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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Embrace the controversy, Pirates, and speak up!

It’s not enough for Clint Hurdle to speak out after the grievously, glaringly missed call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals this morning in Atlanta, though he did well to say, “This game deserved way better than that.”

It’s not enough for the Pirates’ players to do it, either, though Jeff Karstens did well to say, “For some reason, somebody didn’t want us to play anymore. So the game was ended.”

Here, look for yourself if you didn’t stay up that late.

And if that’s not enough, try this still photo from the Associated Press …

Managers and players complain about calls all the time. This one demands much, much more.

No, a team can’t protest a judgment call. But the Pirates had better protest.

You had better do it even louder than broadcaster Greg Brown did in shouting, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” And you had better do it with the franchise’s most prominent voices.

Let them know the Pirates are through getting kicked around.

Let them know that the team, their players and their fans don’t deserve to have their stomachs turned inside out so unjustly, so unfairly.

Let’s hear it from Neal Huntington.

Let’s hear it from Frank Coonelly. He came from MLB’s office and, maybe because of that, has not been critical at all regarding the unfairness in travel, scheduling, being in the Central Division and the lack of an interleague rival. I know his allegiance is to the Pirates, and today is the day to display it.

Bob Nutting could speak up, too. When the Penguins felt an injustice had been done by the NHL this past February with that fiasco on Long Island, Mario Lemieux spoke up and rocked the hockey world. Nutting is no Lemieux, of course, and I’m not comparing. But nothing gets the sporting world’s attention like an owner.

Let some good come out of this. Let the baseball world know the Pirates have earned their way back to respectability and that they’ve earned respect from the people who administrate the game. Yeah, they were kicked around — rightly, fairly — as the worst team in baseball for nearly two decades. I did a lot of that kicking myself. But enough’s enough.

If that sounds like I’m oversimplifying Meals’ call as a matter of snubbing the Pirates, hey, so be it. Good luck in trying to come up with a better explanation: Maybe Meals simply tired out from the six hours-plus behind the plate. Meals really is that terrible of an umpire to miss a call like that so badly. This wasn’t bang-bang. It was bang-nothing. There was a tag, then Julio Lugo actually got up, and a full second or so elapsed before he tapped his foot on home plate. It was patently obvious he had been tagged, patently obvious he was out.

There are missed calls, and there is outright incompetence. If this doesn’t cross into the latter, I’m not sure when a call does.

And if there was any fiber of Meals being that was moved by which team was being slighted or even the late hour, then he deserves to be suspended, though that obviously would be impossible to prove.

There’s nothing the Pirates can do about that. Meals will be right back on the field tonight at third base — within convenient earshot of the visitors’ dugout! — and I’m sure he’ll stay in the umpiring fold forever. If an egregiously awful umpire such as Bill Hohn can keep his job, for example, you can take it to the bank that Meals  will retire in blue.

But there is plenty the Pirates can do to capitalize.

Hurdle and his players can use this as part of their continuing us-against-the-world attitude. No one would begrudge them that.

And a loud, though not out-of-line statement about the franchise’s feeling on this missed call could serve the double-mission of letting Hurdle and the players know they have their backs (even if they haven’t brought in any help yet), and of letting baseball know that the Pirates are going to fight back, on and off the field, at an institutional level. Let the baseball world and umpires know that the days of John Russell playing turtle in the dugout are gone.

And hey, as long as the Pirates have that megaphone the next 24 hours or so, feel free to add to the pleas for additional replay. Tell Bud Selig how you really feel about preserving that precious “human element” in the game. Tell the commissioner to go ask Jason Grilli and Daniel McCutchen how offended they would be if there was a mechanism to get that call right.

Speak up, Pirates!

The podium is yours. Make it count.


  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I’ve been saying all year they should have replay for home plate calls. They are missed often and normally it’s understandable because they happen so fast it’s hard for the umpire to see one time in live action.

    That play, though, wouldn’t even qualify. Lugo was clearly out by five feet. Complete travesty. Like something out of the Naked Gun.

  2. Eric Bowser says:

    @DK – Great job, my sentiments exactly.

  3. themostbrian says:

    Without a doubt the most egregious missed call I have EVER seen at the major league level. Bang-Bang plays that go the wrong way are unfortunate and can be very frustrating. This was the kind of call that didn’t even require a full-throated call from the umpire. Just a half-hearted raising of the right fist to indicate a routine tag.

    Lugo knew he was out. McKenry knew he tagged him. And if EITHER of them had thought something different than their reactions would’ve been very different – Lugo would’ve scrambled quickly for home plate and McKenry would’ve swiped back down to get him again. Neither one did those things.. know why? Because they both knew the out had been made.

  4. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    It will be interesting to see if they make this an issue on Wednesday.

    With the quick turnaround after a long game, Hurdle and the team might take the approach to move on and forget about it.

  5. LAJ says:

    From LA – follow you on twitter.

    No problem with being upset on the call – obviously agree – but how do the Pirates have a worse deal travelling than – oh – say the Mariners or Padres? First thought is just argue the merits – this was a tremendously bad call by an umpire who had a night full of them – both ways – and no game of this length should end on such a bad call without some other confirmation.

    I empathize and continue to root for your success.

  6. aglebagel says:

    Oh, but the “human element” makes the game so charming… [as much sarcasm as I can drip]

  7. PJ says:

    Its the atlanta strip clubs… Jerry Steals wanted to get there before they close

  8. John Brosnan says:

    I agree!!! It’s time MLB holds umpires accountable!!! Many of these guys should be demoted!!! It’s really sad!!! Buccos played there hearts out tonite!!

  9. aglebagel says:

    According to Buster Olney, Meals will be umpiring right in front of Pirates’ dugout tomorrow. I think Meals is probably thanking his lucky stars that this series is in Atlanta.

  10. MrB says:

    That hideous call was the worst thing I’ve seen in recent memory.

    In addition to the above, I’d like to see a few fastballs miss the catchers glove and nail the fraud behind the plate. That might change some attitudes in a hurry.

  11. George says:

    Can you imagine if this was for win #82 or (gasp) a playoff berth? I honestly think Meals would need protection. He may need it tomorrow night. Just an awful call to end a great game. It should be noted that Meals was terrible all night long. A perfect ending for whomever was grading his work behind the dish tonight.

  12. Worst call i’ve EVER seen!!! The Pirates must be vocal about this. the national media needs to call this ump out BIG TIME! the league needs to look at this. an ump can’t blow a call like this and get away with it. he can’t be allowed off the hook!

  13. DanW says:

    This whole thing sucks. I’m so mad, I can’t sleep. The replays show he tagged him on BOTH legs. Twitter is going ballistic on Jerry Meals and I agree Pirate management should too.

  14. aglebagel says:

    Those two sentences weren’t meant to be corollary, by the way. Meals is lucky this was in Atlanta because of the fan element. (unfortunately)

  15. James says:

    @DK – Let’s hope this is the approach the organization takes. This needs to be the moment where the Bucs go from a cute story to a team that demands to be taken seriously.

    We’ve talked all year about Hurdle changing the attitude of the team; this is another test, more adversity to fight through. I think he’ll have them fired up and ready to go in 16 hours (though the players probably won’t need help with the “fired up” part.

    Another note: The “human element” in baseball is romantic and all, but that one human could have just single-handedly changed a pennant race, all because he wanted to call it a night. But the instant replay debate is a whole other can of worms…

  16. Mark says:

    MLB needs to have Meals take an unpaid seat for at least 5 games for his blatantly wrong call. He can make all kinds of excuses, but the evidence shows he blew the call big time.

  17. buccos since '04 says:

    Embrace the moment, pirates and #heapiton. The call was inexplicable but what’s also that is going 17 innings with out scoring.

