Pirates 3-Braves 3-Jerry Meals 1

I was beginning to hit the wall.

My eyes had grown bleary from the constant movement from T.V. to Tweet Deck for the past six plus hours.

“I have to get to bed for work tomorrow,” I thought to myself. “But I can’t miss this.”

I had made it through 18 and a half innings of the Pirates-Braves contest last night, and lived to tell the tale (actually I am pretty sure everyone did).

The events of the ground ball Scott Proctor hit in the bottom of the 19th will resonate with me for a long time. That shot of adrenaline as I saw Jerry Meals make the safe sign kept me up until four.

Having been an umpire through my teenage years, I understand the stress that comes with the job. I usually give them the benefit of the doubt knowing that their judgement is usually right.

But c’mon man.

I’ve umpped games through rain and snow, from 95 degrees to below freezing. Yet I always knew better than to call it a day early. People can sniff it out, easily and there would probably be a smashed window in my car to remind me. There is no doubt in my mind Meals wanted to get the heck out of there after seeing somewhere in the ballpark of 600 pitches.  It just didn’t matter to him.

But I’m not going to let that ruin my enjoyment of what will probably be one of the best games any of us will ever witness.

The Pirates got three quick runs at the start of the game. A big triple from Neil Walker and a bomb of a home run from Michael McKenry were the key hits. The Braves fought back scoring three of their own in the bottom of the third despite having the first two batters of the inning get out.

Then things settled down.

Both starters Tommy Hanson and Jeff Karstens didn’t go deep due to high pitch counts early. The bullpens became the stars of the night afterwards.

Inning after inning. Jam after jam. Neither would budge. There were enough escapes to make Houdini jealous.

Situations like that are what make for great baseball. Will this be the winning run on base now? Is this the pitch that ends it? How much longer can it go on?

The sideshows that went on also added another fun dimension to the game. As the stadium emptied out, a girl could be heard screaming her lungs out for her beloved Buccos before every pitch, even though the clock read past 1:00 a.m. A group of college kids attempted balancing a huge stack of over 100 souvenir cups they had collected from the nearly empty Turner Field. Hearing Greg Brown and John Wehner trying to keep themselves awake and coherent made for a classic broadcast.

Yet after the whole debacle was settled, and the venting online was made, I took a second and appreciated what I saw.

I saw two teams on a muggy night give it their all over the course of what was essentially a little more than two games. It’s unfortunate the way it turned out. I was upset that I didn’t record it, just for having in the future. The Pirates should probably release it on DVD as I don’t think there have been many more exciting games in the team’s history. I know I would buy it the second it comes out.

If anything, this game let me know just how much the revived Bucco Nation is into this team. Here it was, 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, with Twitter and Facebook crashing from all of the people commenting.

The real concern here is if the team lets it affect them in the next few games. It could, but I highly doubt it. Clint Hurdle knows these Pirates are better than that.

The best part is the players know it too.


About suhlmann12
journalism student at Ohio University. Huge fan of Pittsburgh sports teams

One Response to Pirates 3-Braves 3-Jerry Meals 1

  1. Don says:

    Meals is being vilified, as he should be. It was a bush-league call, not worthy of an experienced umpire, and not worthy of a 19 inning game. The runner clearly knew he was out, and never attempted to step on home plate until he saw the ‘safe’ miscall.

    Get this guy out of MLB. And while MLB is investigating personal threats against Meals, maybe they should also check if he has connections to the betting industry. As much as I hate to say it, it is time for instant replay in MLB.

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