June 13, 2023

Manoah Tries to Blow Fair Ball into Foul Ball Territory

Alex Manoah decided to … encourage the ball

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Manoah Tries to Blow Fair Ball into Foul Ball Territory

The Blue Jays hosted the Astros on June 5, 2023 when Jays pitcher Alek Manoah tried to blow a rolling ball into foul territory in the top of the first inning. As written by Keegan Matheson,

“In one of the stranger plays you’ll see this season, Manoah tracked a Jeremy Peña bunt down the third-base line in the top of the first inning of the Blue Jays’ 11-4 loss in the series opener against the Astros on Monday. Like a long putt rolling across the green, it broke towards the foul line for a few feet but then changed its mind, breaking back toward fair territory.

That’s when Manoah decided to … encourage the ball.”

With Matt Chapman dancing up the line on the other side of the ball, Manoah dropped into a deep crouch — nearly on all fours — and tried to blow the ball over the foul line. That’s harder than it looks, though, and Manoah had no luck changing the ball’s path.”

During the 1981 season, the Mariners’ Lenny Randle actually blew a rolling fair ball into foul territory.

Ruleball Comment

  1. If Manoah was able to blow the ball into foul territory, it would have remained a fair ball.
  2. On May 27, 1981, Kansas City batter Amos Otis hit a dribbler up the third base foul line, where Seattle’s Lenny 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.”

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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