The umpires in the Cardinals Saturday game against the Royals have just made one of the worst calls I have ever seen as a baseball fan.
Rookie pitcher Joe Kelly surrendered a pair of hits to start the first inning and the third hitter lined a ball back to the mound. Kelly bent down and scooped the ball up and showed home plate umpire Kerwin Danley the ball in his glove to indicate he thought he caught it.
Danley raised his right arm to signal that he agreed with Kelly that the batter was out. So the Cardinals pitcher threw the ball to first base and then second to complete an apparent triple play.
Unfortunately, the Royals argued the call and Danley changed his mind about the catch -- after his decision dictated how the Cardinals completed the play.
If the umpire would have ruled the ball was not a catch, Kelly easily had time to go to second and start a double play because the uncertain base runners hesitated.
So, at the very least, the Cardinals should have had two outs and one man on base. Instead there were no outs and runners on second a third.
Kelly got the next batter he faced and the inning should have certainly been over. But the next batter fisted a ball into centerfield and the Royals scored an undeserved run as boos rained down at Busch Stadium.
Danley hasn't been on my bad umpire list. That's reserved for guys like Angel Hernandez, C.B. Bucknor and Sam Holbrook. Those are guys who are not only incompetent arbiters, but they seem to think that they're part of the show and umpire to their opinion and not necessarily the rule book.
But while Danley might not be as biased as some of those previously mentioned, his incompetence meter is on overload. The most basic rule of umpiring is not to make the call until you are sure and the second is to never second guess yourself.
It's fairly obvious that Danley had no idea whether Kelly caught the ball and he raised his hand because when Kelly gestured that he thought the ball was caught, Danley had to take his word for it. Then it bit him when he conferred with the other umpires -- who couldn't possibly have had as good a view as he did -- and he caved.