I’m man enough to admit that I slept through it. Right around the time The OC was belting the second of his two hits, I felt myself drifting. And by the time I woke up, I find out I missed what might well go down as one of the most bizarre and controversial calls by an umpire during a playoff series.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports puts it thusly:
With three outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Joe Crede doubled home a pinch runner for a hitter who previously struck out and was called out (or so it appeared) by the home plate umpire, giving the Chicago White Sox a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels to tie the American League Championship Series at one game apiece.
If the above paragraph makes any sense at all, then you must be a major league umpire.
Apparently, shortly before this play, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, A. J. Pierzynski swung and missed at strike three, and the ump made the out sign. But Pierzynski hustled down to first anyway as the Angels headed off the field to start up extra innings. With A.J. on first, the umps huddled, and decided that the ball actually bounced in the dirt before Anaheim catcher Josh Paul could glove it — even though, as Wetzel notes in his piece, “replays appeared to show he caught it cleanly just before it would have hit the dirt” — so Pierzynski got to keep his base. And then Crede doubled home the winning run.
Another case of bad ump mojo messing with a team’s fortunes? Again, I didn’t see it, but the story conjured memories of the infamous “phantom tag” in the 1999 ALCS, when the notorious Tim Tschida called Jose Offerman out when replays clearly showed you could have driven a semi in the space between Offie and Chuck Knoblauch’s glove. During the press conference that followed, Tschida referred to Knoblauch as “Knobby,” as if the two of them were headin’ arm-in-arm down to the watering hole for a couple cream sodas after the game.
In the wake of last night’s bizarre win, Ozzie Guillen noted, with a smile, “I always say, I’d rather be lucky than be good.”
What’s the ETA on those robot umps, anyway?