Interesting conclusion in Flushing

Conforto batting with the bases loaded in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with one out, two-strike count, leans into a walk-off HBP. The umpire first calls him out on strikes, then immediately reverses and says take first on the hit by pitch. Mets rejoicing. Mattingly asks to have something reviewed and it is, but almost immediately the HBP stands and the game is over.

On replay there is no doubt the pitch was a strike and Conforto put his elbow into it. I get that that isn’t reviewable, but it was close enough to not hitting him or to arguably having grazed his bat instead, it occurs to me they could have reasonably called him out on strikes and then Alonso has to come up with the bases juiced and two down and the Mets don’t get to win by not swinging at a strike.

So looking at the replay there, the HPU has some 'splaining to do. He obviously felt the pitch was a strikes, so he should have called it as such, regardless of whether or not it hit Conforto. You can review whether or not a pitch hits the batter, but you cannot review whether or not the pitch was in the zone. So the HPU obviously ultimately ruled the pitch was outside the strike zone, but his actions on the pitch sure indicated otherwise.

So an umpire can call a strike on a pitch that hits a batter? I wasn’t aware of that. I knew they theoretically have the discretion to rule that a batter intentionally got hit (though I’ve never seen that called), and I guess it only follows that they can therefore call a strike or ball on said pitch…

It just seems like such a chickenshit way to end a game. It also takes away the entire inner third of the plate from the pitcher if he’s at all worried the batter might Biggio a wing out there.

A strike is a strike, regardless of if it hits the batter. He cant call it a strike and award a HBP, if he thought it was a strike then the umps actually applied the rules incorrectly.

Absolutely. Rule 5.05 b (2):

If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball.

Furthermore, if the batter swings at the pitch and misses, it’s a strike, even it hits him right between the eyes.

Has anyone ever seen them apply it correctly?

It would have been interesting what would happen had Mattingly decided to protest that game. You can’t protest judgement calls, but you can protest the improper application of a rule or the application of an incorrect ruling. At least you would have forced the umpire to explain himself.

Yes. I believe it happened to Josh Reddick last season. The pitch was a ball, and Reddick raised holy hell, but didn’t get 1B.

In which case he could have said “Mea Kulpa.”

1 Like

Now that you mention it I vaguely remember that. Seems to me that is the exception that proves the rule—umpires never do what that guy did to Reddick.

I had the same thought about Mattingly: he should have protested.

I saw the presser with Mattingly, and he said all Kulpa said was that it was his judgement. But they were discussing whether or not Conforto attempted to get out of the way. That’s irrelevant if the pitch is in the zone. Mattingly then went on to say he didn’t think he’s allowed to protest. Someone needs to buy him a rule book for his birthday.

My son’s middle school team had a kid on it who was a master at HBP. One game, we had an old up behind the plate and the kid leaned into one and the old ump said “Get back her son, all you get for that one is a bruise”. Everyone at the park was laughing after that response.

If its a game ending call, I think they have until the next day to protest anyway, right?

Correct. He has until noon tomorrow to file a protest.

Donny “Don’t Know” Baseball

1 Like

Here’s a bit more from the post game comments from Kulpa:

Good for him for owning it.

I still think the reviewing crew had a chance to make it right.

Practically speaking, what good does it do to file a protest? Everyone knows the league will never overturn a call on the field.

There’s nothing dumber than “that play is not reviewable.” The only standard should be whether it can be reviewed so that the correct call can be made. Otherwise what’s the fucking point of having review in the first place?