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When all else fails, throw your glove at the ball

How did Marcell Ozuna get away with throwing his glove at the ball?

Remember chasing a baseball down a sloping street, wishing desperately that you could somehow get to it before it rolled into the storm sewer? A ball in the sewer didn’t just mean the end of the game–it meant the end of the afternoon. With that much on the line, we learned in desperation to throw a glove at the ball. Sometimes it worked. But don’t do it in a real game.

Marlins’ outfielder Marcell Ozuna appeared to throw his glove at a batted ball when Miami played St. Louis in July 2017. His glove did not touch the ball. The batter, Tommy Pham of the Cardinals, got to second base but his manager, Mike Matheny, wanted more. The umpires huddled. No penalty. Pham stayed at second base.

Here’s why.

Ted Barrett explains it here: Detached Equipment Rule

Here is the rule from the MLB Umpire’s Manual:

15. Detached Equipment Touching Pitched or Batted Ball

 

Watch: Did Ozuna throw his glove?

Marazzi Sums It Up:

Ozuna Throws Glove at Batted Ball?

Insider Report by Rich Marazzi

The Cardinals hosted the Marlins two weeks ago. In the bottom of the third, Tommy Pham was batting with one out and a runner on second. Pham hit a shot toward left center. Marlins’ left fielder Marcell Ozuna appeared to have thrown his glove at the ball in an apparent attempt to stop it or to keep it from rolling further.

Ozuna’s glove never made contact with the ball and Pham ended up on second base.

Cards’ skipper Mike Matheny conferred with plate ump Brian Onora regarding Ozuna’s thrown (or dropped) glove. The umpires huddled and kept Pham at second base.

The umpires made the proper call because Ozuna’s glove never made contact with the ball whether or not there was intent to throw the glove. When a fielder intentionally throws his glove at a fair batted ball or a foul ball that has a chance of being fair, and makes contact with the ball, the batter and all runners are awarded three bases. The ball is not dead, however. If the batter-runner attempts to advance further, he does so at his own risk. See rule 5.06 (4) (C).
It should be understood that the award is made from where the runners are at the time the ball was touched. If the batter-runner had first base made when the ball was touched, he would score.

In the above play, let’s assume that Ozuna intentionally threw his glove and it made contact with the ball. The runner on second would score and Pham would be awarded third base unless he had first base made when Ozuna’s glove made contact with the ball. If Pham had first base made at the time the glove made contact with the ball, he would be awarded home. If Pham did not make first base at the time the glove touched the ball and he attempted to advance home and was thrown out, he would be out and the violation would be nullified.

The announcers on the MLB network butchered the rule. MLB commentator Tom Verducci incorrectly said, “It doesn’t matter if the glove hit the ball or not (it’s a violation of the rule). Show host Greg Amsinger showed his ignorance of the rule as well when he stated, “If the glove comes off the hand while you’re attempting to touch the baseball, even if that’s just an accident, it’s an extra base.”

Fortunately, someone called the network and explained that a thrown glove must make contact with the ball for there to be a violation. To the credit of Verducci and Amsinger, they made the correction while still on the air later in the show.

Kershaw Throws Glove at Batted Ball

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on July 2, 2013, in Colorado. In the bottom of the sixth the Rockies had D.J. LeMahieu on first and no outs when Josh Rutledge laid down a bunt that rolled between the pitcher’s mound and the first base line. Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw in an attempt to stop the ball, threw his glove at it. Fortunately for the Dodgers, the glove did not make contact with the ball. If it did, Rutledge would have been awarded third base and LeMahieu would have scored from first.

Sanchez’s Glove Makes Contact with Ball

Never assume that your players know these most basic rules. On May 28, 2005, the Diamondbacks hosted the Dodgers. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Arizona was trailing 4-2 when Luis Terrero hit a soft pop-up over the head of Dodgers’ pitcher Duaner Sanchez. In an attempt to stop the ball, Sanchez threw his glove in the air and made contact with the ball which landed not far from the pitcher’s mound. Terrero was awarded third base on the play which ignited a rally that led to the D’Backs 5-4 win.
You might recall that I showed this play in my spring training presentation.

I’m always asked the following question: What if an outfielder throws his glove and makes contact with a batted ball that is leaving the field for a home run and the ball remains in play?

If that should happen, the batter is credited with a home run. Rule 5.06 (4) (A) reads, “Each runner, including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out advance to home base…if a fair ball which, in the umpire’s judgment, would have gone out of the playing field in flight, is deflected by the act of a fielder in throwing his glove, cap, or any article of his apparel.”

Official Rule 5.06(b)(4)(a)

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