Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Thursday that umpire Alan Porter apologized to him for blowing a call in the Nationals’ 7-6 loss Wednesday night.
Porter, the home plate umpire in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, called Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp safe with the Dodgers’ sixth run of the night in the fourth inning. Only problem was that Kemp was nowhere near home plate when Ryan Zimmerman tagged Adrian Gonzalez for the third out of the inning.
Johnson discussed the play, the call and the state of umpiring on Thursday.
“To err is human,” Johnson said. “It can happen. I knew that he didn’t see it because if he saw it the first move is (to point down) that the run counts. That’s what they do. And he didn’t do it and I thought ‘That’s great.’ Because he saw it. And then (Dodgers manager Don) Mattingly comes out and he said ‘OK, the run scored.’ So I know he didn’t see it.
“But when they met I thought somebody would get it right. The only thing I could do was if I wanted to get thrown, which I didn’t wan to do that back-to-back. I don’t get paid that much to pay the league that much so I thought I would go ahead and stick around but I said, ‘Please look at the video so you’ll see that I’m right and you missed it.’ And they said they would.”
Later in the game, Johnson said Porter acknowledged his mistake.
“He said ‘I’m sorry I messed it up,’” Johnson said. “They’re good guys. I don’t have a beef with them. But just, when you miss one, get help. He got help and they still didn’t get it right.”
Crew chief Mike Winters declined comment on Wednesday night when approached by a reporter.
Johnson is not a proponent of significantly expanded replay, especially if it’d mean the umpires have to leave the field. But this is the second judgement call that has been grossly wrong, and obvious, that has gone against the Nationals in the last week. On Saturday in Atlanta, first baseman Adam LaRoche was ruled to have been pulled off the bag to put a baserunner on before a two-run home run.
Johnson said Thursday he’d be open to having a fifth umpire in the pressbox with the media to see the replay immediately and perhaps signal down to the field.
“If I know my general manager there was some follow up,” Johnson said. “If I know anything about Mike Rizzo there was some follow up (with the league), just to say that we would be open for maybe some video in certain plays like that.
“I’m not a big proponent of going to the video room all the time. The game’s long enough. Maybe somebody up top in the pressboxlooking down with all the video right there, they could just do a flash card or something, let’s go on. Instead of running off the field and then looking, have one of them representatives up there up top.”
Johnson did not plan to speak with the umpires before Thursday’s game, sending bench coach Randy Knorr out with the lineup card, but he did joke that he’d make his presence known.
“I’ll wave to him and let ‘em know I’m still here,” Johnson said with a laugh.