Saturday, August 7, 2021

Red Sox vs Blue Jays - Missed Base & Missed Appeal

Saturday's #RedSox-#BlueJays game in Toronto featured an interesting Replay Review challenge care of Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo after Red Sox batter-runner Alex Verdugo appeared to miss first base as Jays 1B Lourdes Gurriel also missed the base, at least initially. Appeal play says what?

Play: With one out and two on (R1, R2), Boston batter Verdugo hit a ground ball to Toronto third baseman Santiago Espinal, who threw to second baseman Marcus Semien to retire baserunner R1 Jonathan Arauz. Semien's throw to first base in an attempt to complete the double play was low and as first baseman Gurriel reached to catch the baseball, he broke contact with first base. Meanwhile, as Verdugo ran past first base, he too failed to touch the base. Gurriel, pivoting around to check on the remaining baserunner R2 Bobby Dalbec, then inadvertently touched first base with his foot while holding the baseball in glove.

Call: 1B Umpire Doug Eddings ruled Verdugo safe at first base, a call confirmed via Replay Review. But if Verdugo didn't touch first base, why was the call confirmed?

Rules Review & The Question of Timing
: Though it may surprise some fans, Official Baseball Rule 5.05(b)(3) Comment governs this play and has been on the books for decades: "If the batter-runner misses first base, or a runner misses their next base, they shall be considered as having reached the base."

There you have it—Montoyo's challenge was about the safe/out call at first base, but, by rule—OBR 5.05(b)(3) to be precise—the runner is deemed to have reached the base, and this action occurred prior to the defense tagging first base.

This is a situation in which the runner's touch is, surprisingly, not relevant whereas the fielder's touch (to signify a tag of the base) is of tantamount importance.

Missed Base Appeal (No Appeal Filed)
: Instead, we now have a situation of a runner missing a base, which, pursuant to OBR 5.09(c)(2) is an appeal play: "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when—With the ball in play, while advancing or returning to a base, they fail to touch each base in order before they, or a missed base, are tagged."

Gurriel's foot inadvertently touching/tagging first base is not a valid appeal. In order for Gurriel's appeal to be valid, Gurriel would have had to signal the umpire that he was specifically appealing Verdugo's failure to touch first base. Because Toronto failed to file a valid appeal before Verdugo returned to touch first base after having overrun it, Verdugo is deemed to have corrected his missed base infraction pursuant to the MLB Umpire Manual's "last time by" interpretation in which a runner corrects an infraction committed seconds earlier at the same base by running the bases properly (e.g., touching  the base) on his "last time by" the base (or in this case, more of a "last time standing on" scenario).

TLDR: Verdugo beat the play at first base and was ruled safe via Replay Review pursuant to OBR 5.05(b)(3). Toronto failed to appeal Verdugo's failure to touch first base, as in OBR 5.09(c)(2), and Verdugo corrected the missed base infraction by returning to first base prior to a defensive appeal (which was never filed).

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Toronto loses challenge because of failure to timely appeal missed base (BOS/CCS)


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