The Mets won a game on a walk-off strike-out

The umpire called this a HBP, which allowed the winning run to score, but he clearly made the wrong call. His error was not a judgment call, but an incorrect application of the rules.

Rule 5.05.b.2

“If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball.”

The pitch actually and undoubtedly was in the strike zone, as shown from multiple angles. That however, is unimportant, because umpires miss ball and strike calls all the time. Those are judgment calls, and are part of the breaks of the game. What is important in this incident is that the umpire had already called it a strike before he realized it had hit the batter, so it was not an error in judgment – he called it correctly. What he did NOT do correctly was to follow the rules! I know that the rules of baseball are arcane and anfractuous, but the umps just have to learn them.

The ump did ultimately realize his error, but not until after the game. “The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone,” he declared to a pool reporter. “I should have called him out.”

2 thoughts on “The Mets won a game on a walk-off strike-out

  1. HD broadcasts made an instant replay ruling inevitable because super slomo HD showed just how often umpires make the wrong call on bang bang plays. But I think something was lost from the game when you have a bang bang play that goes for or against your team and you cheer or curse then wait 5 minutes to have the call affirmed or overturned. While we all want the umpires to make the right call, the replay can’t be used on every play. Under the rules, this particular call was not reviewable. Sometimes bad calls allow the Mets to have their first no-hitter in team history. Sometimes a bad call lets the Mets win their home opener. I don’t have a problem with that. Seriously though, every baseball fan knows bad calls and good calls generally balance out.

    1. All true, but as I pointed out, there was no need to review the play. This is not a case of the ump making the wrong call. The ump made the right call in both cases (he raised his hand to call the pitch a strike, and he ruled that the batter was nicked). The problem was that he didn’t know (or couldn’t recall) the rules of baseball – that when the batter is nicked on a strike, it is still a strike.

      A misapplication of the rules, in my opinion, should always be subject to appeal. The home plate ump should confer with the other umps if he does not know the rule, and the umps should get out a rule book if none of them know it.

      I have to admit that if I were the commish, I would rule that the game had to be resumed with two outs and the bases loaded.

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