This exact play occured during a Swiss hockey game on March 16, 2013 when Cédric Botter attempted a wrist shot. The goal was waived off by refereee Stéphane Rochette following instant replay review.
Video: Pucks breaks into two pieces and is ultimately ruled frozen and a no-goal (SwissHabs)
NHL Rule 78.4 states, in part, "a goal shall be scored when the puck shall have been put...entirely across a red line." Rule 85—Puck Out of Bounds—addresses the instance of a puck causing the glass, lighting timing device or supports to break, but does not consider the situation of a puck itself shattering.
In concert with Rule 78.4, a similar situation in the Americas would likely be treated as a Puck Out of Sight pursuant to Rule 85.3 ("Should...the puck be out of sight of the Referee, he shall immediately blow his whistle and stop play").
As baseball season approaches, the UEFL announces its first Case Play of the 2013 season, based on the above scenario. Consider the following situation, modified from the above real-world hockey example.
Play: With two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Gray Sox are trailing the Blue Sox 3-0. Hoping to get the Gray Sox back into the game, batter B1 hits a fly to deep center field, causing the ball to come apart during flight. (For video of this goofy play, click here to see this most cartoony of events).
|Goofy's "How to Play Baseball" is Copyright, Walt Disney Co.|
a: Was our umpire correct in keeping this play alive through the collision at home plate?
b1: If so, and assuming F8 held in his hand part of the attached yet splintered baseball and this part of the baseball touched B1 prior to B1 touching home plate, is B1 out or does his run count; how does play proceed? R1, R2 and R3 have already legally scored.
b2: If not, what is the result of the play?
Now that we're warmed up, consider part (c):
c: Assume the ball has completely severed in two, as per the hockey scenario. One half of the ball is caught by F8 while the other half goes over the outfield wall in fair territory, both on the fly. Is that 3 outs, a grand slam or something else?
This is a Group Case Play in which you may respond to this post with your answer. Productive participants stand to gain one Case Play point (+1) in the UEFL Standings—before the season even begins. To receive credit, be sure to include your UEFL username.
*It is highly improbable that a baseball may come partially apart during one play. While one baseball would routinely be used during games in the late 1800s and early 1900s and occassionally fail or change properties during later innings, the death of Ray Chapman due to a HBP to the head in 1920 spurred the the American and National Leagues to consider replacing ripped, scuffed, cut, worn, fatigued or pitcher-manipulated balls.*