Friday, May 6, 2011

Discussions: Stuck in a Wall

Two fence-grabbing plays occurred in the past few days. Anonymous wrote:
I thought this might be something interesting to discuss:
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14484981&topic_id=11493214&c_id=mlb
Really not sure what the correct call would be- it seems odd that the fielder would have the option to play it or call it a double??
The video referred to is this one, and features a Tampa Bay 'stuck in the base of the wall' play in which a Blue Jays outfielder elects to play the ball, and a Kansas City 'stuck in the base of the wall' play in which an Orioles outfielder elects to request time instead. Joe West's crew is in Tampa Bay (3B: Paul Schrieber), Tim Welke's crew is in Kansas City (2B: Tim Welke). Yes, the Blue Jays-Rays contest this play occurred in is the same Blue Jays-Rays contest that saw Ejections: Joe West (2) and Ejections: Chad Fairchild (1, 2).

15 comments :

Anonymous said...

There's no election to be made here. It's either dead by rule or it isn't.

The reason we tell coaches to have players put their hands up is if they retrieve a lodged ball is that a player that digs and gets the ball is probably going to get the ball before we are able to get out and rule on it.

That said, I always cringe when umpires tell coaches, "if they reach for it, it's live." Well, that's not true. If I can ascertain the ball is lodged immediately, I don't care if the player reaches or not. It's dead, by rule.

Gil "CASD" said...

Correct, for the very reason you specified. From the Kansas City/Welke clip, you can see how long (relatively) it takes for an umpire to make his way from his position to the warning track area. Quick reacting players (Tampa Bay) may be able to retrieve the ball easily before a base umpire can go out to rule (and in BAL's case, it worked out well for the team). Yet players who elect to request "time" (as opposed to dislodging the ball) may also be at an advantage, allowing an umpire to make an accurate ruling, rather than having to guess (and err on the side of "live ball") had the player elected to dislodge the ball before the umpire could get out to rule.

Though a lodged ball is generally a dead ball, if an outfielder elects to request "time" rather than dislodge the ball, if the umpire after running to the outfield rules the ball was not actually lodged and calls the play live, the batter may very well have an inside the park home run. Had the fielder instead elected to dislodge the ball himself, he holds the batter to a (probable) double or even triple. It's a gamble the fielder has to make considering time, umpire's judgement, and the situation of the game.

John said...

It's one of those your darned if you do and your darned if you don't. Sure, the ball is dead lodged both times, but in the first one, they don't have time to rule. And if the fielder waits too long, and the ump rules it's not as lodged as he thinks it is, then they just gave up a home run.

Jeremy "jeruhmed" said...

This is probably more commonplace at Wrigley Field with the ivy covering the walls, especially when the leaves fully come in, the ball gets hidden. You have players sometimes reach in and are unable to find the ball, and then finally do knock the ball out before an umpire can rule on it, resulting in an advantageous result for the batter. However, most will raise their hands. At times, there will be many more than one ball in the ivy because of BP so, it can make things interesting.

Anonymous said...

Good calls, on both of them.

thexfactor264 said...

Both stadiums do not have ground rules regarding balls lodged in the outfield padding, so the call is then to the umpire's discretion. I personally would rule both balls in play, just because they are not difficult to retrieve.

Anonymous said...

Off topic I know, but can I just say with Ethier's hit streak going to 30, if I'm Ethier, next game, if I get BB'd in my first three at bats, and then AB #4 is in the top 9 with a blowout game, if pitch #1 is a called strike, I'm getting tossed. I was just thinking about it randomly, if I have a hit streak on the line, and my back is to the wall, I'm getting thrown out of the game for some random reason. Hit streak is more important than the ejection fine. Anyway, that's my random rant.

MaestroBen said...

Xfactor,

I disagree. The rue doesn't say anything about "balls not being difficult to retrieve." It just says BR is entitled to two bases when a ball "passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard." (6.09(f)).

For both of these plays, one could possibly argue whether the ball was lodged in the wall, or under it, but the rule says this doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Rule 6.09f, yep. I think this qualifies as "sticks in a fence"

Jeremy "jeruhmed" said...

Conveniently, Mike Di Muro just wrote a blog about this: here.

Dan said...

I had no idea that Mike DiMuro wrote a blog. That's cool. Very informative.

Glancing through some of his posts, I was very struck by this one, where he writes about Gary Darling quietly getting a game ball to a disabled war veteran in the stands at a Nationals game last week:

http://umpscareblog.com/05/03/2011/umpire-gary-darling-makes-the-perfect-call/

What a classy move by Darling! That should make him an automatic nominee for Most Honorable Umpire in our year end awards.

Jeremy "jeruhmed" said...

Thank you, Dan for bring that to my attention. What a wonderful act and story!

Jon Terry said...

You guys should follow DiMuro on Twitter. He posts all of this stuff there.

thexfactor264 said...

@MaestroBen

After watching the video a second time, I will agree that the Tampa Bay ball is stuck, and should have been a ground rule double. I do not see the Kansas City ball as stuck, as to me it looks like the ball is resting under the padding, not forcibly stopped by the padding and therefore stuck.

There was actually a similar play, sometime within the last two years at Citi Field during a Mets/Phillies game, only the umpires ruled that the ball was in play, even though the Phillies had signaled for a dead ball. It became an inside the park home run for whoever the batter was.

Gil "CASD" said...

See @mikedimuro on twitter. He is one of three users the UEFL twitter account follows (the other two are @umpnews and @brooksbaseball).

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