If you haven't had a chance to see or hear about how the Cubs game ended today, let me explain. Mark Derosa singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth and was replaced with Ronny Cedeno on the bases (you'd think Felix Pie would be the choice but whatever). Jacque Jones was up next and worked a 3-2 count before an Isringhausen cutter missed off the inside part of the plate. Now here's where the trouble starts. The ball was clearly inside but as we learned last Sunday with the Kyle Lohse/Ted Lilly duel, balls clearly off the plate are called strikes every once in awhile. In this case though it was called a ball except that the home plate umpire did nothing to actually acknowledge that this was the call. So Jones just stood there, the ump didn't do anything which apparently is the universal sign for a ball and a walk and Ronny Cedeno who was stealing on a 3-2 count wasn't sure if it was strike three or ball four. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina not sure of the call either did the smart thing and threw the ball down to second and David Ecsktein, also not sure of the call tried to apply the tag. Now Cedeno actually beat the throw and this is where it gets really sketchy. He slid head first into the bag and his left foot ended up oversliding and Eckstein kept the tag applied. Walk or not, once Cedeno touches second base, he's in play and once he overslid and the tag was applied, he was out. Now the second base umpire wasn't even sure about the call but after Eckstein and Larussa argued and the umpires huddled, the right call was made and Cedeno was out.
So my issue isn't with the umpires for making the wrong call because it was clearly the right call and it's not really with Cedeno, although he should really have stayed on the bag if he thought the play was still going. My issue is with how balls and strikes are called and the procedure that allowed this to happen. Shouldn't there be some sort of hand gesture or obvious way of demonstrating that a walk has been issued? Shouldn't the second base umpire be signaling the players around the bases like an air traffic controller to let them know what's going on? Games should not be decided on confusion.
Of course, there's plenty of other reasons we lost, most of them associated with an offense only able to muster a single run off Braden "F******" Looper. But we now have have our 2007 version of the Barrett boner in Philly
, the Latroy helmet bounce
and the Neifi 2-errors on a single play
to let a runner score from second base on a sacrifice fly.