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Umpire Jerry Meals' missed call ends 19-inning Braves-Pirates game on sour note

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missed-call.jpgThe Pittsburgh Pirates have become America's darling with unexpected success this year, but their feel-good story had a controversial and unsettling chapter last night.

The Buccos fought the Atlanta Braves 19 innings before falling victim to what appears to be another blown call by an umpire at home plate in a crucial situation. 

In the bottom of the 19th, with runners on second and third and one out, Braves pitcher Scott Proctor had to bat for himself. He tapped a ground ball to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who threw home to catcher Michael McKenry. McKenry appeared to tag the Braves' Julio Lugo well before Lugo came close to the plate.

Home plate umpire Jerry Meals, however, didn't see it that way. He ruled Lugo safe and gifted the home team a shocking and unconventional walk-off win.

The missed call ended a game that had lasted 6 hours and 39 minutes. Proctor was only batting because Atlanta had exhausted its bench.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was understandably steamed that such an epic game came down to a glaring error.

"You'd like to see the game finished by the players, win or lose," Hurdle said. "And for it to end that way is as disappointing as it gets in a game. We had every player in the game laying it out there. Two pitchers in the bullpen threw over 80 pitches.

"For the game to end that way, it's really too bad. The game deserves better than that. The game tonight deserved way better than that."

Meals explained his call, but said that he might have gotten it wrong.

"I saw the tag, but he looked like he ol├ęd him, and I called him safe for that. I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened, I didn't see a tag. I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn't see the glove hit his leg."

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umps don't get paid for extra innings. Meals got hungry and wanted to go home

Throw the challenge flag...oh wait, Selig wants the Integrity of Baseball to continue in the ways it always has, including his Steroid looked the other way era. Ump Union needs to be busted. Let most of them walk out again or something. Its their revenge now. They're ineptness, not understanding situations (8 hour game tied major call on the line), and refusal to pow wow among themselves to discuss (probably some union rule they cant on this call), just is helping ruin the game.

We've grown up---baseball hasnt...unless its the Steroids Selig era---when everybody grew up.

I've been wondering if Leslie Nielsen would ever do a Pt 2 of his 1997 Mr Magoo comedy. Well we don't have to look far or long for a substitue. We found the next Mr Magoo in Atlanta umpiring a ballgame. Great material for the next movie.

The ump had been horrible all night. He camped out on the catcher's right shoulder and moved with him on every pitch... and subsequently he made several horrible ball/strike calls. I didn't make it to the end... but I saw 11 innings of pretty a pretty bad umpire. He deserves a little vacation er... suspension.

Um...he may not get paid for extra inning but he makes a lot of damn money doint that job and he needs to get it right everytime! The fact that he says later that he may have gotten it wrong shows that he needs to be punished.

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