In case you missed it, last night’s Pirates-Braves game ended on a controversial call by umpire Jerry Meals in which Julio Lugo was deemed safe when—by all angles—he appeared out.
You can see the clips and different angles below.
It was a horrible gaffe, but to suggest any malfeasance on the part of Meals is nonsense. Much like the reactionary idiocy surrounding Jim Joyce’s courageous (and wrong) call on the final out of Armando Galarraga‘s imperfect-perfect game, it was a mistake pure and simple.
Even the worst umpires don’t make it to the big league level with any essence of possible chicanery in their history. In short, Meals didn’t say Lugo was safe because it was the 19th inning and he wanted to leave. Like Joyce, the easier thing for Meals to do would’ve been to call the runner out.
As for the resurgence of demands for expanded instant replay, here’s my solution: the managers get one challenge per game. Independent of what’s already in place for reviewable calls for home runs, one challenge to be used at any time for the managers to protest.
No more than one.
Expanding replay to the degree that some are suggesting would take far too much time and—much like governmental intervention into too many aspects of our lives—where does it end?
One challenge. If Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had such an option, he could’ve used it in last night’s game. He didn’t, so now MLB is dealing with this debate again.
This is the simplest and most logical solution.