“Obvious”

Anybody who is still up at this hour is definitely familiar with the play that ended the Pirates-Braves game that began on July 26th. Just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a video.

Pretty wild stuff. As the Pirates announcer said, “The throw beat him by a mile!!” But wait, Mike McKenry actually had to tag Julio Lugo. The consensus seems to be it was an obvious call. Obviously, says everyone, or most everyone at least, McKenry tagged him!

Just watch the video again, and try to find the tag on the replays.

“The throw beat him by a mile!” “And he’s saying that he wasn’t tagged?!”

Here is the picture most generally accepted (by myself included) to be proof of the tag, originally posted by @TravHaney.

Maybe I’m just insane. Maybe I’m just looking for something that isn’t there (or maybe I’m trying not to find something that is there). But that is, at best, a tangent-point tag. Can we definitively say, even from that picture, where glove ends and where shadow begins? It’s not like blowing the picture up really helps any, does it? Maybe I need my eyes checked.

Julio Lugo was probably out at home, but because the ball beat him by so much, we seem convinced that the tag was there. Is this fair? Actually, possibly it is. It doesn’t matter by the rules, but I’m damn sure, despite the fact that McKenry’s tag would be just as questionable if Lugo was called out, there wouldn’t be this kind of investigation going on and I would be asleep.

This is just a bunch of rambling, but the point is that watching it in real time, from multiple angles, and even in slow motion, it’s very, very, very difficult for me to point out where the tag actually occurred. This isn’t the Joyce-Galarraga play, where the video and pictorial evidence was so obvious. This is a case where, in my opinion, the confirmation bias of seeing baseball beat runner by so much — “The throw beat him by a mile!!” — manifested itself in a similar reaction.

I’m just not so sure it’s as obvious as everybody says it is.



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Luke M
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Luke M

No it’s obvious. He was clearly out. That was probably the worst officiating decision in the history of sports, no hyperbole.

And I’m a Braves fan.

Los
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Los

Context neutral…I agree 100%.

But I live in Pittsburgh.

Yirmiyahu
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Yirmiyahu

Carefully watch the slow-mo replay (1:40-1:55):

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_07_26_pitmlb_atlmlb_1&mode=video

He may have made the tag, he may have missed. It’s very close, and we can’t tell. The umpire had a much closer view, so I’m gonna defer to him.

DD
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DD

The umpire was on Lugo’s side of the play, not able to see the tag as it hit Lugo’s leg – see comment below for confirmation of the tag. Because he wasn’t in position to see the tag, and that was his reasoning for not calling him out, he ABSOLUTELY should have deferred to the 3B and 1B umps for confirmation. There is no reason a 19 inning game should end on a call that close where the ump doesn’t have the absolute best angle to make a definitive call.

Shawn
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Shawn

This is the dumbest comment on the matter. You want the guy staring right at the play from three feet, to defer to someone ninety feet away, who has their line of sight obscured by either Lugo or by KcKenry? Not to mention that their jobs are to watch the runner advancing to third and the batter-runner runni^H^H flopping his way to first.

I agree that if Meals called Lugo out there would be little to no argument from anyone. I also think that McKenry whiffed on the tag and Lugo was safe. And for anyone using this as ammunition in a pro-replay argument – there is nothing conclusive enough in any video angle to overturn the umpire’s call. Sixteen hours later and we’re arguing shadow vs. dirt smudge pixels? You think they’re going to be able to overturn the call in 30 seconds based on that?

Yirmiyahu
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Yirmiyahu

Look at the picture in the above post and tell me the ump didn’t have the best view of the tag.

http://www.fangraphs.com/not/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/lugoout.jpg

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