So maybe this is what that gong is for.
On Monday it was revealed that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has had a gong installed in center field at Tropicana Field. While the use of the gong remains unclear, perhaps it’s for signaling awful calls by the umpires.
On Monday evening, however, the Rays traveled to Arlington to take on the Rangers. With Texas up 5-4 in the ninth inning, the team called upon closer Joe Nathan to notch his 300th career save. With a runner on first and two outs, Nathan caught Ben Zobrist looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the game — except that there’s no way any rational human being should have called the pitch a strike.
Unfortunately, home plate umpire Marty Foster does not seem to be a rational human being. Zobrist took of toward first, thinking he had walked, and Maddon came out of the dugout to vehemently argue the call, to no avail.
After the game, pitch trackers confirmed that the ball was nowhere near the strike zone. Moreover, Foster himself said he would take back the call if he could, admitting he had blown one.
“I saw the pitch and, of course I don’t have the chance to do it again, but if I did, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike,” Foster said after the game. “Joe was not violent. Joe was very professional. He was frustrated and I understand. He acted probably the best he can under that situation.”
Check out a video of the third-strike call below.