Meals’ explanation of his game-ending safe call

Plate umpire Jerry Meals became the focus of the conclusion of the 4-3, 19-inning win the Braves claimed over the Pirates at Turner Field Tuesday night.   The game ended when he surprisingly called Julio Lugo safe after it appeared Pirates catcher Michael McKenry tagged him before he crossed the plate.

Meals provided an explanation of what he saw on the play, which began with Scott Proctor hitting a grounder to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez whose throw to the plate easily beat Lugo.

Meals’ 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.”


I actually think he is right, there is no replay that shows that he indeed did the tag! I think he missed him and you can see that he is not an experienced catcher, there is no need to do a tag like that, just hit him with the glove😛

Wrong! The sweeping tag is the catcher making the tag and showing the ball. He called him safe before he even touched the plate. Lugo didn’t even try to touch until he was called safe. Nonsense. He had the perfect angle and blew the call. And made the difference in a game with plenty of playoff implications. Let the players decide the game. Atlanta probably wins in the next at bat. Umps get worse everyday.

But if you watch Lugo, he reacts like he’s been tagged until Meals made the safe call. That says a lot right there.


Are you mentally ill?

You might want to watch the replay again. Lugo does touch the plate before being called safe, and once he is called safe he touches it again just to make sure. Please don’t make stupid statements.

If he can’t see the tag, then his eyesight has problems and he should retire. And if he can only say “might” now with the help of instant replay, he should have his driver’s license taken away too while we’re at it.

“If he gets anywhere close.” You probably make that statement, and then turn around and throw a fit the next time an umpire “assumes” an out. People need to back off Jerry. The play was a lot closer than everyone is making it out to be. Sure the ball was there in plenty of time, but that isn’t everything needed to make the out. The very first time I saw the play I was like holy wow, and then they showed again from another angle, and it quickly made me question if he actually did get tagged. There’s a lot bigger chance that he was actually out, but I’m just saying that it was a close play.

Well Jerry, you blew the call. He was out by five feet. If he gets anywhere close to his leg you make that call. Congratulations on being the most hated man in Western PA!

“if he get’s anywhere close”? are you crazy?

wow, what a lame suck.

Fine explanation, Meals. You blew it and you’re a douche. Enjoy your Wednesday…

How pathetic. How pathetic should MLB feel? THIS is acceptable? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Incompetence.

Yeah! That’s what I saw, too!


I’m happy the Braves won, but I feel bad for how the Pirates lost it…No doubt the worst call I’ve ever seen. It was clearly made by an umpire that was just ready to get the heck out of there and go to bed. Go Braves.

He also saw the hotel bed that was calling him after a 19 inning game. What a disgrace and what horrendous call. I wonder if this was the 4th inning and the exact same play occurred, if he would have called him safe thinking McKenry “ol`ed” the tag? I mean seriously! Jerry Meals has to be suspended and at the very least reviewed by MLB. If anybody has the tape of the game. Take a look how Meals and the batter Scott Proctor were laughing just before the at bat. It is obvious Mealss was telling him to end the game, or something just like that. What a disgrace. I never thought i’d say this, but MLB needs instant replay on all major calls.

Lol. You’re in deep sh!!t now bud….

Good idea!

there’s no need for ‘instant replay’ per se to fix these kinds of egregious calls, just another umpire sitting behind a tv with a microphone hooked up to an earpiece in the field umpires’ ears. he could have screamed ‘OUTOUTOUTOUT’ as soon as he saw meals make the wrong call, meals could’ve switched his signal, and everything would have worked out fairly well. If the umpires don’t agree to something like this, they should be locked out by the owners. It happened in the ’90s and hardly anybody remembers it; I don’t know why MLB tiptoes around the umpires nowadays, they really have very little leverage if the league doesn’t assiduously protect their reputation.

I’d also like automated ball-strike calls, while we’re at it.

well, the last umpire work stoppage was not a lockout but a strike, i believe. the owners ‘won’ that one, though, which must have been a relief after about a quarter century of never-ending boneheaded defeat at the hands of the players’ union

Meals is right…i was watching game and said the same thing…he missed Lugo with his swipe tag…and Lugo got in…but after the replays obviously he wasnt…and usually on plays like that the ump usually always calls out…we see it all the time at 2nd on the double play….the “in the area” call….either way its done move on…we have more game to win!!!!!!! go bravos!!!! we beat up but still push it!!!!!!!!!!

your blind too

The umps can give the braves games for the rest of the season and they still have no shot of getting past the Phils!

I think he was safe based on player reactions, but nobody can definitively say the catchers glove ever made contact based on the replays. If this was football that was unreversable.

I mean I think he was out based on player reactions

What the [bleep] does “oléd him” mean? What did Meals think that was, a baseball game or a bullfight?

