Some perspective from the Baltimore Sun on last night's call:
"Mark Teixeira was safe on the final play of the game, and it should have went into extra innings. First-base umpire Jerry Meals clearly made the wrong call.
But you know who else made the wrong call?
It’s been proven by the greatest scientists and scholars (or at least by enough crusty old coaches with stopwatches) that the fastest way to first base is to run through the bag. Otherwise, wouldn’t you see Usain Bolt going face first across the finish line in the 100 meters at the Olympics?
The one advantage diving into first base gives a runner is that it deceives the umpire. That bang-bang call at first is a tough one and when you take out the sound of the foot hitting the bag and change the field of vision for the umpire, it makes it even tougher.
They’ll never admit to this, but for that reason, I think umpires lean ever so slightly toward calling runners out when they dive on a close play at first.
If Teixeira had run through the bag, he probably would have been called safe and avoided the controversy. It’s a split-second decision on his part whether to dive, but if he did it to muck up the call and try to steal a safe call, how can he whine when the wrong call was made?
If the truly thinks he can cover ground faster with a swan dive than a full-lunging stride, then I might need to have a word with some of those professors at Mount St. Joe.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying his diving into first should automatically make him out. He was safe and the game should have gone on. But it was his choice to make it a tougher call on Meals and in this case, he did deceive the umpire – in the Orioles favor."
In all fairness, it's likely Tex didn't make that final lunge because he didn't want to stretch out his injured calf, but he likely still would have been safe even with an extra step.