with an asterisk

As much as I hate the American League, and its wussy little DH, I couldn’t tear myself away from the ALCS tonight. It was, without a doubt, one of the best games I have ever watched in my life.

. . . right up until the fucking umpires completely blew the call in the bottom of the ninth, which set up the Sox to win. Bull. Shit. Worst. Call. Ever.

I am not a fan of the Seventeenth Street Adjacent Angels of Anaheim, but they deserved much better than this fucking bullshit failure of the umpiring crew to make the right call. Both teams played well enough to win, especially the Sox, who are clearly the best team in baseball this year (as a Cubs fan it kills me to say it, but it’s true) but they didn’t need to win this way.

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14 Replies to “with an asterisk”

  1. I’m no baseball expert, but I always thought strike 3 meant ‘out’ and that ‘out’ meant ‘out.’

    Arrrrgh.

    That was truly fucked up and I would say that even if I wasn’t an Angel fan.

  2. Three strikes do mean an out, but if the ball hits the dirt on that third strike, then the batter can try to make it to first base. Most of the time it’s not a controversy, but the question in this case was whether the ball hit the dirt or not. The Sox (and the ump) thought it did, the Angels (and I daresay the replay) thought it didn’t.

    As a side note, this is the way that you can actually have four outs in an inning: pitcher gets a strikeout, catcher gets an error, and then (usually) the batter gets out at first.

  3. yeah what made it BS is that the home plate ump clearly called him out. It’s his call, he’s right there.

    At that point, the Angel’s catcher tossed the ball on the ground, since the inning was over (he heard a n out from the ump behind him). There was no way for the Angels to know the ump had been overruled.

  4. stop whining and get one stupid out, then nobody would be complaining. plus, the ump made maybe a questionable call, but so what… better than instant replay.

    as far as the plate umpire calling him out, he screwed up, but he verbalized strike three, didn’t say you’re out… plus, the dumb ass catcher could have just tagged him to be safe instead of sprinting to the dugout…

    so easy to assign blame…

  5. I’ll assign blame, right on the umps. You can always say “well, if you get the job done, it doesn’t matter”. But in the bottom of the last inning, in a tie ballgame, when the stolen out would have gotten us out of the inning, but instead put a man on…it’s no longer the Angels fault.

    Bad call, plain and simple.

  6. I must have burnt out my TiVo playing the scene back and forth, and even in slow motion trying to see what the fuck the umpire was looking at.

    He made the call like someone on capital hill: He was for the strike, before he was aginst it. (If you play it back, he calls him out before he calls him safe, you think we can get Instant Replay in baseball!!!)

    He was out, its as simple as that. The ball did NOT hit the dirt, the swing clearly compleated a full rotation, and there was no need to apply the tag at the end of the play as the ball was not tipped into the catchers glove.

    Got to give the Anaheim Angels credit, at least they took game one ( a feat which they have never accomplished in a playoff series) and they did that after traveling to three cities with little sleep (and idiot radio disc jockeys banging on the wrong hotel room doors as reported by the Chicago Tribune).

  7. I think that the player is to blame… and then the ump. Why the hell did he call him safe after clearly calling him out? This makes no sense… the ball never hit the ground as I saw with the many instant replays played. Also why did the player run to first base? He clearly saw that the ump called him out and then decided to run. The White Sox are cheaters!!!

  8. Just to clarify a bit for folks, even if that was strike # 3 resulting in out # 3, if the ball hit the dirt the batter can attempt to advance to first base, even with 3 outs. It’s known as a Dropped Third Strike. Check out Rule 6.09 here. The question is really if the ball hit the dirt or not.

    There is blame to go around here.

    The ump shouldn’t have blown the call. It happens, though.

    The White Sox got away with one there. It happens.

    And as Mike Scioscia said in the news conference last night, the Angels shouldn’t have let themselves be in a position where one blown call would cost them the ballgame.

    I wish he was still with the Dodgers. :|

  9. I think the ball did hit the dirt. If you look at it frame by frame you will see the ball very close to the ground, in the next frame the ball is up high in the glove, near the palm of the hand, and in the following frame the ball is down caught in the mit. What I think happened is that the ball bounced off the ground up into the palm of the glove and then was brough under control. However, it bounced off the ground while it was within the glove.

    It was still a bad call, since the Angels were halfway off the field when the batter started towards first. The umpire should have made it clear to the other players what was going on. Even the catcher had thrown the ball down, thinking the inning was over. The catcher and umpire are right next to one another, if the catcher doesn’t know what the umpire is thinking, how should the rest of the team know?

  10. First – to Ted: The ump did not vocally call AJ out. That’s not in question.

    The Ump’s ‘mechanic’ didn’t matter. Paul wasn’t looking, so it had no effect on Paul throwing the ball away.

    The ball did change direction (as noted by Grant).

    The Angels lost becuase they didn’t stop the steal. The Angels lost becuase the pitcher grooved a horrible 0-2 pitch to a guy whose only hits seem to come in the bottom on the ninth in tie games.

    The ump messed the play up. He should have said “no catch.” But it’s Paul’s job to make sure of the out. Simple as that. It’s the pitcher’s job not to let a guy get a double on an 0-2 pitch with the winning run in scoring position.

    What ever happened to taking responsiblity for one’s actions?

  11. While I didn’t see the play when it happened (I have seen the replays ad nauseum), it doesn’t matter what happened to the ball. As a former high school baseball coach, I taught my catchers to ALWAYS throw to first base on ANY ball that was close to being in the dirt on strike three. I also taught my players to run to first on ANY ball that was close to being in the dirt on strike three.

    The umpire only made the strike three call – there was no out call. Since the play was close, Paul needed to throw to first to remove doubt but he didn’t. Blaming Pierzynski for running to first is silly; all players should at least START to first on strike three when they are fooled and swing at a pitch out of the zone.

  12. It was an impossible angle for the ump to actually see whether the ball hit the ground first or not, so in those cases, umps tend to base their decisions on the actions of the players. In this case, all players, on both teams started out by heading back to the dugout. It was not until later that the batter turned and went to first. And in a case like this, when the ump is a little uncertain, he should have gone mostly on the actions of the catcher (because like Billh said, all catchers automatically tag the batter if it is uncertain – they don’t even think about it, it is so ingrained in them that it is as natural as chewing your food before swallowing) and since the catcher’s natural tendency did not kick in, the ump should have known the ball was caught and not allowed the batter to go to first. Another mistake by the ump was not calling “no catch” which is a usual call for that situation.

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