Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reviewing the Unreviewable, the 2015 Hrbek/Gant Play

A runner pushed off of a base by a fielder's glove is not reviewable as umpire Andy Fletcher and crew chief Jerry Meals found out Friday night in Texas. With two out and one on in the 8th inning, A's baserunner R1 Mark Canha attempted to steal second base, resulting in a close play with Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. Replays indicate Canha slid to the outer edge of second base and that contact with the base broke upon Andrus' hard tag. Did Andrus commit an illegal act?

Fletcher and Meals consulted with New York's Replay Operations Center, but quickly returned after being told the play of a runner being pushed off a base is not reviewable. The A's ultimately won the contest, 7-5.

Officially deemed a "rules check," this is the first unreviewable play discussed with MLBAM HQ since September 20, 2014's untimely tag-up at third base play in Kansas City, in which umpires ultimately elected to reverse the original (and incorrect) on-field ruling after conference. At the time, some speculated that KC showing the play on the Stadium's videoboard contributed to the decision.

Video: Bob Melvin argues runner improperly pulled off base, no review, out call sticks (OAK)

OBR Rule 7.08(c) [circa 2014] states that a runner is out when "he is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base," as would occur as the result of an overslide, as in Rule 2.00 [OVERSLIDING]: "the act of an offensive player when his slide to a base, other than when advancing from home to first base, is with such momentum that he loses contact with the base."

History (Video Link): In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek tagged out Braves batter-runner Ron Gant, returning to first base, after 1B Umpire Drew Coble ruled Gant overslid the base on his return. Gant had argued that Hrbek forcibly pushed his foot off the base.


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