The Chicago Cubs were attempting to mount a ninth-inning rally against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Trailing 10-6 with two on and two out, Anthony Rizzo appeared to take a payoff pitch outside to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, no stranger to head-scratching calls, saw it differently and rang up Rizzo to end the game.
Rizzo and his manager, Joe Maddon, were predictably aggrieved by the botched call.
“I think it’s well-documented that I talk to a lot of these umpires all the time and I have the utmost respect for every single one of them,” Rizzo said. “I feel like I know them on a personal basis just because long games, long season, talk to them at first. Feel like I have a great working relationship with pretty much the whole league.
“That being said, that call is unacceptable. He told me to look at it, I looked at it and he was wrong. And I would like for him to confirm that. That can’t happen. That can’t happen in the major leagues at Wrigley Field or any field.”
“You saw both sides,” Joe Maddon said. “You gotta play it straight right to the very end and I’m not accusing anybody of not. It’s egregiously a bad call. We can all see that.
Every game matters for the Cubs, who are trying to hold off the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. It stinks to end a game like that, but Hernandez was not the reason they found themselves staring at a four-run deficit.
Still, Major League Baseball probably doesn’t love an Eric Gregg-type zone impacting a playoff chase.
Wish Twitter had been around for that circus.