Joe Torre saw plenty of questionable calls by umpires during his time as a player and manager. Rarely were any of the blown calls as outrageous as the final play in Tuesday's Pirates-Braves marathon, though.
Torre, now in his roll as Major League Baseball executive vice president for baseball operations, released a statement regarding umpire Jerry Meals calling runner Julio Lugo safe in the bottom of the 19th inning, despite replays that showed Lugo clearly being tagged by the catcher.
"Unfortunately, it appears that the call was missed, as Jerry Meals acknowledged after the game," Torre's statement read, "Many swipe tags are not applied to the runner with solid contact, but the tag was applied and the game should have remained tied. I have spoken with Jerry, who is a hard-working, respected umpire, and no one feels worse than him. We know that this is not a product of a lack of effort.
"Having been the beneficiary of calls like this and having been on the other end in my experience as a player and as a manager, I have felt that this has always been a part of our game. As a member of the Commissioner's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay. However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires. Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball.
"We expect the best from our umpires, and an umpire would tell you he expects the best of himself. We have to continue to strive for accuracy, consistency and professionalism day in and day out."
Among Torre's roles as MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations include overseeing umpiring and on-field discipline.