SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses the Nationals’ hot streak, if they can compete with the Yankees, and how much trouble the Dodgers are in.
USA TODAY Sports
SAN FRANCISCO – Brandon Belt’s habit of taking borderline pitches and often getting rung up has long frustrated Giants fans.
On Wednesday it was the San Francisco first baseman who expressed his frustration, in clear and accusatory terms against home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
Belt, who took a questionable third strike for the game’s final out in the Giants’ 6-3 loss to the Reds, said Eddings has previously expressed a desire to end games quickly and reiterated that notion on Wednesday.
“It’s tough because you hope an umpire doesn’t affect the game like that, but he did, and you’re not sure if it was on purpose either,’’ Belt told news reporters. “I’ve heard the guy multiple times say that, or insinuate, that he’s trying to get to the game fast, and then he makes calls like that, that I can’t imagine he really thought was a strike. You gotta wonder.’’
Belt, who hit his ninth home run of the season in the third inning, came up with a runner on base and two outs in the ninth. On-deck hitter Evan Longoria, who had singled three times, represented the tying run. He didn’t get to swing again, though, as Reds closer Raisel Iglesias got the call on a 3-2 fastball that MLB.com’s Gameday showed was clearly outside.
Belt, a patient hitter who takes pride in not straying outside the strike zone – sometimes to a fault – protested to no avail. Later, when asked if he felt cheated by that last strike call, he vented with comments that figure to draw the attention of the commissioner’s office and likely a fine.
“I’m not here to talk bad about the umpires. I think 99.9% of the umpires are great. I actually enjoy talking to them,’’ he said. “But there’s just some times when you have a feeling that one or two of them are trying to get the game over with, whether it’s through what they say or what they do. And that just can’t happen. You can’t have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that.’’