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Mets Michael Conforto sticks out elbow as he's hit by pitch

Mets Michael Conforto sticks out elbow as he’s hit by pitch

The immediate reaction on Thursday from Keith Hernandez, Gary Cohen, and Ron Darling in SNY’s Mets booth to the game-ending hit by pitch on Michael Conforto was that the call should be reversed.

But it stood after review since you can’t reverse a judgement call, Conforto discussed the situation after the game, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa later said he blew the call, and the Miami Marlins will likely still be seething when Game 2 of the series begins on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday during the Shea Anything podcast, Hernandez discussed the situation.

“That is such a unique play,” Hernandez said. “It hardly ever happens, although we have a few other players that lean in — don’t try to get out of the way of the ball. Now the rule is if a player doesn’t try to avoid a ball (and) if the ball is out of the strike zone and he’s hit, it’s a hit by pitch. If he doesn’t try to avoid the ball, just holds there like (Brandon) Nimmo does. Also Jeff McNeil a lot.

“If — the rule says — the ball is in the strike zone and the player makes no attempt to avoid the ball, it’s a strike and the batter is out.”

Speaking about his reaction after watching the play in real time, Hernandez said he wasn’t watching Conforto’s elbow.

“When it originally happened, I’m not looking at Conforto’s elbow,” he said. “We have the center field camera, which the folks have at home. When he got hit, it looked funny. … You can’t move your elbow in or any part of your body to get hit. And that ball was over the strike zone.

“So Ron Kulpa blew the call. It looked to me like he was gonna raise his right hand and call a strike, and he changed his mind when Conforto did the routine that he got hit. But if he was gonna call it a strike, Kulpa blew the call.

“It was obvious he was fooled by the pitch, he knew he was going down. That was just last-minute just to get hit. I don’t know what’s gonna happen Saturday when he gets up the first time. I don’t think anything is gonna happen, but I know what would probably happen 40 years ago when he got up.”

Asked whether he empathized with Conforto, who made a split second decision, Hernandez said he was “most definitely” trying to get hit, but that what he did wasn’t cheating.

“It was quick thinking on Conforto’s part to try, but he doesn’t know that the umpire was gonna ring him up,” Hernandez explained. “He made his decision before. It’s just something you don’t do. You don’t do that. … It’s not cheating. He made that decision at the last split second. It’s not cheating.

“It’s not like someone goes out there and has a razor blade and starts cutting the ball. Or you got a guy out there that has binoculars in the scoreboard that’s relaying the signs or have trash cans in the dugout. It’s not that. It was a split reaction and Conforto got away with it. The Mets got away with it.”

Listen to the full Shea Anything podcast below and subscribe to the pod here (Apple) and here (Spotify).

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