This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the worst call in Major League Baseball history looks like.
After 7+ hours and 19 innings of baseball between the Braves and Pirates, home plate umpire Jerry Meals either had somewhere better to be or was watching a different game than the rest of us because there is no way on God's green Earth that Julio Lugo is safe in the video you see above.
The video speaks for itself. Catcher Mike McKenry catches the throw, clearly blocks the plate and appears to tag Julio Lugo not once but twice before Lugo touches the plate. Generally when a player holding the ball tags the runner with said ball before he reaches the plate, the runner in question is deemed to be out.
Of course, it wasn't just the viewers at home who recognized this erroneous call. Braves broadcaster Don Sutton reportedly called it thusly:
"Lugo is tagged out at the plate...and he's safe!"
Wasted in all of this is a solid effort from the Pirates' bullpen, which kept the Braves off the scoreboard for 16 straight innings until this run that wasn't. Daniel McCutchen, who should probably spend tonight in an igloo to help heal his arm, through 5 1/3 innings in relief. Some might question why Clint Hurdle didn't bring in Joel Hanrahan at some point, but keep in mind these teams do play another game later on today, and as it stands, Hanrahan will have the only fresh arm in the bullpen.
While this one will count as a win for the Braves, it's hard to imagine that it feels like one. And if the Pirates lose the division by one game, fans have their Don Denkinger/Jim Joyce-esque scapegoat.
One thing is for sure -- Jerry Meals is in for a long day at the old ballpark tomorrow.