Meals: “I was incorrect in my decision.”

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Umpire Jerry Meals just spoke about last night’s controversial game-ending call, one in which he ruled Julio Lugo safe at home in the 19th inning. That gave the Braves a 4-3 win over the Pirates. Meals did not take questions on Wednesday but did issue the following explanation:

“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.”

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38 Comments

Perhaps this is a lesson for McKenry that sweep tags are not effective but instead to catch and use both hands to apply a firm tag.

Absolute truth. I don’t want the kid to feel like this is on him, but he had the room to put the tag on his body and leave no room for error.

I have to disagree with you. If there were two outs I would agree with you fully, but with one out when he saw Proctor fall that opened the chance for the inning ending double play. Therefor, McKenry did the right thing trying to get into position to do the swipe tag to get the throw down to first to get the double play. In the 19th inning you cant just take one out you need to save pitches. So I disagree.

McKinry was out of pl9e as well. Agree that he should have made a firm tag. Being out place, it left him with only the sweep option. Pirates cannot put all the blame on Meals. Just my 2 cents.

I disagree with him. He did not get in the proper position to make the call. How can he make the right call almost in line with throw from the back. The umpire was out of position to make the call. He should have been 90 degrees to the line of the throw from third and right on top of the tag. He could have moved five feet. How can he make a correct call or see the play from his vantage point almost in-line with the throw – from behind the entire play? What this suggests to me is that Meals was lazy. The game was in extra innings, sure, but he could not take his game to the extra level. He has to hustle and keep his mind in the game like the players. He is lazy and took his job for granted. And in his statement to the press he should have admitted that he did not hustle and that he was out of position to make the call. So it really does not matter what Meals thinks he saw because his mistake was not getting in position. So sure Meals is correct to say that he did not see the tag, and this bit of truth really covers up the larger truth that he was out of position. He should be sent back to the minors for the rest of the season. I read the Pirate’s front office statement in which they are very nice to Meals saying he did not make the call intentionally against the Pirates that his goal was “to get the call right”. I have to disagree with that statement. He intentionally did not hustle and get in position to see the play fully. He should have been 90 degrees to the throw and right on top of the tag (I am not suggesting interfering in the play). He chose not to hustle; he chose to be out of position. The only excuse for a major league umpire for not hustling and getting in position is that he take his job for granted and no longer practices the fundamentals of umpiring. And after 14 years of umpiring he got complacent. In this case, I think his experience works against him; he thinks he does not have to hustle even to move over five feet. Send him back to the minors. And let him work his way back up again.

He should have been on the 1st base line extended in foul territory.
I’ve been Umpiring over 20 years. When I went to Greg Gibson and
Sam Holbrook’s Umpire Camp that is how they taught us

Didnt matter if it was a sweep tag or where the ump was – that was an EASY call – he just wanted to go home early…..

Glad he admitted he was wrong but, it’s not enough. After a 6hr & 40mn game that meant a LOT to the Pirates in the standing, his mea culpa isn’t enough. He should personally apologize to the Pirates, their fans and MLB for his mistake. Seriously looked like he just wanted to go home.

Yea, I’m a big braves fan, but this guy should not be in the majors. He was in no position to even call balls and strikes, the way he keep leaning to the side of the catchers. Especially on left hand batters. His ball calling was maybe the worst I have ever seen in many many years of watching baseball………..but in his defense of the last call at the plate, any one could have missed that, sure it looked like lugo was out by a mile from far away, but up close……….i don’t know.

The pirates didn’t complain when the bad calls were going in their favor, but now their pissed that one went against them. GO BRAVES!!!

yo buddy he was out by a fucking mile….a little kid could have made that call, and im a yankee fan

THANK YOU I WEAR GLASSES AND EVEN AFTER I TOOK THEM OFF I COULD SEE HE WAS OUT (AND I CANT SEE WITHOUT THEM) MY 7 YEAR OLD NEPHEW WATCHED IT AND SAID HE WAS OUT

This wasn’t just a bad call!!!! The game was lost over a horrendous call and that was admitted by the umpire himself!!! It’s okay to loose but not like this!

