San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler stopped short of criticizing the game-ending blown call Gabe Morales and instead came to his defense.
There are blown calls that result from bad umpiring, and then there’s the Gabe Morales call at the end of Game 5.
Not only was it a bad bit of umpiring, but it had a profound impact on the result of an MLB Postseason series.
Earlier in the Dodgers-Giants broadcast, the TBS crew made mention of Bobby Thompson’s ‘Shot Heard ‘round The World’ and how Ralph Branca became a pariah for giving up the infamous home run. First base umpire Gabe Morales probably won’t be as well remembered in baseball infamy, but the recency bias is as strong as the rage Giants fans are feeling toward him after his check swing call ended Game 5 of the NLDS along with San Francisco’s season.
Morales called a strike on a Wilmer Flores check swing, one that upon replay was very clearly not a strike. Because check swings aren’t reviewable — and Morales was down the first base line and without a proper vantage point — the call stood and the Giants season ended.
Gabe Kapler defended Gabe Morales after blown call in Game 5
After the game, Kapler was asked about the elephant in the room, but rather than bury Gabe Morales for ending the Giants season he defended the umpiring crew.
“These guys work really hard to make the right calls. It’s super challenging,” Kapler said. “There’s no need, especially right now, angry about [the blown call]. There are other reasons we didn’t win today’s baseball game, that was just the last call of the game.”
Kapler didn’t totally let Morales or the umpiring crew off the hook, as he made it clear a number of different times during his postgame press conference that he wasn’t pleased the game ended that way but stopped short of going any further with his disappointment.
“On our end, obviously it’s going to be frustrating to have a game end like that. We had a pretty high quality hitter at the plate, but with that count there’s no guarantee of success at the end of the at-bat.”