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Berkman's check swing

There was at least one moment during Tuesday night's Nats loss when I strongly wished Rob Dibble had been in the booth. This image, via Mister Irrelevant, was it. Third-base ump Bill Hohn did not find this to be a swinging strike, which would have ended the game. Then Lance Berkman went ahead and won the thing with a bases-loaded two-run single on the next pitch. At least a couple Nats expressed surprise at the call.

"Yeah, he swung," Zimmerman said, via Kilgore. "It's over with now, but I think we should have won that game."

"It's frustrating, but you can't put it in an umpire's hands," the losing pitcher, Matt Capps said, via">via">via "Those guys are pretty good. Those guys are on national television. They don't want to get anything wrong. It's hard to say it was one way or another way. I made a good pitch there. was pretty shocked [Hohn called no swing]. But he's got a much better view over there than I do. I'll take his word for it."

"When it happened, I knew it was close," Berkman said, via the Houston Chronicle.

"I say this all the time," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's just a philosophical thing. For me, a check swing is one of those calls in the game that there's very little consistency on it. Nobody really knows what it is, what it isn't. If you check-swing, to me, that means the pitcher beat the hitter. You know? If there's a gray [area], it should be a strike. There's a way to take a strike, and it's not in the form of a check swing. It works that way for both clubs. Tonight, I think it burned us. As far as I was concerned, we had the strikeout at the end."

"Arrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh," Dibble would have said, were he there.

A win would have guaranteed the Nats no worse than a .500 record through the season's first third. They can still reach that mark with a win Wednesday night.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 2, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Hohn's the same clown that tossed Oswalt two nights ago which earned him a PUBLIC reprimand from MLB. So can someone tell me why this clown is still working this series or better yet, still working at all?

Posted by: Terpsrule | June 2, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I've always been confused about the check swing rule. So this morning I looked it up, and found to my amazement that THERE IS NO RULE for a checked swing. It is entirely up to the umpire to decide based on his own logic. So I guess if Berkman was using the "batter must break his wrists" guideline, from the picture above, it could have been a checked swing. I guess. But if you are using the "bat can't break the plane of the front plate" guideline, then it was an terrible call.

Posted by: kjhealey | June 2, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Zim must square up...he changed the outcome of the game. Erros lead to runs. Pathetic Zim

Posted by: BurgwithaU | June 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

BurgwithaU - I have to agree with you (except your spelling of Errors).

Cannot start that 9th inning with an error. Capps should have rolled right through that inning.

Tough loss to swallow.

Posted by: dmacman88 | June 2, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Burg and dmac. The error was pathetic. Also pathetic was the overall lack of production at the plate, again.

Posted by: Croutons | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter nailed right from the get go...

Hohn threw Oswalt out of the game Monday

Hohn was scolded by *former Astro* and current MLB VP for discipline Bob Watson on Tuesday

Hohn was the third base umpire last night

Hohn chose not to end the game on the check swing call

Something's rotten in Denmark

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If you're only going to spell one word wrong, erros is the best choice by far.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Terrible call. The umpire blew it and everyone knows it, but you can't do anything about it. Zimm shouldn't have had an error, but you can give them the game. Where will Hohn work today??? How can he lose the game for us and where??

The only way to stop getting beat on close calls is to get some hits when you have the bases loaded and 1 or 2 outs......


Posted by: punchdaclock | June 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

that was complete BS. his bat completely cross home plate, and then some. what a stupid ump. that wasn't even "close." umps gave that game to the astros. IDIOTS.

Posted by: rachel216 | June 2, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Basically it's up to the umps to decide if it was a swing or if he held up. There is no real rule.

Generally, factors such as whether the bat passes the front of the plate or the batter pulls his wrists back are considered in the ruling.

That picture clearly shows Berkman's bat way beyond the front of home plate. I don't know how Hohn made that call... either he wasn't paying attention or he's just an idiot. Not a great week for that guy, being talked to about his incident with Oswalt then he blows the game for a team. Nats got robbed.

Posted by: rachel216 | June 2, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Bad call, but I agree with the above...and so does Matt Capps...Zimmerman, aka Mr. Gold Glove, needs to square up especially in the 9th with a one run lead. That was ugly, and set the table for the rest of the inning.

I think Rob Dibble would have killed Zim on that play, Ray Knight was way too apologetic.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | June 2, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

If Zimmerman hadn't made the error then a non-check swing strike call would have happened on another Astros left handed batter or something else would have happened involving Bill Hohn.

Look at this picture and tell me that Bill Hohn didn't fully intend for the Astros to win this game in the bottom of the 9th! No neutral third base umpire could have missed this call. This one's too obvious.

Posted by: p_chuck | June 2, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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