NEW YORK(AP) Big league ballclubs play short-handed all the time. In this game, it was the umpiring crew that was down a man.
Only three umpires worked Friday night's game between the
New York Mets
because weather-related travel problems prevented crew chief
from arriving at Citi Field.
The first pitch was delayed by rain for 76 minutes. Once play began, the Mets announced that Reed, who had been scheduled
to umpire third base, was unable to get to the ballpark.
Mark Wegner shifted from second base to third - when no runners were on base. Tim Timmons remained at first and Rob Drake
stayed behind the plate.
''You might have saw us running around a little more than usual,'' Wegner said. ''There's a reason there's four guys out there.
There's certain things that three guys are going to really have a problem with. But we all know what to do and we all have
done it before so we knew that we were going to be able to do a good job out there.''
Major league games occasionally end with three umpires on the field, if one gets injured or sick. And umps come up through
the minors working on three-man crews.
Still, the situation Friday night was far from ideal for Wegner, Timmons and Drake.
''It's not something we want. We want to cover everything the best we can. We don't ever want to be in a position where we
can't get the best look at something, and sometimes that happens,'' Wegner said. ''They just couldn't get anybody here. A
lot of times if somebody can't make it they can get somebody from Triple-A, but they couldn't get anybody here. It wasn't
possible. So that's how it works.''
Even though there were fewer umps than usual, Mets manager
got ejected during New York's 4-2 victory.
tried to steal second in the fifth inning and was called out by Wegner, even though television replays showed that Phillies
missed the tag following a high throw. Francoeur protested and Manuel came out of the dugout for an animated argument before
he was ejected by Wegner.
After watching the replay, Wegner acknowledged that Rollins whiffed on the tag. However, Wegner said the fact that it was
a three-man crew did not affect his positioning on that play.
''Not there, because I'm at second base just like I normally would be,'' he said. ''Sometimes because of where the fielder's
at when they try to apply the tag you just get blocked out. So you've just got to do the best you can. And that happens. It's
Drake tossed Sheffield in the seventh when he flipped his bat after getting called out on strikes.