The Major League Baseball season is only a week old and we’ve already had some all-time baseball weirdness. On Opening Day, Dodgers star Cody Bellinger hit a home run and got called out on the same play because Justin Turner thought the outfielder caught the ball and ran all the way back to first base as Bellinger continued rounding the bases, which by rule you can’t pass the baserunner in front of you and as such Bellinger was out with the world’s longest RBI single.
On Thursday, the Mets maybe managed to one-up that moment for the weirdest play of the early season, as they won in dubious fashion on a walkoff hit by pitch. Michael Conforto, down 1-2 in the count with the bases loaded and one out, leaned dramatically into the strike zone to let a pitch that the umpire was calling strike three hit him on the elbow. Somehow, the umpire allowed it to be a hit by pitch to walk it off for the Mets in a 3-2 victory. Even the Mets announce crew thought it was a ridiculous call.
MICHAEL CONFORTO GETS HIT BY A PITCH AND THE METS WIN IT 3-2!!!!! pic.twitter.com/R1QdgiRQJ5
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 8, 2021
It is a miserable way to lose for a Marlins team that doesn’t exactly need the assistance of the umpires to drop games, and it will be the source of plenty of controversy around baseball. It’s an absolutely atrocious call, especially considering the ump was ringing Conforto up before recognizing it grazed his elbow pad. How you don’t recognize something is amiss in a situation where you go from calling strike three to calling a hit by pitch is unfathomable, but the Marlins have plenty of reason to be upset after that ending.
UPDATE: The umpire admitted he messed up the call, which doesn’t change the outcome and won’t do anything for the Marlins but at least he copped to the mistake.
I just spoke to umpire Ron Kulpa as a pool reporter. He admitted he didn't call it correctly: “The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone. I should have called him out.”
— Anthony Rieber (@AnthonyRieber) April 8, 2021