  18. DMac says:

    I’m so ticked off that I don’t even know where to start. It’s one thing to lose a game on an error, or walk a run in, but to have a call so blatantly missed, whether intentionally or not, is inexcusable. Especially at this level. There is no excuse for it and a simple apology, in my opinion, will not be acceptable.

    I am not a proponent of using replay in baseball, but when I see a play like this, I wish Clint Hurdle had a red flag to toss.

    It’s not fair to the players who played those 6 hours only to have a potential win snatched away by someone who is suppposed to be trained to make these calls correctly.

    I know people make mistakes and I accept that umpires are not perfect. But in this instance, I will not because it was such an obvious bad call.

    I’m done.

  19. Link Mendoza says:

    Agree with it all, except I still don’t want replay. I’d rather not even have it in the NFL. The refs call the game differently and it just results in a whole other set of issues that negate any positive effect.
    I hope the front office steps up, but I hope this is all over in a day or two. This has been a great season and no reason to dwell upon this one (really) bad call

  20. Nate says:

    I’ll just leave this here…

    the commissioner’s office: 212-931-7800

    MLB president and chief operating officer

    Executive vice president of MLB

  21. Brian Ferber says:

    You are right DK. Those arms deserve better. While Bob’s at it, get some RBI from 1B/RF. Those arms deserve that too.

  22. angelrose says:

    If the Pirates end up 1 game out of the top spot at the end, Jerry Meals better get a bodyguard. It is easy to say it does not matter that much now… but every game is important and this was one they should have at least kept playing until decided by a true hit. Travesty.

  23. Bryan says:

    Jerry Meals needs to publically apologize to Pittsburgh. He just wasted my time.

  24. PI Stingray says:

    If a game ever showed the Pirates need a big bat, this was the game. Lyle Overpaid, with an 0-7 going into the 17th gets a meaningless single. Time to release Lyle and replace him…..even if it’s Matt Hague, who is tearing up AAA at Indy!

  25. Reading says:

    I don’t suppose that having the Fort ceremoniously handing in the lineup card at homeplate later today, in a feel-good makeup session with the umpiring crew, is what we are looking for.

  26. Bucfan says:

    Hurdle followed the umpires all the way to the dugout. He was after Meals the entire way. Meals knew – KNEW – he blew the call and therefore did not boot Hurdle, despite Hurdle’s emphatic protests, including following Meals and getting in his way as Meals tried to get to the post-game buffet before all the goodies were gone.

  27. diehard says:

    Amen DK! Bob, Frank – speak up. NOW!
    On the positive…
    Daniel McCutchen is a guy I’ve liked a lot this year. He was awesome tonight – and even made those two plays at first awfully close. Man’s not fast “for a pitcher.” The man can move! Heard his postgame interview. Apparently he told Hurdle he’d pitch ’till we got the lead, then give it over to Hanny.

  28. saneman says:

    I will be going to the game on Wednesday. Unfortunatley, being part of a group, we may not find enough 3rd base seats together and at a reasonable price to get those seats to heckle the idiot who will be at 3rd base for the Malholm game.

    Any suggestions on what to say to make our voice heard at the game? Any suggestions for banners? Can we smuggle one in?

  29. gmuny2002 says:

    That was a s**t call! That ump wanted to go back to his hotel room and sack out! He deserves to be fined, suspended, etc.

  30. Kyle says:

    I wouldn’t feel so bad if I even jokingly thought this was just a bad call. But it wasn’t. It was flat out cheating. It was so ridiculous the Brave announcer ended their broadcast with an apology to a little girl that was rooting for the Pirates. No one thought the runner was safe. Meals just happened to be the one guy that thought so little of the game he intentionally made the wrong call.

  31. pghboyonca says:

    I have felt that for the past 2 weeks that the Pirates have been on he wrong end of about 75% of the close calls in games I have watched (all of them) However as D.K. points out this was a horse of a different color. I think Coonnely or Nuttifg needs to come out and publicly state the they feel the Pirates were literally robbed of a crucial game by an umpire who had a brain aneurysm or just decided he had done enough for the day and decided to end the game.

    This is not a time for political correctness or not wanting to make waves. This is a time to absolute crucify this clown and make it clear that the Pittsburgh Pirate punching bag is now firing blows back. I am furious and can’t imagine how those players feel, that has the feel if some type of crooked boxing match that is fixed. Stevie Wonder was watching the game and and ended up screaming at the T.V. saying he could tell the Lugo was clearly out. The regime better sack up huge tomorrow and show the team they are supported. Keep the heat on D.K.

  32. SmokyB says:

    Umps miss calls–it happens all the time. This guy had just called two games worth of innings and was starting on his third game. He was out of position–he should have moved up the first base line a little, but the play was bang-bang, not from the stand point that it was close, but the speed in which it happened. You can read his lips–he says “you missed,” meaning he thinks Fort missed the tag–the reason he didn’t see the tag was he was out of position.

    This is one call in one game in a 162 game season. None of the Pirates where griping about the balls and strikes during the game, and this ump was really inconsistent throughout the night. Is it a shame to lose a game like this–it’s a shame to lose any game on a missed call.

    But…the umps are out to get the Pirates–the refs are out to get the Steelers–do you think this was as bad as the immaculate reception to Raiders fans?

    The calls even out over the season.

  33. Dave says:

    The call was terrible, but the Pirates didn’t score another run after the 2nd inning and struck out 20 times as a team. When you have 57 outs and you waste 20 of them by striking out you’re not going to win many games especially if you’re scoring 3-4 runs a night.

  34. Bob Apjok says:

    Havent seen a worse call since Mike Lavallier tagged out Sid Bream at the plate.

  35. Bill R says:

    I am in total agreement with Dave. Blown call or not, I’ve never seen a bunch of supposed major league hitters take such awful swings. Not only that, but they were swinging at balls for strike two, then watching strike 3 come right down the middle. Awful.

  36. Tom Kellner says:

    This is an example of umpires who like to call themselves profesionals are nothing but mear men who have a record of about 63% correct calls on close calls after replay. It looks like they wanted to end this game because they were working overtime for the same pay so this allowed them to make a BAD CALL. He was clearly out by a foot and the umpire was out of position also.In all other sports that use refs they are professional enough to call for help to get the call right. Baseball must begin to do the same. In 1995 I was a season ticket holder and I have not attended a game since. This is a minor league in mojor league cities. It must be fixed.

  37. Curt says:

    The Pirates did not deserve to win this game. Like Dave clearly wrote with the lack of hitting and offense. Plus the debacle in the 9th with the botched suicide.
    With that said, that was the worst call I have ever seen. That video link was the Braves feed and they were dumbfounded. I mean C’mon Man! It will be interesting to see what MLB has to say.

  38. Drew71 says:

    Go for it boys. Take a few fines.

    Usually a late late late inning loss is deflating. But in the odd, upside down season that is the Pirates’ 2011, they can turn this into a positive.

    Before last night, the Pirates were the darlings of baseball.


    Now they can carry a huge boulder on their shoulder. Angry renegades.

    Much better.

  39. Drew71 says:

    And the Pirates need to come out angry and POUND SALT tonight in Atlanta.

    Pound em.

    Make the point and POUND EM.

  40. shultzsr says:

    The Pirates may not have deserved to win the game, but if that’s true, then neither did the Braves, who did not score for 15 straight innings. I was cringing every time Overbay and Pearce came up, just hoping they’d prove me wrong, I hope Huntington, Coonelly, and Nutting felt the same way and decide they need to take some action, and soon.

  41. Someone please find out when this crew will be working in Pittsburgh.

  42. Bob121 says:

    Not only was it the worst call I’ve ever seen did you notice he called him safe long before he ever touched the plate? If the umpire doesn’t think a tag was made and the runner hasn’t touched the plate he’s not supposed to make a call. He cleary just wanted to go home or he’s the worst umpire ever. Either way he should at least be suspended.

