Jeff Sullivan · May 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The strike that ended the game:



It hardly matters. For one thing, it was Mariano Rivera against Michael Morse. For another, even as a ball, it still would’ve been a full count. And there was nobody on base, and Kelly Shoppach was up next, and I’ll repeat that it was Mariano Rivera. The Mariners, almost certainly, weren’t going to rally in the top of the ninth. But that was the game’s final strike. The pitch was inside the right-handed batter’s box, very slightly. Add Jerry Layne to the list. Unless he was already on the list, which he probably was, because all the umpires are already on the list. I don’t remember what the list looks like because it’s gotten way too long.

Lots of hitters strike out against Mariano Rivera. I guess at least this way Morse gets to go to sleep knowing that Rivera didn’t beat him.


23 Responses to “Whatever”

  1. Carson on May 14th, 2013 10:30 pm

    I’ve had to many beers so I’m just going to shuffle the the hell along before I get [edit: no]’d.

  2. californiamariner on May 14th, 2013 10:31 pm

    Ha. Ridiculuos. The blown call with Furbush was probably more impactful. I aslo didn’t really care at the point of the Morse call, because you knew the game was pretty much over. It was just comical at that point.

  3. NorthofWrigleyField on May 14th, 2013 10:31 pm

    It was pretty hilarious on Gameday too.

  4. Miles on May 14th, 2013 10:36 pm

    F you MLB!

  5. Westside guy on May 14th, 2013 10:54 pm

    People need to continue making these really clearly blown calls as public as possible. I don’t know if it’ll matter, but the only way it might change is for the average fan to start realizing just how often this happens.

  6. Prozach on May 14th, 2013 11:22 pm

    This ump was really, really poor. Not solely because of the calls (but he was off on those a lot too). But the way he took his sweet time in simply calling balls and strikes seemed kinda, I dunno, unprofessional? Tough to describe it. Maybe it was just because it wasn’t something I’m used to, but the delayed calls on practically every pitch was bugging me, and I feel like that would have been a nuisance to the batters as well.

  7. Adam S on May 14th, 2013 11:40 pm

    You’re right that the call only took the Mariners win expectancy from ~1.5% to 0%, and Morse probably makes and out on the next pitch. But still I feel cheated. The call was 100% wrong.

  8. gopilots70 on May 15th, 2013 2:47 am

    I read a wonderful short story, or was it a novel, once, although the name eludes me, which was talking about how each umpire has their own strike zone. And the shape of that strike zone is not square, but rather a lumpy rectangle that results in some blues calling the low outside pitch a strike but never the up and in strike. One of my favourite things about watching baseball, okay thee most, is the game between pitcher and batter and how the umpires strike zone affects or even sometimes dictates that game. Good pitchers adjust their pitching to it and, possibly hitters adjust as well.

    For the past five years or so, I have watched about eighty Yankee games a year on TV because
    that is all I had access to. It is truly amazing how Mariano has his own strike zone. I could watch a game for ten, eleven innings and absolutely know the ump’s strike zone and it would change immediately and predictably when Mariano entered the game. I didn’t see the pitch today until now, but it didn’t surprise me at all.

    I am not even talking about obvious blown calls like today, but even some borderline strikes that had not been called all day, but when Mo enters they are. Did Ted Williams have his own personal strike zone? I bet yes. Did Edgar? At times it seemed like it.

    It is part of the game and Mo, and terrible Ted, and Gar probably deserved what they earned.

    That said, when the Yankees and the Red Sox played a few years back in their simultaneous glory days. The strike zones got very small, because of their stars and their teams reputations as having good eyes. Just ask Country Joe West. We didn’t get the Furbush call today because it is the Yankees and we never will.

    Please yes complain, feel persecuted, but don’t call for instant replay. The abomination that is football on TV has become even more so due to replay and they still don’t get it right. Just ask the entire state of Wisconsin and their governor.

    The human element cannot be removed. Umpires are human and will always be infatuated with New York and the Yankees, stars and celebrity.

    Angel Hernandez had replay and he still didn’t get it right because his tremendous ego always triumphs over any sense rational judgement. Add McClellan, Hirshbeck and nearly all veteran umpires to that list.

    Just don’t mess with the game. Like others have already said, it did not cost us the game.

    I just laughed at little Kenny, you know the ESPN guy with the bow ties, article about the travesty of the blown A’s–Indians call has to be fixed. All these years and he still doesn’t realize it is just a game and they play 162 of ’em.

  9. scraps on May 15th, 2013 4:58 am

    The human element cannot be removed.

    I never have seen that argument before! I guess we’ll have to shut up about instant replay now.

    Even though nobody had brought it up.

