On June 26, 2016, at AT&T Park, the home plate umpire was Doug Eddings. It is possible the baseball gods made what must seem like a typographical error in judgment when Paul Emmell got bonked in the head by the backswing of an Angels' batter. I think by seeing the job Doug Eddings did today and the recent Paul White article that lists Eddings as tied for first for most calls overturned that a mistake has been made. It was Eddings not Emmell who needed the gentle reminder.
Much like the Warren Beatty movie, "Heaven Can Wait," I think the powers that be got their facts jumbled or transposed the information. For shame.
Eddings is as confused a balls and strikes umpire as there has ever been. In fact, he is so wishy-washy I actually was empathetic towards one C.B. Bucknor. (No worries, moments after the Giants won this game on a walk-off double by Conor Gillespie my angst and total dismay of Bucknor instantaneously returned as his is still the top competition for Eddings as the league's worst at deciphering balls from strikes.)
The capacity crowd that filed in for the Giants/Phillies game got to witness for themselves how a bad balls and strikes umpire can change the complexion of a game like nothing else.
After an inning when the Giants scored 4 runs to take a 5-1 lead it was duly noted by starter Johnny Cueto that three of his teammates had been hit-by-pitches. So in the next inning Cueto did what old school ballplayers insisted he do and that was to plunk a Phillie batter. And he waited until there were two out. When it happened Eddings did the appropriate thing which was to issue warnings to both benches because that is the MLB procedure umpires must follow when the beanballs are flying. But it did not end there.
Eddings is not only a poor judge of what makes a pitch a strike or a ball but he also gave this listener (of the broadcast) reason to believe he has rabbit ears. According to play-by-play announcer, Dave Fleming, after the Phillie batter was struck coach Larry Bowa barked incessantly at Eddings. Meanwhile, the next batter at the plate became a lottery winner of strikes allowed during his at-bat which exceeded the rulebook number of three. And if you, like I, pay attention to these intricate details you'll know that big leaguers generally take advantage of any "extra strikes."
The Phillies would score 2 runs that inning making the score 5-3. And eventually would tie the game 5-5. The game was tied at 6-6 and 7-7 before Gillespie's walk-off double in the bottom of the 9th inning. AT&T was the house of thrills ONLY because the Giants won. Had they lost Eddings would have tossed momentum and victory into the salivating jaws of defeat. Because Eddings' interpretation of a strike is NOT in the rulebook and to make matters worse he appeared to "even things up" to appease the bellyaching Bowa.
Kevin J. Marquez