Umpire Meals on call at home plate: “I was incorrect”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday afternoon he hoped umpire Jerry Meals would admit he missed the 19th inning call that cost the Pirates a 4-3 loss to the Braves the night before. Within the next 90 minutes he got it.

Umpire Jerry Meals admitted late Wednesday afternoon he had been wrong in ruling Julio Lugo safe at home, that Lugo had in fact been tagged by Pirates catcher Michael McKenry.

Meals reiterated that in live action, saying “I did not see the tag,” but said he realized his mistake after he watched video replays in the umpire room after the game.

“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,” Meals said to three assembled reporters. “And that’s telling me I was incorrect in my decision, and he should have been ruled out and not safe.”

Meals did not take questions. But his umpiring crew chief Dale Scott added this: “Obviously we all every day try to get plays right every time and are usually very successful about it. But every once in a while, that doesn’t happen. I know Jerry and myself and the crew welcome the support we’ve been getting from (Major League) Baseball, and we just hope the fans of the Pirates and fans in general in baseball will understand that sometimes things happen, it certainly wasn’t intentional.”

Scott declined to address reports that Meals’ family has been harassed in the aftermath, receiving threatening phone calls, with people showing up at their home.

A representative from MLB who was present wouldn’t comment other than to say it’s a security issue.

Earlier in the afternoon, MLB Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre had released a statement, acknowledging Meals missed the call.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the call was missed, as Jerry Meals acknowledged after the game,” Torre said. “Many swipe tags are not applied to the runner with solid contact, but the tag was applied and the game should have remained tied. I have spoken with Jerry, who is a hard-working, respected umpire, and no one feels worse than him. We know that this is not a product of a lack of effort.”

When told Meals said publicly he missed the call, Hurdle seemed satisfied.

“He said he missed the call?” Hurdle said. “Good for him.”

64 comments Add your comment

eskippy

July 27th, 2011
6:35 pm

eskippy

July 27th, 2011
6:36 pm

Enter your comments here

chalkdawg4

July 27th, 2011
6:42 pm

I still think the call was correct. Slap tag was lazy and he missed.

AustinBrave

July 27th, 2011
6:42 pm

Everybody seems to think it’s a terrible call because the throw got there when Lugo was 5 feet from the plate. That’s not the issue–the issue is whether the tag actually touched his leg. If it did, then it barely grazed Lugo’s pants, which is what made it a very close (and difficult) call.

LOL

July 27th, 2011
6:43 pm

Jonathan

July 27th, 2011
6:44 pm

I’m a Braves fan and I feel for Pirates fans in this. That said, it’s part of the game and part of what I love about baseball. It’s fallible and human. *Insert Terrence Mann “Field of Dreams” speech here. Armando Galarraga doesn’t have a complete game because of human error. (And nobody could have asked for more of an apology from Joyce than we got.) Gant was out at Hrbeck’s nudge because of human error. Posey was safe last year stealing second because of human error. It happens and it’s part of the game. Every fan hates it when it’s against their team, but I’m not sure I’d honestly want it any other way. Maybe I’m just being a purist though…

LOL

July 27th, 2011
6:44 pm

Austin stfu with your stupid logic

GT Alum

July 27th, 2011
6:45 pm

Funny how Meals started the game as the villain to Braves fans and ended it as a villain to Pirates fans.

LOL

July 27th, 2011
6:46 pm

Hilarious GT Alum keep them coming… Idiot

Another Clueless Braves Blogger

July 27th, 2011
6:47 pm

On behalf of Braves fans everywhere, we forgive you, Mr. Meals.

Kurdt Kobain

July 27th, 2011
6:48 pm

Who are these people that harass the guy’s family for this? Geez.

Unknown Hinson

July 27th, 2011
6:48 pm

Haha, where’s your ego now Jerry??? This is the best thing I could have woken up to this morning after the calls in the strike zone (or lack thereof) he was making literally all night long. Remember when he ran out to kick dirt off as he ripped his mask off, stared CMart down and spit on the ground while looking at him? Only after CMart had just made the 2nd perfect pitch that was called a ball. It happened 2 more times to him later in the game too. Karma is a bitch Jerry, now you must forever be known as the umpire who possibly made the worst call ever made. I am so happy right now it’s not even funny, Nate has to be loving this.

Let's Go

July 27th, 2011
6:50 pm

it sucks that he might have missed the call but at that time of the morning can you blame him. The guy was tired. Instead of MLB putting in instant replay and slow the game down even more maybe put a rule in place that after the 12th inning the 3rd base umpire takes over home plate. Can you imagine wearing all that equipment on a hot and humid night for 19 innings? He just wanted the game over.

Oh Well

July 27th, 2011
6:51 pm

Chalkdawg4 and Austin Brave– replay is clear that he made the tag and Lugo started to walk off till ump said safe. Everyone in MLB plus ump said he was out..leave it to a dawg and Austin to claim out wise.