  43. shultzsr says:

    Oh, and thanks a lot, DirecTV. I paid $140 for the second half of the season, and the game got cut off at 1 am. I understand that a game going over 6 hours is a freak occurrence, and I did watch the end on the less-than-an-eighth of a screen on channel 720 with the Braves announcers. But they manage to cut off the Root Sports feed within minutes of the end of a game, there ought to have been a way for someone to flip a couple switches and restore the feed to the channel, but they never did. Almost as much fun as when a Steeler game is on local TV and they black out the Sunday Ticket, but the local channel shows the end of some other game and I miss most of the first quarter. Overall, I like DirecTV, but I don’t want excuses, I want what I pay for!

  44. T.J. says:

    Pittsburgh, PA…The City of Champions! Heap it on to the Braves tonight…Heap it on to our division foes…Heap it on to MLB! Whatever…just heap it on!

  45. bucknation says:

    At least Pearce did not hit into a double play last night because he struck out and did not put the ball in play. I don’t see the upside of player? What does he have going for him position flexibility? Can we package him and Overbay and get us a decent first basement not someone who can play first base? Please this is as painfully obviouos as the play that ended the game last night.

  46. AJS says:

    I went to bed after the Bucs batted in the 19th and all hell broke loose. That call was so blatantly bad. That’s just terrible. A game like that ends that way. If that is the play that sends this season into a tail spin, I’ll be having nightmares about the home plate in Atlanta for another 18 years.

  47. Tom says:


    The Umpire called the runner safe maybe 3 feet before he reached home plate, and maybe 1 1/2 seconds elapsed between being tagged out and when the runner tagged home plate. Check the tape, multiple times

    Serious Error, MLB — Correct this.

  48. kicker of elves says:

    The Mike & Mike show this morning had the Braves radio feed of the play, and even THEY seemed more shocked that he had blown the call than they were excited to have won…

  49. Bob Apjok says:

    i have directv and i was able to watch the entire game.

  50. Karen22 says:

    Couldn’t make myself stay up after the 14th because it just looked like the Pirates were never going to score another run in this marathon, and they didn’t. I thought the game might end badly, but never dreamed of this! Just made the mistake of watching that replay and my Wednesday is now destroyed! This CANNOT happen and you are 100% correct, Dejan, that the Pirate brass MUST make their voices heard, and LOUDLY!


  51. dcpinpgh says:

    I can imagine Bob Nutting isuing a Mario Lemieux like letter saying that he is going to sell the team. instead of the city saying NOOOOO, they will be like, Ok bob if that is what you want, here is Mark Cubin’s number…..

  52. dcpinpgh says:

    Frank Drebin last nights home plate umpire

  53. bdubb says:

    Meals was bad all night. His strike zone was inconsistant. That call isn’t even close. All of the sudden “the ball beats the player” (and by 5 feet) isn’t a rule anymore? I doubt this is personal to the Pirates and more that he stinks at his job.

    Can I say Hurdle was bad last night too? The 2 strike shift he put on McCann that led to the big inning is something I have never seen. Usually the players shift closer back to their positions with 2 strikes. The Pirates moved to a dead-pull shift. Never seen it. And the Braves announces called the squeeze before it happened and mentioned how under Cox they would send the catcher to the mound for a long discussion only to pitch out.

    And one more. Mr Huntington, find another hitter! It was painful last night to watch that lineup. It is painful we need to sacrifice with Alvarez to give a Overbay and Cedeno a chance. That is frustrating.

    The way we scratch for runs I would love to see what we could do with a healthly lineup. The baseball gods appear to be shifting in our direction some but I think they want a little more fun before they are all in

  54. Devin says:

    I’m 22 years old and have been deprived of seeing a true baseball team in my lifetime. I spent my whole life in Pittsburgh, loving the Pirates, sitting with my dad watching games hearing stories of yester-year, waiting for our time. Finally we have something we have dreamed about, a team that can compete…can win. Nothing speaks more volumes about officiating in the MLB than this call. Its clear. He was tired…he wanted to go home. Slighted, robbed, and torn away are terms used for games that missed calls are dubbed. This goes down as cheated.

    No one can attempt to convince me he simply made a mistake. This was a call he saw, America saw, and Lugo knew as well. He was out…there was no mistaking it. I’m tired of losing, I’m tired of being last. Give our team, our fans, our city what we deserve…if nothing else give us a FAIR chance to play the game. If Bud Selif can’t see that value in adding replay to game deciding calls then do the next best thing for the sport, leave!

  55. Naje says:

    Just like ’92… umpire out of position… blocking himself from a perfect view of the play… calling what he “thought” he saw (Meals: “I saw the tag, but he looked like he oled him and I called him safe for that.”)…

    “… but he LOOKED LIKE HE OLED HIM…” You’re paid to make the call that you see, the call that is there, NOT what you THINK you see.

    Disgusting… cannot believe that he’ll be back on that field tonight. Bad enough that Pearce and Alvarez earned their sombreros last night, but if I were the Bucs, I’d have about 10 of those in the dugout and would be shouting “OLE!” at every opportunity tonight.

  56. Paul says:

    Blaming the loss on that play is just silly. As I said heading to the ten game stretch they’re in the middle of if the front office didn’t get off their butts and bolster the offense shear luck and probability would turn those series wins in which they score a total of 4 runs into loses. The Pirates have been the beneficiaries of many such calls that have gone their way, stop whining when a few break the other way.

    Even if he’d gotten the call right so what, does that mean the inept offense would eventually have scored if they’d gone 25 innings? Not likely as the only resulted would have been Steve Pearce going 0-10

    If they don’t want to lose games like this go out and a left handed power bat to play first and hit behind McCutchen so the offense can back the pitching once in awhile and close plays at home in the 19th inning won’t be such a big deal

  57. Bill says:

    Just a sad ending to a great game. Hurdle made a couple mistakes but it’s unfortunate to end this way.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think I have a solution for last night’s blown call. The Pirates get home field advantage in the playoffs. Mr. Selig . . .

  59. meglasdad says:

    Inexcusable and unacceptable. But I doubt you will hear much of a protest from anyone associated with the Pirates. They may call Bud and complain, but odds are you will not hear about it. That is not the way baseball operates. Don’t rock the boat or they will make your life miserable. Why do you think Mark Cuban doesn’t own a team and probably never will? He would have already been on every outlet he could find blasting the umpiring and Major League Baseball in general and they won’t tolerate that. So don’t hold your breath waiting to hear Meals and baseball get much of beat down from the Pirates.

  60. Walter White says:

    If you aren’t still mad about the call, just think, Jerry Meals is probably still sleeping in some hotel room!

    I hope he continues to give excuses about this call, because I’ve never seen such a reaction to a blown call. Joyce’s was also bad, but understandable, and then you had to feel for him after he admitted he was wrong. I hope Meals gets belligerent about it so that we can see some appropriation from everybody affiliated with the Pirates and eventually some kind of accountability from the MLB. Either suspend or fire Meals today or actually give the human element argument some credibility by defending Meals’ human error by instilling minimal video replay in the year 2011.

  61. B Rose says:

    This wasn’t just the call at the end, which obviously was brutal. Meals was horrific all night against both teams. The strike zone moved around during at-bats and he ran McLouth for really no reason, outside of the fact he had the nerve to question his zone. MLB has to say something about this. There was the big blow-up with the Jim Joyce call on Gallaraga’s perfect game, but this is different in so many ways. That did take away a chance at history for the pitcher, but it didn’t change the outcome. This decided a game between a 1st place team and the wild card leader and dropped a team from 1st to 3rd place in the division! MLB should not stand for a game between two contending teams to be settled by sheer incompetence.

