Washington Nationals' Skipper Jim Riggleman was out of the dugout in a hurry and his arguments with both first base ump Phil Cuzzi and home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez about the call Cuzzi blew on a sharp grounder to third by Nats' right fielder Jayson Werth in the ninth inning of today's game were heated. Riggleman, who saw what everyone following the game except Mr. Cuzzi saw, appealed for help from the other members of the crew since Werth clearly beat the throw from NY third baseman Justin Turner to Mets' first baseman Danny Murphy, whose foot also came off the bag. Werth was looking right at the bag and saw the play clearly, waving his hands, saying, "Safe!" as he ran through first. (ed. note - "Though he was safe, no player ever calls themselves out.")
Cuzzi punched Werth out for the second out of the Nats' ninth...
Laynce Nix, who'd doubled with one down, took third on the play, but was stranded when New York closer Francisco Rodriguez got a groundout from Adam LaRoche to end the 1-0 Mets' win. According to reports which came out hours after the game, the umpiring crew has complained about a "verbal altercation" involving D.C. GM Mike Rizzo that occurred as they left the field. As New York Daily News' writers Peter Botte and Bill Madden wrote last night, in an article entitled, "Umpire Phil Cuzzi files report about verbal altercation with Nationals GM Mike Rizzo after Mets game":
"It was impossible to miss the Nationals berating Phil Cuzzi and the umpiring crew in front of the visiting dugout after the Mets' 1-0 victory Thursday at Citi Field."
Mets' outfielder Jason Bay, according to the article, joked that after the final out of the game was recorded with Nix stranded at third instead of potentially scoring on LaRoche's groundout, "...it looked like half their team was ready to jump the rail." SI.com's Jon Heyman, who was at today's game, asked Jayson Werth about his relatively subdued reaction to what Mr. Heyman himself said on Twitter (@SI_JonHeyman) was a blown call by Cuzzi:
"I told Werth he seemed pretty calm after the bad call, and he responded, "You didn't hear what I said.' Good point."
The umpires on the crew declined to comment as they exited Citi Field, referring questions to Major League Baseball. "VP of on-field operations" Joe Torre, who reportedly hadn't looked into the situations as of Thursday night told the NY Daily News' reporters, "'I'm looking forward to an interesting morning (Friday).'" The incident occurred after the Nationals' second-straight shutout loss to New York. Washington's now gone 19.0 innings without scoring a run, and after 43 games, they have an NL-worst .223/.295/.342 slash line and an even more frustating 20-23 record with the NL's weakest offense failing to support what's been surprisingly solid pitching. The frustration the team, and the entire organization apparently, is feeling appears to have boiled over today. The fallout from the arguments and the post game altercations will follow, possibly as soon as this morning. Will anything be done about the fact the Phil Cuzzi completely blew the call?