NorCal Brave

July 27th, 2011
6:52 pm

It’s okay Jerry, when you see tonight’s lineup cards, you’ll know the Braves are trying to make things right. Whatever happened last night doesn’t merit anyone bothering your family.

G

July 27th, 2011
6:54 pm

It’s funny how you reap what you sow… The umpire had a very inconsistent strike zone and a chip on his shoulder all night long and then because he couldn’t show some leadership during the game he is paying for it now. Umpires need to realize nobody cares to see them and they are not part if the game. Just do your job and don’t come out from behind the plate to posture in front of the crowd if you feel a player is “showing you up.” nobody is showing you up because no one cares about you.

Farnsworth

July 27th, 2011
6:59 pm

I have just voted for Meals as the umpire of the month.

NickGranite

July 27th, 2011
6:59 pm

Meals is wrong again. His pants leg moved ever so slightly? He’s trying to get the heat off his family from the dirtbag pirate fans. He was SAAAAAFFFFEEEEE.

Kevin

July 27th, 2011
6:59 pm

You gotta love the guy on here that says, “I still think the call was correct.”

JB

July 27th, 2011
7:05 pm

Where is the Fire Richt blog? Damn Bradley and Schultz have let us down again………Baseball? The season isn’t over?

Von Trapp

July 27th, 2011
7:05 pm

6 hours will wear anybody’s eyesight sub par………………..Dat’s Vaseball

extremus

July 27th, 2011
7:06 pm

Threatening violence against anyone over a sporting event (or a lot of things that are much more important in the big picture) is low-class, and whoever does so really needs to rethink their priorities in life.

[...] Meals admitted this afternoon that he got the call wrong. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “After seeing a few of them, on one particular replay I was able to see that Lugo’s pant leg [...]

rosie jaer

July 27th, 2011
7:11 pm

Meals is an idiot and I hope he lives a miserable life, filled with people spewing hate on him. A blind, deaf, dumb, mentally challenged mute could have made the correct call. He is a shame to umpires.

Doc Holliday

July 27th, 2011
7:14 pm

What are you NICK GRANITE, eight years old? The ump, MLB, even Joe “Homer” Simpson admitted the call was wrong. I wish little weenies like you would stay off the serious blogs.

[...] Umpire Meals on call at home plate: “I was incorrect”Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Umpire Jerry Meals admitted late Wednesday afternoon he had been wrong in ruling Julio Lugo safe at home, that Lugo had in fact been tagged by Pirates catcher Michael McKenry. Meals reiterated that in live action, saying “I did not see the tag,” but …Pirates vs. Braves game ends in controversy, outrage with call at home platePirates fall to Braves in 19 innings on controversial call at home plate (Video)Wild 19-Inning Braves-Pirates Game Ends On Outrageous Call At Home - - Posted in News [...]

ted william's head

July 27th, 2011
7:35 pm

that wasnt Prados fault getting thrown out. I watched that damn Snitker when he managed Macon and coached 3rd. He did the same thing here. Windmilling his arm while he watched the runner not the ball
That guy is cost games just like in Macon

DaveinNEPA

July 27th, 2011
7:35 pm

“I was incorrect!”?

Now there’s an understatement for the ages!!!!!

That said, this is a notoriously bad umpiring crew. How could it not be with Bucknor, Iassogna, and Meals. And to top that, they already blew 2 calls tonight, Prado at 3rd and Freeman at 1st.

PMC

July 27th, 2011
7:37 pm

At least he was consistent and his logic on the call was understandable he just blew it. It was 2:00 in the freaking morning because 2 absolutely inept teams left like 40 something people on base.

Fredi Gonzalez

July 27th, 2011
7:37 pm

I just want to tip my cap to Jerry Meals. Helluva game last night.

Just heard that Jerry was placed on the 15-day DL today with a strained OpticalOblique. Apparently, it doesn’t allow him to see the things that are in plain view.

PMC

July 27th, 2011
7:38 pm

Ted William’s Head. Luther Williams Field? Man, that’s a while ago now.

PMC

July 27th, 2011
7:39 pm

Also in fairness his strike zone was 6 inches low and to the left all night long, It’s possible he just pulled a Stewart Scott on the call.

Chief76

July 27th, 2011
7:42 pm

Yes he got the call wrong especially when you consider “neighborhood” tags of second on a double play and catcher’s trying to avoid violent collisions at the plate on such plays. But I am sure that the catcher’s ‘ole’ play did just barely swipe Lugo’s pant leg. Enough for an out that should have been called, but leaves the door open for missing the call. But what goes around comes around. Meals put the Braves behind the 8-ball for 9/10 innings after throwing out McLouth for arguing leading to our pitchers batting lead-off. How many time did that effect the outcome in extra-innings? Proctor should not have been batting in that spot. How many at bats were effected by Meals shoe top strikes? The Pirates had plenty of chances to win before the 19th – THEY HADN’T SCORED A RUN IN 17 STRAIGHT INNINGS! ‘Nuff said

Done with baceball

July 27th, 2011
7:43 pm

I have an idea for a rule put umpires that are only good enough for little league {like this one] back in little league and let the parents have him. For the money baseball fans pan out for games. We deserve mush better.

