Just 24 hours after making one of the worst calls in baseball history, umpire CB Bucknor was at it again Wednesday night. During the game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, Bucknor made another egregiously bad call that could be easily disproved with just a little bit of video evidence.
It was the top of the sixth inning, and Bryce Harper was batting with a runner on first. He smacked a flare to left field, and Emilio Bonifacio had to sprint and slide to reach it. And he almost did. While Bonifacio was in his slide, the ball bounced sharply on the ground and right into his glove. It was a good grab, but it wasn’t an out. Here’s a close-up:
CB Bucknor just said Bonifacio caught this ball. pic.twitter.com/95esmpQU3B
— Steve Benko (@SteveBenko) April 20, 2017
But third base umpire CB Bucknor didn’t see it that way. He called the ball an out, even though Harper, Anthony Rendon (the runner at first), and everyone else on the field acted like it was a single. (Which it was.)
If you’re wondering why the Internet isn’t ablaze with more requests for Bucknor to jump in a lake at his earliest convenience, you can thank the rest of the umpiring crew. The other three umpires started conferring almost immediately after the play was completed because they knew something wasn’t right. Bucknor eventually joined them after running in from left field, and the call was reversed. Single for Harper, no catch for Bonifacio.
We should be fair to Bucknor here. With the lights and his position on the field, it could have been tough for him to see exactly what happened. And if the call had stood, it wouldn’t have been nearly as significant as Tuesday’s ridiculously terrible call — an out wouldn’t have ended the inning, and the Nats were up 7-3 at that point anyway. Plus, we don’t know how the umpire conference went. When Bucknor jogged in, he could have said “Hey guys, I think I messed up that call. It wasn’t an out, it was a single.” But it’s equally as possible that Bucknor had no idea he’d made a bad call, and the other umpires had to overrule him.
No matter why or how it happened, the other members of that umpiring crew saved Bucknor from another day of Internet infamy. He should send them each a fruit basket.
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