Jeff Nelson forgot to turn off his microphone after announcing a challenge attempt by the Miami Marlins — and it led to his thoughts getting broadcast to everyone at Angel Stadium, and listening to the Bally Sports broadcast, on Saturday.
With one out in the 10th inning, Jacob Stallings hit a ground ball to the pitcher, and umpires — including C.B. Bucknor at home plate — had signaled for an inning-ending double play.
The Marlins, though, determined that Los Angeles Angels catcher Matt Thaiss didn’t have his foot on the plate for the force out, and they decided to challenge.
“Miami is challenging the out call at home plate,” Nelson announced, before pausing in a moment where he should’ve turned off the microphone. “They got their heads up their ass. Let’s go.”
If Nelson was referring to the Marlins with his comment, it backfired, as the call was overturned — determining that Thaiss didn’t touch the plate and Bucknor was wrong — and another Miami run counted.
Marlins manager Skip Schumaker told reporters postgame that video coordinator Austin Lamkey has “been amazing” adjusting to the shorter amount of time — with the integration of the pitch clock — to determine whether a call needs to be challenged, and Lamkey’s instincts in a key moment Saturday helped the Marlins extend their inning and add to their lead.
The Marlins ended up scoring four runs in the 10th inning, defeating the Angles, 8-5, en route to a weekend sweep.
“Those are big plays, and it’s not just like a stolen base out-and-safe call,” Schumaker said. “These are game-changing plays that he’s had to make a challenge call on, and he’s done a really good job.”
Nelson was the home-plate umpire for Friday’s game and finished with a 94 percent accuracy rate, with seven of the pitches he called strikes actually balls, according to the Umpire Scorecards Twitter account.
For Saturday’s game, Bucknor finished with a 95 percent accuracy rate and an 89 percent called strike accuracy, with the latter the same as Nelson’s percentage.
Miami (28-26) sits second in the NL East standings entering Monday’s games, one game ahead of the Mets — who lost two of three games to both the Rockies and Cubs across the last week.