Monday, October 26, 2020

Marvin's Margot Mischief - Umpire Hudson's Steal at Home

Although Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw caught Rays runner Manuel Margot stealing home in Game 5 of the #WorldSeries in the span of seconds, for HP Umpire Marvin Hudson, years of training and education contributed to a quick-draw out/safe call.

To recap, Tampa Bay's Margot led off the bottom of the 4th with a walk and stole second base in short order, advancing to third on a missed catch error by LA second baseman Chris Taylor, all with zero out.

Two outs later, Margot still stranded at third base, the young center fielder attempted to steal home, trying to catch Kershaw and battery-mate Austin Barnes. And that's when Hudson had to cram years of experience into about five seconds.

Pitcher: The first consideration for Hudson was Kershaw. As Kershaw became aware of Margot's sprint home, he lifted his pivot foot and stepped off the back of the pitcher's plate and, in doing so, became a fielder with no obligation to deliver a pitch (for having disengaged from the rubber). Once Hudson saw Kershaw remove his back foot from the rubber, he knew not to call a balk or officiate a pitch, but instead a potential throw to catcher Barnes.

: Similarly, Kershaw's disengagement cued in batter Kevin Kiermaier to exit the batter's box. Official Baseball Rules 6.01(a)(3) and 6.03(a)(3) prohibit a batter from "making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base," and in this situation wherein the pitcher has legally disengaged from the pitcher's plate, the batter shall vacate the batter's box lest (s)he be put in jeopardy of hindering the catcher's play at home.

With less than two out, as in Rule 5.09(b)(8), the runner is out, while with two out, the batter is out for interference. In other words, had Kiermaier remained in the box and swung at Kershaw's throw to Barnes after Kershaw legally disengaged the pitcher's plate, he would be guilty of interference and, with two out, Kiermaier would be declared out (no run would count).

: Although baseball's plate blocking rule always has a bearing on plays at home plate, on steals of home, the catcher generally will receive the throw prior to the runner's arrival, which would allow him to legally block access upon receipt of the baseball. Nonetheless, Barnes doesn't appear to block Margot's path to score.

Umpire: Finally, Hudson knows time is limited so he takes one simple read step to the right of his starting position at point-of-plate, and from this angle roughly along the left field foul line extended, is able to officiate this play thanks to obtaining the keyhole angle or wedge needed to see the potential tag.

Replay Review: Following the play, Margot signaled that he wanted a video review of the play, but the Manager's Challenge must come from, well, the manager. Because Kevin Cash opted not to challenge Hudson's call, despite each team's allotment of two Manager's Challenges during the postseason, this play was not reviewed. A Crew Chief Review for such a play cannot occur until the 8th inning, and only if the team has exhausted its supply of Manager's Challenges.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Margot's Steal Spurs Kershaw, Hudson, Into Action (CCS)


Post a Comment