Saturday, May 21, 2022

Ask the Teachable - Rotation Replay & Plate Blocking

This Ask the Teachable takes us to Milwaukee, where Nationals batter-runner Lane Thomas was tagged out at home plate by Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez on an unsuccessful inside-the-park home-run attempt, ruled out by 1B Umpire Stu Scheurwater, who rotated home to fill in for HP Umpire Charlie Ramos, who rotated to third base to fill in for 3B Umpire CB Bucknor, who rotated to second base to fill in for 2B Umpire Jeff Nelson, who went into the outfield to officiate Thomas' fly ball to deep right-center field. This is an example of an umpire rotation on a batted ball to the outfield with no runners on base at the time of the pitch.

As we followed the batted ball off the wall, we saw Thomas hustling around the bases as Milwaukee right fielder Hunter Renfroe gathered the ball and threw to second baseman Kolten Wong, who threw to catcher Narvaez as Thomas arrived at home plate.

Replay Review
: Despite earlier issues with the clubhouse replay system in the 1st inning, by the time of this play in the top of the 7th inning, replay had been restored for both teams and thus as soon as Scheurwater made the out call at home plate, the 20-second decision timer began. Replays indicate the 20-second timer expired before Nationals manager Davey Johnson requested a review, meaning that Crew Chief Nelson properly denied Johnson's untimely request for a Manager's Challenge.

Plate Blocking Rule: Another issue here is whether or not catcher Narvaez blocked the runner Thomas' path to home plate. Recall that, pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 6.01(i)(2) pertaining to Collisions At Home Plate, the catcher is allowed to block the pathway of the runner under very specific circumstances. One of these is as follows: "Not withstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 6.01(i)(2) if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw (e.g., in reaction to the direction, trajectory or the hop of the incoming throw, or in reaction to a throw that originates from a pitcher or drawn-in infielder)."

Thus, because Wong's throw bounced and the trajectory of said through took the catcher into foul territory to receive it, the catcher is legally allowed to block the pathway of the runner.


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