Saturday, April 14, 2012

Umpire Odds & Ends: Batter's Box Bafflement

For Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, something didn't feel right about the right handed batter's box at U.S. Cellular Field as he dug in for his first at-bat in the top of the first inning of the Tigers-White Sox game: Cabrera sensed that he was being shortchanged, that the batter's box was too small.

Talk about Friday the 13th oddities, umpires Adrian Johnson and Gary Cederstrom mulled it over with Cabrera before summoning the Chicago grounds crew to measure the box, which confirmed an erroneous (too small) box had been drawn. As the grounds crew erased, redressed and redrew the batter's and catcher's box housing—this time to correct specifications—umpires and players stood by as South-side Chicago was treated to a seven-minute batter's box delay.

As specified by Diagram No. 2 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball (OBR), each batter's box shall be four feet wide and six feet in length. The nearest edge of each box shall be located six inches laterally from the parallel edges of the 17" home plate, while each box shall be centered longitudinally at the junctions which form the plate's two obtuse, 135 degree angles. The catcher's box runs 43" wide and has a center that correlates and coincides with the center of home plate itself. The catcher's box shall have an end point exactly eight feet behind the lowest triangular point of home plate that contains the plate's lower right angle.

Chalk up an incorrect QOC for the grounds crew and a winning attempt by Cabrera. After the delay, the White Sox defeated the Tigers, 5-2.

Video: Umpires Delay Game to Fix Batter's Box

6 comments :

Andy Kriebel said...

It's amazing how tuned in the best players in the world are to their environment. How many other players would have noticed such a thing?

I guess an equivalent would be a pitcher feeling like the mound is too low (they would never say anything if it were too high).

Anonymous said...

And of course this would happen on Friday the 13th...

Anonymous said...

any thoughts on why layne is working on the rapuano crew in minnesota today?? and balkin'n bob was working with cousins in toronto last night?

Anonymous said...

Not sure. Also Holbrook worked with Darling's crew during the week and now Lance Barrett is with them. Missing this week are Angel Hernandez(since last Saturday), Dan Iassogna, Scott Barry(Both all week), Chad Fairchild(since Wednesday) and Mark Carlson (since Yesterday).

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that some of them are just taking an early vacation?

werthj said...

Perhaps i'm picking nits, but the boxes were not 'too small'. they were too far forward, toward the mound. The grounds crew uses a premanufactured template to draw the boxes. The template is one batter's box, used on each side of the plate. It is outfitted with a block of some sort that aligns with home plate when layed on the ground. Since the parallel edge of the plate is not centered about the dimension of the box (the non right angle is the center point), there are two blocks, one to align the right box and one to align the left. When placed on the ground, the forward block needs to be aligned. It appears that the template was erroneously aligned using the back block, pushing the boxes forward.

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