CHICAGO — The plate umpire in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night said he was “dead wrong” in overturning a call that led to Cubs manager Joe Maddon being ejected for the second time in the series.
With the Cubs leading 3-2 in the top of the eighth inning and a runner on first base, Dodgers outfielder Curtis Granderson swung at a two-strike pitch as the ball bounced in front of catcher Willson Contreras.
Initially, plate umpire Jim Wolf signaled Granderson was out, but after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts protested, Wolf got together with the other five umpires. As they huddled, replays of the swing were shown on the video board that seemed to indicate Granderson never made contact with the ball.
The umpires never looked at the replay and instead called it a foul ball.
Maddon went ballistic, arguing with all six umpires and pointing at the video board, but to no avail. He was eventually ejected, and Granderson struck out on the next pitch.
The Cubs held on for their first win of the series.
Wolf admitted afterward that he was “dead wrong” on the call, saying, “I talked myself into the whole thing.”
Wolf said afterward he heard “two distinct, separate sounds” on the pitch, believing the first to be the pitch bouncing in the dirt and the second being the pop of the catcher’s mitt.
Maddon didn’t buy the “two sounds” explanation at the moment and roared at several members of the crew. He wasn’t buying it afterward, either.
Maddon said after the game “the process was wrong.”
“I’m not gonna sit here and bang on umpires. … But that can’t happen. The process was horrible,” Maddon said. “To have that changed — if Granderson hits the next pitch out, I might come running out of the clubhouse in my jockstrap.”
Joe Maddon didn’t agree with the “process” the umpires went through that caused them to change a strike three call on Curtis Granderson to a foul tip.
Under Major League Baseball rules, the play was not subject to video review.
“The explanation was eventually — eventually it turned into hearing two sounds. Not one of them saw a foul tip or heard it or thought it was a foul tip. It was based on two sounds, which I totally cannot agree with that process whatsoever. When you have 40-some-thousand people, it’s late in the game, the other sound could have come from some lady screaming in the first row. I have no idea. But I can’t buy that process,” Maddon said.
Maddon was ejected in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium after a call at home plate was overturned because of the slide rule. He basically acknowledged he was trying to get tossed this time.
After poking more holes in the “two sounds” explanation, he said Wednesday, “There is no way, no way I’m not getting ejected at that point. I’ve got to make my point. Just being honest.”
Crew chief Mike Winters said they did not want to toss Maddon.
“When Joe was arguing, he was yelling at everybody, because at that point, the process didn’t matter to him. It just mattered that it didn’t go his way. And so we were trying to calm him down and we tried not to eject him, but he made that impossible,” Winters said.
Granderson said he thought he made contact.
“I don’t know how they saw it; you’d have to ask them,” Granderson said. “But I thought I foul-tipped it. That’s why I stood there.”
Game 5 is set for Thursday at Wrigley Field.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.