Thursday, June 10, 2021

Umpire Bacchus Accidentally Hits Player - Clearing the Bat

When HP Umpire Erich Bacchus went to clear a dropped bat at home plate during Wednesday's Blue Jays-White Sox game, he accidentally tossed the bat into Chicago on-deck batter Jose Abreu's knee, resulting in a brief injury delay. So, how should an umpire clear a bat to avoid such an unfortunate situation?

While there is no imperative in the Official Baseball Rules to remove a bat from home plate in anticipation of a play at the plate, it is often good form for an umpire to do so in order to lessen the likelihood of injury to catcher or runner, and in order to ensure the discarded bat doesn't interfere with the play at home.

During a play at the plate during a Marlins-Mets game, for example, Ichiro Suzuki attempted to slide head-first into home plate, but his arm, instead of reaching home plate, ended up striking a bat lying next to home plate instead.

While some umpires may be able to remove a bat by picking it up and setting it behind them, others may opt to kick it out of the way. Whatever the method, all it takes it a light touch to clear the area immediately surrounding home plate that may be used for the upcoming play.

For example, we revisit the case of HP Umpire Angel Hernandez picking up a bat, taking a step or two backward, and gently dropping the bat behind him during Game 2 of the 2012 Yankees-Orioles ALDS when Ichiro Suzuki danced around home plate to score for New York. A year later, HP Umpire Dale Scott kicked a bat out of the way during the Boston-Detroit ALCS right before a play at the plate would have otherwise resulted in the catcher landing on the bat, had it not been removed.

When to Remove a Bat (Decision Making Factors)
In short, if the bat is in the way and it's necessary to remove it, consider how accessible the bat it. If it's available, consider if it'd be possible to remove the bat (e.g., it wouldn't take the umpire out of position or interfere with an impending play).

If there's time for a NAP (Necessary, Available, Possible), the bat may be safely removed.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Ump Accidentally Hits Abreu; Bat Clearance in Baseball (CCS)


Post a Comment