07/27/11 9:23 PM ET
Pirates file complaint, but ready to move on
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Sure, there was still plenty of disappointment that the outcome of a 19-inning, 6-hour and 39-minute game had been determined in the manner that it was. But really, everyone seemed ready to put all controversy aside.
"We're a no-excuses club," manager Clint Hurdle said. "This is not a distraction. It's not going to be a distraction. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I could not have been prouder of our men.
"It was a game dripping with drama. There was courage out there. There was resiliency, persistence, missed opportunity. It had it all. That's the essence of sport. You don't have to accept the defeat. You have to deal with it and move on."
Before moving on from the 4-3 loss to the Braves, the Pirates did voice their opinion pretty strongly. Players vented minutes after home plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled that Michael McKenry had missed tagging Julio Lugo on a play at the plate. Hurdle did as well.
The organization filed a formal complaint with Major League Baseball's Commissioner's Office around 2:30 a.m. ET, and Pirates president Frank Coonelly released a statement shortly after noon. That statement read as follows:
"The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is extremely disappointed by the way its 19-inning game against the Atlanta Braves ended earlier this morning. The game of baseball and this game in particular, filled with superlative performances by players on both clubs, deserved much better. We have filed a formal complaint with the Commissioner.
"While we cannot begin to understand how umpire Jerry Meals did not see the tag made by Michael McKenry three feet in front of home plate, we do not question the integrity of Mr. Meals. Instead, we know that Mr. Meals' intention was to get the call right. Jerry Meals has been umpiring Major League games for 14 years and has always done so with integrity and professionalism. He got this one wrong.
"For Pirates fans, we may have lost a game in the standings as a result of a missed call but this game, and the gutsy performances by so many of our players, will make us stronger, more unified and more determined as we continue the battle for the National League Central Division."
Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president for baseball operations, followed with his own statement, which noted that Meals did make the wrong call. Meals then spoke about an hour before Wednesday's game and also admitted such.
"After coming into the locker room, I reviewed the incident through our videos that we have in here and after seeing a few of them, on one particular replay, I was able to see that Lugo's pant leg moved ever so slightly when the swipe tag was attempted by McKenry," Meals said. "That's telling me that I was incorrect in my decision and that he should have been ruled out and not safe."
Hurdle, who had said he hoped that Meals would issue an apology, and Meals later shared some words and a lengthy handshake when Hurdle delivered the lineup card to home plate umpire CB Bucknor. Before returning to the dugout, Hurdle gave Meals a pat on the back.
Of all the players that played a role in Tuesday's game, Daniel McCutchen and McKenry, who were battery mates in that decisive 19th inning, were arguably the most prominent. Both said on Wednesday that they received text messages and calls from friends and family into the wee hours of the morning.
"It was pretty cool that so many people were concerned and watching the game," said, McKenry, who had caught a 16-inning game in the Minors last year. "Nineteen innings, you're just running on pure adrenaline. It is so hot here. I didn't stop sweating until about 4 [a.m.] either. I couldn't get the adrenaline to calm down."
McKenry was given the day off on Wednesday, as was McCutchen. After throwing 92 pitches over 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday, McCutchen's layoff will last for a few more days.
The righty reliever, who had not thrown more than 52 pitches in an outing all season, said he chose not to re-watch the game-ending play after leaving Turner Field. And while certainly not pleased with the way the game ended, McCutchen preferred to view the game with a mostly positive perspective.
"It was awesome the way both teams battle," McCutchen said. "It was an awesome game to be a part of."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.