When An Umpire Becomes a Hashtag | Draft Day Suit

When An Umpire Becomes a Hashtag

Jim Joyce. Don Denkinger. How many umpires or referees can you name? I’ll bet you only know their names because of a famous bad call. Add Jerry Meals to that list.

In case you were not up at 2:30 am Wednesday watching the Pirates and Braves, here’s what happened. The game was in the bottom of the 19th, (yes, you read that right, the NINETEENTH inning) six and a half hours after the game began, with the score tied 3-3. Julio Lugo was on third. Braves’ pitcher Scott Proctor hit a ground ball that was fielded by Pedro Alvarez, who threw to Michael “The Fort” McKenry. The throw arrived in McKenry’s glove well ahead of Lugo and well in front of the plate. Umpire Jerry Meals was in a great position to make the easy call.

Except he called Lugo safe.

Needless to say, all hell broke loose at Turner Field. See for yourself.

And that’s what the Atlanta TV guys had to say.

My twitter stream exploded, though I’m betting that was nothing compared to what was being said the Pirates’ locker room. And in the morning, the hashtag #jerrymealssaysitssafe was trending.

It continued on all day and shows little sign of going away any time soon, at least not in Pittsburgh.

As for the Pirates, Manager Clint Hurdle encouraged his players to express their frustration, but public comment has been limited. Frank Coonelly’s statement says it all on behalf of the team.

Later in the day, Jerry Meals made the following statement:

Pertaining to the play that ended the game as last night, as [Scott] Proctor hit the groundball to [third baseman Pedro] Alvarez…as he fielded the ball and threw home, I got into position to make the call. [Catcher Michael] McKenry caught the ball, made a swipe tag attempt at Lugo sliding. I did not see any tag After that, I ruled him safe.

After coming into the locker room, I reviewed the incident through our videos that we have in here and after seeing a few of them, on one particular replay, I was able to see that Lugo’s pant leg moved ever so slightly when the swipe tag was attempted by McKenry. That’s telling me that I was incorrect in my decision and that he should have been ruled out and not safe.

It takes guts to admit you’re wrong. He’s never gonna be my favorite ump but he’s human. He made a mistake. He admitted it. Moving on. That’s exactly what I expect Clint Hurdle is encouraging his players to do.


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About the author
ClumberKim is a sports geek. The die was cast early, by age 8, when Kim told anyone who would listen that she wanted to be the Boston Bruins statistician when she grew up. She could rattle off the roster by number, position, or hometown. Her sports interests are diverse, ranging from figure skating to football. She loves to watch golf, read books about golf, and trash talk golf, but she has never swung a club. The Fantasia Gardens course at Disney World doesn't count. Her participation in sports is limited to tennis in high school, rugby in college (where she excelled in the third half), and pitching endlessly to her baseball-loving son.

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2 Replies to When An Umpire Becomes a Hashtag

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m shocked and pleased that he admits it. I wish more people could do that. I have gained a lot of respect for him.

  2. ClumberKim says:

    In light of that comment, Sarah, I’m going to admit that Meals/ admission was not at all where I was going with this post when I started to write it.

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