Thursday, September 19, 2019

Appeal Play Statute of Limitations - When to Deny

When Pirates pitcher Michael Feliz threw wildly to third base during an appeal play in Chicago, 3B Umpire Alfonso Marquez consulted his crew before ruling all Cubs safe (base touch), filling up our mailbag with questions about appeals.

Rule 5.09(c) governs Pittsburgh's wild faux paus at Wrigley Field and the most common query we received about this odd play is whether Marquez should have granted the appeal at all.

Play: With two out and the bases loaded (R1 Jason Heyward, R2 Ben Zobrist, R3 Kyle Schwarber) during 9/15/19's Pirates-Cubs game, Chicago batter Tony Kemp hit a three-RBI triple to right field. After returning the ball to the pitcher and requesting "Time," Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle called over HP Umpire Dan Bellino, who in turn went to discuss something with 3B Umpire/Crew Chief Marquez (most likely to inform him that Hurdle intended to appeal the base touches of both Cubs runners—Heyward and Zobrist).

Upon the ball becoming live, Pirates pitcher Feliz stepped off the rubber and threw to third base—or rather, threw well past third base, allowing Cubs baserunner R3 Kemp to score easily as the Pirates retrieved the ball and stepped on third base—at Hurdle's direction—for the original appeal play on Cubs runners Heyward and/or Zobrist.

Umpires convene on the appeal's admissibility.
Call: After crew consultation, Marquez ruled Heyward and/or Zobrist had legally touched third base ("safe"), thus honoring Pittsburgh's appeal request.

Appeal Play Statute of Limitations: OBR 5.09(c) regarding proper appeal procedure states, "Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play." It also says, "If the defensive team on its first appeal errs, a request for a second appeal on the same runner at the same base shall not be allowed by the umpire."

Analysis: The question, thus, is simple: Does F1 Feliz's wild throw past third base during his appeal attempt qualify as a "play or attempted play"? If the answer is yes, the umpires should not allow the appeal. If the answer is no, the umpires should allow the appeal.

Bellino speaks with Marquez.
OBR 5.09(c) includes the following sentence, "An appeal is not to be interpreted as a play or an attempted play."

Legal (allow the appeal): Even if botched due to an overthrown ball that stays on the playing field, an appeal attempt is decisively not a play. As long as the defense retrieves the loose ball and—without any intervening action or play—immediately seeks to continue their previously scheduled appeal, this interrupted appeal should be allowed.

Late/Failed (deny the appeal): However, if during an appeal attempt, the pitcher accidentally throws the ball into the stands or otherwise out of play (or if he balks while appealing), this is to be considered an act that closes the appeal's statute of limitations window. In other words, "Intended meaning of the word 'err' is that the defensive team in making an appeal threw the ball out of play. For example, if the pitcher threw to first base to appeal and threw the ball into the stands, no second appeal would be allowed." Appeals also cannot be made after a pitch is thrown to the next batter, after a pickoff attempt or equivalent play on a runner, etc.

Accordingly, Pittsburgh's unorthodox appeal was legal | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Analyzing PIT's timely and legal yet comical appeal in CHC (CCS)


Post a Comment