June 13, 2023

Judge Makes Catch and Runs Through Outfield Fence

What happens when an outfielder leaves the field of play to catch a ball?

Judge Makes Catch and Runs Through Outfield Fence

The Yankees and Dodgers played at Dodger Stadium on June 3, 2023. The Dodgers had Max Muncy on first base and no outs in the eighth inning when J.D. Martinez hit a drive to right field. Aaron Judge tracked back and eventually crashed through a fence ending up in the Yankees bullpen to rob Martinez of what was surely an extra-base hit. Judge hit the fence with such force that the fence swung open, and he nearly fell in. But he just took a step in to steady himself, with the ball secure in his glove.

“I think the fence got most of it,” Judge said with a grin to The Post’s Greg Joyce and other reporters after the 6-3 Yankees’ win. “Thankfully, it was that part of the wall where it had some give. So, I think that saved me quite a bit. If it was a solid wall, we might be a different story.”

Because Judge left the field of play, the umpires awarded Muncy second base. Yankees manager Aaron Boone questioned the placement of Muncy but was apparently satisfied with the umpires’ explanation and there was no challenge.

Ruleball Comments

  1. The umpires ruling of sending Muncy to second base was consistent with past rulings.
  2. Rule 5.06 (b) (3) (C) Comment reads, “If a fielder, after having made a legal catch, should step or fall into any out-of-play area, the ball is dead and each runner shall advance one base, without liability to be put out, from his last legally touched base at the time the fielder entered such out-of-play area.
  3. It should be noted that any runner on base must properly tag-up after he is given the one base award by the umpire because he is advancing on a caught ball. The base coaches must be aware of this as well as the players.
  4. In the above play, Muncy returned to the base after the catch and retouched first base. You can see this on the overhead viewing link. If he didn’t retouch the base after the umpire granted the base award, the Yankees could have appealed.
  5. Although it was fortunate that the fence had some give which could have prevented injury, is it a fair rule? This rule normally applies when a fielder makes a catch and falls into the stands. Regarding the above play, is it the fault of the fielder if the fence is not properly secured? I don’t think so.
  6. To view similar plays, go to You Tube, “Rodney McCray crashes through outfield fence,” and “Baseball outfielder crashes through outfield wall to make…”
  7. If Judge had dropped the ball once he was in dead ball territory in the Yankees bullpen, Martinez would have been credited with a two-base award.
  8. If a teammate in the Yankees bullpen assisted Judge by keeping him from falling, it would be a moot point because once Judge entered the bullpen area, he was in dead ball territory.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Bally Sports, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

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