Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cora Apologizes for Raging at Rehak in Batter's Box Caper

Tuesday's 17-inning Red Sox-Twins game took a drastic turn involving Eddie Rosario and a batter's box that culminated with Boston Manager Alex Cora screaming at HP Umpire Jeremie Rehak and crew as the umpires left the field following Minnesota's walk-off win. Cora was upset at a foul ball call earlier in the 17th inning, with NESN commentators initially blaming the umpires for the loss during Boston's post-game show before Cora apologized over the air to Mark Wegner's crew for his "out of character" outburst. What happened and did the umpires get the call right?

The Play: With one out and one on (R1), Twins batter Eddie Rosario attempted to bunt a first-pitch slider from Red Sox pitcher Brian Johnson for a foul ball. Red Sox Manager Alex Cora contended Rosario had bunted the ball while outside of the batter's box, alleging that Rosario should have been called out for this infraction.

The Rule: Rule 5.05(b)(5) states, "The batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box. APPROVED RULING: The lines defining the box are within the batter's box."

Rule 6.03(a)(1) states that a "batter is out for illegal action when—he hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box...If a batter hits a ball fair or foul while out of the batter's box, he should be called out."

Verdict: Legal, Rosario's feet are on the line.
The Call: HP Umpire Rehak officiated this as a legal play, confirming with 3B Umpire and Crew Chief Mark Wegner that batter Rosario did not violate the batter's box illegal action rule. Replays indicate Rosario was legally positioned on or within the lines of the batter's box—for an out under OBR 6.03(a)(1), one or both feet must be on the ground entirely outside the box at the time of the hit, which did not occur; therefore, Rosario was legal and Rehak's ruling was proper: foul ball.

After The Game: Rosario later doubled, followed by an intentional walk to Brian Johnson and walk-off single by Max Kepler, scoring baserunner Luis Arraez from third and ending the 17-inning game. As the umpires exited the field, Cora charged after them and was physically restrained by team personnel as he continued yelling about the perceived slight, appearing to get into a brief shouting match with 1B Umpire Jim Reynolds as Rehak, Wegner, and Stu Scheurwater made their way back to the umpires' room.

Cora yells at the umpires after his team loses.
Gil's Call: This is a tired manager in the 17th inning who saw something unusual in batter Rosario hop-stepping up in the box to bunt the ball, giving the appearance that he may have been out of the batter's box when he made contact with the baseball—the entire dugout pointed at Rosario's feet, which all but assured Cora's initial reaction. We're used to seeing batters at the back of the box, but very rarely do we see batters at the front of the box—this is more of a softball technique, which likely confused the situation even more. The umpires, keeping an eye on things, properly no-called the play.

After the batter doubled, leading to a walk-off winner, Cora vented his frustration at the umpires, feeling that a missed call hurt his team. As for the umpires, they simply didn't appreciate being yelled at.
Related PostGil's Call: The Blame Game (Umpire Scapegoating) (8/8/14).

After the game, Cora began his post-game comments thusly: "Before we start, by the way, I want to apologize to the umpires. Obviously emotions take over. I looked at the replay, and Eddie wasn't off the batter's box. They did an outstanding job for how long it was. Just one of those that was tough to swallow, you see it and the emotions take over, but that was out of character. That was my fault...They were right and I was wrong."

Video as follows:
Alternate Link: Cora questions Rehak about Rosario's fancy footwork, then yells at the crew (BOS)


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