Baseball is back and better than ever. Spring training is upon us, and clips of the games are making waves due to the new and controversial pitch clock or teams playing games in unconventional ways. So, to stay in the spirit of Spring Training, when the umpires left early during a game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates, what did the teams do? That’s right; they continued playing without the umps.
The Orioles and Pirates played the bottom of the ninth despite it not being necessary. Brandon Hyde wanted to get his pitcher some more reps and wanted to play the bottom of the ninth, so they did, with no umpires. Baseball. pic.twitter.com/gSDkQW3Tw9
— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) February 28, 2023
It was following the top of the ninth inning, with the Pirates leading 7-4, when the umpires made the decision to head home. Usually, when the home team is leading after the top of the ninth inning, the game is over since the away team is on defense in the bottom of the ninth and has no way to score more runs. But this is Spring Training. The results don’t matter.
Pirates Manager Derek Shelton and Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided that since there was nothing on the line, the game catcher could take over the home plate umpire’s role of calling balls and strikes, and the final half-inning could be completed. Baltimore pitcher Ofreidy Gomez was scheduled to pitch in the game, but with only eight innings having been completed, Gomez still had yet to be on the mound. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde explained the situation, as shared by ESPN:
“A little backfield action. We were told by the league that we could clear it by the umpires and pitch the bottom half of the ninth inning, and I guess [crew chief] Chad Fairchild felt that we couldn’t.”
Some baseball fans on Twitter loved the subtle show of dominance that the players and manager showed to the umpires. The battle that constantly rages between managers and umps seems to have been won, at least for now, by the managers, as both teams proved that the umps are entirely unnecessary for a good baseball game.
One user said, “It always makes me smile that the most entitled officials in all of pro sports act like they couldn’t possibly be replaced. We could call balls and strikes without human intervention tomorrow.”
Another user wrote, “So, the blues thought that 1/2 inning more was too much for their workload? It’s spring training, play the full game. Can’t tell me they are season ready already. They’re already putting themselves above the game.”
And yet another user loved seeing the game played this way, saying, “Baseball’s great because you just never know when you’re gonna see something you’ve never seen before. The game ended, both teams agreed to play the bottom of the 9th anyway with no umpires, and the broadcast called the balls and strikes. Good times.”
Quirky things like this are a large part of what has made baseball become America’s pastime. With a revamped set of rules meant to shorten the game’s length and increase the entertainment of the televised product, Major League Baseball may be set to see a huge resurgence in both ratings and its place in the national culture.
Featured Image: Screenshot from Embedded Tweet
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