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Rangers put one over on Jeff Nelson, get free out against Mariners

May 25, 2013, 1:19 AM EDT

Two on, none out for the Mariners in the bottom of the second inning Friday against the Rangers. Jesus Sucre, making his first major league start, his a grounder to first that appeared to be turned into a 3-6-3 double play. Except…

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The video isn’t embeddable yet, but it’s clear as day that pitcher Justin Grimm intercepted the return throw while first baseman Mitch Moreland was trying to get to it himself. First-base ump Jeff Nelson never noticed that it wasn’t Moreland who made the catch and gave the Rangers the out. To their “credit,” both Grimm and Moreland sold it well.

Brendan Ryan followed the blown call with an RBI double that tied the game at 2. The Mariners would have had another man on and one fewer out as they attempted to continue their rally. Alas, they went on to lose 9-5.

  1. benihanagt - May 25, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    No other umps saw what happened and offered to help him out to make the right call? Umpiring is broken, the ego is so high that they can’t admit when they’ve made a mistake and they won’t step up to tell another they’ve made a mistake. Horrible.

    • tjwilliams - May 25, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      Actually, the rules specifically say that an umpire is not to overrule another Umpire unless he’s specifically asked by the ump for his opinion. Unless the manager argues, there’s nothing another umpire can do.

      • benihanagt - May 25, 2013 at 1:39 AM

        Watch the linked video, Wedge was out there arguing instantly

      • einjzmolf - May 25, 2013 at 4:13 AM

        He was arguing that his runner was safe. Would have been much more livid if he had realized Justin Grimm caught that ball. Guy’s been out there to whine about something in every rangers game this season, he must find it fun to be wrong about things.

      • bendover09 - May 25, 2013 at 5:49 AM

        Wedge came out to argue the play for Moreland foot coming off the bag. If Wedge did not see it from his position the UMP defiantly could not. Even the announcers were fooled until the SECOND replay. It’s just sickening when you watch MLB network how they do not tell the whole process. Then Moreland and Grim played it off perfectly. The audience was even fooled. You got to remember the umps do not have camera replay eyes. Even tho they have their flaws people expect too much from them

      • albertmn - May 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        defiantly? Much different than definitely.

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 25, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      It seems no one knew. Wedge was arguing that Moreland’s foot came off the bag.

    • bendover09 - May 25, 2013 at 5:51 AM

      It’s not.up to the other umps to make the correction. If the manager does.not complain no point trying to.fix the procedure. He complained about Moreland foot, not the ball.

      • recoveringcubsfan - May 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        Sorry, but no. You’re saying the manager has to be responsible for pointing out exactly what the ump did wrong or else there’s nothing the rules have to say about it? In a word: incorrect.

      • cubanxsenators - May 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        An umpire executing proper fundamentals could be fooled by this play. On a force play, an ump is taught to watch the bag and listen for the sound of the ball hitting the glove. In the uncommon occurrence that there are two gloves present, it’d be easy to be initially fooled.

        Unlike the NFL a manager does not need to state why he’d like the ump to get help, all he must do is say, “you didn’t have the best angle on that one; how ’bout getting some help.”

      • albertmn - May 25, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        While true that the ump does listen for the ball in the glove, doesn’t the ump then also have the responsibility to make sure the correct fielder actually caught the ball and still has it in his glove? It should be the same as when a ball would be dropped by the first baseman. The ump needs to make sure the 1st baseman caught the ball after he heard it hit the glove.

  2. herrcules13 - May 25, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Justin Grimm…maybe proof read? IDK…just a suggestion.

  3. herrcules13 - May 25, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Agreed, benihana. Rangers fan here, but MLB needs to get it right.

  4. rockthered1286 - May 25, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    It’s like every crew is trying to one up the previous days poor call. Or one down them as it may be…

  5. ptfu - May 25, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    For bang-bang plays at first base, umps are trained to watch the runner and listen for the sound of the ball hitting the fielder’s mitt, right? Or did I get that backwards?