It’s “they’re”, not “their.” Go back to school.

Thank you I thought I was the only that corrected things like that!

TW please, there were bad calls both ways, but that last call was shameful. There is a difference between a bad ball/strike call and a game costing atrocity.

Actually, it IS “their”. “They’re” is a contraction used in place of “they are”. If you substitue those words in place of “their’ in TW”s sentence, you will see that it makes no sense. Correct word is “their”. Pirates fan here and I don’t agree with the comment but at least the grammar is correct.

Actually Rob, what the hell are you talking about?

“The pirates didn’t complain when the bad calls were going in their favor, but now ((their)) =they are= pissed that one went against them. GO BRAVES!!!”

when i substitute his incorrect use of their with they’re it makes perfect sense to me.

Yeah they get the calls, not a winning team since 92….but yeah they get the calls.

That catcher should have put a firm tag on Lugo, especially with the game on the line. I have watched replay after replay and I did see the slightest movement of Lugos pants on that leg, but, that could have been from the momentum of the slide itself or a possible tag. Another replay I watched from the angle behind (field side) Lugo and McKenry I noticed a gap between glove and leg, telling me he missed the tag. Jerry Meals, I think you made the right call!! MIchael McKenry drop a firm two handed tag….. >–>

We will see what one game to the Pirates or the braves at the end of the year.
I’m willing to bet it is going to make a difference in one division or the other over some stuipid call.

Meals should take a leave of absence from the league. He made the call few feet before the player ever had the chance to touch home plate. How is that possible?

I bet the umpire had to go to the washroom and he felt that was his only way to be able to go.

That call was no where near as close as the one in the ‘perfect game that wasnt’. There is no excuse, I saw the play from a few angles and I saw the game LIVE. I was there from nearly 7 hours. I am happy we won but I feel bad for the Pirates. It was a great game and both teams deserved to win but to win on a call like that is…unsatisfactory. We CAN win on our own and dont need the umps stealing a game for us. But, a win is a win. I just hope that the loss last night doesnt cost the pirates in the playoff picture.

Sweep tag was actually smart considering (1) avoid injury (i.e. Buster Posey discussions prompted people surrouding baseball to thin (2) in prep to throw, he had a play at first since hitter fell down in attempt for 3rd out and (3) the throw beat him by so long and he was so ahead of plate, umpires are prone to call the runner out anyway.

A catcher’s mitt is so thick – to hold and swipe vigorously w/o losing the ball is harder to do than any other postional mitt – but he did it properly.

Anyway – if McKenry slugged Lugo in the face emphatically with two hands enforcing a tackle out – people would be up in arms about the aggresive play.

Lugo’s reaction also says it all. He reaches out toward McKenry afterward still a 1/2 foot from the plate disappointed he was tagged.

Ump fell asleep – like he jerked the safe motion when he meant to call him out. What bugs me is his response is still unapologetic ” I was able to see that Lugo’s pant leg moved ever so slightly when the swipe tag was attempted by McKenry”…EVERY SO SLIGHTLY?!?! This Ump has 15 years experience and he’s never seen a catcher mitt swipe tag?!?

Meals, Every play at the plate – especially those where the runner is yard away from plate doesn’t need to be a bang bang take down rumble collision.

Pirates didn’t lose the game, they also lost division lead.

Where were the other umps to consult – I thought they do that at least to get it right w/o replay? First base angle shows it clear as day he was tagged and Lugo even stands against McKenry in disappointment – begging to be tagged again.

Sweep tag was actually smart considering (1) avoid injury (i.e. Buster Posey post-injury discussions prompted people surrouding baseball to think more about applying tags differently while not blocking the plate (particularly on easy outs like this one) (2) in prep to throw, he had a play at first since hitter fell down in attempt for 3rd out and (3) the throw beat him by so long and he was so ahead of plate, umpires are prone to call the runner out anyway.

