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This is one of the worst strike calls you will see this year

Sep 14, 2013, 11:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Getty Images

The scene: Nationals trail the Phillies 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh. They had just scored three to get back in the game. Bryce Harper represents the tying run on third base. Wilson Ramos steps to the plate against Phillies reliever B.J. Rosenberg. He trails 1-2 in the count but has fouled off four tough pitches in the at-bat, waiting for his pitch.

Then this happens:

Who knows what would have happened if the correct call was made and the count evened out at 2-2. Instead, the Phillies escaped the inning by the skin of their teeth, then called on closer Jonathan Papelbon to finish out the game. The right-hander danced around a lead-off double to Ryan Zimmerman, wrapping up the 5-4 victory, bringing the Nationals’ seven-game winning streak to an unceremonious end. As the Reds won, the Nationals drop to six games behind the second NL Wild Card at 78-70.

The call wasn’t as bad as the one made in favor of Joe Nathan earlier this season, but it looks ugly because catcher Carlos Ruiz had to reach for it. When the ball was caught, Ruiz’s glove hit the dirt.

  1. silversun60 - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Yes…. But….. The human element and so on and so forth….

    Just because we can have a better system doesn’t mean we should….or something…….

    • gloccamorra - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Exactly!

  2. DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Who knows what would have happened indeed….

    Then again, who knows what would have happened had Chase scored (as as he easily would have) if Asche’s 2 out double not bounced for a ground rule double in the top of the 7th. Who knows what would have happened had Werth moved the runner in the 9th rather then hack away on the first pitch. Who knows what wold have happened had the Nats not lost 6 in a row afer the all star break…..

    • commonsenseisnotcmonman - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      who knows what would have happened if Neville Chamberlain didn’t believe in a foreign policy of appeasement.

    • alexo0 - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      Who knows what would have happened if your parents hadn’t drank that moonshine that night…

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:49 AM

        awwww….sad about the Nats losing?

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 16, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Are you saying moonshine is bad?

  3. bbk1000 - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Not even close to being the worst ever…

    I think it looks like a strike actually…….perhaps it’s the gyroball we’ve heard so much about….

    First sighting…..that’s pretty cool….

    • clydeserra - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:19 AM

      It doesn’t look that bad. I’d look at brooks if I cared. But I don’t. I don’t care about a possible 2-2 count in the 7th inning of a game with two also rans.

      there was a bad call in the Ranger’s A’s game friday, was a lot bigger game.

  4. mattymatty - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Brooks Baseball’s pitch f/x has the pitch inside, but I think, like Bill said, it looks worse than it really was because of the awkward way the catcher caught the pitch (which is strange because usually the way the catcher catches the pitch has a large impact on whether or not the pitch is called a strike).

    Anyway, you can see where Brooks placed the pitch here:

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      So if I am reading correctly – 3 inches inside.

    • alexo0 - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:52 AM

      So if you’re reading correctly, not even close to being a strike. I see…

  5. jdillydawg - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    And IF my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

    Seriously, that was not that bad of a call. Methinks the writer may be a rather un-objective Nats fan.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      Er, uhhhh….he is an unabashed Phillies fan.

      Who for some reason slammed me the one time I contacted him on Twitter. Take that for what you will :)

      (he was clearly having a bad Twitter day that day :) )

    • alexo0 - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:54 AM

      Based on your comment, your aunt is clearly your mom because your dad f***ed your sister and made you.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:51 AM

        Wow, lots of angry bile at 3 in the morning. #drunkrage

      • tfbuckfutter - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        I don’t think you did the genealogy on that one right.

        If his sister were impregnated by his dad that would make his mom both his mom and his sister. Not his mom and his aunt.

        Unless his sister was also his dad’s sister. Which would make him also his dad’s brother. And I’m not sure how that would work.

      • jdillydawg - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Alex obviously isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack. Hey Alex, did you fall off the family tree and forget how things work?

        You’re perhaps the biggest a-hole on this board…oh no, wait, let me clarify that…you ARE the biggest a-hole on this board.

        Aside from losing your sense of humor when your daddy dropped you on your head, you also lost whatever IQ points you may have been born with (45-50 maybe?). Good thing your momma still loves you, I’m guessing there isn’t another woman alive who could.

