San Francisco Giants left fielder Brandon Belt prides himself in his patience at the plate.
His 13-minute, 21 pitch at-bat last month against the Los Angeles Angels was a master class in wearing down an opposing pitcher and slowing the game to a mind-numbing crawl.
On Wednesday, Belt was left shaking his head at home plate after taking a called third strike to end the game with the tying run on deck in a 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
You gotta wonder: Belt implies umpire intentionally made bad call
The pitch was clearly outside, and Belt suggested after the game that home plate umpire Doug Eddings prioritized pace of play over the integrity of the game when making the call.
“It’s tough because you hope an umpire doesn’t affect the game like that,” Belt told reporters. “But he did, and you’re not sure if it was on purpose either. I’ve heard the guy multiple times say that, or insinuate, that he’s trying to get to the game fast, and then he makes calls like that, that I can’t imagine he really thought was a strike. You gotta wonder.”
In some circles, those might be considered fighting words. It was a bad call, but to call Eddings’ character into play is a serious accusation. On the other hand, if he has good reason to believe that Eddings is intentionally making incorrect calls, he’s got every reason to call him out.
Yet another pace of play challenge
Pace of play is at the forefront of baseball’s attempt to attract younger fans, and balancing the game’s speed while maintaining its integrity is proving to be a challenge. A take like Belt’s makes the issue that much more difficult.
“I’m not here to talk bad about the umpires,” Belt said. “I think 99.9 percent of the umpires are great. I actually enjoy talking to them.
“But there’s just some times when you have a feeling that one or two of them are trying to get the game over with, whether it’s through what they say or what they do. And that just can’t happen. You can’t have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that. We had a really good hitter coming up, could have tied the game for us.”
Belt might be hearing from MLB soon over his comments.
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