    Of course, the Pirates deserve a fair share of blame too for letting Martinez throw 6 innings of 1-hit ball about a week after he got shelled for 11 hits in his last AAA start and then letting Scott Proctor (Scott Proctor?!?!) throw 3 shutout innings after lugging an ERA of better than seven into the game. But that’s another rant for tomorrow. Heap It On!!!!

  62. tkaleppo says:

    Arguably baseball in Pittsburgh entered the dark ages in October 1992 with a play at the plate in Atlanta. Could this incident and the way the Pirates react to it relate to the team coming full circle?

  63. cmat0829 says:

    Watched the game all night, which was awesome for its gritty pitching performances but painful for such lack of offense on both sides (and the Braves offense is about as bad as the Pirates, so Braves fans don’t think you are set for the playoffs). Got to say, the call by Meals was beyond ridiculous. But to then make a quote after the game (assuming that he thinks that he is going to “be a big man and face the questions”) that he “THOUGHT HE SAW THE CATCHER MISS THE TAG”, I really don’t think he has any competence to be a major league umpire. It’s pretty simple, as an umpire you MUST get into position to SEE THE PLAY AND MAKE THE CALL. If anything, umpires have indeed in the past relied on things like “the ball clearly beat the runner” and “neighborhood plays at 2nd base” on double plays, so if anything, the approach Meals should have used on that play if he indeed did not actually see the tag was to (1) assume the tag was made b/c the ball beat the runner and/or (2) take a moment to also observe the players actions right after the “tag” and use those cues to make the call. In both cases, he WHIFFED. If MLB doesn’t make a comment or take action by benching Meals for a series, it’s an embarrassment.

  64. Fat Jimmy says:

    Okay, I’ll be the contrary voice here. I stayed up for the game. It was a horrible call — absolute gut punch, but …

    1) While we all may feel a bit more vindicated if everyone from Russell, to Huntington, to Nutting starts foaming at the mouth about this, what does it really get us? The call won’t change. I don’t think anyone truly believes there is some sort of conspiracy by MLB umpires to screw the Pirates. Meals was a terrible ump last night, and he was a terrible ump against Atlanta for more of the game than he was a terrible ump against the Pirates. So if you foam at the mouth in public, what happens is — you piss off a the umpire fraternity (good luck getting calls then) and you look like raving lunatics.

    Remember Armando Galaraga? He got screwed on a personal level by the umpires. He handled it with class and dignity and he was perceived much more positively than if he had gone off the handle.

    2) Let’s not forget that the Pirates hadn’t scored a run in 17 innings. Even if Meals makes that call correctly, it doesn’t translate into a Pirates victory. You can’t play 19 innings and only score 3 runs and go 17 innings without scoring despite playing against a AAA reliever going 6 innings and the absolute back of the bullpen. The Pirates offensive output last night was pathetic.

    3) It wasn’t helped by the manager. Who should spend less time complaining about this call and more time studying the effects of bunts.

  65. Karen22 says:

    LOL, Walter White! The national (and obviously local)outrage is growing as folks become aware of what happened in the wee hours of the morning. KEEP PILING ON!!

  66. AceWilde says:

    I’ve been a displaced Pirates fan for all 30 years of my life. I’ve stuck with them through the last 18 seasons and have watched them on tv whenever the networks allowed it. Last night i settled in for this marathon enjoying every inning. I couldn’t believe it ended the way it did. Grilli and McCutchen deserve better than this.

  67. scott says:

    I guess I’m not as upset as some, because it seems to me that this game could’ve gone 50 innings and the Pirates wouldn’t have scored again. Maybe this loss will help them in the long run if it provides a bit of fire and helps bring them closer together by playing the “lack of respect” card.

  68. George says:

    To those annoyed that some (most) are blaming the loss on Meals “safe” call… well yeah, because that’s when we lost. Up until that point the Pirates had played “tie-ball game” baseball. We might have hit like **** for 7 hours, but so did the Braves.

    After sleeping for a whole 4.5 hours, I may need to not talk to people today. Just a bit cranky…

  69. densum2 says:

    I’m a little late to this thread but I can’t possibly agree with this blog entry any more than I already do. This sums up my feelings, and I’m sure those of many others, perfectly. Love your passion Dejan. Keep up the great work!

  70. aglebagel says:

    No, we didn’t really “deserve” to win that game with or without the call, but the point is that neither did the Braves, and someone needed to scratch out a run legitimately.

    While it was reasonable to hope that, instead of acquiring a big bat from the outside, we’d get one back from injury on our own team in the form of Pedro Alvarez, I think it’s pretty darn clear it’s not gonna work out like that. I’m not saying that he won’t put it together by the end of the year again and help in a possible playoff push, but he does NOT look ready to contribute in the way we need in the coming weeks. We need someone else.

  71. kicker of elves says:

    B Rose says: “…he ran McLouth for really no reason, outside of the fact he had the nerve to question his zone.”

    Arguing balls & strikes as visibly as McLouth was has been a tossing offense for as long as I’m aware. You might get away with a comment, but not the kind of tantrum I saw. I thought it was legit…

  72. Chris in warrenton says:

    Shultzsr – it’s beneficial to but the regular sports package too. You can watch on 659 (root) and it doesn’t ever get cut off & u see pre & post shows.

  73. Fake Jerry Meals says:

    I created a Yahoo account to concentrate the complaints to MLB! firejerrymeals AT yahoo DOT com, I will forward your mail along to Bud Selig et al.

  74. aglebagel says:

    @Fat Jimmy

    You are definitely correct about Galarraga, and the class he showed, and it has definitely made me think twice about the reaction coming from the Pirates. The emotional part of me certainly wants them to lash out, but the baseball side of me realizes that they’re in the middle of a very difficult stretch and need to get focused back on baseball.

    For the sake of argument, there are a couple things different about this situation:

    1) While it was a monumental personal achievement that was screwed with Galarraga, it didn’t cost the team a crucial game in a pennant race.
    2) Jim Joyce took the lead when he manned up and effusively apologized.

  75. CWalton_67 says:

    Have to disagree that the Pirates have earned anything close to respectability. You can’t erase 18 years of utter incompetence with one-half season of magic. Additionally, with the exception of the pitching, they were an absolute disaster last night. Errors, horrendous at bats, poor management in choosing the lineup and on the field…numerous people left on base-should never have gone 19 innings and if we didn’t have listless Lyle Overbay and an absolutely emotionally overmatched Pedro Alvarez in our lineup at the corners, it would not have.

    All that said, it was the most egregious call I have ever seen on a baseball field in over 35 years as a player and fan. MLB should suspend Jerry Meals for at least a game or two.

  76. Bizrow says:

    Bottom line is its one game, lets hope this lights the fire in the club, not that they are not playing all in as is.

    Worst call I can remember, for those of you that stayed up to the bitter end, I tip my cap to you.

    Beat Em Bucs

  77. Reading says:

    Unfortunately, as our announcers continually remind us, there is no momentum in baseball.

  78. Skip says:

    Skip – the Pirates need to do their talking on the field. With their play. As bad as this call was, and it WAS terrible, bad calls are a part of the game. Meals knows he’ll get an earful the next couple days. Other than that, it’s time to move on.

  79. Chris says:

    After the first pitch of today’s game, Hurdle should trot out to first base with a pillow and a blanket for Meals, in case Meals gets a little sleepy and decides he wants a nap.

  80. Andy Veikley says:

    Better yet everyone who’s outraged at this call lets flood the commisioners office with mail and phone calls!

    The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
    Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
    Address: 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
    City: New York, State: NY
    Zip Code: 10167
    Phone: 212-931-7800
    Fax: 212-949-5654

  81. Andy Veikley says:

    Obviously keep it civil if you do..

