Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Outfielder Fools Batter on Jumping Catch to Rob a HR

An center fielder who jumped to catch a fly ball at the wall in the CPBL fooled a batter into thinking he had hit a home run by acting like he missed the catch and the ball went over the fence for a home run...but seconds later the ball appeared in the outfielder's glove. Umpires can learn from this play by paying special attention to a rule near the end of the book about umpiring responsibilities during play.

Official Baseball Rule 8.00—the umpire rule—features a section at the end called General Instructions to Umpires. One of these instructions pertains to this type of a play: "Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play. It is more vital to know just where a fly ball fell, or a thrown ball finished up, than whether or not a runner missed a base. Do not call the plays too quickly, or turn away too fast when a fielder is throwing to complete a double play. Watch out for dropped balls after you have called a runner out."

To be clear, with a crew of four (or three or even two), not all umpires are watching the ball or the fielder who might possibly catch the ball—umpires who have dedicated base touch responsibilities here (such as a second base umpire working inside with runner(s) on base) should stick with those responsibilities while the umpire with ball responsibilities should pay special attention to the General Instruction regarding keeping an eye on the ball (and fielder[s] attempting to field it).

This play occurred with the bases empty, but in general, an umpire who goes out on such a play doesn't need to immediately kill the play with a "Time" and home run call if it is not blatantly obvious that the batter has indeed hit a home run. In a play such as this where the outfielder tries robbing the batter with a leaping catch at the wall, waiting a second to make sure and follow the ball is beneficial as a late "Time"/HR call isn't really harmful to the development of this play (it's a dead ball, four-base award anyway).

Making sure you have the ball before you make a call (e.g., of out) is also helpful not just in the outfield but at places like home plate on a swipe tag.

But had there been runners on, killing the play too quickly while the ball was live and in play the entire time could be disastrous as a so-called bell that cannot be unrung.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Outfielder fakes a missed catch on HR try, fooling the offense (CCS)


Post a Comment