Thursday, June 30, 2022

Umpire apologizes to Mets’ Chris Bassitt for missed strike-three call vs. Braves

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It’s not often players and umpires interact in a way that can be deemed mature and positive, but that’s precisely what happened during Monday’s Braves-Mets game (ATL 5, NYM 2) thanks to plate umpire Chad Fairchild’s sense of accountability. 

In the middle of the fifth inning of that eventual New York loss, Fairchild gave himself an apologetic chest-tap to Bassitt as a means to apologize for what should’ve been a called strike three on Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson. While Bassitt did eventually retire Swanson, it took him an additional eight pitches to do so. Here’s a look at the pitch in question and Fairchild’s owning up to it: 

While Bassitt missed his spot a little with that pitch, it was clearly a strike at the knees. That Mets catcher James McCann had to lunge for it just a bit probably threw off Fairchild’s perception of where the pitch wound up. That said, even a pitch that misses the intended location is still a strike if it’s in the zone, and umpires are expected to make those kinds of determinations. Good on Fairchild for recognizing that he came up short in that instance. 

Per’s Anthony DiComo, Bassitt after the game had this to say: 

“I knew it was a strike, but at the same time, I think umpires, they have one of the hardest jobs in the world. I have no problem if an umpire misses a call. That happens. But especially if an umpire just accepts that, well, what am I going to say? It is what it is. I say all the time that it was a strike, and then I go back and look at it, and they’re right. So I ain’t going to be mad at no umpire, I’ll tell you that.”

Bassitt also apologized for his reaction to the missed call, which some mind perceive as “showing up” the arbiter behind the plate. “He said he was wrong. I said I was wrong,” Bassitt said. “I was like, ‘All right. Let’s move on.””

The 33-year-old right-hander in Monday’s game wound up allowing three runs in seven innings of work — good enough for a quality start, although he was tagged with the loss. In Bassitt’s first season with the Mets, he now has a 2.61 ERA after five starts.

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