The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates continued playing Tuesday's spring training game even after the umpires left the field following the top of the ninth inning. The Orioles were trailing 7-4 and officially ended the game after Josh Lester grounded out to end the inning. However, the teams decided to play the bottom of the ninth inning after Baltimore skipper Brandon Hyde and Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton had a quick discussion. Since Baltimore wanted to get some work on the mound for right-hander Ofreidy Gómez, the teams agreed to continue playing even without umpires. Catcher Maverick Handley, a non-roster invitee who has never played above the Double-A level, called the balls and strikes just like in backyard games.
- Baltimore and Pittsburgh continued playing after the umpires left the field following the top of the ninth inning.
- Baltimore trailed 7-4 when the game officially ended after Josh Lester grounded out to end the inning.
- Both teams agreed to play the bottom of the ninth inning even without umpires because Baltimore wanted to get some work on the mound for right-hander Ofreidy Gómez.
- Catcher Maverick Handley called the balls and strikes.
The Big Picture: Spring training game played without umpires
While it may seem unusual for a professional baseball game to continue without umpires on the field, this occurrence took place during spring training, where games are often adjusted to meet the needs of the teams. The incident also highlights the potential use of robo-umps in the future, as Major League Baseball has been testing automated strike zones in the minor leagues since 2019.
The Bottom Line – No umpires, no problem for Orioles and Pirates
Although the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates finished their spring training game without umpires on the field, the game proceeded smoothly with the catcher calling balls and strikes. While this may not be the norm for professional baseball games, it demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability of the teams. As technology continues to evolve, we may see more changes in the way sports are officiated, but for now, the game goes on, with or without umpires.