The New York Mets won their home opener in such a controversial fashion on Thursday that even the home team’s TV broadcasters expressed embarrassment at the the call that gave New York a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins.
With one out and the bases loaded, Mets outfielder Michael Conforto appeared to lean his right elbow directly into Miami pitcher Anthony Bass’ two-strike curveball floated over the plate. Rather than calling strike three, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa—who appeared ready to ring Conforto up on strikes—indicated the ball scraped Conforto’s elbow, awarding him first base and the Mets the walk-off victory.
With the Mets players jubilantly celebrating their win, Marlins manager Don Mattingly came out to argue the call, pointing out that Conforto should have been called out as he made no effort to get out of the way. After a brief video review—even though the play itself was not reviewable—Kulpa stood by his call and the game was over, prompting an enraged Mattingly to argue once again, to no avail.
“Wow,” all three broadcasters on SNY TV, the Mets home station, said in concert after Kulpa upheld the hit-by-pitch. “[Kulpa] knows it was a strike,” Mattingly said in the post-game press conference. “I bet he feels awful because they don’t want to do that either... they don’t want it to end like that.”