But, because I wasn't positive, and I knew it was a close call, I decided to give it the full Luciano special. I was going to sell it so hard, no one could possibly doubt I knew what I was doing. I leaped high into the air. I twirled my hand. I spun around. I shouted at the top of my lungs. I blew up a small sandstorm.
I was about seven feet off the ground when I first realized I'd made the wrong call. Don Buford was racing toward me. The Oriole relief pitchers in the bullpen didn't even bother opening the gate. They came right over the fence at me. I turned around, and Brooks Robinson, who had never argued with an umpire in his life, was breathing fire. The fans were screaming at me. I was surrounded.
Then I saw Earl Weaver, my longtime nemesis, leading the rest of the team onto the field. There was no doubt in my mind I had made a mistake. So before Earl could say a word, I shouted, "Don't get yourself thrown out of the game, I'm gonna get help."
He was so shocked he barely screamed at me. He pushed everybody out of the way so I would have a clear path. I walked past him toward home plate to get help. Suddenly I looked up. Grinning happily at me from behind the plate was Armando Rodriguez. "#$!'—*&," I thought, and veered off toward Bill Haller, who was umpiring at first.
When I reached him, I said, "I blew it, huh?"
He shrugged. "Oh, I don't know. What's 40 or 50 feet? Hey, Ron, when you started jumping all around like that, I didn't know exactly what you were trying to do."
"I gotta change it, right?"
"But if I do, Williams is gonna go nuts and I'm gonna have to run him out, right?"