Loretta

July 27th, 2011
7:47 pm

To get a clearer overall picture of what actually happened; go back to video (and audio) of Scott Proctor waiting and talking with the Umpire as he goes from the on-deck circle to the box. Scott was sharing positive vibes and assurances that the game would soon come to an end. Meals nodded and smiled in agreement as he put his mask in place. Proctor staged the Umpire to take necessary positive action to bring the game to a conclusion. Scott’s good graces and gift of gab garnered a Braves Win. Lugo’s lunge was ancillary. ~~~As an aside to this, a couple of years back, the Braves were on the bad side of a jovial Umpire who was clearly connecting with the opposing team’s catcher. The Ump utilized Calls gone wild against the Braves batters. At game end; the Catcher and Umpire knuckle bumped in agreement and appreciation of each other.

Loretta

July 27th, 2011
7:53 pm

Braves Hot Stove Report on Facebook brought this to our attention: Something funny from Baseball Reference.com about Home Plate Ump Jerry Meals-
Gerald William Meals
Born October 20, 1961 in Butler, PA USA
Jerry Meals has been a major league umpire for over a decade and is currently the most hated man in Georgia.
He made a controversial call in Game 3 of the 2009 NLDS, ruling that a ball hit by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley was fair, although replays showed that it had touched his foot in the batter’s box and should have been ruled a foul ball. The hit was a key to the Phillies’ winning run in the 9th inning in a 6-5 win.

Bruce

July 27th, 2011
8:17 pm

Kevin, don’t want to call you ridiculous, but you are ridiculous. Meals made the original comment right after the game and after reviewing the video. I wasn’t even to his house yet!

S

July 27th, 2011
8:42 pm

Tell us how you really feel rosie jaer Talk about spewing hate…..sure hope thats a Pirate fan

Tman

July 27th, 2011
8:54 pm

Yes he was safe, but it was 2:00 am and Meals had been on the field for over 6 hours. As many balls he called strikes (ask Nate and Freddy), he owed the Braves a call and they got it. At least the game ended. I kept falling asleep and waking up thinking the game was over, but they were still playing.

Evan

July 27th, 2011
8:55 pm

To anyone who thinks that he was safe: Have some integrity. Really. If you think it was even close you have proved that anything you ever say cannot be believed.

Braves Bobblehead 11

July 27th, 2011
9:51 pm

All I can say is instant replay

rosie jaer

July 27th, 2011
10:02 pm

S…I lived in Pittsburgh and actually dislike all things related to that city. Not a Pirates fan at all, but since I am not a blind, deaf, dumb, mentally challenged mute OR Jerry Meals then even I, as a non-Pirate fan, can see what a crap call that was. It is simply the worst call I have ever seen in my 28 years of watching baseball.

GT-UT

July 27th, 2011
10:11 pm

Guys…stuff happens…we should support Meals. I’m sure he’s feeling terrible. I support the Braves and no-one should want to win this way. Be classy in the victory and classy with the mistake…MLB needs to be classy too. Don’t punish the guy. And….that’s baseball. God love it!

Tom Persuschevesky

July 27th, 2011
11:18 pm

More than likely the harassing fans are really NASCAR fans.

Jeff Smith

July 27th, 2011
11:40 pm

First and foremost, leave the guy’s family alone. He made an awful call in a *game*. That doesnt warrant threats of violence against him or his family.

That said, the poor man’s name will live in infamy. He’s already spawned a new spoof industry around what is safe and what isnt safe. (Case in point, check out this general purpose safety assessment page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JerryMealsSaysItsSafe )

Many of us will go through life primarily unnoticed by the world at large. Even those who achieve some notoriety and are noticed by the world at large will be mostly forgotten after their death. But not Jerry Meals. He has assured himself of immortality as a legend.

shooz

July 28th, 2011
12:24 am

Meals had been standing behind home plate for 7 hours. In the heat and humidity. he is lucky he could even stand much less do a decent job. Did he ever get to sit down?

Bob the Blogger

July 28th, 2011
7:56 am

When the play happend, I thought it was an obvious call that the umpire missed, but the more I look at the replays, the easier it is to see how Meals could have not seen the tag. The tag barely grazed Lugo on the leg. He should have blocked Lugo and tagged him firmly, leaving no doubt.

