Softball umpire makes the worst call ever

Despite reaching first base a full second before the ball, the umpire says Lindsey Harris was thrown out. (
Despite reaching first base a full second before the ball, the umpire says Lindsey Harris was thrown out. (

As fans of baseball, we’re no stranger to blown calls from umpires. Remember the infield fly fiasco from the 2012 wild-card play-in game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves? Or in 2010, when Jim Joyce blew what should have been the final call of Armando Galarraga’s perfect game?

Both of those calls were pretty bad. But I’m not sure there’s ever been a blown call as egregious as this one. It’s from a softball game between Fultondale High School and Minor High School, both in the greater Birmingham, Alabama area. In the video below, a Fultondale sophomore named Lindsey Harris is batting. She bats, she hits, and then … well, just watch the video shot by fellow Fultondale student Kayla Jasper.

She hits the ball and it dribbles about a yard and a half in front of the plate. She runs, she hits first base, and the ball gets there well after she does. And then the umpire calls her out. Why!!???!?!

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Was she out of the batter’s box? It’s difficult to see in the video, but when she hit the ball she was already on the move out of the box. Did she miss the bag? It’s hard to tell from that video, but maybe? Kayla enlightens us.

OK. So she wasn’t out of the box and she didn’t miss the bag. The umpire said she was thrown out. Somehow. Did the rules of baseball change? Does a hitter have to be on base for five full seconds before the ball gets there? Can they no longer overrun first base? Is the umpire blind? Or is he playing with special opposite rules that no one else knows about, where hits are outs and home runs are ejections?

These are all important questions. And the replies to Kayla’s tweet are, of course, gold. It’s a lot of people trying to tell Kayla, who was there and obviously in the know, that she is mistaken about what happened and what the umpire said. And she pretty much owns all of them.

Rheanna, you and Kayla get each other. But of all the responses, this one truly sums up everything so well.

What Lindsey was doing (and what some of the people in Kayla’s mentions don’t get) was slap hitting, which has some interesting and slightly complicated mechanics. Let former softball player and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commentator Jessica Mendoza tell you a bit more about slap hitting.

If only everything in life could be explained so well. Once you hear Jessica’s explanation and you take a look at Kayla’s video again, you can see exactly what Lindsey was doing when she hits the ball and shoots right out of the box.

And yet that doesn’t explain the call at all. There’s no real satisfying answer for why Lindsey was thrown out when she so obviously was not. Hopefully before the next game, someone gets that umpire fitted for glasses. That way he can have perfect 20/20 vision for when he’s inducted into the hall of fame for Worst Umpire Calls of All-Time.

BLS H/N: SB Nation

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher