Monday, June 29, 2015

Review of Bullet Down the Line, Fletcher Gets Upset

After 1B Umpire Chris Segal ruled Giants batter Matt Duffy's liner foul down the first base line, skipper Bruce Bochy requested and received a crew chief review, setting off a chain of "review this, not that" machinations back at MLB Advanced Media headquarters in New York. To set the scene, Duffy, in pursuit of a cycle, ripped a line drive at Rockies first baseman Wilin Rosario, whose glove may or may not have made contact with the baseball before it fell to the ground near the foul line just past Segal's position.

But before we get to Duffy, we turn to Andy Fletcher and Jon Lester in Chicago. After walking Dodgers batter AJ Ellis on an inside pitch, Lester drew the ire of plate umpire Andy Fletcher, who marched out to the mound as Cubs catcher David Ross stepped in front of Fletcher until skipper Joe Maddon picked up the issue. After a brief argument, zero ejections, and a total delay of about 75 seconds, play resumed with none out and one on in the top of the second. Los Angeles ultimately won the contest, shutting out the Cubbies 4-0.
Video: Fletcher marches at Lester after a reaction on the heels of an AJ Ellis walk (CHC)

Back to Replay....MLB's strictly regulated Replay Review system specifies exactly which plays or calls are and are not reviewable via video instant replay. Replay Review regulation V. outlines the only calls eligible for Replay Review and, relative to the play at hand, include "Calls involving a decision regarding whether a batted ball was 'A FOUL BALL,' within the meaning of the Official Baseball Rule's Definition of Terms (formerly Rule 2.00) but only with respect to balls that first land at or beyond the set positions of the first or third base Umpire." Regulation V.C. goes on to address the specific case of an infielder (in our play, F3 Rosario) who attempts to field a line drive: "Line drives fielded by a defensive player in the infield and balls that first land in front of the set positions of the first or third base Umpire shall not be subject to review."

Let's walk through the play, which has been color-coded to indicate which aspects of the play are and are not reviewable (green = reviewable / red = not reviewable):
B1 Duffy hits a line drive down the first base line as F3 Rosario attempts to field it (and may or may not have touched it in fair or foul territory), which subsequently lands on the dirt behind U1 Segal's position and in either fair or foul territory.

This likewise answers the Rockies' broadcasters question as to why crew chief Greg Gibson, acting in place of the injured Jim Joyce, convened the crew to discuss the play ("Moreover, prior to the initiation of a Replay Review, the Umpires may confer among themselves at any time and change any call (whether or not the call is reviewable) in accordance with Official Baseball Rule 8.02 (formerly Rule 9.02)" [Reg. II.A]).

Replays indicate the ball landed in foul territory beyond Segal's position, the reviewable aspect of this play was officiated properly. Replays are inconclusive as to whether F3 Rosario touched the baseball.
Video: Duffy's cycle bid comes up short as line drive down the first base line lands foul (COL)


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