Iowa beat Washington, 6-3, in a Little League World Series elimination game on Saturday. Despite holding a three-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the final inning, one of the Iowa players sensed a conspiracy against his team. Iowa players were gobsmacked when the home plate umpire called ball four instead strike three. As they gathered on the mound, still shocked, while their coach tried to get them to focus, one player repeatedly suggested that the call was made so the other team could come back because that's what ESPN wants.
You can see the location of the pitch as well as the immediate reaction of the pitcher and shortstop in this video at the 11:50 mark in this video.
As you can see, it was a bit outside.
Of course, it wasn't nearly as far off the plate as the very next pitch which the umpire called a (delayed) strike, which made the suggestion the game was fixed for a comeback look extra outlandish.
Clearly, the umpires are not working in concert with ESPN in an attempt to control the outcome of Little League World Series games. This is an absolutely insane thing to believe, but I also don't blame the kid for thinking it because there is definitely an adult in his life who probably does believe that ESPN is trying to make Little League games more exciting for ratings. They also probably believe some other recent notable events have been fixed by the media, but we don't need to get into specifics.
This is just the new reality where people refuse to deal with, well, reality. Sometimes umpires miss calls. It's a hard job and mistakes are made. It's a shame that a kid is one out away from the glory of advancing in the Little League World Series and he was already looking for someone to blame for an outcome that would never happen. It is both sad and hilarious, which is a great way to describe this country. The only thing more American than baseball is this.