Tuesday, June 6, 2023

There's No Blowing in Baseball - Alek Manoah's Lenny Randle Moment

In his last start before being optioned, Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah got creative trying to thwart Astros batter Jeremy Peña's bunt single along the third base foul line, stooping down to blow the ball foul. Thanks to 1980s Mariners third baseman Lenny Randle, umpires learn this play in their history books and we venture back to 1981 with Seattle playing Kansas City to learn more about blowing in baseball.

On May 27, 1981, Royals batter Amos Otis hit a dribbler up the third base foul line, where Seattle's Randle got down on the ground and successfully blew the ball from fair territory into foul ground. After the play, HP Umpire Larry McCoy awarded Otis first base, ruling that Randle illegally interfered with the course of a ball without touching it—had he touched it, the ball would have been fair, and the logic goes that a fielder shouldn't be able to influence the path of the ball in a situation where they are trying not to touch it.

This gave rise to the MLB Umpire Manual rule interpretation that exists to this day called, "Infielder Interferes with Course of Ball" which states, "When a batted ball is rolling fair down the foul line between home plate and either first or third base and a fielder stoops down over the ball and blows on it or in any other manner does some act that in the judgment of the umpire causes the ball to roll onto foul territory, the umpire shall rule a fair ball. The ball is alive and in play."

Accordingly, HP Umpire Scott Barry called the ball fair as soon as Manoah blew on it, as blowing the ball is strictly prohibited.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Alek Manoah tried blowing a ball foul, similar to Randle 42 years prior


Post a Comment