Apparently, the first rule about tricking the umpire isn't don't talk about tricking the umpire.
According to Blake Richardson and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier admitted to the media and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo that he switched balls and fooled the umpire into thinking he actually caught Verdugo's foul ball in Monday's game.
Richardson and McCullough explained Verdugo fouled a pitch near the crowd, prompting Frazier to dive into the stands. While the ball slipped out of Frazier's glove as he landed, he grabbed a replica ball from the stands and held it up.
The umpire, fooled, proceeded to call Verdugo out.
"But at the time, they thought he caught it," Verdugo said. "So you got to give it to him."
Steve Gelbs of SportsNet New York was the first to report Frazier didn't actually catch it and broke down the play using video:
Verdugo still had a productive day Monday, going 2-for-4 with a double, but the Mets won the game, 4-2. A three-run home run by Brandon Nimmo in the top of the ninth proved to be the difference and handed the Dodgers an important loss in the postseason race.
New York took two of three in the series from Los Angeles, dropping the Dodgers to 76-64. They are 1.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the National League West and two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild-card spot with a critical three-game set scheduled in Colorado this weekend.
Los Angeles will have to worry about catching the Rockies in the division, but at least they won't have to concern themselves with Frazier tricking the umpires in their next series.