I thought I saw a fat, lazy, incompetent umpire behind the plate tonight, robbing the Pirates of a 20th inning. One of us made a correct call, Meals, and it was NOT you.

that was the worst call ever, and that was a sad excuse of an answer

That was absolutely the worst call ive ever seen in my entire life, Jerry Meals is a scumbag, and needs reprimanded by Major League Baseball…thats ashame Pittaburgh had to lose a game like that, especially on an inning ending double play…Both teams played their hearts out for almost 7 hours, and deserve a better officiated game….shame one you Jerry Meals, its people like you that hurt MLB…

If the ball beats the runner by THAT MUCH, and you don’t see with 100 percent certainty that the tag was missed… how can you possibly make that call?

I’ll tell you how. This ump clearly thinks he is bigger than the game. Look at how he came out in front of the plate to stare down Cristhian Martinez in the 14th inning.

That was an awful call plain & simple…why didn’t you take the time to look at it or discuss it with the other 3 umps? You are awful.

Who are you guys…

What does that matter? There are people actually talking baseball and not bickering (kinda). Why question it? There are more than ten people allowed to post here.

The Pirates couldn’t get enough leather on the ball to fashion a saddle for a junebug. This analogy was passed along by the Braves radio announcers in a similar situation during a previous game. I’m saying, sadly, the Braves bats were a toothpick shy of having enough wood in them to plant something in the seats. The plate umpire was a study in calls gone wild and throughout the game conjured strikes from balls when the Braves stood in the box. Normally this is an umpire trick to speed the game up; instead it stale~mated instead of check~mated. His dismal job throughout all of the game, antangonized all of Braves Country. His final call was wrong on so many levels that it will forever be a clinic in substandard performance.

You need to be fired immediately!!!!!! You are the worst umpire, ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

What a shameful way to end a 19 inning game. If ATL knocks PIT out of playoffs by 1 game – wow! Long past time for baseball to implement limited instant replay (2 appeals each team per game). No electronic strike zone.

“Don’t give me this oleee bullshit, McKenry.”

The bigger problem with Meals’ explanation is that it doesn’t cover the fact he NEVER looked at the plate to see if Lugo touched it before making the safe call. If you notice on the replay, Meals’ eyes are high and focused on the tag — which he still missed — the entire play. How do you call someone safe without confirming he ever touched the plate? Simply terrible umpiring.

I am a Braves fan but I think the ump missed the call. Umpire Meals will not be calling games next week. The league will let him finish out this weeks schedule and then quietly move him down.
I hate it the Braves won on this kind of call. But as a former little league umpire myself,…..”when you put yourself into a position for a single officiating call to determine the outcome of the game, well, you may not deserve to win. ” Just saying.

This Guy clearly blew the call and has blown calls all night long! He should have never reached this level of umpiring. He at most should be umping Little League.

A lot of high talk from a bunch of people sitting in their recliners eating Doritos. Things look quite a bit different on the field than in your mother’s safe secure basement. They happen quite a bit faster than you all could imagine too. The LAST thing an umpire wants to do is blow a call that cost someone a game. We don’t need more instant replay… we need less.

Anyone with a twitter account needs to look at the #jerrymealssaysitssafe tweets. It’s #2 trending nationwide. My favorite so far – “Asked Caylee Anthony to babysit my kids. It’s ok. #jerrymealssaysitssafe

There is no question, even the ump has acknowledged it. Also, you can tell Lugo knew he was out when he felt the tag, he stands there looking to see if maybe the ball was dropped, but he realizes the ump hasn’t called him out and jumps over to tap the base.

I don’t have a problem with the ump making this horrendous call, stuff happens and people have bad days at work, even really, really bad days. The problem is that MLB refuses to address this issue where bad calls don’t have to stand. All it would’ve taken was a minute or two watching the replay. Remember Galarraga’s “perfect game” that wasn’t? Final out of the game and the ump screws him with a call that 99.99999999% of those watching would have called the other way. Had they reviewed it they would’ve seen it was a fact that the runner was out, it would’ve taken one replay in slow-mo, unless there’s some magic camera trick the runner was out two feet from the bag. Horrible, to take away a perfect game because of a bad call and MLB’s ignorance in addressing the injustice that can result from “preserving the human element?”

I’ve lost a lot of respect for Major League Baseball, I’ll be tuning out for a while in the hope they fix what’s clearly broken.

Have you ever played ball? Normally, you may not feel a tag even when it does happen. All you’re thinking is sprinting your heart out & sliding into that base. Everything happens so fast, and as soon as he saw that ball beat him by so much he probably assumed he was out just like the rest of the nation is assuming he was out. He finished is slide and touched the plate then touched it again once he was called safe just to make sure… a smart play.

