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The Utterly Jaw-Dropping Awesomeness of Last Night's Umpiring

Let's break down just how awesome the umpiring was in last night's seventh inning.

What the proper call would have looked like.
What the proper call would have looked like.
Christian Petersen

The seventh inning of last night's game featured not one, but two outstanding calls by the umpiring crew.  And by "outstanding" I mean completely horrendous.  And by "completely horrendous" I mean some of the worst calls you'll ever see.  And by "some of the worst calls you'll ever see" I mean one of them was the worst call ever in the history of all everness. No exaggeration.

Thanks to the wonderful technological capabilities of the fine folks over at Crashburn Alley (big hat-tip guys - thank you!), we have delicious .giffy proof of last night's fun in gray.

Let's go to the first play (but the second is even better, so if you are short on time, skip to that one).  The game is tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh.  There's one out, with Marlins on first and second.  Cesar Jimenez is on the mound and he wheels around to try to pick off Juan Pierre, and this happens (place cursor over the image for the .gif to work its magic):

Second base umpire Dale Scott just misses the call here.  The pickoff move caught Pierre too far off second base.  The throw is perfect, as Rollins catches the ball almost exactly as his glove and Pierre's arm meet.  Replays from other angles show conclusively that Rollins applied the tag to Pierre's right arm long before Pierre's hand eventually tags second base.

Rollins and Ryne Sandberg argued the call, but to no avail.  At points, it seemed that Scott was saying that he just didn't see the play, but whatever -- whether he didn't see it well or not, he blew the call.

But no matter, the men in gray were about to make it up to the Phillies in a big way.  After a fielder's choice moved Pierre (who should have been out already) to third, Christian Yelich hit a dribbler down the first base line.  Kevin Frandsen fileded it, tossed it to Jimenez, and then this happened (again, place cursor over the image for the .gif to do its thing):

There's so much that's wonderful about this play.  Let's break it down:

  • Jimenez catches the ball with his glove hand and then never even tries to a) transfer the ball to his bare hand or b) tag Yelich with his glove (where the ball is).
  • Jimenez instead tries to tag Yelich with his bare hand (where the ball is not), but he doesn't even do that.  Jimenez misses Yelich!
  • Chase Utley is right there for the entire play and, after seeing Jimenez not-tag Yelich with his bare hand without the ball, turns to CB Bucknor with a dramatic point of the arm as if to say "did you see that awesomeness and are you going to make up for the crap your friend Dale Scott just put us through?"
  • Bucknor responds with equal drama, doing an excellent repeated nod to emphasize just how confident he is that Yelich was out.  Even though Jimenez never tagged Yelich with his bare hand that did not have the ball.
  • Jimenez then reacts with the jubilation that the situation calls for.  He fist pounds the air with such power that his back foot leaves the ground.  Because getting the third out in a meaningless late September game between two of the worst teams in baseball even though you know that you never tagged the runner with your bare hand that did not have the ball is, well, exhilarating.

And there you have it - possibly the worst, most comical umpiring call ever.  Thankfully, it just didn't matter, as the game was meaningless and both teams are done.  In fact, Bucknor probably felt that was as well and just wanted to get the hell home.

In the end, Scott blew a call, an obvious one, but it was really just a blown call.  But two plays later, Bucknor gave us a gift -- a spectacular blown call that you can enjoy over and over because it's one of the worst (best?) ever.