The Ball Hit Utley

The “single” that extended the Phillies’ ninth inning in Denver tonight and moved their lead run from second to third actually hit Chase Utley, in the knee, while he was still in the batter’s box. The replay showed the ball’s direction clearly altered as it hit Utley’s uniform. Foul ball. Never mind the dubious call at first base, as Street might have thrown Utley out. He should’ve been sent back to the plate.

For all we know Utley would’ve followed it with a two-run homer. But a playoff game was in part decided by negligent umpiring for the second time in three nights, and that’s bad enough. Yet this is not solely the fault of Jerry Meals (nor, at Yankee Stadium on Friday, Phil Cuzzi). Far be it for anybody to encourage gratuitous call-questioning, but where was Rockies’ catcher Yorvit Torrealba on that play? Where in turn was Jim Tracy? I can understand Huston Street be a little focused on fielding the ball, but where was Garrett Atkins? 
Just like Friday in New York: I was sitting behind home plate. I didn’t see Joe Mauer put up a huge beef on the blown foul ball call in left field. Nor third base coach Scott Ullger. I doubt anybody in the crowd was aware the Twins had a question, let alone an open-and-shut case. 
Sometimes the squeaky wheel cliche is not only true, but also the essence of accuracy.



    May I condense your questions to just one: Where were ANY of the Rockies tonight? (rueful laughter)

    I, for one, am sick to death of bad calls in all sports, particularly in crucial games. With all the sophisticated imaging technology that exists nowadays, it’s ridiculous that instant replay isn’t used to its full potential. So it delays a game for a few minutes. So what? Isn’t it worth taking a little time to make sure the better team wins?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hurl myself into a snowbank. The Phillies won again! Darn it, darn it, @#$%&!!


    That sounds pretty bad. It’s not like football, you know, where the ref’s all do instant replays to decide a call. In a way, I really like that in baseball we don’t go through all of that trouble but in a case like this, it seems worse than human error. But I don’t know, it’s hard to see everything when you have a mask in front of your face. I played baseball for 6 years as a kid, and I can tell you that being a catcher is really hard sometimes just because of the gear on your head. It’s got to be similar for the ump, granted there is more than one ump on the field.

    Oh and I guess the reason why I like that we don’t go through all of the football ref motions is because, this is baseball! Also, tradition, and the pride in human ability without the need of technology (yah, I can make fire out of sticks!) in an age where technology is ubiquitous. However, with all the steroids scandal, what’s human.

  3. philly_in_nyc

    What a Cry Baby Met fan. Yeah, you Olbermann. No one can dispute the two calls referenced were wrong. But were is the mention of all the other, equally or more egregious calls, some of which penalized the Phillies? Why don’t you and Jon Stewart (another loser Mets fan) sit down and buy each other a beer (to cry in). Enjoy the Phillies / Yankees World Series.

  4. asujon

    Utley should also be called out as a cheater for trying to run. He had to have known the ball hit him, so why did he run instead of just stopping and signaling that it happened?

    All I can say is that if A-Rod had done the same, everyone would be livid this morning and claiming that he and the Yankees are cheaters.


    asujon, had Utley not run that out he might have been tagged out or thrown out. You always run it out when there is any dispute about whether or not the ball is foul or fair. Baserunning 101.


    @philly_in_nyc, you’re illustrating why I can’t stand the Phillies: their obnoxious fans. Can’t you just root for your own team, without taking personal potshots at individual fans of other teams? The Mets aren’t even being discussed here, and Jon Stewart has nothing to do with this, either. Despite the bad call (re: Utley), your team won. I’ve heard of sore losers, but sore winners? If Keith were to make a laundry list of every single bad call in these games, it’d be so huge that it would crash your browser. You won, quit being a crybaby yourself, before we have to call the wahhh-mbulance.

    @vansgirl12, I’ll confess that I like football somewhat more than baseball, because it’s more structured. You admit, yourself, that it’s hard for umps to see with all that gear on their heads. So it only makes sense to help them make good calls by letting them see a replay on video, when they can take off the headgear and get a clear look at the play. I liked your joke about the steroids, BTW. Good one! 🙂

  7. historymike

    Generations of baseball people will tell you that the rules are made to be broken or avoided, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to be “sportsmanlike.”

