Phillies White Sox umpire call Screengrab: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Recently, there’s been a lot of commentary about the umpiring across Major League Baseball, especially around balls and strikes. That bled into the Baltimore Orioles-Kansas City Royals game on Saturday, and it also reared its ugly head during the Philadelphia Phillies-Chicago White Sox game.

In the top of the third inning of Saturday afternoon’s game, Zack Wheeler dotted a strike in the top of the zone. It wasn’t a borderline, 50/50 call. It wasn’t on the outside corner or anything like that. It was clearly in the strike zone. But the umpire, Charlie Ramos, didn’t call it that way, much to the dismay of Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos and booth broadcast booths.

It didn’t matter, as White Sox catcher Korey Lee grounded out to first baseman Bryce Harper, not three pitches later, but it obviously points to a more significant problem at hand here.

Tom McCarthy and Ben Davis were confused by this call, to say the least.

“Nick Castellanos is wondering, like everyone else, where that pitch was,” the Phillies play-by-play voice said.

“Inexplicable,” added Davis.

Steve Stone and John Schriffen were no less perplexed on the Chicago side.

“I’m not exactly how that’s not a strike, but…”

“Hey, we’ll take it.”

Entering Saturday’s game at 3-16, the White Sox will undoubtedly take it. However, it didn’t help, as the Phillies were already leading 3-0 and handed Chicago its 17th loss of the season.

“Korey Lee will definitely take it,” said Stone. “That thing had the whole plate, and it was down the middle.”

Lee would later break up Wheeler’s no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning.

However, the current strike zone system can be a source of frustration for players, fans, and commentators.

Not every call should be up for interpretation, especially when a pitch is right down the middle of the plate. Human error will happen; it’s part of the game, and so is stealing strikes and framing pitches, but inconsistency doesn’t sit well with anyone, and it’s nice to see both sides of the broadcasting booth admitting such instances.

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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article did not identify the umpire by name. This has been corrected.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.