BoatDoc

July 28th, 2011
8:56 am

Agree with Let’s Go: The discussion about “should there be instant replay – especially on certain plays” is legitimate. But shouldn’t there also be a discussion about limiting how much time or how many innings an umpire can be tasked with calling home plate? The players get to sit every half inning – the HP ump calls every single pitch, and occassionally game-ending plays at the plate. I would propose rotating the umps after four hours or ten innings.

Slaphead

July 28th, 2011
9:32 am

Well, next time the Pirate catcher needs to jam the glove into the runner’s chest or legs, no a swipe tag where it is hard to tell if contact was actually made.. Leave no doubt. It’s as much McKenry’s fault as anyones. He’s a pro, but he played that tag like a 170lb shortstop afraid to get Posey’ed.

Golden Tornado

July 28th, 2011
10:16 am

The answer is Instant Replay, but only for tags like the one umpire Meals missed. For the greater part of a game, pitcher versus batter, the solution is “Virtual Electronic Strike Zone,” old stuff over on North Avenue. Yes, it would drastically reduce the relevance of the flesh-and-blood umpire, but then, we love horses, but we don’t use them as much as we used to.

Choppinmama

July 28th, 2011
11:41 am

Add the Meals call to the list of reasons why instant replay should be used for calls at the plate, not only for boundary calls. It defies Selig logic as to why getting a homer/out of bounds call should be more important than getting it right at the plate.

[...] umpire who blew the call in Monday’s 19-inning win for the Atlanta Braves against Pittsburgh, Jerry Meals, admitted his mistake yesterday, as did [...]

papadawg

July 28th, 2011
11:57 am

Give the guy a break, he had just called basically 2 ball gajmes in 6 hours. You want to blame somebody blame the Braves anemic offense for not scoring any runs.

chris

July 28th, 2011
12:28 pm

One camera view shows SLIGHT movement of the runner’s pant leg?

Not exactly the worst call of the year as some have said and certainly not worthy of death threats to Meals and harassing visits to the Meals family by Pirate’s fans.

Mark (another one)

July 28th, 2011
12:33 pm

It was my understanding that when the play started, there was only one out. The catcher makes a swipe tag and starts to decide if he should throw to first or third. He didn’t do either because he heard the safe call.

In that situation you can’t blame the catcher for applying a swipe tag. If the tag had been properly called, he was in position to turn a double play at first and end the inning. He also had Shafer caught between 2nd and 3rd. That would have also ended the inning. If he focuses on smacking down Lugo and gets tangled up at the plate, he ends up with runners at 1st and 3rd, and two outs, and Hurdle would be wondering why the guy was in the major leagues.

Meals blew the call. He owned up to it and apologized. There is no conspiracy or plan. He just blew it and he feels bad about it. Enough said.

Hank

July 28th, 2011
12:55 pm

Joe Torre should have reminded Meals what the proper strike zone is too. Two inches above the ankle, but well below the knee, is not a rule book strike, unless it is swung at. After watching several sources of reruns of the play I am still convinced he got that call right. His saying afterward that he missed that call was simply an effort to save his butt from a suspension.

Hank

July 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

Mark (another one)…. Maybe Meals was feeling so guilty about screwing the Braves on so many of his strike calls that he felt he should give them one break.

papadawg

July 28th, 2011
1:12 pm

Death threats for a mistake in a freaking baseball game. Classy fans in pittsburg

ChillyMutt

July 28th, 2011
3:17 pm

AustinBrave and others are right. It doesn’t matter that the throw beat Lugo to the plate by 5-10 feet. The catcher still has to apply the tag and if he tagged Lugo (which I don’t believe he did) it was just barely. The correct play would be for him to block the plate and tag Lugo firmly. I was taught to actually push the base runner a bit so there is no doubt.

ChillyMutt

July 28th, 2011
3:20 pm

And Meels is a putz for apologizing. I would say the the video is inconclusive at best. That catcher is the one who should be drawing the ire of Pirates fans. That was just an awful tag attempt.

alexcox

July 28th, 2011
3:34 pm

un error lo comete cualquiera el albrito lo reconosio. pero sellores ese juego recalco lo q le falta alos bravos areglar el bulpen y buscar un bat diestro.si ese juego hubiese sido en otro estadio y fuera un juego d vida o muerte la historia fuera otra.WREN falta poco para la fecha limite estas esperando mucho y nos podemos quedar sin el bat q nos hase falta y ese lansador.

[...] as everybody says it is.” But then, in a postscript, Meals viewed replays of the play and announced, “I was incorrect.” Joe Torre, the Executive Vice President for Operations for MLB, [...]

Golf-1

July 28th, 2011
6:01 pm

Maybe the wind blew Lugo’s pants

alexcox

July 28th, 2011
11:17 pm

los gigantes tomaron el primer paso y LOS BRAVOS cuando lo haran?

Add your comment