  10. idfan on May 15th, 2013 7:00 am

    Umpires are gonna miss calls. I worked HS and College ball and missed my share. But look at where Jerry is set up, his head is behind the catchers, not in the slot, or even over the top. Now put Mike’s arms in the way when he bends to keep from being hit, and he never saw the pitch, he guessed at it!
    1st rule of umpiring, never guess an out. Pure violation of rule #1. (yes, umpires have unwritten rules, just like ball players)

  11. mrb on May 15th, 2013 7:10 am

    I was at the game, my view was directly behind home plate in the 400 level. Basically exactly where the camera that captured the second photo was.

    The strike zone was goofy all night. For the most part, I felt like it was more of a “Cosmo Kramer Luxury Strike Zone”. The outside pitches were 50/50 splits.

    Does the saberati know, via Pitch F/X if some players/pitchers/teams benefit more from “wrong” calls than others? Obviously every fanbase feels this way, but are any of them right?

  12. eternal on May 15th, 2013 7:21 am

    Even worse and with more impact were the ball calls on furbush. He dropped strike three right down the middle and got it called a ball. Then her did it again against the next hitter to start off. Ball 1. That ended with a three run inning. It makes you want to stop watching baseball when the umps are this bad.

  13. stevemotivateir on May 15th, 2013 7:47 am

    These calls were as comical as the pitches thrown to Lowrie last year when the Jays faces the Rays. Anyone remember that? Two pitches, clearly outside, especially the 3-2 pitch. I swear it was foot outside. Lowrie headed toward first before Miller rang him up.

    There really needs to be more accountability.

  14. bookbook on May 15th, 2013 8:17 am

    Why not argue the last horrific call of the game? What’s the ump gonna do, toss you out of the postgame shower?

  15. goat on May 15th, 2013 8:20 am

    Wasn’t watching the game, but according to Gameday, Furbush had a critical pitch called a ball that was a strike. I think it was on Cano, but don’t remember for sure…

  16. greentunic on May 15th, 2013 8:21 am

    Yes, MLB is hurting themselves by not demonstrating accountability for umpires. For goodness sake, suspend and ump or two every once in a while. At least then the fans know MLB cares.

    It is a slippery slope, but ignoring it cannot be the answer here.

  17. TomC on May 15th, 2013 9:15 am

    Doesn’t the NFL have a system where they review and grade their referees? Why not MLB?

    From an organizational perspective it seems to me they would want to promote, retain, and reward based on performance. Umpires who consistently miss the balls and strike calls can start to be weeded out. Umpires who violate professionalism standards can be put on probation. Conversely, the umpires who make the fewest mistakes start to get bonuses and work the playoffs, etc.

    It seems to me the current system is based too much on seniority and not enough on merit.

  18. jordan on May 15th, 2013 9:45 am

    where is the ball in the second picture?

  19. Nate on May 15th, 2013 10:06 am

    I think it’s in the glove. I can tell because the glove is lined up off the plate.

  20. kfrei2 on May 15th, 2013 10:23 am

    I could not agree more.

    No one watches (or plays) baseball for the human element provided by the umpires. Nobody. We want to watch players like Felix do amazing things. At best, umpires simply allow that to happen. Often, they distract us from it. At worst they ruin the experience entirely. If anyone is talking about the umpires after the game, it is almost certainly a sign that they screwed up. 100 years ago this was the best anyone could do, so we lived with it. But we can do so much better now, it’s stupid not to.

    I don’t know why you would bring up the botched call in the Seahawks/Packers game. That was the replacement refs, who were obviously in way over their heads. And do you know what? The NFL actually did something about it. MLB needs to do something about it too. The fans (and players) deserve better than this.

    Also, I’m not really sure how you could call televised football an abomination. If you don’t like football that’s fine, but the MLB would probably do well to learn a couple of things from the most popular and profitable sport in North America.

  21. msfanmike on May 15th, 2013 2:37 pm

    “Umpires who consistently miss the balls and strike calls can start to be weeded out. Umpires who violate professionalism standards can be put on probation.”

    It would be nice if this could be reality.

    However, the Union protects mediocrity while never encouraging or expecting excellence. I don’t think any Union was ever set up to intentially operate this way, but that’s kinda the way they end up functioning.

  22. RoninX on May 15th, 2013 2:50 pm

    While I still follow the Ms slavishly via box scores and blogs I basically haven’t watched a baseball game in over a year now and this is one of the reasons why. I simply cannot fathom why umpires are allowed to continue to pretend that their unaided performance is the “best thing” for the game.

    As much as I miss seeing Felix pitch every week *not* having to watch this is adding years to my life. Maybe (probably) this makes me a bad fan, or not a fan at all, but I came to the decision that I simply couldn’t stomach it any more.

  23. Shanfan on May 15th, 2013 3:45 pm

    This might explain something, or at least make one feel better:


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