Sunday, April 28, 2019

Repeat - Abreu Out for Passing Anderson During HR

Every once in awhile, an odd play occurs in MLB that we've seen before. Friday night, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu passed baserunner Tim Anderson during a home run, resulting in an RBI single—a passing Replay Review scenario we wrote extensively about during a 2016 Case Play in Chicago.

Friday, April 26, 2019: With R1 and R3 with one out, White Sox batter Jose Abreu hits a home run. Baserunner R1 Tim Anderson, afraid the high fly ball may be caught in the outfield, retreats to tag up at first base, causing Abreu to momentarily pass Anderson on the bases. Originally no-called by 1B Umpire Tony Randazzo, the ruling was overturned via Replay Review, upon which Abreu was declared out for having passed Anderson, granting Detroit an out and saving the Tigers one run.

After the game, White Sox Manager Rick Renteria said, "That's the first time I've ever seen it." Too bad Renteria wasn't the White Sox skipper before 2017.

Case Play 2016-11: Runners Passing.
September 10, 2016: Three years earlier, also in Chicago, with one out and one on (R1), White Sox batter Tyler Saladino hit a fly ball to left-center field, where the ball eluded Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson, bouncing on the warning track and out of play for a two-base award. Similarly, Chicago baserunner R1 Leury Garcia retreated toward first base during the fly ball, causing Saladino to pass him on the bases.

The difference here is that Royals Manager Ned Yost challenged that batter-runner Saladino had passed baserunner Garcia prior to the ball going out of play. Though Saladino did pass Garcia, he did not pass Garcia prior to the ball going out of play. For this reason, the passing no-call was confirmed.

A prior passing scenario during a HR.
Analysis: It doesn't matter if the ball is dead or not, but it does matter how the manager phrases his challenge. MLB Replay Review regulations require the challenging manager to specify exactly what aspect of the play he is challenging.

As we extensively discussed in 2016, Rule 5.06(b)(4)(l) Comment states that runners are not relieved of baserunning responsibilities during dead balls, and OBR 5.09(b)(9) holds that a runner is out when passing a preceding runner not yet retired. The passed runner, naturally, is unaffected by his teammate's illegal action.

Passing can occur during a dead ball, but with replay, the manager must request review of the entire sequence, not just that which concerns a live ball.
Related PostCase Play 2016-11 - Time to Pass a Runner [Solved] (9/16/16).

After 2016, the MLB Umpire Manual for 2017 wrote, concerning runners passing runners, "Runners passing are not protected from being called out in accordance with Rule 5.09(b)(9) by time being called or other dead ball situation (i.e ground-rule double, home run, etc.) if they are still in the act of running the bases."

Abreu passes Anderson at first base.
Conclusion: What is especially noteworthy, again, is how the 2016 challenge was phrased vs the 2019 version. In its result summary, MLB in 2016 wrote, "After review, the ruling on the field is CONFIRMED. The runner was not passed by another runner prior to the ball going out of play." Friday night, MLB wrote, "After review, the call on the field is OVERTURNED. There was passing runners."

In sum, managers, don't be too specific with the challenges. Yes, that could create headaches for an umpire trying to figure out what is being challenged, but by getting too cute, a technicality could mean the difference between an out and a run.

This is what we wrote in 2016:
NFHS vs NCAA vs OBR: All codes agree, passing can occur during a dead ball. However, only NFHS does not treat runner passing during a dead ball as a time play. PLAY: With two outs and two on, B1 hits a home run. After R3 scores, B1 passes R1 on the bases. Undeterred, R1 completes his HR trot and touches home plate. RULING: In NFHS, R3 & R1's runs both count. In NCAA & OBR, only R3's run counts due to the timing of the third out. NOTE: If the bases are loaded with two outs and B1 walks on a 3-2 pitch, after which R1 passes R2, then R3's run shall count whether or not he touched home plate prior to the third out, since he was forced home.
Video as follows:
Alternate Link: Abreu passes baserunner Anderson during a would-be three-run HR (CWS)


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