  82. The differences between the Jim Joyce game and the Jerry Meals game are several. (1) Jim Joyce totally owned his mistake and apologized to the player; Meals said, “I might have missed the call.” (2) The impact of Joyce’s mistake was its effect on a personal, albeit historic accomplishment; the Meals mistake affected a whole team in the standings in a close race, and reeks of disrespect for an entire franchise. (3) Nobody accused Jim Joyce of not doing his job, just of doing it badly in that moment, whereas if Meals consciously or subconciously intended to end a long game with that play due to his own fatigue or discomfort, it’s a dereliction of duty, a corrupt practice, and evidence of incompetence all in one.

  83. Ochotexto says:

    Good effort but writing Bud Selig is fruitless. He is the proverbial wolf guarding the chicken coop.

  84. B says:

    the call was an obvious whiff, but I’m a Pirate fan and I take a lot of good away from this.

    1) The offense squandered many chances and continued to struggle in the extra frames. The call hurt them, but there was no iminent ‘win’ taken away. And it’s still one game. I like Searage’s Twitter response – “Deal with it”

    2) To call the Pirate offense anemic is to insult iron deficient red blood cells. That mitigates the single call as they were unable to capitalize on numerous opportunities.

    3) Here’s a Pirate fan giving big props to Martinez (he even managed a single when there were no bench bats available), but he was a stretched out and rested AAA starter. McCutchen giving them 90+ pitches on a back to back day was pure heart. Grilli giving 50+ pitches. That was sacrifice and guts and something every Pirate fan should be proud of.

    4) There’s been a little too much national Bucco love of late — I like the disrespect card. Hurdle can play it freely again.

    5) They hung tough in defeat and that can be a positive. Sometimes the best lessons in life are tough ones and how they respond will show what this team is ultimately made of . . . as a Pirate fan it’s enervating to see the heart, but at a pure talent level that’s a potential landmine too

  85. eddie says:

    just like 1992 when Sid Bream was called safe in Atlanta, the Bucs get screwed again in Atlanta!!!!!!!!!!

  86. Naterosboro says:

    I think the best part of this is if you back to the homepage for Dejan’s blog it says Jerry Meals 4, Pirates 3. LOL! O that DK…..

  87. Pete in Pensacola says:

    To Saneman – take a poster of a blanket and a binky and a baby bottle with Meals name on it. Looked like he was ready for bedtime and wanted to call it a night.

  88. Gabriel NJ says:

    I now live and Delaware and purchased the MLB ticket last week so I can watch the PIRATES every day/night. I stayed up late on Monday to watch every pitch and I stayed up all night last night. THAT WAS THE WORST CALL EVER!!!! IT REMINDED ME OF ’92!!! I slammed my fist in the ground so hard, I woke up my daughter and wife. My wife was so pissed with me, she told me I can’t watch the PIRATES tonight because I take it way to serious. Then she saw the play and realized why I was so pissed.(But I am still banned tonight…lol). It’s ALL GOOD!!!! This team never stops fighting and we will take the next two!! DAMN BRAVES!!! BUCCO NATION!!!

  89. Fat Jimmy says:

    C’mon, Two Innings,

    Okay, you’ve outlined the differences, but why do the first two points mean the difference between civil, measured response vs. goin’ crazy?

    And it’s irresponsible of you to suggest a difference between subconciously ending the game vs. “not doing his job well”. Both are examples of not doing his job well, and neither represent point-blank intentional negligance or conspiracy against the Pirates.

    The suggestion that Meals was fatigued and that influenced his call is pure speculation. He has never suggested he was too tired to go on.

    I realize it is cathartic to scream and yell about this, but it is completely unproductive and is bordering on inappropriate accusations. The guy is a lousy ump — there is no denying that. But here is the appropriate response from the Pirates:

    1) Publicly: Clint Hurdle acknowledge their disagreement and disappointment in the call. DONE.
    2) Privately: Bob Nutting should make a personal phone call to Bud Selig and express his disappointment. He should ask Selig to censure Meals, and consider removing him from any postseason appointments.

  90. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sure enjoyed D.K.’s rant. Most emotional I’ve ever seen him. Even Smizik was upset. My boss, who is a woman and knows nothing about baseball even knew about the call and, here in KY, that’s like knowing it in Ukraine! Maholm will be great today. Neil, go get Hunter Pence for some of those high school and college guys you stockpiled! Heap it on!

  91. pghboyinca says:

    If you are here posting that the Pirates probably “would have ”
    lost anyway or should just move on because they “blew their chances” you are an idiot. What does that have to do with a flagrantly blown call by an incompetant ump? And that fits right intothe mentality of “It’s the Pirates so sho cares” Which is the main reason you have to make this a huge topic of debate. There were two teams out there last night and one team weas denied a fair chance of winning that game. If the Bucs blew chances so did the Braves and ne team was bailed out and one was screwed. And for the numbskull thta said htat there were still only two outs and arunner at third even if he was out? Proctor had fallen down and was laying 4 feet from the batter sbox and if the correct call is made at home it is a double play. Watch the video and see McCutchen screaming to throw to first before he realizes the game is over.

  92. Fat Jimmy says:


    Hurdle was bunting like mad last night. Including calling a squeeze play with 1st and 3rd and one out.

    Lyle Overbay was 1 for 8.

    Neil Walker has more balls bounce off his glove on diving plays than I think any player I’ve ever seen.

    Andrew McCutchen was 0 for 6. He was caught stealing. He now has 1 stolen base in the past 27 games. He’s hitting .167 since the ASG.

    Where are the bats, Neal? #heapiton

    There are lot of reasons to worry and get upset.

  93. Bob121 says:

    I like the people that say our offense couldn’t score and we didn’t deserve to win or wouldn’t have won anyway. Atlanta had the same difficulty scoring so why did they deserve to have the game given to them?

  94. pghboyinca says:

    I calle dthe MLB offices and spoke with someone named Rachelle who is the manager of public relations. She said they are aware of the play and don’t have an offical comment as of right now. I gave her 3 blogs and a few twitter accounts to read and suiggested she might want to watch ESPN to see hteir reaction. I told here that as a huge baseball fan something like that strikes to the heart of the game because it comes across as not an eror but an attempt to have an individual take the game away from the players. She seemed genuine and talked with me for 5 minutes she said to watch the MLB site for an official response. Have Culry , Larry or Moe commented yet or is it all quiet on Federal street?

  95. pghboyinca says:

    Squeezing with your rleadoff hittter up and 1st and 3rd with one out is pathetic. With Paul’s speed a double play was not happening, that was idiotic. That statement does nothing to minimize what a boob Meals is or the impact hehad on the game later.

  96. hoppyhubby says:

    Meals’ call as the worst ending to a baseball game since the 2002 All-Star Game.

  97. What happened to common sense? says:

    Tell you kids that getting into cars with strangers who have candy is fine because #jerrymealssaysitssafe.

  98. Fat Jimmy says:

    PGH, I agree. He is a lousy ump and if he makes the correct call, the Pirates have a 50/50 chance of winning that game. I don’t debate any of this.

    One of my points — with which I hope you can agree — is that the Meals call is not the sole reason we lost that game.

    My other points — with which I know you don’t agree but I stand by — is that there no tangible good that can come out of complaining about it, other than potentially removing an umpire whose bad calls benefited the Pirates all game long until that point.

    Having Bob Nutting et al complain in public is nothing more than verbal masturbation. At worse, it irritates the umpire fraternity and (conciously or not) negatively affects the way they call Pirate games here on out.

    What do you want? An apology? That won’t give us a win in the standings. The Steelers have received a lot of apologies over the past few years for bad officiating — the apologies aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

    If our point here is for institutional change in MLB’s replay policy, then I’m all for it. But at the moment the angst here isn’t much more than a mob mentality.

