Jul 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (2) is tagged out by Miami Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis (6) at home plate during the eighth inning at Marlins Ballpark. Cozart play at home plate was overturned by catcher interference. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Umpire Giveth, and the Umpire Taketh Away

Last night was another example of a terrible umpiring ruling – that was called via “instant” replay.

We’ve talked in recent weeks about how the Braves were hurt by a flawed interpretation of the “neighborhood play” at second base. This time they may have been helped by an outrageous call in the Reds-Marlins games.


Setting the Scene of the Crime

Top of the 8th inning in Miami. 1-0 game in favor of the Marlins, but Cincinnati has the bases loaded with 1 out. Todd Frazier hits a fly ball to medium right field. Giancarlo Stanton loaded up, catches it, then uncorks a strike to Jeff Mathis at home. He grabs it, turns and tags out Zack Cozart, who seems to concede his own fate. End of inning – lead secured.

Wait a minute.

Out pops Cincy manager Bryan Price. He wants the umpires to review the play in light of the plate blocking rule.  The umpiring crew indulges him.

Here’s the video of the play involved, with a link to the full sized version from the mlb.com site.


I will now further show you a still frame capture from that video:

From http://m.mlb.com/video/v34973785/cinmia-out-call-at-the-plate-overturned-in-the-8th/?partnerId=as_mlb_20140801_28885316

From http://m.mlb.com/video/v34973785/cinmia-out-call-at-the-plate-overturned-in-the-8th/?partnerId=as_mlb_20140801_28885316


Notice several things from this shot:

  • Catcher Mathis already has the ball
  • Catcher Mathis now has turned himself from ‘fielding’ position to ‘tagging’ position.
  • Is he blocking the plate? Yes – but he has the ball and is therefore entitled to do so.
  • Seriously: How else is he supposed to play this??? It was textbook perfect and Cozart was literally out by 10 feet!
  • P.S. – Cozart never did tag the plate!


Home plate ump Mike Winters has a good angle, and called the play correctly – imho. He ruled Cozart out, and Cozart didn’t even contest the play with a slide.

But there was an umpire in New York that did – and overturned the call. By the time the dust settled, the Reds put this and two more runs up on the board, winning the game by that 3-1 margin.



Yes, this helps the Braves because it puts a mallet to the Marlins’ momentum as they try to catch Atlanta. But the Marlins were screwed.

Marlins’ GM Dan Jennings, obviously not happy and admittedly choosing his words very carefully, spoke about this play on Siris/XM’s MLB Network Radio channel this morning:

Here’s the audio link to his comments:
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/161268536" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]


COME ON, MLB! Get these things figured out! Start using some common sense and make the right calls!!


Tags: Atlanta Braves Umpire Fail

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