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Umpires go first three outs of major league season without blowing a call

Mar 31, 2013, 8:29 PM EDT

Andy Fletcher AP

Of course, our luck ran out in the bottom of the first of Sunday night’s opener between the Rangers and Astros.

With Jose Altuve on first and no outs in the frame, a Matt Harrison pitch to Brett Wallace got away from A.J. Pierzynski, causing Altuve to try for second. The throw arrived on a hop and appeared to beat Altuve but it was to the far side of the bag and by the time the tag was made, Altuve’s foot was on the base. Alas, Andy Fletcher called him out anyway, so new Astros manager Bo Porter took the field for the first argument of the season. The Astros ended up going scoreless in the inning.

MLB pushed back instant replay at least another year last winter, feeling it ready wasn’t to initiate a proper system. Even though there are a dozen cameras covering every baseball game and most calls can be affirmed or corrected in a matter of a few seconds. Still, one can count on MLB making the replay system as unwieldy as possible. It’s going to be awfully exciting next year watching Charlie Manuel deliberate on whether to throw his challenge flag.

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Update: Fletcher evened things up about a half hour later, taking a single away from Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus on a liner to center that was trapped by Justin Maxwell. That made for two easily-reversible blown calls in the first hour of the season.

  1. chill1184 - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Mid-Season form guys!

  2. thepunkyqb - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Let’s throw in a trapped ball being called an Out to end the Inning. Geez…

    • thepunkyqb - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      I love the ignorance of people here to Thumbs Down my ‘Trapped’ ball comment. When looking at the Replay, the Announcers even said it hit the ground, and unless your blind yourself, you’d have seen it BOUNCED off the ground prior to it getting to his glove. Didn’y realize that many of you were wearing Umps Glasses. Sad

      • yahmule - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:17 AM

        I’ll bet people thumbed you down because the original post mentioned the trapped ball.

      • abaird2012 - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:10 AM

        Nah, that was an edit.

  3. hittfamily - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    He was safe by at least .25 Altuve’s.

    http://www.howmanyaltuves.com/

  4. paperlions - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Celebrate the human element.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      That’s why it’s a metaphor for life. Love it.

      • paperlions - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        That was sarcasm. The players are the human element to celebrate, humans can call a game perfectly by using advancements created by humans…of course, choosing to be wrong on purpose and justifying it by saying “but we’ve always done wrong” is also distinctly human (though, I admit, it isn’t clear that other species also don’t continue to screw up because they’ve always done it that way….we just aren’t aware of those things).

      • historiophiliac - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Wow, that was sarcasm? I had no idea.

        /s

  5. jgraening - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    When I first saw the headline, I thought I was reading The Onion.

  6. proudlycanadian - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    It is early, but after 5 innings, the Astros are threatening to break the logjam at the top of the AL.

  7. Old Gator - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Well, we’re in the bottom of the fifth and the Astros are making the Rangers look pretty bad. It’s 4-0, they’re tattooing the ball and the Rangers just put on a lowlight reel clown show, turning a single into a triple with boots in the outfield and inflield.

    They let the camera caress Bo Porter’s wife a little while ago. The man married a fox.

    • Gamera the Brave - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      Gator,
      It’s a known fact (one I just now invented), that MLB Umps are HUGE into April Fool’s Day. They usually don’t start until after midnight Eastern, though…

  8. dadawg77 - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    This ump must not like me. His two bad calls hurt my fantasy team

  9. advantageschneider - Mar 31, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Houston won 8-2. it would appear neither of those blown calls effected the outcome. The NFL system doesn’t work. Baseball isn’t going to be able to correct ball and strike calls. Seems like a waste to me. Anybody that wants to sign on for this system should have to agree that they won’t care about 3:30 minute games, which is what the NFL has now.

    • pillowporkers - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      Agreed. Football and basketball get longer and longer every year. I appreciate the flow of the game. Baseball moves slow enough as it is. Let’s not ruin baseball like the rest of these sports have with seat of your pants rule changes. Often times replays don’t even show indisputable evidence, regarding in a judgement call that takes 5 minutes by watching the play in slow motion instead of just making the call at the time.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:19 AM

        Good thing the fucked up NFL replay system isn’t the only option here.

  10. kiwicricket - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Please please please. No challenge flags.
    Even Charlie Manuel can speak clearly enough to an umpire to indicate he wishes to have something reviewed.

  11. marshallnbrown - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    If robots could be shown to be correct 100% of the time, should they replace umpires? Of couser not, no way, you say. There are three team on every baseball field, I say, and they all make errors that sometimes change results. So what? It is a very human game, afterall.

  12. skids003 - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    And the first article written by a clown who couldn’t officiate a checker match.

  13. spudchukar - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    If expanded instant replay is ever adopted, the umpires, and their union will have no one to blame but themselves. The art of umpiring is deteriorating. And I do not need any sorry assed excuses about exposure or K-zones.

    If my 62 year old eyes, legally blind in one of them, can recognize instantly, before the replay, that a ball was trapped, primarily by the angle of the glove, and the recoil from the entering ball, and yet it was missed by 4 umps, of which 3 had much better views, then something is terribly wrong.

    Either get better, or get out of the way.

  14. 66orioles - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Why throw a challenge flag?
    Put a fifth official in the press box who reviews each close play.
    The two plays (at second and trap ball) could be seen plainly and would have taken seconds to overrule.
    Press box official tells crew chief via wireless gear that the original call was overruled and sets the next scene by telling crew chief man at second was safe.
    If camera angles do not clearly show a bad call was made then just let them play.
    Managers can not dispute calls.

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