  99. paual coville says:

    Anyone who is a true fan of baseball that watched the Pirate/Cardinal game 7/26/11 or saw the video replay of the final out has to be totally outraged at the injustice of that call. Doesn’t matter what team you are rooting for, that was a shame. Some calls are too close to call; that call was too obvious to miss.

  100. goose127 says:

    maybe after another 9 plus innings you need to take matters into your own hands and score a run. The call was awful, no doubt. But if you are managing and playing you have to be good enough to overcome bad calls, you can’t make Meals the scapegoat for your own offensive ineptitude.

  101. Steelercrazy says:

    Completely irate over Meals call, but I’m also still steaming over Hurdle’s call for the suicide squeeze in the 9th inning. Horrific overmanaging…

  102. Naje says:

    Jimmy…. irritating the umpiring fraternity, after years of being given not one shred of a doubt on calls, is something that needs to be done. We’ve all dealt with the terrible calls, the shrinking strike zones, the total lack of respect for the Pirates over the years… these umpires have to know that it’s not acceptable.

    Earlier this year Hurdle (a month or two ago) went to the mound early in a game where the home plate ump was terrible… he gathered the infield together and just chatted away for a long time. He waited till the ump came out to break up the conference and then let him know that the guy was not doing his job… it was a clear message to the ump that Hurdle and the Pirates were not going to accept below average umpiring or an obviously lazy umpire making calls just because the Pirates’ name was on the jersey.

    The mob mentality against the Pirates has grown to the point of managers like Tracy and Russell just giving up… not even trying to argue. If they do their job and do it with competence, no one argues… but when you screw up, (like Joey Porter says in the 2005 America’s Game documentary) “On national tv… in front of everyone…” you gotta take some action. Yes, in private; but in public too. The umps have to start realizing that the Pirates are not going to accept anything less than their best effort.

    Clearly, that was not the Meals’ best effort.

  103. JMB says:

    I know this isnt on topic for the bad call, but fangraphs wants us to #HeapItOn, too!

    “To fail is to have tried, and if the Pirates miss the playoffs this year it should not be due to a lack of effort at the deadline.”

  104. HOF Coach says:

    I always instructed my teams that if we allowed our opponents to remain close enough in score at the end of the game to allow ONE official’s call to determine the outcome, then we really didn’t play well enough and deserved to lose.

    Human error is a part of any game (missed lay-ups, swing-and-a-miss strikeouts, dropped passes, etc.). My coaching lesson was that until each player AND coach TOTALLY ELIMINATE their own mistakes (see examples above) and are perfect themselves, we will NEVER blame an official/umpire for costing us a game because of a blown call. It is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that we never allow ourselves to be in a situation for that to occur in the first place!

    The Pirates had several opportunities to win the game long before that 19th inning. If they would have been responsible enough to take care of their own business, then Jerry Meals would still be an unknown to most Pirates fans today!

  105. Keith Carlson says:


    I agree with you that the Pirates should use this horrible call as motivation for tonight and the rest of the season. Hopefully we come out tonight and put the wood to the Braves.

    Great column as usual!

  106. JMB says:

    My take on the bad call at the end of the game is that yes it was horrendous, and I will probably be called an idiot for my thoughts.

    But, Nate McL was pretty heavily vilified on the “other” blog last night after being ejected. He was called a whiner, baby, etc. for arguing a horrendous strike call on an equally obvious ball. I understand the “my guy” is great and the “other guy” is an idiot mentally, but I just thought it was ironic how bad umpiring was viewed earlier in the game when it benefited the Pirates.

    The Pirates have lodged their complaint, and they have had their say. The team needs to move on tonight and try to win this series. The FO needs to focus on the trade deadline.

  107. JoeBucco says:

    As bad as that call was, we had 18 other innings to push across the winning run. You have to be good enough to beat a bad call.

    Can’t dwell on it, just go get them tonight. Taking 3 out of 4 would be the ultimate ‘in your face’ to Meals. Then in Hurdle’s post series presser, he says it should have been a sweep.

  108. JoeBucco says:

    And yea, I was listening to this one on XM radio last night, and had the Braves radio crew calling the game. They were very, very critical of how bad Meals was throughout the entire game. From inning one on through. So yea, that call was bad. But that’s baseball.

  109. Bob says:

    I was so ticked off that I called Bud Selig’s office. I encourage everyone to do it. Let’s flood that office with so many calls that we can’t be ignored. Here’s the number: 212-931-7800. I got right through.

  110. Happy G says:

    @DK, thanks for your passion. I feel asleep during the 16th inning and rushed to this blog immediately upon waking up to see the final score.

    This is a key moment for this team. Hurdle’s leadership skills will be tested today.

    Let’s give Meals a break, by the gauge of his strike zone consistency, I’d say he fell asleep in about the 10th inning. He was sleep walking when he made that terrible call.

  111. Chop Chop says:

    As a Braves fan, let me just say that the Buccos got screwed.

    If anything good came out of this game, I think it has to be the little girl who was screaming “Let’s Go Pirates!” all night. The organization should fly her and her family up to Pittsburgh for a series. Let her throw out a first pitch. That kid never quit on her team. After all these years of losing, I think I’d want an image like that for the new generation of Pirates fans.

  112. TheSaltyRogue says:


    Meals, it WILL be remembered.

    This is the time boys and girls. Trade/cut the deadweight, acquire at least one professional hitter, Maholm goes at least 7 tonight, Lugo gets buzzed twice consecutively, front office let’s it be known this call was an ignorant sham – as William Wallace said, UNITE THE CLANS.

    Let’s get nasty boys.

    GO BUCS.

  113. pghboyinca says:

    Jimmy, You are worried aobuthe umpiring fraternity having a negative slant toward us? Would that mean they would actually call our batters out on strikes while they were still in the on deck circle? Maybe they might call the Pirate runner out at the plate while he is still rounding third? I watch almost every Pirate game played (as I do Pens and Steelers) and I have never seen a team that routinely does not get a break unless the call is obvious. Some of it is because we have stunk so long that it is insignificant and some is because it is the path of least resistence. If yu have LaRussa in one dugout and john Russell in the other and there is a close play subconsciously it is esy to go with LaRussa because you know he will throw a fit if it does not go his way and Russell is asleep if it dos not go is way.

    This team and this manager have decided they are not going to be losers anymore and collect a paycheck and wait for greener pastures. Undermanned and underpaid they have over achieved all year and fought their asses off to stay competiitve. They deserve better than the way the fornt office has suppported them in terms of reinforcements and now they get robbed (and that was not incompetance last night ,that was thievery)

    In the evolution of any person, team, company, or group there are moments where you stand up and say “We are not the little kid, young inexperienced team, small underfunded company, or unorganized group anymore” If respect that is earned is not given then you demand it and make it happen. The pirates are at that point, if the fornt office had balls 1/4 the size of the manager or the players we would see a better product and get better calls from the umps and league.

  114. Sage says:

    The Pirates have a problem with being in the Central division and having to travel ONE time zone away for divisional away games??? Put yourself in the Rangers position, having to travel TWO time zones for every divisional away game! Not to mention those games start so late, few of their fans can stay up to watch!!

  115. Bizrow says:

    Sounds like Rasmus is going to Toronto for Edwin Jackson, who just got picked up from Toronto from the White Sox

    Neal, wake up, do something. Don’t just sit there like a deer in the headlights

    Not to be critical, of course

  116. LuckyNKentucky says:

    You’re 100% spot on with that last paragraph pghboy, even if you do live in CA! Can you say Hunter Pence?

  117. Jim says:

    The Pirates and their fans are acting like a bunch of children. Seriously, do you really think you are the only team ever to suffer bad luck or bad calls? The Pirates blew an early lead, blew a squeeze play in the 9th, couldn’t hit a lick all night, but now cry about one umpire’s call?