A catcher’s mitt is so thick – to hold and swipe vigorously w/o losing the ball is harder to do than any other postional mitt – but he did it properly.

Anyway – if McKenry slugged Lugo in the face emphatically with two hands enforcing a tackle out – people would be up in arms about the aggresive play.

Lugo’s reaction also says it all. He reaches out toward McKenry afterward still a 1/2 foot from the plate disappointed he was tagged.

Ump fell asleep – like he jerked the safe motion when he meant to call him out. What bugs me is his response is still unapologetic ” I was able to see that Lugo’s pant leg moved ever so slightly when the swipe tag was attempted by McKenry”…EVERY SO SLIGHTLY?!?! This Ump has 15 years experience and he’s never seen a catcher mitt swipe tag?!?

Meals, Every play at the plate – especially those where the runner is yard away from plate doesn’t need to be a bang bang take down rumble collision.

Pirates didn’t lose the game, they also lost division lead.

Where were the other umps to consult – I thought they do that at least to get it right w/o replay? First base angle shows it clear as day he was tagged and Lugo even stands against McKenry in disappointment – begging to be tagged again.

If I was the umpire and got called every name in the book, I would feel pretty low, and apologize too, even if I made the right call. 99% of baseball is saying he made the wrong call, but that’s because they are reacting to the very first part of the video. I thought the runner was safe, too, but then after seeing the other angle I’m leaning more to that the umpire was right in the decision that he made. I’ve looked at the YouTube video over and over again and it sure looks like that at the 1:30 – 1:33 mark in the video that the catcher swiped his glove up too early and missed the tag. Take a look: http://youtu.be/6_o4LHIQs-0

Thinks you should take another look…he was out plain as day haha

First of all it was more then a sweep of the glove the ball was in his glove and the runner ran into the catcher and there were two touches to the runner both legs got the swipe open your damn eyes everyone can see it plan as day out by a mile

I seen the replay several times. Mckenry was not really out of position. If he had been further back, Lugo would have been closer to the plate when the ball was caught. So that does not mean he would have still been out. He would have had a better chance at being safe in that situation. That is most likely why Mckenry movied up a little bit. Even so, the fact is that he tagged Lugo while Lugo was still a foot away from the plate. And he held onto the ball. Lugo was out and the Umpire missed the call. MIssed calls happen. The PIrates have to move on. And they will. But I place no blame on our Catcher. He did a good job.

that is right the batter even knew he was tagged so there you go call was made incorrectly PERIOD

I know, if he was safe would he feel the need to hurry up and jump on the plate AFTER the safe call. I guess I have to laugh that Lugo claims he never felt the tag. Ya right. Like he would admit it haha

That was a very condescending ‘statement’… ‘moved ever so slightly’ in regards to Lugo’s pant leg, in other words he saying, ‘It was not as obvious as everyone is making it seem’. Yeah it was. You can talk about how the glove barely brushed the pant leg and that at speed it was impossible to see something like that, but it’s not true. It was an easy ‘out’ call to make. And the statement makes the ump look like a punk.

Rob :
Actually, it IS “their”. “They’re” is a contraction used in place of “they are”. If you substitue those words in place of “their’ in TW”s sentence, you will see that it makes no sense. Correct word is “their”. Pirates fan here and I don’t agree with the comment but at least the grammar is correct.

It was the second “their” that drew the criticism, not the first: “…but now their pissed that one went against them” is incorrect.

Meals need to be removed from the game like the yo-yo who blew the PERFECT gamre earlier. I’d love to say more, but…

Give me a break, the ump blew the call.
Admit the fact he blew the call.

Did this guy ump the 92 playoffs as well…..who’s payroll is he on…..or is it just ” If not the Yankees then the Braves. My dislike for them continues!!!

Guess you should get glassses so you can see things clearly. You should apologize for this, step up and be a man and do the right thing. You took first place from them and that is unacceptable!

Sincerely,

A lifetime Pirates Fan

I think the Phillies are going to make this a moot point.

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