"Y'er Out" or . . . Not
The umpire clearly called "strike three" by signaling with his right arm in an outstretched manner. He also clenched his fist, which normally means "y'er out." What we don't know is if he said anything. I get the impression that he didn't. Not that he has to, but if he said "y'er out" in addition to the hand signals, then the batter is out. Plain and simple.
In a postgame interview, Doug Eddings, the home plate umpire, said "I'm watching Josh Paul, I'm seeing what he's going to do. Sometimes you go off the reaction of the player."
Well, if he Eddings was going off the "reaction of the player," he should have called Pierzynksi out. Paul didn't hesitate one bit. He caught the ball and immediately rolled it back to the mound. That shouldn't, in and of itself, mean the batter is out, but it makes no sense for the umpire to determine that the pitch hit the dirt if he was basing his call off Paul's reaction.
Solution to the problem: Major League Baseball needs to develop uniform and distinct signals for "strike" and "out" calls that would be required of all umpires. There should be no ambiguity like there was Wednesday night. Substance should always win out over style. We don't go to the ballgame to watch an umpire make a call.
Umpires, in such situations, also need to commit to a call right then and there. Either call the batter out by giving the out sign and yelling "y'er out" or signal bobble/no catch and yell "no catch, no catch."
I was also asked by Rob and another writer why manager Mike Scoscia didn't protest. The short answer is that such a call is one of judgment and, therefore, not something that can be protested.
From Major League Baseball Official Rules:
Let me be clear here: The call or non-call wasn't the reason the Angels lost. But it was the reason why they didn't have a chance to win.