Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ESPN Baseball Quiz: Media Scores Low, Players Run Gamut

ESPN distributed a baseball rules quiz to 20 players, one manager, four coaches and seven media analysts in which the sports giant and former high school, college and independent leagues umpire Rich Marazzi conceptualized 10 plays that require a thorough understanding of the rules book to answer correctly.

Because the test was in true-or-false format, one might expect the average to be five (50%). Au contraire.
The UEFL's score. Gil sez, "Really, Aaron Boone?"

First, the score results.

Players: 5.5/10 average. Of the 20 players who took the exam, one (Brad Ziegler of the Diamondbacks) received a perfect score, while David Ross of the Red Sox scored 9/10, JJ Putz (Arizona) 8/10 and Andrew Bailey (Boston) 8/10. Low on the players' totem pole were Adam Dunn, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Burke, Jeremy Guthrie, Elliot Johnson, Skip Schumaker and Josh Collmenter (all 4/10) and Michael Young and Sam Fuld (3/10).

Ziegler, by the way, was drafted in the 2002 MLB Draft, though elected to return to Missouri State University for his senior year. He joined the Philadelphia Phillies after graduating. See, kids? Always stay in school.

Manager/Coaches: 6.6/10 average. Manager John Farrell (Boston) led the group with a 9/10 score, followed by Bob Geren with 8/10. Tom Foley and Derek Shelton (both Tampa Bay) bottomed out at 5/10, which is still more than the media's average and almost as high as the players' average.

Media: 4.4/10. Though ESPN.com's Dave Schoenfield (7/10) and Jayson Stark (6/10) led the pack, Tim Kurkjian and Doug Glanville (5/10) were the only other members of the media group to reach the coaches' minimum score. At the bottom of the pack were Jerry Crasnick (3/10) and Aaron Boone, who, with a one-out-of-10 score, should probably stay out of the rules game.

Fans: 3.7/10. Predictably the lowest rules knowledge lies with those not actually in the game of baseball.

Click here to take the quiz, here for the ESPN article and the "read more" link below for the correct responses with UEFL analysis and rules citations.
For simplicity's sake—and because we're used to such a thing—each question has been re-written into the familiar R1, F1 format with just the nuts and bolts intact (none of this "in order to" or "because of" fluff).

1) With none out and R2, B1 hits a line drive in front of F5 at third that makes contact with R2 as he slides into third base on a steal attempt. Is R2 out?
39.7% of test-takers got this question correct.

2) With one out and R1, B1 hits a fly ball to deep center that falls to the ground untouched. R1, unsure if the ball will be caught, retreats towards first base where he and B1 make contact, resulting in B1 pushing R1 towards second base. Is B1 out?
49.2% of test-takers got this question correct.

3) With none out and R1, R2, B1 bunts the ball in the air on the infield, resulting in a triple play after the ball falls to the ground untouched. Is B1 out on the infield fly rule?
46.3% of test-takers got this question correct.

4) Team A bats out-of-order in the first inning, but Team B does not appeal. Can Team A correct the mistake so that the next time Team A bats, the order is consistent with the lineup card?
46.1% of test-takers got this question correct.

5) With one out and R3, B1 hits a fly ball along the left field foul wall, where F5 makes a leaping catch before falling into the stands. (a) Is B1 out and (b) Does R3 score?
33.3% of test-takers got this question correct.

6) With none out and R1, R2, R3, B1 hits a line drive that gets by the drawn-in infielder F3 and hits R1. Is the play legal and R1 not out?
25.7% of test-takers got this question correct.

7) With two out and R1, R2, R3, B1 hits a home run. R1 does not touch second base, Team B appeals and R1 is declared out. Do two runs still score?
52.7% of test-takers got this question correct.

8) With none out and R2, F1 balks in his delivery to B1, but throws a pitch regardless of PU (or U1)'s "balk" pronouncement. B1 hits a home run. Is the ball dead and the sequence replayed?
19.4% of test-takers got this question correct.

9) During a pitching change, Team A's Manager discusses the game situation with his new reliever, walks back to the dugout, crossing the foul line, and then attempts to return to the mound to give his pitcher further information and instruction. Is this disallowed?
27.9% of test-takers got this question correct.

