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Scott Rolen's check-swing

With one out in the top of the ninth Sunday afternoon and the game tied at 2, Nats closer Matt Capps got Scott Rolen to do this with a 1-2 count. Had the first-base umpire ruled it a strike, there would have been two outs. He said no.

"I'm telling you, it's not a good week for check-swings and this ball clubs," MASN's Bob Carpenter said. "Unbelievable. Can't get a call."

"That's a strike," Rob Dibble agreed. "I mean, unbelievable. Not only did he break the plane, he broke his wrists. I mean, that's not a good call."

"It looked like he went," Ray Knight said after the game. "If you look at this thing, that [bat] is way out there, I don't know what's happening with that."

(I realize you can't see the plate, but that's the angle MASN provided. And I realize the clarity is bad, but I have FiOS, which chooses not to offer MASN2 in HD.)

Anyhow, on the next pitch, Rolen hit a two-run homer. The Reds went on to win in extra innings. And yeah, that pitch was remembered.

"I know for a fact Rolen swung on that pitch before the home run," Jim Riggleman said after the game on MASN.

There were plenty of things to look back on -- the early yank for starter Craig Stammen, Capps's continued struggles, and so on -- but you couldn't hardly forget this check-swing, especially after what happened last week in Houston.

You remember, this, right? The Lance Berkman check-swing in the bottom of the ninth, which was also ruled a no-go, and which would have won the game for the Nats. On the next pitch, Berkman hit a bases-loaded two-run single to win the game for the Astros.

"We have seen this movie before," Johnny Holliday said after the game.

"Definitely two calls that were missed," Knight added.

Earlier in Sunday's broadcast, well before the ninth inning, MASN's Debbi Taylor asked GM Mike Rizzo if he expected anything to change in MLB umpiring.

"I'm not sure, that's more of a commissioner's office thing," he said. "I think these umpires, they're the best officials in all of professional sports, the Major League umpires. Like anything else, there's a human element that goes along with it, and we certainly know that these guys are really good at what they do. At times, things get heated up, and guys get ejected, but those kind of questions are up to the commissioner's office. I think they do a great job, but there's always room for improvement."

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 6, 2010; 5:06 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rizzo: Nats "leaning towards" Harper
Next: Ron Weber's Caps stats


Yah, that was strike 3 to Rolen but again, no respect from the umps. They blew it.

So Capps should have gone after Rolen with another quality pitch and instead gave him a hanger. Boom, 2 run HR.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 6, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Awful umpiring

Posted by: DCfan8397 | June 6, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I know it's second-guessing, but maybe Riggleman should have called time after that pitch, strolled on over to our friend Joe West, the crew chief who seems to want to "get it right", and asked him. He overruled the night before, why not try again? I know it's pushing the envelope, but it appears Joe West and his crew do not have an envelope.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | June 6, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Instant replay. All you so called "purists" can kiss my you-know-what. Umpires are not even 50-50 any more in their calls.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | June 6, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The best in professional sports? With that quote, it sounds as if Rizzo is trying to suck up to the umpires so they'll make nice when they have the Nats on the field. It can't be what Rizzo thinks, unless he's dumber than a stump.

There's no possible excuse for these dumb-dumbs who make inexplicable calls on a consistent basis—and thereby change the course of game after game. The umps are paid very well to do one thing, and, with a few exceptions, they err day in and day out, including very strange strike zones.

If Rizzo's viewpoint prevails, there's no hope.

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 6, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Baseball Purists = biggest nerds in America

That said, even if we had an expanded instant replay this type of call would probably be off the table. It's too subjective. Like in the NFL, we don't allow holding penalties or pass interference etc to be reviewable.

Still, these umps have cost us 2 games...which, in a wild card race later this year, could be costly.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 6, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

The respect level for the Nats is very low from the umps. Every game they play the Nats pitchers get sqeezed at the play and close plays go to the other team. The Nats are going to have to make some noise, Mark Cuban syle or it will continue until the games won't matter anymore.....


Oh yeah we need Pudge back ASAP!!!

Posted by: punchdaclock | June 7, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess the Lerner's didn't buy the tickets to the Umpire's Ball.

Let's hope what comes around, goes around.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | June 7, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of MASN2HD not available on FIOS. Most cable systems don't have it on HD and Strasburg's debut is on MASN2 while the O's play on MASN. For at least one game, couldn't they switch them up?

Posted by: VTBonovox | June 7, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Charlie and Dave went pretty nuts on the radio after this blown call as well.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 7, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Umps will always make errors and some of them will be critical. I say they should enact an NFL-esqe "challenge", give a team one challenge every 9 innings for certain calls. Balls and strikes shouldn't be challenged but I think a check swing should be. Either the guy swung around or he didn't. Rolan was out, plain and simple. The other guy pitched a perfect game, plain and simple.

Posted by: boblas | June 7, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of MASN2HD not available on FIOS. Most cable systems don't have it on HD and Strasburg's debut is on MASN2 while the O's play on MASN. For at least one game, couldn't they switch them up?
For at least one game .. yes, I agree. How about all the games! Geesh that has to be the Angelos purse strings.

Posted by: boblas | June 7, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, Dibble, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You want a game to be called fairly by the umps, but also go on and on about veterans deserving respect and getting the benefit of the doubt. These are two perfect examples of veterans getting calls that they didn't deserve at the expense of the game being called fairly.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | June 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the check swing is the most inconsistant call. I think it's another one of those "who's at bat" thing. If Jay Bruce was at the plate instead of Rolen, it would have been strike three. It's just not the Nationals that is getting the short end of the stick either. I watch other games and there are times when I think "he went too far" and it's called a ball. Other times, there is no way he went and yep, it's called a strike. I don't know what the umpires see.

Posted by: sheriff_deadeye | June 7, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

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