June 16, 2023

McNeil Shift Violation

Jeff McNeil called for a shift violation by plate umpire Bill Miller

McNeil Shift Violation

The Yankees and Mets played at Citi Field on June 14, 2023 when Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil was called for a shift violation by plate umpire Bill Miller.

The Yankees had Anthony Volpe on second and one out with Giancarlo Stanton facing Adam Ottavino with a 0-1 count.  McNeil was straddling second base with one foot on the shortstop side to hold the runner. He released totally to the second base side when Ottavino began his delivery. Following the pitch, Miller called a “ball” because he ascertained that McNeil had violated the shift rule in that there must be two infielders on both sides of second base.

Ruleball Comments

  1. Once the pitcher is in his delivery, the infielder can move. At the time of the start of play, McNeil was on the second base side of the base.
  2. In my opinion, the automatic “ball” call was not within the spirit of the rule and there was no violation. 
  3. But this is a gray area that MLB needs to review.
  4. If Stanton had hit Ottavino’s 0-1 pitch, and had a productive at bat, Yankees manager Aaron Boone would have the option of taking the penalty (the “ball” call) or the play such as the option in catcher’s interference plays.

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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