White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski swings at strike three. Umpire Doug Eddings signals strike three, and then a fist pump. Watch any baseball game, anywhere, ever, and the fist pump mean “Out”. Pierzynski then runs to first, thinking that perhaps the ball hit the ground. Eddings lets him go to first, and calls him safe, saying that he never actually called the runner out, and that the ball had indeed hit the ground.
Replays are inconclusive as to whether or not the ball hit the ground, but that is irrelevant here. Even if the ball had clearly hit the ground, the second Eddings signaled an out, the game was over.
Watch the video below that I found at FireDougEddings.com. There is no way any reasonable person could assume that his actions meant anything but strike and out. Clearly, when Pierzynski started running, Eddings assumed he must have missed something. When he then conferenced with the other umpires, they told him the ball may have hit the dirt, and he made the call then.
Watch the video, and tell me what you think.
FireDougEddings.com has an interesting stat which they use as evidence to indicate that he hates the Angels. From 199 to 2004, he umpired 15 games at home plate for Angel’s games of which they won five, a 33% record. During that span, their overall record was 51%. The sample size is far too small to make any sense of the data, but it’s interesting none the less.