Depending on the type of person you are, you’ve likely already gotten all of the laughs, angry finger pointing or calls for video replay to be immediately implemented out of your system following yesterday’s “Worst. Call. Ever.”
If not, I’ll wait.
Okay, are we all good now? Let’s continue.
The spotlight on the ridiculousness of calling a runner out when the fielder who apparently got him out is three feet off the bag was bright enough to draw the energy from all of the other tsk tsk bulbs last night. That was rather fortunate for James Hoye, the home plate umpire governing last night’s Philadelphia Phillies/Atlanta Braves game.
That’s because in the top of the ninth inning, Juan Pierre led off with a Dave Roberts double (single, stolen base) off of #Barves reliever Craig Kimbrel. The next batter was Jimmy Rollins, who faced a two and two count after Pierre’s swipe. Rollins fouled off the next two Kimbrel offerings, a slider and a fastball, before taking a slider inside for ball three.
Then, this happened:
The outside pitch gets called for strike three, and we see Hoye pause for a split second before making an exaggerated motion with his right arm that makes me think of that scene from City Slickers where Billy Crystal pulls a newborn baby cow out of its mother.
It was a tremendously bad call that resulted in the Phillies win probability decreasing by 13.2%. We see here, from Braves catcher Brian McCann’s perspective, that the pitch ended up a foot and a half from the center of the plate as it crossed the outside of the strike zone.
Fortunately, for the Phillies, Shane Victorino tied things up with a Pierre scoring single off an unusually shaky Kimbrel, and the game ended up in extra innings … where the Braves eventually won. However, not to play Ashton Kutcher advocate, but we really don’t know what might have happened if that one pitch had been properly called, and two men ended up on base.
What makes this call so egregious is that the outside strike against left handed batters simply wasn’t getting called at all prior to that pitch.
In fact, it was the only outside pitch that got called a strike, with the black line box from the Brooks Baseball graph above being the theoretical strike zone and the slanted dashed line being more representative of what umpires actually call.
Oh, umpires. Why you be so silly?