The ending to Game 5 of the NLDS between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers left a sour taste in the mouths of every player, coach and fan of the Orange and Black. A controversial strike call on a check swing by Wilmer Flores brought the Giants' season to an end, and there was an ugly scene in the aftermath as the umpires exited the field.
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow respects and understands how frustrating the finish to the game was, but did not like the vitriol he saw directed at the crew of umpires.
"I’m not going to go in that trap of falling into an abyss of what could have been because of an umpire call," Krukow said Friday on KNBR (h/t Jake Montero). "I don’t, I’ve defended umpires all year, all my life, because I do think they are an incredible part of the game. When they left last night, fans were throwing stuff at them and that hurt me. I didn’t want to ever see that. Because I know their effort and I know how hard they try and how personally they take it.
“(First base umpire) Gabe Morales, I’ll tell you right now was devastated when he saw the replay, I guarantee you right now. He knew he blew the call. It just didn’t seem right to sit there and dwell on that.”
Fans apparently were throwing beers at the umpires as they tried to exit the field, as NBC Sports Bay Area's Shawn Estes explained following the game.
The national crew from TBS was on the call for Game 5, and both Ron Darling and Brian Anderson disagreed with Morales' call.
"I didn't think he went on the slider from Max," Darling said of the non-swing that was. "Gabe Morales thought he did ... Oh, boy, that's bad. That's bad."
The scorecard for Game 5 home plate umpire Doug Eddings -- who deferred the decision on Flores' check swing to first base and Morales -- came back strong, although several glaring calls that went against the Giants were confirmed.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler expressed disappointment following the 2-1 loss.
"It's super tough," Kapler said. "Obviously you don't want a game to end that way. I know these guys work really hard to make the right call. It's super challenging on our end. Obviously, it's going to be frustrating to have a game end like that. It's a pretty high-quality hitter at the plate that can climb back into that at-bat. There's no guarantee of success in that at-bat, but it's just a tough way to end it.
"Right now there's no need to be angry about that. I just think it's a disappointing way for that to end. There are other reasons why we didn't win today's baseball game. That was just the last call of the game."
As Kapler noted, the final strike call was not the sole reason the Giants fell short in the thrilling NLDS finale. The Giants went 0-5 with runners in scoring position, and Cody Bellinger delivered when it mattered for the Dodgers in the top of the ninth inning.
The Flores call always will be the most memorable part of that Game 5, but there was no reason to throw anything at or harass the umpires the way they were.