    This is such a sad, pathetic display. If my little leaguers acted like this I would give them an earful and have them run a few laps. You guys are so close to being able to shake the losing ways of the last two decades, and we all hope you do. But don’t sacrifice your class and dignity along the way.

  118. mtneer1212 says:

    I think the Pirates need to do just two things to put them selves into the best possible position for August:

    1. When Doumit comes back, put him at 1B and keep McHenry behind the dish. He has earned it. In my opinion, he has had as big of a role in this season’s success as anyone.

    2. Trade one prospect for an OF. Obviously, we aren’t getting Pence or Beltran, but a Josh Willingham would be an upgrade for a decent price. If you can get Carlos Pena instead, then play him at 1B and put Doumit in RF.

    The real exposure last night was, we cannot continue with Pearce and Overbay as automatic outs. We already have a SS who is a necessary trade off for an out. We can’t have 4 automatic outs in the lineup.

  119. Fat Jimmy says:

    I’ve been on these blogs consistently for years now. Never once — until today — have I heard about a longstanding conspiracy against the Pirates to make bad calls.

    I’ve heard it’s Nutting’s fault for being cheap.

    I’ve heard it’s Coonelly’s fault for being a liar.

    I’ve heard it’s Huntington’s fault for being a narcissist.

    I’ve heard it’s John Russel’s fault for being asleep.

    I’ve heard it’s Pittsburgh’s fault for being small.

    I’ve heard it’s the fans fault for not showing up (though that came from Coonelly).

    I’ve heard it’s Dave Littlefield’s fault for being born.

    I’ve heard it’s this player or that player or the guy who just isn’t good.

    But I have never.




    Heard the umps are out to get us.

  120. Naterosboro says:

    I always instructed my teams that if we allowed our opponents to remain close enough in score at the end of the game to allow ONE official’s call to determine the outcome, then we really didn’t play well enough and deserved to lose.

    So, two good teams play, and if one doesn’t crush the other, and one team wins on a blown call, then the other team deserved to lose?

    This makes no logical sense.

    There are two teams out there, and you can only control how you play.

    Last night, the Buccos may not have deserved to win (others have pointed out RISP, bunts, etc.), but they certainly didn’t DESERVE to lose.

  121. Robert says:

    It is a damn shame that a game like that had to end on a call like that. I still dont know how he screwed it up It was clear as day he made the tag. I really think Meals just wanted the game over and that was his out to do so… I hope MLB does something like a fine or making Meals sit a game or two out.

  122. Paul Kingslow says:

    What I find equally disgusting to the outrageous call is how Jerry Meals is not man enough to outright admit he made a mistake. His wishy-washy explanation stating “it appeared” he might have got him and “I’m guessing” he might have got him tells me all I need to know about Mr. Meals.

    Last year when the umpire blew the call on Armando Galarraga’s no-hitter he stood up and apologized for his error. That is a sign of a true man– owning up to your mistakes, apologizing and moving on.

    Jerry Meals has shown the world two things about himself: 1) he probably should not be an umpire; and 2) what little respect the world has for him as an umpire is only parallelled by the lack of respect we should have for him by his cowardly comments after the game.

  123. What happened to common sense? says:

    “Last night, the Buccos may not have deserved to win (others have pointed out RISP, bunts, etc.)”

    Your point is a good one but also fits the Braves as well. The Pirates bullpen shut them down for 13 innings too.

  124. JMB says:

    Rasmus to B’jays

    Beltran to SF getting close

    Floodgates are opening!


  125. Elle says:

    I think I can go the rest of my life without seeing another gut-wrenching play at the plate vs. the Braves. Two’s my limit.

  126. DMac says:

    @JMB…not everyone on the other blog was villifying Nate last night. He normally has a good eye, so if he remotely questions the ump, I’m thinking he had good reason. Meals strike zone was so all over the place that I had to wait for an indicator on every pitch before I posted. He sucked.

  127. Chip says:

    I’m not a Pirates fan, but they got robbed big time. Keep in mind, even if the ump calls the runner out, the game continues. The pirates could of still lost in the next inning. You need to let it go and move on. Easier said then done, I understand, but a good team would move on. This can linger and destroy what looks like a playoff season.

  128. Bizrow says:

    The Cards get a starter and BP help from their FO,
    The PBC gets a verbal tongue lashing sent to the ump that cost them the game last night from their FO

    What teams club house is happier with the support from their FO

    Memo to PBC FO

    The tongue lashing and a donut added together equals exactly a donut.

    Make a deal, this is our chance

    What are you waiting for?

    I’m just sayin…..

  129. buckeyehba says:

    As good as McKendry has been, he totally misplayed this. Maybe from Doumits injury, or from Poseys; but I am old school baseball and either he has to take out McKendry to get to the plate, or vice versa.

  130. David D. says:

    That’s why there should be a curfew during the regular season. The ump was tired & wanted the game to end.

  131. impliedi says:

    Hopefully the Pirates themselves get over the frustration quickly. Though, we as fans, can be upset about it a little bit longer.

    Obviously, if an ump misses a close call, it’s completely understandable. But this call should be one of those ones like when the 2nd baseman or shortstop slides their foot “near” to 2nd base on a double play, they always get the call. Regardless of whether he truly tagged him or not (which he obviously did tag him), the ball was so far ahead of him and McKenry swiped across his body, he should get the call every time.

    I think what’s funny is that, it was so patently obvious to everybody watching that he was out. But, you know how to REALLY know? If Lugo had been called out, do you think a single guy in the Braves dugout (or even Lugo himself) would have protested? I think not. And that says it all.

    Now, Buccos, move past this and get back into the win column!!!

  132. pghboyinca says:

    Jimmy, No one is saying the umps are out to get us, we have been so insignificant that we became the path of least resistance when it came down to stuff like travel, scheduling and inter league play. And yes umpires knew that the Pirates sucked and their management, front office, and in some cases players (see Burnits, Jeremy as prime example) were just there for the ride and might not be as passionate defending there right to a fair share of calls on close plays. If you thnk other wise then the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real and stop by once a year.

    It is quite obvious this group is not playng by those rules any more, they actually care and so do we as fans. Why else are these chat rooms still buzzing after 18 years of ineptitude? And we both knw they were buzzing even prior to this year when things suddenly got better. What happened last night was something that happens ina Don King sanctioned title fight or a Vince McMahon WWF circus. If that was hte Yankees, Sox, Giants, Phillies, etc…it would have been on CNN.

    F.C. statement today was textbook F.C. A lot of words and hten yu are left with th efeeling of “WTF was his point? Am I dreaming or did he actually point out how muchintegrity Meals has and how he is such agreat umpire but the the game deserves better? Wow, way to put yourself out there F.C. Well at least you didn’t endanger your soon to be announced move back to the MLB headquarters.

  133. DMZ99 says:

    Great story Dejan… couldn’t agree more. But what makes this so noteworthy is that the sports world is now noticing the Pirates. If this happened a year or two ago, a blown call against the Pirates would have created less interest than what Sid Crosby had for lunch.

  134. impliedi says:

    Pedro Alvarez can become my all-time favorite player tonight:

    The first Brave who tries to steal third or advance to 3rd, I would love to see Pedro come a few steps off of 3rd base, catch the ball, punch the runner in the chest with his glove (not hard enough to hurt him naturally, but enough to make it obvious), walk over to Meals (who’s umping 3rd base tonight), drop the ball at his feet and say, “is THAT enough of a tag for you?” and then walks away.

    Go Pedro!!!!

  135. Karen22 says:

    Trades all over the sports news this afternoon…Pirates only making news about THIS so far…need BATS for hats!!

