Alexa, play “Lean On Me.”
The Mets secured a 3-2 walk-off win in their home opener Thursday, but, in typical Mets fashion, it came with two dashes of drama and part controversy.
With the bases loaded, one out and a tie game with Michael Conforto up, the Mets’ outfielder seemingly leaned into a pitch in the strike zone, which would have been good for Strike 3 and out No. 2. Instead, umpires ruled that Conforto was hit by a pitch, forcing home the winning run.
While the play is reviewable on whether the ball actually struck him — which it did — the intent of Conforto cannot be reviewed.
But as is the rule, the player must make an effort to get away from the pitch. Conforto, instead, seemingly stuck his arm out to make contact with the ball. Game over. Some speculated that Conforto was fooled by the pitch, which might be the case.
To make matters more interesting, home plate ump Ron Kulpa looked like he was going to ring up Conforto for a strikeout, but changed his mind.
Umpires have the power to confer and overturn the call, even if it Conforto’s intent isn’t a reviewable call. The rule book also states that if a ball strikes a batter, but the pitch lands within the strike zone, the pitch may be ruled a strike.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly argued with umpires, with several Marlins also trying to make their case heard — to no avail.
The SNY booth, featuring former Mets Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, acknowledged that Conforto leaned into the pitch and placed the onus on umpires to get the call right, which, well, they did not.
It’s just one of 162, but it wouldn’t be Mets Baseball if it wasn’t memorable in some way, right?