Friday, June 7, 2013

The Retouch Rule 7.08(d): A Game of Acting and Knowing

When the umpires suffered a week of bad press earlier this season, Vin Scully provided a much-needed reprieve, so we thought we'd see what Scully had to offer tonight after some hotly contested ejections by Clint FaganDan Iassogna and the controversial gum-throwing Jordan Baker. Fortunately, Vinny didn't disappoint.

Scully—the man that UEFL'ers in 2011 voted baseball's best broadcaster—paired up with the ever-affable CB Bucknor and colleague Rick Monday to educate fans about the finer points of the "retouch rule."

Rule 2.00 specifies a retouch is the "act of a runner in returning to a base as legally required."
Rule 7.02, which establishes that a runner shall run the bases in order, also orders runners to retouch all bases in reverse order if forced to return to a base.
Finally, Rule 7.08(d) requires a runner to "retouch his base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught before he, or his base, is tagged by a fielder." If he fails to do so, the defensive team may appeal for an out.

Bucknor praised after call at 2nd.
With none out and one on in the top of the 8th inning of the Braves-Dodgers game, Braves batter Andrelton Simmons hit a fly ball to Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier as baserunner R1 Jordan Schafer ran with the pitch before returning to first base. Unfortunately for Schafer, the adept CB Bucknor and Dodgers second baseman Skip Schumaker saw a violation of Rules 2.00 RETOUCH, 7.02 and 7.08(d) and, after appeal, Schafer was called out to complete the double play.

Replays indicate Schafer slid headfirst into second base, rounded and took two steps beyond second base towards third and then, realizing Ethier was about to catch the baseball, retreated to first base without first retouching second base, the out call on appeal was correct.

And so was Scully, who said:
Let's take a look and see. There's Schafer going into second, the Dodgers trying to double team him... Oh, he rounded second, you see that? He went in and actually took two steps beyond second base and then didn't touch second base going back to first, so that was a great call by the umpires, indeed.
Unfortunately, the video ends before Scully's recap of the play following the mid-inning commercial break:
Schafer lost where the ball was and forgot to retouch second on his way back to first... He said "I touched the bag," but he only touched it once; he should have touched it twice. Heads up play by Punto, Schumaker and the Dodgers. Plus, a very, very good call by CB Bucknor, the umpire at second base. They always get boo'd at, but boy that was a great call by the umpire to spot it. 
Meanwhile, Braves broadcaster Chip Caray had a different take: "They're going to say he didn't retag. They're going to call Schafer out for not retagging, you see he touched it, he slid and stood back up and stepped right back on the bag and came back to first. Now Dale Scott saying, 'you overslid and didn't retouch. You have to retouch the bag.'"

After viewing the tape, Caray admitted there was no retouch, crediting Punto-Schumaker with a "great play."

Dodgers radio analyst Rick Monday spotted it immediately: "The Dodgers need to make the appeal to second base, he went past the bag and didn't retouch it on the way back—he's out!"

In closing, Monday said what we all are constantly thinking: "I'm still amazed at how many players play this game and do not know the rules—and I'm talking about basic rules... Both Schumaker and Punto should get an award for supporting cast...I'm sorry, this is the major leagues—that's basic. I'm amazed. Again, Schafer did not know where the ball was. Once he got up, he turned and looked at his third base coach but took a step toward third base—well, that's in the interpretation, an 'advance,' but even if you overslide the bag, you have to come back and hit it on the way back." Added Charlie Steiner, "you have to retouch."

Video: Schafer fails to retouch 2nd while running in reverse order, LA appeals and CB bangs the out (LAD)
[Context: On Monday, the Dodgers middle infield deked Padres R1 Chris Denorfia on a fly ball to deep right field in the 9th, allowing RF Yasiel Puig to complete a game-ending double play, as called by HP Umpire Mark Wegner after making sure U2 Tim Timmons was not also making a call]


Gil Imber said...

I don't know what CB has been doing, but I used to consider him the low 10% and am starting to come around on him. He is really doing a good job this year. Kudos.

Gil Imber said...

Balances out Blaser's neighborhood call and Hickox's blown call on the same play in Colorado.

Gil Imber said...

Just blew a call to kill the braves rally in the 10th. Terrible call. Wasn't even close

Gil Imber said...

Must be the UEFL Jinx -- not even close.

Gil Imber said...

And the video:

Gil Imber said...

Yet, he handled it without an ejection. I'm sure there was something said that another umpire would have issued an ejection.

Gil Imber said...

I believe with all the rainouts in Boston, New York, and Washington these will be the following crews for today.

LAA at BOS: McClelland, Hudson, Bell, Foster
MIN at WAS: Welke, Conroy, Everitt, Barry
MIA at NYM: Marquez, Bellino, DiMuro, Barrett

Gil Imber said...

Wow i think CB is getting to that Gerry Davis zen-like level with his calmness. although he was way to quick here and thats why he missed it

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