Sunday, October 25, 2020

Willy Adames' Subtle Push Part II - Fool Me Twice

After Max Muncy's Game 4 adventure with Rays SS Willy Adames at second base, Tampa Bay's shortstop tried for an encore performance with Dodgers runner Austin Barnes during #WorldSeries Game 5, resulting in another umpire's out call. Was this call the proper one or did Adames get greedy?

To review, 2B Umpire Mark Carlson during Game 4 declared Los Angeles batter-runner Max Muncy out at second base after an overslide into Adames, during which both players tumbled to the ground on the third-base side of the bag.

In our analysis, we discussed Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4), the Definition of Terms' entry for oversliding, and MLB Umpire Manual standard for a fielder pushing or forcing a runner off a base. Conclusion: Carlson's call was correct; the runner was properly declared out on the tag after oversliding second base.

In Game 5, Adames repeated his putout antics by tagging Barnes as he slid headfirst into second base and attempted to remain on the base with his left foot. This, too, resulted in an out call from 2B Umpire Laz Diaz.

Compare and Contrast, Gil's Call
: Unlike the Muncy play, it would appear that Barnes was forced or pushed off of second base by Adames.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, compared to Game 4's play in which Muncy appeared to be the player responsible for the bulk of the forceful contact with his opponent (Muncy crashed into Adames), in Game 5, Adames appears to be the player responsible for the collision by virtue of diving into (or onto) Barnes, who is sliding headfirst and has only his legs at the base.

Second, Adames appears to actively direct his right hand—his non-glove hand without the ball—directly into Barnes' left leg and, in doing so, pushes Barnes off the base. Although the rule does not require the act to be intentional in order for the umpire to judge that a runner has been improperly pushed off of a base, it appears that Adames' act—not the runner's momentum—primarily caused Barnes to break contact with the base, meaning the proper remedy would be to declare the runner safe.

That said, this is a judgment call, and if the umpire's judgment, Barnes would have been unable to hold the base even without the fielder's perceptively illegal intervention, the proper call would be to declare the runner out—even if the fielder intentionally caused the runner to come off of the base.

Your mileage may vary | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Rays SS Strikes Again, This Time Against LA's Austin Barnes (CCS)


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