Rangers Beat the Rays Thanks to a Terrible Called Strike by Umpire Marty Foster on the Final Pitch of the Game (Video)
Well, that didn’t take long. Last night, on just the eighth day of the six-month baseball season, we got our first truly terrible call by an umpire. And the real kicker is that it ended a close game.
Let me set it up for you. The Rays were in Arlington taking on the Rangers. The home team scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th to take a 5-1 lead, but the visitors bounced right back and scored two runs of their own in the top of the 8th. Then, in the top of the 9th against Rangers closer Joe Nathan, the Rays scored another run to make it 5-4. So with a man on first and two outs, the Rays’ Ben Zobrist came to the plate and worked a full count.
That’s when this happened:
As you can see, home plate umpire Marty Foster was the only person in the stadium who thought that was a strike. The Rangers TV announcers called ball four, Zobrist headed off to first base, and even Joe Nathan himself seemed like he knew it should have been a ball. Then they showed the pitch tracker on TV (at the 1:32 mark) and, sure enough, the thing was low and about a foot outside.
The funny thing is, amidst all the calls for expanded replay in Major League Baseball, few people—not even pitchers—advocate using replay for balls and strikes, or replacing the umpires with pitch tracking computers. And on the whole, the guys in blue do a very good job. So this situation isn’t likely to spark a whole lot of debate about the direction of the game. It just kind of sucks for the Rays.