with his tag. Go for his arm or shoulder or even his back so the ump can see it.

    • ferrisdp - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      That’s horses**t. A fielder doesn’t “decide” where to tag a baserunner — and it didn’t matter. In real time it looked as bad as it did in slow motion. We at least deserve competence from umpires, that was as bad a call as you’ll see — Infante was literally crawling back to the bag and the ball was there long before Infante got there and the tag was made while he was a good two feet off the bag. Just look at the picture up top.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        In real time, it look bad. In slo-mo, it was indefensible. But, c’mon: it was NOT obvious at full speed. I watched at full speed and thought, “I think he’s out.” And the replay showed I was right to think that. But I was NOT sure at full speed.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      I’m always glad when the Yankees lose, but I can’t agree to blame a crap call on the fielder tagging the runner in a way that made it a little harder to see. So, as glad as I am to see the Yanks trailing 2-0, it’s yet another tainted result hurting the integrity of MLB that was easily avoidable with 21st century technology used wisely.

      • ferrisdp - Oct 14, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        Exactly…and the way the Yankees aren’t hitting they deserve to be down 2-0 (actually they shouldn’t even be here but the O’s couldn’t hit either). What if it’s a deciding play at home in game 7 of a World Series (assume the Yankees aren’t in it because they are so polarizing due to payroll) and a call that bad is made? It just makes no sense that MLB is avoiding the obvious.

    • protius - Oct 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      He should have tagged him on the top of the head, or knocked his hat off; Nelson wouldn’t have missed that.

  12. shockgee - Oct 14, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Wahhhhhhhhhhh, shite happens.

    • protius - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      That’s obvious; you’re here.

  13. protius - Oct 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    You have to give Nelson credit; at least he had the nads to man-up and admit he made a mistake.

    • larrytsg - Oct 15, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      He admitted the mistake AFTER the game. Why can’t he make the same admission DURING the game by asking the other umpires for a confirmation. It might not have yielded anything (I doubt the other umps had a good view of it), but it would have helped him save his reputation by realizing he might have gotten it wrong.

      I think the problem happened in the return to second base. I know he’s a professional and all, but I think he wasn’t expecting Infante to return to the bag. He was in a good position to see Infante contact the bag on his way to third, which was my reaction when watching the game, that the runner was going to third. If you watch, as Infante stops and tries to return to second, the umpire is hustling to move to a better vantage point to make the (unexpected) second call at second base. He’s clearly out of position, and still moving when the play occurs, which makes it that much harder to make an accurate call.

  14. skids003 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    To all you Monday morning umps: Try it sometime, see how easy it is!!!! It’s not as easy as it is from your recliner with a six pack in your hands,….

    • larrytsg - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I umpire youth baseball, and you’re right…. 12 year old kids moving at their own speed is still not a simple clear cut call all of the time.

  15. foreverchipper10 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    That was pretty bad, but the one where the first baseman was like 3 feet away from the base and they called the runner out was the worst I have seen. Wasn’t it a Rockies game this year? Nothing will top that.

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