  6. Minoring In Baseball - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    It was a blown call, but not the worst ever. The pitch was inside, but definately wasn’t low when it crossed the knees. Maybe that’s what the ump was really concentrating on. Some of them just get off on calling that third strike, too…

    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

  7. apkyletexas - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Maybe umps just aren’t real impressed when guys throw their rear-ends back on a pitch that was 2 inches inside. Talk about over-acting…

  8. danwpc - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    To me it just looks like a wicked nasty slider that could have caught the corner of the plate. That thing bent like a whiffle ball. Gzow! I think that pitch would cause just about any ump’s eyeballs to stick.

  9. chucknorrissinspiration - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Who knows what might have happened if the Nats had a better record before the all star game or not shelved Strasbourg last year.

  10. tfbuckfutter - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    I was going to say “Joe West considers that a challenge”

    But then I saw you didn’t identify the ump and I saw the gif and realized that may be Joe West.

    • einjzmolf - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      Joe West is in Texas running a circus show with Andy Fletcher at the moment.

      • tfbuckfutter - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:05 AM

        Yeah, I checked the box score.

        It was Jim Joyce. Can’t really bash him for a history of bad umping.

  11. brentsalish - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    The catcher turns a close call into a visually disastrous mess… but his awkwardness doesn’t change the fact that this pitch is awfully close, too close to take with two strikes. Inside? Maybe, barely. (Remember, you’re not seeing it straight on – the camera is in left-center.) Low? Not when it crosses the leading edge of the plate. Mr. Baer, will all due respect, have you ever caught (or umped for) a major-league breaking ball? Good pitchers can make them fall off the table in the second half of their journey after not doing much the first 30 feet. Even the catcher has trouble tracking the ball. Great pitch, reasonable call on which a case could be made either way. Bottom line, batter has to swing rather than sticking his rear end out and pretending it’s too inside.

    • David Proctor - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      That was 3-4″ inside, as shown by the Pitch FX data. That’s way too far inside for a major league umpire to be getting it wrong. Worst ever? No. Still atrocious? Absolutely.

      • clydeserra - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:23 AM

        so the brooks 1-1.5″ is wrong? its double that?

    • clydeserra - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:24 AM

      Major league pitchers can bend space and time? weird, I thought they just spun baseballs that travel in one natural arc.

  12. sabatimus - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Ball was inside, not low; the pitch was a fantastic pitch because it dropped at the end (but still crossed the strike zone vertically), but it missed horizontally.

  13. scdocal - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Every team has suffered from bad calls like this all year. By no means worst call this year.

  14. riverace19 - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Worst of the day? maybe. That pitch had a hard bite to it. Right off the kitchen table. But I don’t see a story here; those kinds of calls happen daily, weekly, yearly.

  15. triaxfusion - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Just want to point out something for some people on here. the strike zone is where it crosses the plate, not where its caught. Its a close call, not a great call, not a horrible call.

    • bruininnh1984 - Sep 15, 2013 at 3:04 AM

      the strike zone is whatever the umpire wants it to be. if the umpires called it where it crosses the plate, then a lot more low strikes would be called

  16. roanboon - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    The ump just wanted to get home.

  17. fukpittsburgh - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Even the guy at the top left with the turban on was like “WTF?!?!”

  18. easywolf - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    People still watch baseball? Lol

    • Anoesis - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Morons still post on blogs for sports they don’t watch? LOL

  19. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    According to the beat writers, Joyce admitted to Davey he blew the call. And it was unexpected, just as Ramos was having a great at-bat.

    Nevertheless, get real here. There were PLENTY of chances in this game with 2 for 16 (!) RISP and 11 LOB. Gio coughed up four runs in one inning, and a rookie reliever coughed up another–and even then the Nats got close enough to sneeze in the ninth when RZimm got a lead-off double and never scored.

    • NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      Nats reverted back to the team that can’t get runners in, makes mental mistakes, etc. Let’s hope they revert back to the team that’s won 10 of 13 in Sept. so far, because that’s what it’s going to take, minimum. And better teams (ATL, Cards) are coming up in the schedule.

  20. delsj - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Bill likes to dramatize a play or call that benefits the Phillies ever so often just to prove he’s not a homer.

  21. sjhaack - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Bill that might be inside, but it’s not low.

  22. fordmandalay - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    It’s baseball. Who cares?

    • Anoesis - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Says the guy who went to the trouble of signing in and scrolling to the bottom of the page to make a comment. A comment without merit of any kind.

    • Jack Marshall - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      Just intelligent, lively-minded people with an appreciation of drama, tradation, statistics, character and nuance. Never mind–you wouldn’t understand.

      Go watch behemoths give each other dementia, and drool over the cheerleaders.

  23. steelers88 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    I was rooting against the Nationals last night but even I disagreed with that call.

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