Hairston receives apology from umpire

Hairston receives apology from umpire

LOS ANGELES -- When Jerry Hairston reached home plate for his first-inning at-bat Friday night, he received an apology from umpire Tim Welke.

It was the first meeting of the pair since a May 2 game in Colorado where Welke incorrectly called Hairston out at first base on a play ridiculed nationwide, as Rockies first baseman Todd Helton had come three feet off first base to take a throw from third baseman Chris Nelson.

"He said he was sorry," Hairston said. "He's been a really good umpire for a long time and, you know what, obviously because of the angle he didn't see it. It's over and done with. But I told him if I get stuck on 2,999 [hits], I'm calling him. He got a kick out of that."

It was Welke who did the kicking after that play, ejecting Dodgers manager Don Mattingly for arguing the obviously mistaken call, along with the fact that Welke did not ask for or receive help from any of his umpire crewmates. Hairston said the apology showed him what he already knew about Welke.

"It shows character, but he always had the highest character," Hairston said. "I've been dealing with him for 14 years. People lose sight of the fact that one play doesn't change that. It's amazing, we as players make errors and, obviously, umpires do too. It's the human element of the game.

"People don't realize how fast the game moves. Everybody else has the benefit of watching the replay on TV. The umpires don't have that. It was just one of those freaky plays."