Perhaps Sunday’s 3-1 defeat of San Diego will slightly distract from Mariners manager Eric Wedge’s failure to notice the Padres’ Camron Maybin reached base Saturday on a 3-ball walk. The gaffe by umpire Phil Cuzzi and Wedge’s oversight was magnified by Maybin scoring the only run in the Padres’ 1-0 win. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Christian Caple attempts to unravel exactly what went wrong at Safeco.
Taking a look at postgame quotes and reports, it sounds like the scoreboard operator simply goofed and had a 3-2 count on the board prior to the final pitch of the at-bat, and though it was made clear afterward that Cuzzi and Wedge (above) both thought something was amiss, they assumed that the scoreboard was correct and they had simply missed a pitch.
“My plate umpire thought his count was wrong,” crew chief Tom Hallion told reporters, as quoted in the Associated Press story. “The scoreboard had 3-2 and he thought he was wrong because when Maybin took off for first, nobody said anything.
“The catcher didn’t react, the dugout didn’t react, so he thought he had the wrong count. Do we feel bad? Absolutely. We count the pitches and it was just one of those things that gets away with you with the scoreboard having the 3-2 count up there and then nothing being said by anybody, he thought he had the wrong count.”
Like Cuzzi, Wedge thought the count was 2-2, but assumed he’d messed up when he saw the scoreboard at 3-2 and nobody questioned why Maybin was taking first base.
“I thought I just missed a pitch,” Wedge told reporters, according to Taylor Soper of MLB.com. “Nobody reacted to it, nobody did anything. He went to first base so I felt like I was in the wrong, but obviously that wasn’t the case.”
It would probably be simplistic to say there’s not a ton of intense viewing going on in the M’s dugout. Simply because the manager let this particular mistake slide, just because the former face of the franchise fell asleep during a game last year, is no reason to suggest Seattle is operating at anything less than 100% concentration.