Thursday, August 3, 2023

Cecconi Notches 1st Career Strikeout on Crotch Catch

Diamondbacks pitcher Slade Cecconi earned his first career strikeout via Replay Review after Giants batter LaMonte Wade foul tipped a 3-2 fastball into Arizona catcher Jose Herrera's crotch, whereupon the ball was held against the player's body before being collected by his hand, without the baseball ever having touched the ground.

Thus, Torey Lovullo won his 1st inning challenge with Replay Review overturning HP Umpire Gabe Morales' original ruling that the ball had struck Wade's hand, as in a hit-by-pitch, with Crew Chief Dan Iassogna announcing the call was overturned due to clear and convincing video evidence that the ball struck batter Wade's knob of the bat before striking catcher Herrera, with the ball ultimately entering Herrera's control by hand or glove/mitt.

This unique strikeout would not have been possible in 2019, as the 2019 version of Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(2) required that a foul tip "goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hands" before being legally caught. The 2019-era rule required a catch due to a foul tip in this scenario to have "first touched the catcher's glove or hand" (such that Herrera's crotch catch would not be a legal catch due to the ball having failed to first touch the catcher's glove or hand). The proper call under the 2019 ruleset would be a foul ball (no catch, ball is dead).

In 2020, however OBR 5.09(a)(2) changed to reflect additional foul tip possibilities for "a batter is out when": "A batted ball goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught, and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play." On any foul tip, including caught foul tips for third strikes, the ball remains live and in play.

We first covered this change thanks to a 2021 play from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.


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