Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Worst Call in MLB History? Top 5 Worst Calls in MLB History.

Back here at Buccos Central:

When I saw the video of Jerry Meals' safe call at home plate (yeah, yeah, so I fell asleep in the 14th inning -- wanna make something of it?), I channeled my inner-Gene Hackman and shouted, "Do you have pigeon shit in your eyes?" This call is bad. Horrendously, obviously bad. The throw is in, McKenry swipes him, but Meals makes the safe sign before Julio Lugo touches home plate. I'm not sure how a base-runner can be called safe before he touches the bag (or plate as the case may be) ... Still, as heinous as this call is, I don't rank Meals' call as the worst in baseball history (although it's so pathetic that I understand David Schoenfield's point.)

At any rate, here's how I rank 'em:

1.  Don Denkinger calls Jorge Orta safe at first base in the 1985 World Series. If you haven't seen the video, here it is. I have to rank this at the top because it's a World Series, people. The call turned the Series and the Royals went on to beat the Cardinals. (I would also posit that it was Game 6 and the Cards could have gone out and won Game 7 but didn't.) No matter how you parse the aftermath of the call, it is dreadfully bad and deserving of the No. 1 spot.

2.  Jeffrey Maier catches Derek Jeter's "home run" in the 1996 ALCS. And I'm not even from Boston, but any moron can see that this is fan interference. How umpire Rich Garcia blew this, I'll never know. Again, context is important here. This is in an American League Championship Series game, so it is weighted accordingly.

3.  Jim Joyce blows out call in Armando Galarraga's Perfect Game (2010). This one just made me sad. I have no idea how Jim Joyce misses this obvious out at first base. It's not a bang-bang play. Dude is out by a step and a half.

In an ordinary game, it's a bad call, but Galaragga is on the verge of a perfect game here; not just a no hitter, but a perfect game. According to Baseball Almanac, there have only been 20 perfect games in the history of MLB, so this would have been just the 21st such game in 135 years. Heady territory for Mr. Galarraga. It still bums me out. However, I have a huge amount of respect for both Galarraga for the way he handled it and for Joyce, who admitted that he blew it. The blown call has a nice denouement, too. The next day, Joyce was working home plate of the Tigers game and Jim Leyland sent Galarraga out with the line up call. It was a very touching moment. Video Here.

4.  Matt Holliday's phantom tag of home plate. So it's game 163 of the 2007 season. The Colorado Rockies are playing the San Diego Padres to go to the playoffs. Matt Holliday ties the game with a triple. Then, while still perched at 3rd on a sacrifice fly, he tags up and races home for the winning run. Except there's just one niggling problem. Holliday never touched home plate. In fact, as I write this on July 27th, 2011, he still hasn't touched home plate. Just saying. Video here.

5.  Jerry Meals calls Julio Lugo safe at home before he even touches the plate.  The game is dragging on. Everybody's tired. They've played 19 innings. There are just no players left to swap out for pinch-hitters and the like (except Joel Hanrahan.) We've seen everything. Stolen bases. Pick offs. Home runs. Players tossed. Reliever used to working one inning, working three and four and five innings. It's just an amazing battle. By now, it is well after 1:00 am. Julio Lugo is on 3rd base. There's one out. Scott Proctor grounds to 3rd and Pedro Alvarez makes a speedy throw to Fort McKenry at the plate. Lugo is out, as you can see here, but Meals calls him safe so everybody gets to go home.

Here's what I am thinking was going on in Meals' mind: "God, I'm tired. And my feet hurt. Seriously, it's after one in the morning. I don't get paid enough for this shit. What I really need is a pizza, a beer and some hotel PPV (wink). SAFE!"

But I could be wrong about the beer and pizza part.

Honorable Mention:  Chuck Knoblauch's phantom tag in the 1999 ALCS. I so didn't mean to hammer the Yankees in this list, but it is what it is. Another case of the Yanks benefiting from bad officiating in the playoffs. I'm not sure that getting this call right would have changed the outcome, but it's just so obvious that Knoblauch whiffs on his tag of Jose Offerman that, watching from his home, Stevie Wonder got the call right. Again, I say to ump Tim Tschida -- do you have pigeon-shit in your eyes? (I can't find a video of this -- just more evidence of nefarious Yankees shenanigans -- so if any readers find one, send me the link.)

Pirates NL Central Ticker stays at 37 games.

(Note -- this article altered from it's original form due to author stupidity.)

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