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Umpires explain controversial check-swing call that ended Game 5

© D. Ross Cameron | 2021 Oct 14

It’s not every day you hear umpires answer questions regarding calls they made directly after a game, but Game 5 of the NLDS called for an exception.

The game ended on a controversial two strike, check-swing call, spoiling San Francisco’s chance for a comeback with a runner on first and two outs. Was it the right call? Judge for yourself:

Gabe Kapler made it clear after the game that he did not agree with the call, but he was careful not to in anyway blame it for the Giants loss.

“Super tough. You don’t want the game to end that way,” he said postgame.

“There are other reasons we didn’t win tonight’s baseball game.”

The umpires in question were home plate umpire Doug Eddings and first base ump Gabe Morales. Morales called Flores out after Eddings asked for an appeal. The Morales and crew chief Ted Barrett confirmed as much, but what they said after was not as straightforward. Here’s a partial transcript.

Q. Did you see the replay?

GABE MORALES: I have seen it, yes.

Q. Okay. Do you still feel the same way?

GABE MORALES: Check swings are one of the hardest calls we have. I don’t have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I’m watching it live. When it happened live I thought he went, so that’s why I called it a swing.

Q. Is there a definition of a check swing?

TED BARRETT: We talk about it lot at our meetings because it is one of our most difficult calls and we try to get all on the same page as a staff that we’re all trying to call the same thing. But by the rule book it just says, did he offer at the pitch. So there’s some ambiguity there, but we do our best to try to be consistent, so players know what’s a swing and what’s not.

Q. And then, in the moment, the belief was that he offered at the pitch?

GABE MORALES: That’s what I thought, yes.

Q. And I’m sorry, different feeling after the replay or?

TED BARRETT: Yeah, no, we, yeah, yeah, he doesn’t want to say.

Q. And also how tough is it to make a call like that at the end of a series like this, the final out, it’s O-2, best of five, down to the final inning of the final game?

GABE MORALES: In the playoffs every pitch is big, every situation was big and that situation is big, obviously. But I mean, it was a high-pressure game the whole game, the whole series really, so…

To recap, it would appear that both Barrett and Morales are declining to state if they feel differently about the call after seeing the replay, which would also seem to indicate that they know they got the call wrong. The decision not to incriminate themselves makes some sense, but the lack of honesty is likely to only further infuriate Giants fans.

 

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