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Umpire apologizes to Johnson after blown call


Umpire apologizes to Johnson after blown call

It won't change anything -- certainly not the outcome of the game -- but umpire Alan Porter did apologize to Davey Johnson and admit to blowing a crucial call at the plate during the fourth inning last night at Nationals Park.

Johnson said the apology came later during the game, with Porter admitting he should not have credited the Dodgers with a run on a play in which the third out was recorded at third base before another runner crossed the plate.

"He said, 'I'm sorry I messed it up,'" Johnson revealed this afternoon. "They're good guys. I don't have a beef with them. But when you miss one, get help. He got help, and they still didn't get it right."

On the play in question, Porter counted a run scored by Matt Kemp even though the Dodgers slugger was 10 feet short of the plate when teammate Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out near third base by Ryan Zimmerman.

Porter didn't make any call until Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly came out of the dugout to raise the question, at which point the entire umpiring crew huddled to discuss the play. Porter then signaled the run should count, bringing Johnson out of his dugout to argue.

"To err is human," Johnson said. "It can happen. I knew that he didn't see it, because if he saw it, the first move is: boom pointing down, the run counts. That's what they do. And he didn't do it, and I thought: 'That's great, because he saw it.' And then Mattingly comes out, and he said: 'OK, the run scored.' So I know he didn't see it. But when they met I thought somebody would get it right."

Crew chief Mike Winters declined to speak to a pool reporter about the call after the game, which wound up a 7-6 Dodgers win, with the mistaken run proving the margin of victory.

This was the second obviously missed call to hurt the Nationals in a span of four days. On Saturday in Atlanta, umpire Marvin Hudson ruled Adam LaRoche's foot off first base on a routine play, even though replays clearly showed LaRoche making contact with the bag. The Braves' next batter, Jason Heyward, clubbed a home run to set his team on its way to a 5-4 victory.

Neither play was reviewable by Major League Baseball's current system, nor could the Nationals file a formal protest in either case (because out-safe decisions are considered judgment calls, not a rules interpretation).

Johnson isn't a proponent of expanded replay that requires umpires to leave the field and review controversial plays on a monitor, but he would support a system that added an "eye-in-the-sky" official who could overrule umpires from the press box after seeing a mistake on TV replays.

"I'm not a big proponent of going to the video room all the time," Johnson said. "The game's long enough. Maybe somebody up top in the pressbox with you guys, looking down with all the video right there, they could just do a flash card or something. ... Instead of running off the field and then looking, have one of them representatives up there up top."

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

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