There were many stories that emerged from last night’s 19th inning affair between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves:

  • Braves catcher Brian McCann left the game in the tenth inning with an injured oblique muscle;
  • Pirates catcher Mike McKenry played an entire 19 innings;
  • Pirates reliever Jason Grilli, back in Major League Baseball for the first time since 2009, threw three shutout innings;
  • Braves manager Fred Gonzalez was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes;
  • Braves reliever Scott Proctor threw three shutout innings and hit the walk off RBI; and
  • Pirates reliever Daniel McCutchen pitched most of six innings while the team’s closer, Joel Hanrahan, sat in the bullpen as the only pitcher on either team not to enter the game.

However, it’s unlikely anyone will remember anything beyond this horrible call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals:

http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/jerry-meals-terrible-call.gif

Watching replays of the play at the plate from different angles, Meals can quite clearly be seen telling McKendry, “You missed him.” Also quite clearly visible was that McKendry didn’t miss Julio Lugo. If you doubt that, watch the body language of all the participants in the play one more time: McKendry is so assured that he got him that he’s turning his body to deal with the other runners on base and Lugo is so convinced that he doesn’t even raises his hands in victory after scoring the winning run of a marathon game.

Perhaps the only thing more atrocious than Meals’ bad call was the way in which this game was managed. I already mentioned Clint Hurdle of the Pirates holding out on using his closer even though every other pitcher on both rosters had already been used (and in fairness, Hanrahan had pitched in back to back games before coming into tonight), meaning that a visibly exhausted McCutchen came out for his sixth straight inning of work in the 19th.

However, there were several strange play calling incidents from both dugouts:

  • After a leadoff walk to Xavier Paul to start the 17th inning, Steven Pearce laid down a sacrifice bunt, against the not very good Proctor;
  • Neil Walker was then intentionally walked to bring up Andrew McCutchen; and
  • In the 18th inning, after Proctor got ahead 0-1 on McKenry, temporary Braves manager Carlos Tosca called for an intentional walk . . . with one out, ensuring that the Pirates lead off hitter would get a chance to hit with two runners in scoring position.

Again, none of that is likely going to be talked about because of the blown call and because replay needs to be introduced in baseball and because the Pirates now unfairly find themselves a game back in the NL Central Division race.

And The Rest

FireJerryMeals.com can be yours for only $500.

The Toronto Blue Jays have inquired on Heath Bell, Ubaldo Jiminez and even Wandy Rodriguez.

Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris may have been a little off base in his comparison between Jackie Robinson and Bryce Harper. You think?

Jose Bautista left last night’s game after being hit in the helmet with a pitch. The Blue Jays are saying that it was only for precautionary reasons. He’s day-to-day.

C.C. Sabathia took a perfect game into the seventh inning last night.

The Cincinnati Reds called up seemingly long-time prospect Yonder Alonso after dealing Jonny Gomes to the Washington Nationals.

Peter Bourjos is the latest center fielder to be linked to a move to Washington.

Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the St. Louis Cardinals are now actively shopping Colby Rasmus.

Carl Yastrzemski comes in at number six on The Score’s list of oddest batting stances: