"It looked like it broke out of the strike zone," said Fisk.
"It might have."
"Perhaps you called it before it broke."
In the top of the eighth it was Munson's turn to get into the discussion.
Said Garcia, "That strike I called on Burleson. It might have been low. It was a slider and it sunk."
"That pitch didn't sink. Guidry doesn't even have a slider," Munson said.
Truth is, New York Pitcher Ron Guidry has a pretty good slider, but Garcia did not expect Munson to agree. All he wanted the Yankee catcher to know was that the pitch was a ball, and it would remain one for the rest of the game. Yes, he had called it a strike. No, he would not do so again.
When diplomacy fails, an umpire has another tactic he can use to try to cool off a seething catcher—brushing off the plate whether it needs it or not. This puts the antagonists face to face, instead of back to front and it lets them do some heavy jawing without making their disagreement all that apparent to everyone in the park. Vic Voltaggio, an American League rookie umpire last season, once used the maneuver in the first inning when the plate did not need a brushing off as badly as Oakland Catcher Jeff Newman needed a talking to. A's Pitcher Rick Langford was already in trouble, and, in trying to calm down Langford, Newman had put the blame for the pitcher's inability to throw strikes on Voltaggio.
"We're not going to battle for nine innings," Voltaggio told Newman as he bent down to sweep the plate. "You might as well curse me out now, and I'll unload you. Otherwise, we're going to play this game."
The tactic worked, preventing a first-inning rhubarb without embarrassing either party. Newman lasted the game, and Langford found his stride and went on to win in extra innings.