Mets miffed by MLB’s ruling on game-ending play at plate vs. Cubs

Pete Alonso Cubs Mets
New York Mets’ Pete Alonso (20) slides to home plate as Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya (9) catches the ball during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in New York. After further review Alonso was called out on the play. The Cubs won 1-0. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS, N.Y. — Mets manager Carlos Mendoza’s biggest gripe with the call on Wednesday night’s game-ending double play turned by the Chicago Cubs — which saw Pete Alonso cut down at home plate while trying to tag up on a Jeff McNeil sacrifice fly — comes down to Major League Baseball’s interpretation of the rule on catchers blocking home plate. 

“There’s nothing these guys can do,” the first-year manager said. “It’s coming from New York. It’s something you have to talk to the league about… I’ll have to wait and see what they say because clearly, they got the wrong call.”

Down 1-0 with runners on second and third with one out in New York’s final turn at bat, Jeff McNeil hit a fly ball out to right that Pete Alonso deemed deep enough to try and tag up on. Cubs right fielder Ian Happ hit cut-off man Christopher Morel, who turned and fired the ball home to catcher Miguel Amaya firmly standing on top of home plate.

While receiving the ball, he dropped down to make the tag, taking away most of the plate. Alonso appeared to get under Amaya’s glove initially, but his left hand which appeared destined for the plate proceeded to ride up and never get a piece of home.

“It’s one of those where they send out a memo in spring training of what’s legal and illegal,” Mendoza said. “Clearly on that email we got was that catchers are not allowed to have their foot in front of the plate, on top of the plate, and they cannot straddle without possession of the baseball. It was very clear that the guy had his left foot on top of the plate without the baseball. I think they got the wrong call… He was clearly, on the replay, he was blocking without possession of the baseball.”

After a lengthy review by MLB headquarters over in midtown Manhattan, however, it was deemed that Amaya did not block the plate and Alonso was out to preserve Chicago’s 1-0 victory.

“It’s different interpretations,” Mendoza said. “It’s not consistent and that’s what bothers me.”

Pete Alonso Cubs Mets
Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya celebrates as New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, center, reacts after being called out at home plate on a fly out by Jeff McNeil to end the baseball game, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in New York. The Cubs won 1-0. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“It’s really simple, I thought I was safe,” Alonso, who opted not to comment on the rule, added. “Then they’re going through it and then they made the call and it’s like, ‘Shucks, darn it.'”

The Mets manager revealed that he and other MLB managers received a memo from the league during spring training explaining what makes for a legal and illegal set up by the catcher before and during a play at home plate.

“We get pictures, we train our catchers to avoid positions like that,” Mendoza said. “That’s why you work so hard to avoid certain positions and how you need to set up when you’re waiting for the throw… He’s clearly on the plate without the baseball.”

While New York reviewed the play, the Mets believed that they had tied the game. Instead, they dropped their second of three games against the Cubs.

“Yeah seeing the replay, everybody thought we would get the call for us,” Mets catcher Omar Narvaez said. “But there’s nothing we can do.”

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