Monday, June 14, 2021

Ask UEFL - Altuve Awarded Base Touch on Reversed HR

When Replay Review reversed Astros batter Jose Altuve's foul ball down the left field line in Minnesota to a home run, Crew Chief Dan Iassogna informed Houston that their runner would not need to run and touch all the bases to complete the HR, leading to a question as to why umpires instructed Michael Morse to re-run the bases during his 2012 grand slam following review.

The answer to this question is slightly less complex than one might think: When Morse hit his home run in 2012, originally ruled a single, umpire Jeff Nelson reviewed the call under MLB's original limited replay framework: three umpires left the playing field to watch a television in the bowels of Busch Stadium before rendering a verdict. Upon overturning the call, umpires were careful to make sure bases were appropriately touched.

By contrast, in 2021, plays are reviewed via the expanded Replay Review process, complete with a slew of Replay Review Regulations originally released in 2014. Though various parts of the regulations have changed over the years—and generally not in a public way—the 2014 iteration provides a huge clue in its section on base running challenges in Section V.F, which allows umpires to award a runner with a base touch (e.g., of home plate on a play at the plate if originally called out) if the umpires deem that the runner would otherwise have been safe had the correct call been made as the original call.

We also covered this in 2018 when Replay Review changed a foul ball to a fair ball call in Los Angeles. Baserunner Alex Verdugo was permitted to cut across the diamond from first to third base without needing to touch second. As we wrote at the time, "When a runner is awarded a base via replay, the Replay Official's placement of the runner carries with it a legal touch of any intermediary bases (in this case, second), such that Verdugo is assumed to have legally touched second base en route to third, because the Replay Official determined that he would have achieved third base had the original ruling been proper."

Section IV, correcting an incorrect call, agrees, which mirrors Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c): "If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call, disregarding interference or obstruction that may have occurred on the play; failures of runners to tag up based upon the initial call on the field; runners passing other runners or missing bases; etc., all in the discretion of the umpires."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Ask the UEFL - Why Didn't Altuve Have to Run the Bases? (CCS)


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