FIFA, USSF, MLS, all other soccer organizations, please take note. In a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night, the home plate umpire made a bad call that resulted in the winning run scoring in the 19th inning. Okay, bad calls happen all the time in soccer too. The difference is that, after the game, umpire Jerry Meals — gasp! — explained why he made the call. Whether you agree with his ruling on the field, he provided an explanation. You would never see such actions after a World Cup match (i.e. USA vs. Slovenia last summer, USA vs. Brazil women this summer). MLS does allow reporters to submit written questions to the referee, but the answers usually involve technical rules interpretations.
Here’s Meals’s comments:
“I saw the tag, but he looked like he oléd him and I called him safe for that. I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I’m guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened I didn’t see a tag. I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn’t see the glove hit his leg.”
Now that wasn’t difficult, was it? It doesn’t change the outcome — we can debate video replay on another day — but does provide the umpire’s side of the story. Paging Mr. Blatter.
For video of the play and further details, click here.