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.”