MLB Umpire Jerry Meals Own Up To Blown Call
On Wednesday, July 27, the Major League Baseball together with 49-year-old umpire Jerry Meals admitted his mistake in giving a wrong call that ended the 19-inning game between the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates last Tuesday.
It was already early morning of Wednesday in Atlanta when the bad call happened. Julio Lugo attempted to run from 3rd base during a ground ball. Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez was able to glove the ball and made a perfect throw to catcher Michael McKenry who then grabbed it and swipe-tagged the upcoming Lugo. McKenry even looked at Meals to make sure that he strikes his fist for an out. Instead, Meals paused for a second and called Lugo safe, ending the game and signaling the Atlanta Braves to celebrate their 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates intensely opposed the call after it was made by Meals. But it was reported that in the following hours during the pre-game lineup switch, the two men exchanged handshakes at home plate according to the Pirates’ website.
Also on Wednesday, Pirates president Frank Coonelly released a formal complaint addressed to the commissioner’s office regarding the faulty call stating that Meals got this one wrong after expressing how respectful he is of the man who has been umpiring for the league for 14 years and how he is known for his integrity and professionalism.
Replays proved that the tag did happen as McKenry’s glove touched Lugo’s leg before he made it to the plate. According to the Pirates’ website, Meals acknowledged his mistake to reporters on Wednesday relaying to them that after retiring to the locker room, he was able to watch the replays through the league’s videos. He continued saying that after going through some of the footage, he was able to see one specific replay wherein he was able to watch more closely how Lugo’s pant leg moved to some extent as the swipe tag was executed.
Meals said that it told him he had made the wrong decision and should have ruled him out and not declared him safe.
In addition to this, MLB VP for Baseball Operations Joe Torre also made a statement saying that the umpire missed the call. In Meals’ defense, he said how a lot of swipe tags do not directly come in solid contact with the runner. But in the last game’s case, he had to admit that the tag was made and it should have been counted to tie the game.
Torre continued his statement saying that he had spoken with the man, and described him as a hard-working, respected umpire.
“No one feels worse than him,” he said, assuring everyone that this was not the result of negligence.
Along with the blown call, Torre and MLB face yet a new wave of calls to finally include an expanded replay technology in baseball. He knew that a play like this was going to trigger a lot of talk, and he conceded that they would continue to consider all points of views in their ongoing discussions about officiating in baseball.
He added that they expected the best from their umpires, and that they intended to keep striving for consistency, professionalism and accuracy in each and every game.