On July 26, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell victim to the worst call in MLB this year. The Atlanta Braves' Julio Lugo came sliding into home plate in the 19th inning and appeared to tagged out by Pirates' catcher Michael McKenry.
Lugo appeared to be out to everyone except home plate umpire Jerry Meals that is. The Pirates fell to the Braves 4-3 that night.
Jerry Meals cost the Pittsburgh Pirates the game that night and what turns out to be their season.
Heading into the July 26 game, the Pirates were atop the NL Central with a 53-47 record. The Pirates haven't had a winning season in nearly two decades and things were looking beautiful. By the end of the marathon game the Pirates slid into third place in the division standing.
That was only the beginning of their nightmare.
Since the start of July 26, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 1-12 and have yet to win a game in August. Even being buyers at the trade deadline hasn't resuscitated the Pirates.
Their record is now 54-58 and they're nine games out of first in the NL Central. In the last two games alone the Pirates have allowed 28 runs, to the lowly San Diego Padres. Yes, the bubble has seem to burst for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
What's next for the Pirates?
Well, they could learn from 2011 and look toward 2012. But don't expect that to happen. The city of Pittsburgh is known for it's hard work and blue-collar attitude. It is a city built on blood, sweat and tears.
Expect Manager Clint Hurdle to get creative and rally the troops. The Pirates have 49 games left in the 2011 season and won't go down without a fight. In the end, it may not be enough, though.
Umpire Jerry Meals dealt the Pirates a death blow that night, one they haven't recovered from since.
Although their dream season has been stolen by a blown call, Pittsburgh fans should be proud of their Pirates and optimistic for the future.