Did anybody see the dropped strike three call in the Reds game? The Cubs rookie catcher didn't catch the ball and the Reds got to continue hitting in the inning, but the Cubs announcers said the umpires got it wrong because the batter didn't start to first base and had left the dirt area around the batter's box.
While the pitch was certainly in the dirt, the Cubs announcers make a good point. Shouldn't Cairo have been determined to be out when he left the dirt circle?They both are referring to a play which occurred with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning of the 5/18/11 Cubs-Reds game. With a 0-2 count, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza throws a breaking ball which winds up in the dirt. Reds batter Miguel Cairo attempts to check his swing, but is ruled as having swung by HP Umpire John Hirschbeck. Cairo then begins to retreat to his dugout as the Cubs begin to retreat to theirs. At some point on his way towards his team's first base dugout, Cairo takes off for first base and is ruled safe at first base as the result of a dropped third strike under Rule 6.09(b). Garza would strike out the next batter to end the inning, with no runs given up after the dropped third strike play.
Discussion point: Should Cairo have been ruled out under Rule 6.09(b) Comment? Do the defensive team's actions have any bearing on this ruling? Does the location of the batter's dugout have any affect on this ruling? Posted below are relevant Rule 6.09(b) and its Comment.
6.09 The batter becomes a runner when - (b) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught, providing (1) fist base is unoccupied, or (2) first base is occupied with two out;
Rule 6.09(b) Comment: A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.