Monday, June 28, 2021

Crew Consultation & Getting It Right - Heyward's Foul HR

When 3B Umpire DJ Reyburn's initial home run call on Cubs batter Jason Heyward's drive into the left field stands at Dodger Stadium was changed to that of foul ball, eventually confirmed via Replay Review, it illustrated the officiating axiom of getting the call right as a priority.

To review, Heyward led off the 7th inning of Saturday's Cubs-Dodgers game in Los Angeles by hitting Dodgers pitcher Garrett Cleavinger's 1-2 slider into the grandstand beyond the left field corner and near the foul pole. 3B Umpire Reyburn initially signaled fair and home run, but 2B Umpire and Crew Chief Brian O'Nora's crew convened and Reyburn reversed the original ruling to an on-field call of foul ball.

The on-field call went to Replay Review, which confirmed the foul ball call, as video evidence indicated the batted ball left the playing field to the foul territory side of the foul pole; the white ball crossed over the yellow pole from camera angles near the infield.

In 2018, we first discussed the MLB Umpire Manual's entry for Crew Consultation and Getting the Call Right, and it bears repeating here.

In 2017, we discussed the importance of the call on the field—which is why getting together as a crew to get the call right before going to Replay Review is so important.

Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) further allows for rectifying a play after reversing an initial call. The main idea is that the original umpire may consult crewmates—asking for help, as it were—in several specific situations, one of which is ruling fair/foul on a ball that leaves the playing field in flight: HR or foul ball. 

Although no umpire shall seek to overturn or overrule a crewmate, the calling umpire may, in certain circumstances such as HR vs foul, ask for help and upon receiving this information decide whether or not to change their original call.

Thus, Reyburn determined based on additional information supplied by the crew that the batted ball was foul and Reyburn accordingly changed his initial home run call to that of foul ball, a decision and a call that was confirmed by Replay Review when the Replay Official determined the ball did indeed conclusively, with clear and convincing visual evidence, leave the field in foul territory.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Heyward's hit turns into foul ball after consultation & confirmed replay (CCS)


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