    Least of all Phillies fans. Bob Uecker had the great line that on off-days, they go out to the airport and boo good landings.

    A word for and against the umpires. They are human. They make mistakes. But it isn’t the same as the NBA, where working the refs and the home-court advantage actually play a role, the comments by the Angels about Fenway Park to the contrary notwithstanding. We talk about blown calls. As Gerry Davis, the crew chief in the Phillies-Rockies series said, the goal isn’t to be excellent, it’s to be perfect. But the overwhelming majority are excellent.

    The real problem is the selection process. First, it isn’t entirely on merit; they try to spread it around, so that more umpires get a chance and the selections aren’t only the senior umpires. That’s wrong. We don’t determine which teams are in the post-season or what rosters they use by making sure everybody gets a chance. Pick the best.

    Second, umpires are evaluated, and Bill Madden reported in the New York Daily News that politics played a role: the main evaluator, for example, supposedly didn’t get along with Bruce Froemming, so Bud Selig reportedly had to step in so that Froemming got to work post-season in his final year. We shouldn’t be surprised, since umpiring involves not only the rules, but making judgments.


    Way to go Phils! Last night showed the character, strengh and guts of this very special team. They are a super bunch of athletes and men. There isn’t the taint if PEDs among them and they play for the team, not for themselves. Congrats to Charlie and the gang! Beat LA!

  9. philly_phil

    I’m a Phillies fan, as you can tell by my name, but I’m also a baseball fan. First, I’d like to tip my hat to the Rockies. They played great baseball in the playoffs and all season. They are a team to be beat in the next several years.

    Regarding Mets comments… to everyone who is NOT a Mets fan, you have to understand that there is a two-way hatred between Mets fans and Philly fans. I think it has a little bit to do with the fact that NYC/Philly fan bases overlap around the Princeton, NJ area (which is closer distance wise to Philly) than NYC. When the Mets play in Philly; tons of Mets fans come to the game. This has always been the case because the Phillies stadium (both the Vet and Citizens Bank Park) is an easier drive for them than making the trip to Queens to see the Mets. Many Mets fans purchase tickets in Philly months in advance, and for some that’s the only time they actually get to see the Mets in person.

    Needless to say, this causes some tension, esp. when beer is being consumed by both sides.

    I just want to say, that no matter what you hear about Philly fans, we’re not all bad. Most are very passionate and love their team. Regarding the booing… that happens in Boston, NYC, and Chicago too. One thing I can proudly say, after the Phillies won the World Series last year there was a after game party in the streets… No deaths or damage (outside of Center City which most of the damage there was caused by drunk out of town college students). Then, we had a parade attended by a few MILLION people. No issues?. The city had not won a single major (MLB, NFL, NBA, or NHL) championship in 25 years, yet still no major issues. How many people have DIED during last few post celebrations in Boston?

    Fan attendance this year at Citizens Bank Park is over 102% of capacity thanks to standing room, and they have had over 60 sell outs and over 40 in a row. Also, Phillies fans have been everywhere this season following the Phillies on the road.

    The Phillies team has a lot of outstanding character. Look how many of them gave props to the Rockies. That?s why we follow them everywhere, that?s why we love them, that?s why Citizens Bank Park sells out, and that?s why they win.

    A few comments regarding the umpires:
    1) They are human ? they make mistakes. Sure a number of them went the Phillies way, but I don?t want to see the instant replay.
    2) Regarding Chase Utley running to first ? that?s what he?s supposed to do. If A-Rod or Jeter did it, I would have to tip my hat to them. That?s called heads up baseball. In Little League you are taught to run when you hit the ball, fair or foul. You let the umpire call you back. If he would have turned around and said the ball hit me, the Rockies catcher and the umpire would not have believed it. Chase would have been out and the whole conversation would have been about how Chase was called out for not running and didn?t get a foul ball call. NO ONE saw it until the replay.

    In closing, I love the Phillies, but I love baseball more. The Rockies series was great for Baseball fans and I thank the Rockies for putting up a heck of a fight. I hope the Dodgers give the Phillies a run for their money because it?s more fun to win when you have to scrap, claw, and bleed on the field.


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