Phillies lost, 6-5, to the Cubs in 10 innings. Yes, they had several miscues, but the game wouldn't have gotten to extra innings if 3B umpire Johnson hadn't blow a call on a long fly by Mark DeRosa that was foul by a few feet in the middle of the game. See, Johnson called it a homer, prompting LF Pat Burrell to dash in to protest, prompting Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to rush out to protect his player and appeal to home plate umpire Bill Welke, who must have been napping, because Welke and his crew declined to change Johnson's call of the long fly as a homer. That further angered Manuel, who got tossed.
The replay clearly showed that the ball was fouled by two feet. When this crew looks at the replays tonight, they will realize that they blew it and cost the Phillies a sweep of the Cubs. Given how close the NL East was last year, this blown call could loom large this year. What a disgrace.
Is it too hard to expect umps, who make sizable six-figure salaries, to get calls like this right?
Is it too hard to ask Major League Baseball to have instant replay reviews on dead-ball plays, which home runs ultimately prove to be? Mark DeRosa would have been sent back to hit on this occasion.
Is it also too much to ask Phillies' broadcaster Chris Wheeler not to be a shill/apologist for all things Major League Baseball. For Charlie Manuel's sake, "Wheels", Adrian Johnson and Bill Welke blew it, and your (and Tom McCarthy's) explanation/apology for why the umps missed it just didn't fly. Wheeler said that the ball was hit pretty high (geez, aren't most home runs hit pretty high) and also that the day was cloudly. Well, fine, but, again, that's why these umps are supposed to be elite and get paid the big bucks. Sure, we don't want you to be out-and-out homers, but call 'em like they were -- the umps were wrong.
Okay, so the Phillies had plenty of changes to put this game away. Jayson Werth failed to sacrifice a runner in the bottom of the ninth, Rudy Seanez pitched poorly in the top of the tenth and Chase Utley's throwing error in the top of the tenth is credited with giving the Cubs' the game. But I would submit -- in true partisan fashion, yes -- that the game wouldn't have gotten to this point if umpire Johnson didn't miss the call (and then exacerbate the situation by running Manuel from the game) and if umpire Welke didn't also miss it.
Sorry to be so harsh, but the umps cost the Phillies a win today.