    Either way, first-base ump Jeff Nelson had the proper angle, and just flat-out blew it.

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 25, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Well, I don’t see how the ump could have thought the sound of the ball hitting the fielder’s mitt preceded the runner hitting the base, seeing as the fielder the ump was looking right at didn’t catch the ball at all. If you’re right about their training, that just means the training is clearly defective and is churning out umpires who have been equipped to blow calls. That’s not anybody’s fault but the umpires’, too.

  6. beefytrout - May 25, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    I wasn’t able to watch this game… can someone explain what Grimm was doing there to begin with?

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 25, 2013 at 2:35 AM

      Grimm was going over to take the relay throw after Moreland fielded the ball and threw to second. Moreland, though, rushed back to first afterwards and was planning on handling the relay himself.

    • jfmiller28 - May 25, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      This was supposed to be a 3-6-3 double play. Anytime the ball is hit on the ground to the first base side of the pitcher, it is his responsibility to run towards first base so the first baseman can field the ball. The pitcher believed that as far into the hole as Moreland was to field the ball that he would need to handle the return throw.

      Now Grimm clearly saw Morland return to cover so what he was thinking about when he caught the ball is anyone’s guess. My only thought is that he might have been cutting off what he believed to be an impossible play in order to keep the runner at 3rd (notice the initial motion to throw over there.)

      Grimm was there to cover as he should have been, but as soon as he saw his first baseman back at the bag, he should have stopped and moved towards home plate instead.

      • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Moreland’s poor throw to Elvis set up a return from Elvis that was towards home plate. Moreland’s foot left the bag so Grimm’s catch makes some sense. The throw was off-line, so he either figured Moreland wouldn’t be able to get the out and would be in no position to throw at the runner leaving third, or he thought Moreland might work too hard to keep his foot on the bag and not make a catch. Since Grimm wasn’t in position to back-up the throw, he simply caught it.

  7. proudlycanadian - May 25, 2013 at 5:02 AM

    A Grimm call gentlemen. There was a host of strange goings in baseball on due to the Full Moon.

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 25, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      I don’t know what’s weirder, someone attributing run of the mill bad umpiring to a full moon or the fact that there’s a baseball fan from Canada.

      • paperlions - May 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        The fact that Cubs fans still exist is far weirder than either.

      • proudlycanadian - May 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Nothing is as weird as being a long suffering Cubs fan. How many years has it been?

  8. shawon0meter - May 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    On the video they said he “pulled an Adrian Beltre”. Can someone remind me what play that’s in reference to?

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 25, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Oh, you mean umps have been fooled like this before and haven’t done anything to guard against making the same mistake again? Holy fucking shit! Man walks on fucking moon!

    • Mike Luna - May 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      TAG (Rangers color guy) initially thought that Moreland caught the ball, but Grimm (who actually had the ball) immediately turned around to make sure the runner at 3rd hadn’t broken for home. He did a kind of pump with the ball like he was going to throw it.

      TAG thought Grimm was deking out the runner while Moreland was in the process of righting himself. If you watch Beltre play enough, you’ll see him do this kind of stuff seemingly to amuse himself.

      This is all, of course, before everyone realized what actually happened.

  9. kkoska - May 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    I was at a bar half drunk, focusing on a game of pool, watching in a blurry television out of the corner of my eye and in real time, live, saw Grimm caught the ball. Unfathomable that an MLB ump could blow it that badly whilst standing 2 feet from the play. 2nd worst call I’ve ever seen in all of sports.

  10. moogro - May 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    If he wasn’t so into his own “Steeeerikke” stretch with his eyes closed, and kept his eye on the play, he would see Grimm fondling the ball in his glove.

  11. giantssb42champs - May 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    These umpires are a joke. They are complacent and mail it in just about every game. No incentive to get better or even simply do a half decent job.

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