Jerry Meals caused controversy once again last night when he made a game-changing, possibly division-changing bad call in the Rays-Red Sox game last night. Daniel Nava was called out on a sacrifice attempt when video replays showed that he was obviously safe, in a play that would have tied the game at two going into the ninth inning. Instead, the Rays got the 2-1 win and grabbed a half-game lead in the AL East. Check out the play in the link below:
This was hardly Meals’s first big mistake as a major league umpire. He also made what was arguably the worst call of all time in 2011 when he gave the Braves a 19th-inning win against the Pirates on what should have been an obvious out call.
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If those two plays weren’t enough, add in another blown call where Meals called Mark Teixeira out at first on a double play in 2012, giving the Orioles the win rather than the game going into extra innings.
It’s not just Jerry Meals, but those are three clear-cut calls that, in the moment, changed not only games but pennant races. This article is not meant to start up another pointless rant about how much baseball needs instant replay, because everyone knows that by now. This is meant to start the discussion about necessary discipline to Meals and every umpire who fails to do their job in the moments they need to get the call right the most. As many have said before(including myself), human error has been glorified more in baseball than in any sport or any organization. It’s seen as a part of the game, and umpires are defended as much as possible. If the managers and players that speak out against the umps are fined and disciplined, than Meals and the men in blue have to be held accountable for the call in question. Meals should be suspended for one series; apologizing after the game should not be acceptable after three calls that decided a ballgame. Time for Bud Selig to step up to the plate and address this issue head on.