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.