Tuesday’s game between the Padres and Giants in San Francisco came to a screeching halt in the second inning with two challenges in a span of nine pitches. Both went in the Padres’ favor with manager Bob Melvin getting Austin Wynns called for catcher’s interference followed by a successful challenge at first base, with Brandon Drury just beating the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford to prevent a double play.
After MLB’s official replay center in New York determined they’d seen enough to overturn the call on the field, first-base umpire Adrian Johnson was tasked with delivering that news to the 28,000+ fans in attendance as well as anyone watching from home. While relaying the message, something in Johnson’s back pocket (perhaps his microphone) caught him by surprise, resulting in this unfortunate mishap.
Johnson isn’t the first umpire to suffer the embarrassment of a hot mic, and he won’t be the last. The gaffe was more amusing than offensive, particularly Johnson’s look of sheer terror, realizing the viral implications of what he had just done.
For years, baseball fans have been clamoring for “robot” umps, citing improved technology and a need to get calls right. And while accuracy should always be baseball’s top priority, the human element, displayed by Johnson’s endearing blunder—either the product of stage fright or a momentary lapse in judgment—can never be entirely removed from the sport.
Aided by six innings of shutout ball from former Cy Young winner Blake Snell, the Padres would win 4-3, pulling them within a half-game of Philadelphia for the National League’s second Wild Card spot.