Looking back on a long,crazy night
Where do you start about six hours after you’ve left the scene of a 19-inning game that lasted nearly seven hours and ended with one of the most unbelievable endings you could imagine.
By now most of you have had time to express disbelief or at least attempt to convince yourself that plate umpire Jerry Meals was correct when he ruled Julio Lugo safe to end the 4-3 win the Braves claimed over the Pirates early this morning.
Understandably, the Pirates have issued a formal complaint to Major League Baseball. My wife, a Braves fan, also issued her complaint when she said she felt cheated to watch a game like that end in that manner. That is seemingly a belief shared by many.
Click here to see multiple angles of Lugo’s slide and to hear the television and radio calls from both the Braves and Pirates announcers.
When I talked to Meals about the call last night, he was very professional and accountable. In case you missed it, here is his explanation:
“I saw the tag, but he looked like he oléd him and I called him safe for that. I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I’m guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened I didn’t see a tag.
“I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn’t see the glove hit his leg.”
After Pirates catcher Michael McKenry made his swipe tag I looked toward first thinking the Pirates might turn an inning-ending double play, without even knowing Scott Proctor had face-planted coming out of the box. When I saw the Braves players burst out of the dugout in celebratory fashion, it took me a second to figure out what was happening.
I guess you could say I was as shocked as I was a few weeks earlier when a judge in Orlando said, “Not guilty.”
We’ll remember last night’s game for a variety of oddities. Dan Uggla’s batting average sat above .200 for about four hours and then dipped below it when he finished the game 2-for-8. Uggla had more success at the plate than Martin Prado, who managed to go hitless in nine at-bats. He would have been coming to the plate had the game not ended on Lugo’s slide.
Nobody expected to see three scoreless innings from Proctor. Nor was there any reason to think he was capable of recording the game-winning RBI. He entered the night with three career plate appearances and each occurred in 2007.
Still as crazy as last night was, the key development seemed to occur in the 10th inning when Brian McCann strained his left oblique muscle, an injury that will sideline him for 2-3 weeks. Looks like Jordan Schafer is also going to the disabled list with a chip fracture in his left middle finger.
The Braves have not made an official announcement, but Triple-A Gwinnett’s J.C. Boscan and Wilkin Ramirez have been told they have been promoted to Atlanta. (Updated: The first version I messed up saying it was two catchers coming up because I at first thought I heard Wilkin Castillo was coming up. Sorry for the mistake. Caffeine will help tonight.)
The Braves are fortunate to have a backup like Ross around to handle the catching duties while McCann is sidelined. Still it’s obvious there will be a hole in the lineup while the six-time All-Star catcher sits the next couple of weeks.
Obviously many have asked whether this alters the Braves’ approach before Sunday’s Trade Deadline. Well it could certainly alter the discussions about B.J. Upton or any other player who could aid their lineup. But I don’t think Frank Wren is going to cave and do something irrational.
Now the fact that it appears the Giants will land Carlos Beltran could prove even more influential to Wren. With one less outfielder available and uncertainty surrounding Schafer’s finger, maybe it will be more appealing to acquire Upton with the hope a change of scenery will help him maximize his great potential.