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#pounditMonday, June 24, 2024

Cubs walk off Pirates on controversial play at home plate

Cody Bellinger safe call

The Chicago Cubs walked off the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday under hugely controversial circumstances, even after a replay review.

A Christopher Morel base hit scored Cody Bellinger from second in the bottom of the ninth, delivering a 1-0 walk-off win for the Cubs. The play at the plate was very close, however, and a lengthy replay review raised serious questions about whether the call was ultimately made correctly.

Pirates catcher Joey Bart appeared to tag Bellinger on both the foot and leg before Bellinger could get a touch of home plate. Bart tried to hold up the baseball after making the tag, but it was inadvertently knocked out of his hand by Bellinger, who had his hands up to slide.

The safe call on the field was upheld by the video review, however, much to the confusion of the Pirates. It was not entirely clear if umpires felt Bart had missed the tag, or if they determined that he did not have control of the ball when attempting the tag.

Regardless, Bellinger looked out. Bart seemed to have the ball in his glove, and Bellinger’s foot clearly moved from a tag before it could touch the plate. Bart had already made the tag when he tried to hold up the baseball, only to lose control of it, which should not matter.

There has been a lot of controversy in recent seasons over home plate calls, but a lot of that has come from the rules about catchers blocking the plate. That did not play into things here, making the ultimate decision even more puzzling.

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