The Rays Tank: The worst call in Rays history, maybe?

Joe Nathan feels relieved. - USA TODAY Sports

The third “strike” heard round the world.

Well, I had a tank written.

Then, that call happened.

Ian's postgame recap provided all the gory details of the final "strike" of the game, plus included the fact that Hellickson really didn't pitch very well, only going five innings with five hits, three earned runs, three walks and only one strikeout.

But, anyways: that final pitch. Ben Zobrist was ready to take first, when to the shock of the Rays, and Joe Nathan, Marty Foster called a game-ending strike.

If you haven't seen exactly where it was, lookie here:

Fastmap

(via cdn1.sbnation.com)

See that red square in the bottom right? That's the pitch that was the third strike heard round the world.

Umpire Marty Foster admitted that he made the wrong call postgame,

"I saw the pitch, and of course I don't have the chance to do it again, but had I had a chance to do it again, I wouldn't call that pitch a strike."

Oh.

Understandably, Joe Maddon had a mouthful to say concerning the call,

"That was really very difficult," Maddon said after the game. "My only comment on the whole situation, my only thought is, that can not happen in a Major League baseball game. That kind of call can not occur.

"I don't even want to say under those circumstances, last inning, the last out of the game. I don't even want to go there. That call cannot be made in a Major League baseball game. When it's made like that it takes away our opportunity to come from behind."

If the strike had been called correctly, the Rays would have had runners at first and second and Evan Longoria, who was already three-for-three in the game, would have been at the plate.

With this loss the Rays are 3-4 on the season, and Maddon was ready for the momentum that a comeback win like this could bring to the team, voicing this as the biggest disappointment:

"You look at the complementary effects in play there, had we been able to come back and win the game, what it does for your team the next several days, what it does to the other team -- the doubt it puts in their pitcher's head, the confidence it gives your guys," he said. "There are all these complementary effects that are difficult to measure that are impacted by that call."

Post game the Rays announced that Jeff Niemann will have shoulder surgery Wednesday in Texas to correct "labrum and rotator cuff abnormalities," likely ending his season.

And with that, today's a new ballgame.

Not-so-fun fact of the day:

Until Sunday, there had never been two 13-0 shutouts (Rays-Indians, Blue Jays-Red Sox) in one day. Plus, both starting pitchers (David Price, R.A. Dickey) were the previous years AL and NL Cy Young Award winners.

Yesterday in baseball:

On April 8th, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, passing Babe Ruth for most all-time. Listen to Vin Scully's call of the homer, it's pretty great.

"The Sandlot" turned 20, and the crew and cast shared some of their best memories, and insider scoop, from the beloved baseball film. In honor of the anniversary, the movie is being shown in baseball parks around the country and David M. Evans, the writer, director and narrator, is blogging from each location. It'll be shown in Tampa at Steinbrenner Field on June 22nd.

Links:

- Terry Francona got lost walking to the Indians' home opener Monday.

- Hardball Times is taking a look at which pitchers have "got the whammy" on certain teams. They used win-loss record and ERA by the pitcher against the team to calculate. This week is NL, so we don't get the Rays whammy pitcher until next week. Any guesses on who it may be?

- Baseball teams win less of their home games than any other sport, so does home field advantage really exist?

UPDATE: All four MLB announcers called it ball four...

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