Cubs vs Reds: Umpire confusion reigns in the 6th inning


In the bottom of the sixth inning of  Tuesday’s Cubs-Reds game, Cincinnati’s Miguel Cairo was at bat with two outs and two strikes. Chicago pitcher Matt Garza throws a sinker into the dirt, and Cairo swings and, apparently (note the word apparently), strikes out. Cairo, believing he had struck out, quietly strolls out of the batter’s circle and back to the Cincinnati dug out.

As the Cubs are walking off the field to the dugout, the inning apparently (there’s that word again) isn’t over because the Reds runners on base advance and confusion reigns supreme on the field (which seems to be normal for this short series with Cincinnati) with a missed or confused call by the home base umpire, who failed to call Cairo’s swing what it actually was — a strike. The pitch was apparently (yes, again) called a ball, so Cairo takes first base, and the next Cincinnati batter steps to the plate and is subsequently struck out by Garza.

Everyone involved in this sixth-inning debacle is stunned — the fans, the commentators and the players. Though the men in black, as usual, are the unaccountable silent minority. After reviewing the instant replay, it was clear that the home plate umpire was an uninvolved party, as no call is made. Rule 6.09 B (as quoted by Comcast Sports Network) states that once a batter walks out of the circle surrounding home plate he is out. It’s good that Comcast took the time to look up the rule; unfortunately, the umpires in the bigs don’t seem to know the rules — the rules they are paid  to monitor and enforce. On top of that, baseball’s advanced use of video technology showed another umpire asleep at the base during the play!

The Cubs went onto to lose the game to the Reds, 7-5, though the call (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with the loss. That was accomplished by Kerry Wood and the Cubs poor defensive performance.

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  1. Sorry, I’m a little confused, Cairo never received ball four, where did I say he was walked. He wasn’t walked, he just walked away. The Umpire never made a call, I watched the instant replay and the umpire gave absolutely no call. I dont see hand signals or anything for that matter. But as I said in the end of the story, it played no role whatsoever in the loss, the Cubs gave the game away through bad pitching and really bad defensive errors.

  2. Sorry, I’m a little confused, Cairo never received ball four, where did I say he was walked. He wasn’t walked, he just walked away. The Umpire never made a call, I watched the instant replay and the umpire gave absolutely no call. I dont see hand signals or anything for that matter. But as I said in the end of the story, it played no role whatsoever in the loss, the Cubs gave the game away through bad pitching and really bad defensive errors.

  3. “The pitch was apparently (yes, again) called a ball, so Cairo takes first base, and the next Cincinnati batter steps to the plate and is subsequently struck out by Garza.”

    Actually, the pitch was called a strike. The twist was that the ball hit the ground before it landed in Castillo’s mitt and therefore Castillo was required to either tag Cairo or throw the ball to Pena at 1st base to record the out. He did not do this.

    The runner could have gone to first base at this point. But he didn’t. He headed towards the dugout which is an automatic out. (The rule you posted)

    Once Cairo realized, or was told by his teammates, that he should have gone to first he took off. By rule he should have been out the second he started towards the dugout whether or not he could have taken 1st in the first place.

    So basically everything you said is correct except for the part where you said Cairo received ball 4 and walked. He struck out but there wasn’t a clean catch so he could have gone to first… but didn’t…. then did….. even though at that point it was too late…. but obviously it wasn’t according to the incorrect umpire.

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