10) With none out and R3, B1 hits a ground ball to F4 and is retired 4-3, R3 scoring. PU, meanwhile, has called catcher's interference and sends R3 back to third and awards B1 first base. Team A's Manager informs PU he would like to take the result of the play (R3 scores, B1 out), but PU enforces the catcher's interference result instead (R3 back to third, B1 to first). Was the umpire correct?
25.7% of test takers got this question correct.


1) True; a runner is out if touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder, not including the pitcher, or has touched the pitcher. Exception: If a runner is touching his base on an Infield Fly, he is not out. Rule 7.08(f)

2) False; a runner who has not been put out or who has not yet scored may assist another runner as long as he does not pass the preceding runner. Rules 7.08(h) [passing], 7.09(e) and (h) [put out/scored runner's interference and base coach's interference].

3) False; An Infield Fly does not include bunts nor line drives. Rules 6.05(e) and 2.00 [INFIELD FLY]

4) True; Sans appeal, the offense may legally correct a BOO error at any time. Rules 6.07(a), (c) and (d).

5) True; The ball is dead when the fielder enters dead ball territory and the runner gets one base. Rule 7.04(c).

6) True; Since the ball already passed an infielder, the runner is not out. Rule 7.08(f).

7) False; R1 was forced and put out at second; no runs may score on an inning-ending force. Rule 4.09(a).

8) False; Balk calls do not immediately kill play; if in the ensuing action, all runners including the batter-runner advance at least one base on the play, the balk call is ignored and the play stands. Rule 8.05 Exception.

9) False; Because the manager's purpose of his initial visit was to make a pitching change [his visit was to pitcher #1], he is allowed a first mound visit to his new pitcher [pitcher #2]. Rule 8.06(b).

10) False; A team may elect to take catcher's interference or decline the penalty and accept the play. However, if all runners and batter advance at least one base, the interference call is discarded. Rule 6.08(c)

So, how did you do? Be honest... and don't be an Aaron Boone...


Lindsay said...

I got 9/10 on this. I missed the one about the teammate assisting a runner on the bases. My mind went elsewhere.

They actually picked relatively easy rules to use on this test.

Lindsay said...

are these hypothetical, or did some of them actually happen as written?

Lindsay said...

The only bunt-type of triple play I recall during the timespan in which Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and Drawin Barney were all on the Cubs with Matt Harvey on the Mets is the Dale Scott debacle in LA last year, which clearly didn't involve either of those teams. I'd say we're dealing with hypotheticals. While I believe Bo Porter could royally screw up his batting order for an out of order situation and I believe Don Mattingly isn't smart enough to appeal (not because no runner reached base.. but because he is Don Mattingly), I don't think any of these plays actually happened.

Lindsay said...

Then again, batting out of order has happened before without the opposing manager noticing (again, these guys average, what, 6 of 10 on this test?), so at least that one probably did happen as written.

Lindsay said...

As a fervent fan with no umpiring experience, I got 6/10. I credit that passable score completely to following this blog.

Lindsay said...

9/10 missed falling into the stands one

Lindsay said...

10/10. These were pretty easy. And yes, I can see each of them happening at some level of baseball at some point.

Lindsay said...

I got 8/10 - missed the bunted infield fly rule question and the last question. I almost said true to the last question because I had in my head that obstruction is a call where the manager can elect to take the result of the play or enforce the obstruction penalty. Forgot that it includes catcher's interference.

Lindsay said...

They wouldn't be rules if there wasn't a possibility of them happening at some point...

Lindsay said...

This is the one I gaffed, other than that it was pretty straight forward.

Lindsay said...

10/10. I will say that reading it and interpreting is much different than being on the field and interpreting.

Lindsay said...

All these plays have happened, however, some not very recent. The way the rules are written something happens that wasn't covered they write the rule in the next year.

Lindsay said...

I got 5/10

Lindsay said...

Saw discussion on ESPN's board, on question 4, if team A bats 1-3-2 in the top of 1, then the correct batter top of 2 is batter 3, correct?

Lindsay said...

i meant as written. A lot of them are pretty specific about current players. You would think they could use actual plays that happened

Lindsay said...

Has Dale Scott ever called a balk?

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