Watch Lugo’s reaction when he finishes his slide. He knows the tag missed him and he just scored the winning run, right? And so he’s celebrating wildly, right? No, he lowers his head, bummed that he was way short. And then he looks at the ump after the safe call … stands for a minute in shock, and then starts celebrating. Big joke.

There was SO MUCH the Jerry Meals didn’t see last night.

If you watch closly you can even see the ripple on his pants from then tag, thats just a pathetic call

Look at Lugo’s reaction. He was more surprised than anybody on the field to be called safe…because he is the one person that knew that he was tagged out.

Bad call yes, over and done with yes, every team gets the benefit of bad calls now and then. Its part of the game. Not like it was the nlcs or ws. Just a reglar season game. Got to move on and if he is disciplined by the league then so be it.

NC – The pirates are in a Pennant race and wildcard race. Could very easily be decided by 1 game. Bad calls are part of the game… but should never alter the outcome or even a season.

Just because it was the last call of the game changes the outcome? What about the numerous pitches called a ball that were strikes or vice versa. Any one of the missed calls could change the outcome of the game so to say that the one call at the end of the game changed it is naieve. A called strike that was actually a ball could have led to a homerun on the next pitch. What do u want to do? Review every call made or find a way to take the humanity out of the game(I.e. mechanical calls of balls and strikes to make sure they are correct)? The controversy of calls and the banter of hey my guy is better than your guy is all subject to opinion but its what makes our game great. If it was solely on one call that determined the outcome I could see it needing to change but its not. Its the culmination of a series of events and to single any one of them out is rediculous.

Balls and strikes are subjective and can be borderline. If a ball beats a runner to home plate by 5 feet, and you have to watch a replay 20 times to catch a glimpse of a tag to justify your decision, then you made the wrong call. Hands down. Would be bad if the call mas made at second base. Tragic that it happened at home in an extra inning game. And even more tragic that it can all come down to one game in the end. An umpire needs definitive evidence of a tag. ESPECIALLY if a ball beats a runner by that much. If it’s not definitive, got to call him out. Instant replay should not be used in this situation… but for the sake of the inegrity of the game, umpires should be penalized/fined/suspended for blatant mistakes that cost games and potential seasons.

Yes balls and strikesare subjective, but that one play could have ceased to exist if one other call was different than it was. All I’m really getting at is it really doesn’t matter. U can’t change it, unless we rectify all bad calls then it truly doesn’t benefit either team the way it should, by giving a 100% fair game. As they say, u win some u lose some. Hell, if either team had capitalized on their opportunities the game would have been over in 9. The pirates had a huge one in the 9th I believe, but the braves made the right decision to pitch out. Arguing calls is a moot point in my opinion.

I went to tons of links before this, what was I thikinng?

When I first saw the play, it looked like the worst call ever. I was angry about it. But, in all honesty, after seeing additional replays — I think the catcher might have missed the tag. It’s very close. Funny how a different angle puts it into such a different light.

Some of you Braves fans on here need to be honest with yourselves…. Lugo was out by 3 feet and you all know it.

Actually Jeremy, you need to be honest with yourself. Lugo was out by 5 feet. Worst call I have ever seen.

And I’m a huge Braves fan, I still remember watching The Slide live and own a Sid Bream jersey (sorry to bring that up PIT fans)

But I’m glad that little screaming girl went home disappointed

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Time to send Meals to AAA and bring a good, young ump up!

if you’ll look at the record books, jeremy, he was safe.

Everyone needs to look at the replays closely. Go to the Braves website and watch the clip that shows 5-6 different replays. The one that shows a view from the pitchers side proves that he was safe (time 1:15 of the clip). No actual contact was made with McKenry’s glove. The only contact was from Lugo’s hand hitting his side. By the technical rules of the game, he was safe and the call was/is right!

In a situation like that, McKenry should have shoved his glove into Lugo instead of doing some ole’ crap. He was far enough up the line to make a full contact tag. At the same time, if McKenry got him, then why didn’t he quickly throw down to first for the double play? All the clips show that there was plenty of time for him to throw down to first before the call was made at the plate, especially since Proctor slipped coming out of the box. McKenry got burnt by screwing up and his reaction was in defense of knowing he lost the game.

As far as Lugo having his head down…look at the replays again. He looks down the entire time making sure that his foot hits the base after following through his slide. After he slides around the tag, he steps on the base and looks down to make sure that he touched it. While watching, pay attention to his right foot as it touches the base and swipes across the entire plate as he is looking down to make sure that he at least hit it.

For all of the critics, do yourself a favor and watch the replays slowly, specifically the one that I mentioned. To further help pinpoint the specific replay, it has “WCNN” in the upper left corner.

You are now the jagoff of the century !

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