Umpires use replay and still botch Yunel Escobar count (Video)
The umpiring crew that was working the Minnesota Twins-Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night completely botched one of Yunel Escobar’s at-bats, and instant replay somehow didn’t help. Escobar struck out in the bottom of the fifth, but the question of whether he fouled off a pitch appeared to mess everything up.
Why didn’t reviewing the sequence of pitches help? We have no idea. If you skip ahead to the 1:22 mark of the video above, you’ll see the pitch sequence to Escobar. The count was clearly 2-1 when he started to swing at a pitch that was up in the zone but stopped. It was unclear if he fouled it off or if it simply deflected off the catcher’s glove, but home plate umpire Paul Schreiber appeared to rule it a ball. That would have made the count 3-1.
The next pitch was called a strike to run the count to 3-2. The pitch after that was a ball, but Escobar was not awarded a walk. Either Schreiber ruled the check-swing a foul ball and Escobar should have already been called out on strikes, or the last high pitch was ball four. Escobar questioned the count and the umpiring crew decided to review the at-bat. They settled with 3-2 and Escobar was called out on strikes on the next pitch. Either it was strike four or he should have already walked.
“An error was made when replay officials and supervisors mistakenly thought one of the pitches was a foul ball when it was actually a ball,” MLB said in a statement after the game.
That’s fine, but if the officials thought the check swing was a foul ball then why wasn’t Escobar out? The “foul ball” would have been strike two and another strike was called on the next pitch.
Both Twins manager Rod Gardenhire and Rays manager Joe Maddon thought Escobar had drawn a walk.
“The (umpires) looked at video, so I’m thinking I must be seeing things, or imagining,” Maddon said, via The Tampa Bay Times. “We just came off a day off, had a couple Guinnesses (on Monday), I don’t know, it might have messed me up.”
It’s one thing for an umpire to lose track and make a mistake, but isn’t that why we have instant replay now? The fact that they still got the count wrong is pretty embarrassing for the league.
H/T Big League Stew