Thursday, June 28, 2012

How the Visiting Team Can Walk-Off: Touch 'em All

Rule 4.09 of the MLB & Official Baseball Rules is titled, "How a Team Scores," and is one of the most vital parts of the rules book; without it, no teams would ever plate runs and games could never end.

The very first sentence of Rule 4.09 is the simplest of the entire subsection: "One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning." Simple, right?

Well, not if you forget to touch one of the bases.

This week, Raul Mondesi, Jr.—yes, that Mondesi—stepped up to the plate with his Helena Brewers in the bottom of the 10th inning. When Missoula Osprey pitcher Dexter Price left a 0-1 curveball over the heart of the plate, Mondesi smacked it into the outfield bleachers for an apparent game-tying home run.

Only he forgot to touch one important piece of the field—he missed home plate entirely.

Under the confines of Rule 7.10(d), "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when ... He fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged."

Sure enough and after some bumbling about proper appeal procedures (remember, ball has to be live; after a HR it is not), Osprey catcher Michael Perez called for the newly distributed baseball and stepped on home plate to appeal. After looking into the Helene dugout and finding Mondesi, HP Umpire Blake Mickelson signaled, "out," effectively ending the game with the tying run wiped off the board.

For his part, Helena manager Jeff Isom reluctantly believed Mickelson's version of events—not to mention instant replay and video evidence: "On any home run, the umpire has one job and that's to watch the plate and make sure the runners touch it. He said [Mondesi] missed it by eight inches."

Fred Merkle, is that you? As George Santayana wrote way back in 1924, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Well, as long as the umpire is doing his "one job," that is.

Article: Raul Mondesi, Jr. Misses Home Plate, Recalls Memories of Merkle's Mistake [b/r]
Video: Game Ends as Mondesi Forgets to Touch Home Plate After Game-Tying Home Run [ds]

24 comments :

Anonymous said...

Interesting, though the title is misleading. This is the same as any game where the visiting team wins, they get more runs than the other team and then fend off the home team in the bottom of the 9th or whatever extra inning it is in.

Anonymous said...

What a way to end the game. You've just blown the save and the offense reaches back and hands you a gift. Exciting way to win.

Anonymous said...

I suppose any game is "technically" a walk off in that at the end of the game, one of the teams suddenly goes from losing to loser. Anyway... how can you not touch home on a HR? That's just unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the ball put into play.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't. Nor was there a batter in the box (which the PBUC manual requires for the ball to be put in play).

Anonymous said...

He didn't point but he did put it back in play verbally. You only have to have a batter in the box to start the game, not put the ball in play.

RichMSN said...

Anon: That's wrong. The PBUC manual requires a batter. Section 6.17. This is a minor league game and the PBUC manual applies.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a properly executed appeal, he did get the new ball and initially, Blake said, "no, time is out, try again," and they did, but he still hadn't technically made the ball live per standard operating policy. Still, no commissioner in the world (if there was a protest of this game) would honor the appeal.

Anonymous said...

Let's say this was a walkoff HR. How would they properly appeal then. No batter would be coming up to bat.

Anonymous said...

A batter would have made it interesting because he probably could have hit the pitch as the pitcher thru home from the rubber.

omgahokie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
omgahokie said...

If the batter tries to swing at the ball he would probably be called out for batter's interference. The appeal play has the pitcher stepping off the pitcher's plate (making him a fielder) and throwing the ball to the plate. The throw is not a pitch for the batter to swing at.

Anonymous said...

This pitcher did not step off legally as far as I can tell. Evidence removed from internet however.

Anonymous said...

Evidence back on internet. Hard to tell if he stepped off.

omgahokie said...

I wasn't speaking specifically at the play, it was a generally statement.

UmpsRule said...

I'd be curious to know what popular opinion is regarding who is the best ump in the game. Perhaps Gil could design an interactive bracket or something like that listing all the umpires. I know, who in his right mind would think of something like that?

Anonymous said...

The pitcher is NOT required to step off the rubber to make a throw to a base for a missed base appeal. If the pitcher throws to the catcher without stepping off the rubber, what rule says the batter cannot swing at it? If the pitcher does step off the rubber to make an appeal throw to the plate and the batter hits the ball, the batter should be out for batter interference. But would such a "play" negate a subsequent appeal as intervening plays usually do?? I suppose the pitcher could receive a new ball from the PU, have it indicated as in play and then walk to and step on the plate.

Anonymous said...

If the pitcher doesn't step of the rubber, then he just threw a pitch, which negates his right to appeal.

Cricket said...

This conversation is fruitless.

How many people comment on this site who are clueless to the rules of the game?


And @UmpsRule: UEFL conducted a poll last season on best umpire. I think Joyce won, but I cannot remember.

UmpsRule said...

Ok, thanks Cricket.

Anonymous said...

Bang bang call at 1B in Tampa that Muchlinski missed tonight, cost Rays run.

UmpsRule said...

@ Anon 7:18 PM

Contrary to what you may believe, tie does not go to the runner. Muchlinski got the call right.

Anonymous said...

@UmpsRule,

No. He's safe.

http://30fps.mocksession.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012-June-30-22-9-40.jpg

UmpsRule said...

Well, based on that screen capture, I must admit he does appear safe. However, Muchlinski did not get to look at a screen capture when he made the call.

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