  136. Karen22 says:

    OH—and now the Pirates’ injustice has just been preempted by a no-hitter against the Indians (Santana/Angels)…

  137. Fat Jimmy says:

    Look, if your point is the Pirates gets sh!t on by MLB when it comes to preferred interleague matchups, which division we play in (though I’m fine in Central), lesser games on prime dates, etc., then okay — I completely agree. But I don’t see a correlation between that and what happened last night. Unless someone has proof that either 1) there is a long, documented history of Pirates getting screwed over on close calls or 2) there is evidence or reason to suggest MLB or umpires are out to sabotage the Pirates season.

  138. Curt says:

    I’d like to officially move on from the drama of last night.
    I’m seriously looking forward to Doumit returning soon. Hope he supplants Overbay and McKenry stays behind the plate.
    Trade wise: I’m going to predict they land Adams or Uehera for the bullpen and Willingham will be our “bat”, but he might not crack the lineup when Tabata and A.P. are fully healthy.
    What’s everyone’s trade thoughts/chatter?

  139. Jeff Cox says:

    As if being screwed by the umps is new for the Pirates.

    I remember a few NLCS’s in the 1990’s where Pirate-hating Eric Gregg did his absolute best to keep us out of the World Series. And succeeded.

  140. Bizrow says:


    I’m not sure if Doumit is an answer at first, I seem to remember a couple of horrible games by him over there.

    I think the FO needs to be aggressive and go after someone, Cards made a decent move, still looking at Padres BP, Reds are sniffing at Colorado’s ace,

    If you gotta over pay to get someone to help this club, ok by me.

    Its still like NH is sitting at the THanksgiving table in the living room while the big folks sit at the dinner table. Don’t wait for the scraps either. Be bold, make a move.

  141. AJS says:

    I’m going to play devils advocate on this call at the plate. The pic above does not show a tag being made. From the video it appears he did get him on the shin when he made a swiping tag. From the umps angle(which was poor) I can see how he made the call he did.

    i’ve also heard from several unbias observers of the replay that they are convinced from the replay that he absolutely ole’d him and missed the tag. Maybe this isn’t as clear cut and obsurd as it first appeared. I’ve never been a proponent of calling a guy out just because the throw beat him. You have to make a tag. Those are the rules.

    All that said I still THINK he tagged him. Just like Meals THOUGHT he didn’t. Long story short, a loss is a loss, chalk it up and get ready for tonight. Over/under on bucs strike outs against Jurjens? 7?

  142. AJS says:

    Doumit is a defensive liability no matter where you put him. But he is particularly bad at first. Stop trying to solve the problem from within. Playing Doumit at first to get his bat in the line up should be a last resort. Go get a stick. A RF or 1B. Heck i’m still on board for a 3B at this point. Walker, Cutch, and Presley when he gets healthy have earned the right to play every day from here on out. Everyone else putting on a Bucs uniform each night is upgradable. I love what Fort brings behind the plate. His heart and hustle are unmatched, but we may have to sacrifice that for the bat the line up needs. Doumit COULD be that, but not for certain. i’d probably keep starting Fort, try to find a first baseman at the deadline and keep that stick of Doumit’s for big PH situations. i like the idea of getting Willingham to play right field. Even a rotation of he and Tabata in and out of the outfield could be interesting.

    Automatic outs now consist of Pedro, Overpaid, Pearce, the Pitcher.
    80% chance of an out:Cedeno
    i’m not sure where to put Fort. He seems like he can’t hit, and then somehow ends up on the bases all night.

  143. Vuks says:

    You’re a jackass. Bud Selig is laughing at you right now!!! At least you got his attention. You are giving Pirate fans a cry-baby reputation by writing this article. No one can change the call and any rpsponse from the league will not change the box score. Let it go!!!

  144. Pirates Fan says:

    Please call the Commissioner’s office and complain! Major League Baseball must have some sort of replay system to ensure this does not happen again!! Baseball fans, LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!!! The number for the Commissioner’s Office is 212-931-7800.

  145. Bob Apjok says:

    whoever said the umpire was in bad position is completely wrong. look at this pick. he is right on it, he just missed it.

  146. Michael says:

    I don’t get it. If he didn’t see it, he didn’t see it. It’s a mistake. It happens. In every job. To every person. People make bad “calls” at work constantly. Humans err. And again – if he didn’t see it, he didn’t see it. Take the emotion out of loving your home-team Pirates. The man screwed up. Happens every day and every minute to everyone everywhere. Not being Polyanna here…just not getting the outrage when something is left to humans. Humans make mistakes.

  147. bill says:

    I’m with AJS. I heard about the controversy first then saw the replay, and was like what am I missing, it isn’t blatantly obvious that he tagged him, in fact after seeing the slowed down replays it is still hard to tell. Yes the ball beat the runner but that doesn’t mean anything. I’ve seen much much worse, in bigger games. And like AJS have talked to a few unbiased viewer who thought he was safe as well.

    This reminds me of the Big Ben touchdown against Seattle in the superbowl where everyone in Pittsburgh was convinced he was in, and everyone everywhere else wasn’t. It was obvious to both sides.

    The bigger question should be why the catcher is trying to apply a swipe tag like he’s playing second base on the potential winning run. Weak attempt by McKenry.

  148. naje says:

    A very good piece from Peter Gammons… provides a lot of reason and sense to trade deadline deals for teams like Tampa, Cleve, Pittsburgh…

  149. CDBrewer says:

    Just a word on other teams…

    Edwin Jackson is REALLY up and down…Dotel is the most reliable piece they got in the deal for Rasmus, and just what they needed. If Duncan works his magic, then, well, Duncan made dumping a guy LaRussa doesn’t like worth it, but Rasmus is gonna mash in Toronto. Dotel is a massive help for the Cards – and everybody they bring up contributes (Jay, Freese, Descalso, Craig).

    The Giants are going to put a liability out in the outfield and platoon Schierholtz/Ross and then Huff/Belt. That is a pretty big OF for Beltran at this age, and he isn’t going to get a ton of protection – Sandoval and KEPPINGER? Just saying, a team based on pitching and defense might regret it. Beyond that, not going to be any chatter about AB’s in a clubhouse that just won the Series, like there might be other places.

    And we saw last night that we aren’t the only flawed offensive club. Atlanta was almost a mirror. And their free agent signing was worse than ours – Uggla JUST got to .200.

  150. AJS says:


    You are right he is in good position. That camera angle makes it look like there is a shadow between the shin and the glove. I’m still not 100% sure he actually did tag him. On the full motion replay I think I see a tag. but every still picture I see it seems like the glove is too high and that he missed him.

  151. Adam says:

    Get over it losers

  152. CDBrewer says:

    @ Naje,

    LOVED the Gammons piece…thank you.

    You had really kind words for Law the other day – amidst your distain for the Mothership. What say you about Gammons, or does it say all we need to know that he jumped ship?

    Still so impressed by some of the pitching gutting it out last night…Grilli, McCutchen, and that kid Martinez all deserve some sort of recognition for the heart they displayed last night.

    Worst part of last night is that the ending did such an injustice – and was so disrespectful – to the effort put forth by the players.

  153. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @CD: I’ve never had any disdain for ESPN. None. I simply find it curious that so many people in our city still seek validation from outside entities like that.

  154. DP39 says:

    I’m a Pirate fan for nearly 30 years now, but I have to honestly say, after seeing the replays, that I think he missed the tag.

  155. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Vuks: Personal insult aside, please feel free to find where in the above entry that I suggested any form of protest would change the play or the outcome.

  156. techrat_77 says:

    Great article DK! Although a call like that can’t be defended, human error is a part of baseball that makes it special. Maybe the next time the blown call can be in our favor. JMO, but I think replay should only be used on questionable foul calls or home runs and plays such as last night’s that end a game.

  157. Bosox says:

    From Boston with love.

    You guys got screwed.

  158. jefft says:

    well put DK

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