Game 128 // Ninth Inning, Houston // Cory Blaser—What’s Going on, Big Guy?

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: ANGELS 2 – 0 ASTROS

 

Two days in a row now, a ballgame has ended with a walk-off replay review.

Bottom of the 9th, home team down by two, a runner called safe.

Then, a challenge, a review, and a reversal.

And an umpire. One umpire. The same umpire. Crouching in position on Sunday, crouching on Monday, crouching and making a terrible call.

Cory Blaser—what’s going on, big guy?

 

 

Monday night. Houston, Cory Blaser finds himself behind third base, umpiring a game of baseball with the sworn pledge to do no wrong.

Astros batting, Angels in the field. The defending champs and the challengers, on a surprise hot start. Within a game of each other in the AL West standings. Bottom of the 9th. Two outs. A 2-0 lead and two runners on for the Astros. An 0-2 pitch in the dirt. Gurriel dashes to third base trying to advance. Maldonado gathers it and whips a throw down the line. Valbuena catches it, applies the tag.

And our man Cory Blaser settles into a crouch. Positions himself above the tag. Looks at the tag. Peers as the glove, the hand. The glove, the hand.

He makes a call.

SAFE !

Valbuena makes a motion to challenge, as does Maldonado.

They challenge.

 

 

The umpires gather. Donning their headsets. They come back with a verdict, announcing the end of the game.

“That’s not even close!” they say on the Angels’ telecast.

“How do miss that, if you’re Cory Blaser?”

The head umpire makes a reversal: “OUT.”

 

 

It happens, Cory Blaser. It does. But—then you see this, on MLB.tv, with another tab open to your inbox—an email from Dad.

“Third base ump who blew call right in front of him and got reversed to end game is same ump who blew call, again right in front of him, at home and got reversed to end cubs Rockies game. Got to be first time two games in a row end on blown/reversed call by same ump. Get that guy some glasses!”

You check the video, of this game-ending Cubs play. One day earlier.

Bases loaded, two outs, Rockies down two. Brandon Morrow throws a wild pitch, Arenado sprints home from third, Morrow catches flip from the catcher and lays down the tag. And there, right there, is our man. Mr. Cory Blaser. Crouched, readied, deep in study of a glove and a foot and home plate.

A “safe!” call, a challenge, a reversal, the game ending.

 

 

You check the box score, to be sure. This just can’t be real. Can it?

 

It’s real.

Cory Blaser, two days in a row, blundering his way into a walk-off replay review for the away team.

And then, you look over and see he ejected two Cubs coaches, earlier in the game.

You check what it was about—Kris Bryant hit by a pitch in the helmet, the pitcher not ejected, and coach Andy Haines, spewing rage the umpire’s way in the form of a full cup of coffee.

A baseball first.

 

 

You’ve have a bad week, Cory Blaser.

And just wait. Wait for the masses to get word of this. They’ve gotten word of you before. They’ve thrown their coffee cups for years now, the online mob of keeping umpires honest.

Let’s just go back through the years. Baseball Twitter.

April 22, 2018:

 

 

July 1, 2017:

 

 

April 6, 2017:

 

 

June 9, 2015:

 

 

And now, for the coup de grâce. April 15, 2014:

 

 

Well, at least we know what comes next. What should come next, I should say, assuming someone might just have the sense to follow through on what must, must come next.

Next game Cory Blaser calls behind home plate, the ballpark PA guy has to play “Three Blind Mice” on the speakers, does he not?

He has to.

He must.

Risk the ejection, my friend. Because you must.

 

 

 

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