Even the New York Mets called Thursday’s walk-off 3-2 success over the Miami Marlins a lucky break.
Home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa initially started to ring up Conforto with strike three and then changed his call mid-motion to mention the pitch hit Conforto.
The umpiring crew conferred on the telephone, but Kulpa’s decision stood. Under replay rules, a telephone on if a pitch is in the strike zone when it rolls out a batter and if the batter attempts to prevent getting hit is not reviewable.
Following the game, Kulpa, at the pool report, confessed he made the wrong call, stating,”That man was struck by the pitch in the strike zone. I should have called him out.”
“Not how I needed to win the ballgame,” Conforto said. “I wanted to go up there and then push the ball somewhere. From my perspective, it was a sliderfelt it was coming back toward me. I turned. There might have been a little lift of my elbow out of habit, out of reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow protector. I did see that [Kulpa] rung me up. I think that’s why you didn’t observe a reaction from me immediately. I didn’t understand what was likely to happen. I understood there was likely to be a controversy. Our first-base coach was yelling at me to get down there and touch the base and let’s get out of this .”
Marlins director Don Mattingly said the umpires told him all they could review was if the pitch struck Conforto. Whether or not Conforto turned to the pitch was a judgment call”and they would not get together on this.”
“I guess the toughest part is it is just a strike. Kind of that easy,” Mattingly said. “You’d think with all of the replay we do you could say,’That ball’s a hit.’ I wonder exactly what happens when they put the automated strike zone and it divides the plane and the man does this. I wonder whether that’s a hit or not. I guess that is for later.”
In Terms of the end? “That has been pretty incredible,” McNeil said. “Just happened to nick Conforto there. We caught a break and just happened to win the match.”
Conforto stated he had no idea what the rules were on the play until he watched it on TV displays in the clubhouse after the match.
“I guess it came down to the telephone on the area,” he explained. “I guess the controversy was he called it a strike and then he said it struck me.”
Mets director Luis Rojas said he thought the umpires made the ideal decision. “I watched the attack call and then I watched the hit by pitch,” he said. “Ultimately, the umpires have to make the right call. It’s an interesting call, for sure. The hand motion and trying to escape the way caused the hit by pitch. But we’ll take the call”
“Great to have back the fans,” Conforto explained. “Good to get that atmosphere back. When Jeff hit that homer, the area just exploded. The roar from the crowd, we have been overlooking that.”
The botched judgment was acknowledged by at least one betting site. FanDuel stated it had been issuing refunds for money-line bets on the Marlins, in addition to for parlays where the Marlins cash line was the only losing leg.