|Rackley's Rapid Response™ passed the test.|
Analysis: There is a lot to unpack here, so let's go step by step, rule by rule, and solve this wild play.
Call #1: Fair or Foul: This complex play begins, simply, when batter Bregman hits A's pitcher Blake Treinen's 1-2 pitch, which bounces in foul territory before rolling back into fair territory, whereupon catcher Lucroy makes initial contact with the baseball.
|This ball was fielded in fair territory.|
Analysis, Call #1: Because Lucroy makes first contact with the baseball while it is over fair territory, this is a fair ball.
Call #2: Interference or Incidental: As Lucroy attempts to field the ball, batter Bregman considers running to first base, and moves from his position in the right-handed batter's box toward first base. Seeing that Lucroy is about to field the ball, Bregman stops to avoid the imminent tag.
|The batter did not interfere with the fielder.|
QOC, Call #2: Bregman does not impede Lucroy's ability to field the batted ball, which means he has not interfered with the fielder's attempt to field a batted ball.
Call #3: Out of Base Path or Legal: As Lucroy attempts to tag Bregman, Bregman jumps backward, toward home plate, in an effort to avoid the tag.
|The runner did not illegally exit his path.|
QOC, Call #3: The batted ball exemption doesn't apply here, as Lucroy has already fielded the ball, leaving us to consider whether Bregman is three+ feet out of his path, established at the time of the tag attempt. It appears Bregman never quite arrived at (returned to) home plate, which also renders moot an MLB Umpire Manual interpretation regarding a batter-runner who retreats to home ("In situations where the batter-runner gets in a rundown between first and home, if the batter-runner retreats and reaches home plate, the batter-runner shall be declared out").
Call #4: Umpire Interference or Play On: As Lucroy fumbled the ball and HP Umpire Rackley stepped in for a closer look, the ball bounced off Rackley and settled in the dirt.
|HP Umpire Rackley did not interfere.|
QOC, Call #4: There is no call to make here, as a fumbled ball bouncing off of an umpire's chest is not one of the scenarios depicted nor covered by the umpire interference rule.
Call #5: Obstruction or Legal: As catcher Lucroy fumbles the ball into the left-handed batter's box, batter-runner Bregman reverses his retreat and sprints toward first base, avoiding the catcher in the process.
|The runner did not obstruct the fielder.|
QOC, Call #5: It appears batter-runner Bregman was not impeded by catcher Lucroy, so no obstruction occurred. Had this been obstruction, it would be an instance of OBS Type 2 (Type B), as in rule 6.01(h)(2), because Lucroy had already fumbled the ball away after fielding it and making a play on the runner: "If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible."
Call #6: Runner's Lane Interference or Nothing: Lest we give up too quickly, the final aspect of this play concerns whether Bregman legally ran to first base as catcher Lucroy threw to first baseman Canha.
|The runner did not commit RLI (INT).|
QOC, Call #6: Replays indicate Bregman's running lane adventure was entirely legal; he entered the lane on or between the two chalk lines and remained in the lane until the ball was already up the right field line, well past the infield.
|At least six rules were involved in just one play Tuesday.|
Mechanically Speaking: Rackley employs two "safe" mechanics here. The first signifies "no tag," "no interference," "not out of the base path," and "no obstruction"—essentially saying "everything that just happened is legal"—and the final safe call pertains to the runner's lane interference no-call, all of it the proper decision. Hunter Wendelstedt is on this crew and you sure hope he'll add Rackley's play to his curriculum at Umpire School for what to do when a crazy play finds you.
Postscript: Perhaps the most obvious call isn't even included in the aforementioned analysis—whether or not the catcher tagged the runner! As Replay Review confirmed, following an A's challenge, Lucroy did not tag Bregman—that is to say, Lucroy did not "touch a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball (not including hanging laces alone), while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove" [Definition of Terms: TAG]—but it just goes to show you what type of a call an umpire analyst can take for granted when confronted with no less than six additional considerations, all within a mere matter of seconds. As for HP Umpire Rackley, score that a QOC of Correct, multiplied by at least six.
Video as follows:
Video Analysis: David Rackley quickly processes at least six aspects of one very crazy play (UEFL)
Raw Video: A's challenge a safe call during game-ending play in Houston (HOU)