MLB Umpires Utilizing Rule 8.02 (c)
The D’backs and Braves played at Truist Park on July 31, 2022. In the bottom of the second, the Braves had Austin Riley on second and Travis d’Arnaud on first with one out when William Contreras hit a drive to left field. Jake McCarthy, the D’backs’ left fielder, “snared” the ball and carried it a couple of steps before he dropped the ball after colliding with the wall.
Third base umpire Chad Fairchild went out on the ball. He signaled “out” and then signaled “no catch.” The runners were obviously confused. McCarthy threw to shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, the cutoff man, who threw to third baseman Josh Rojas, who stepped on the base to retire Riley who was aimlessly perplexed between second and third. Rojas then threw to second baseman Buddy Kennedy to force d’Arnaud for the inning-ending 7-6-5-4 force DP.
- From this corner this scenario was poorly handled by several.
- In my opinion, Fairchild reacted too quickly. He apparently observed McCarthy “glove” or “snare” the ball and assumed he would be making a legal catch. But once McCarthy made contact with the wall and lost control of the ball, he no longer was able to meet the standard of a legal catch.
- A section of the Catch rule reads, “It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball…”
- In my opinion, once Fairchild signaled “out” and then “safe” indicating no catch, it placed both Riley and d’Arnaud in jeopardy. Therefore, Braves manager Brian Snitker should have challenged the play and asked for a RULES CHECK.
- I think there would have been a very good chance the Replay Official would have protected the runners and utilized rule 8.02 (c) that empowers umpires (and the Replay Official) to correct an incorrect initial ruling and to arbitrarily place the runners where they would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call.
- I would speculate that Riley would be allowed to score while d’Arnaud would be given third base, and Contreras second base.
- I think the base coaches share some responsibility here as well. Were they watching Fairchild? Once Fairchild changed his call, the should have directed the runners to advance.
- When possible, the runners should also keep an eye on the umpire who is covering the play and observe his signal.
- As I emphasized in my previous report, players on both sides of the ball and dugout personnel, including the base coaches, are often fixated on the flight of the ball and neglect the underbelly of the play which can include the signal of the umpire.
- The voluntary and intentional release of the ball by a fielder to legalize a catch did not factor into this play because the ball was dropped from the glove. Under the current “Catch” rule a fielder legalizes a catch if he holds the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is “voluntary and intentional.” The “voluntary and intentional” act is met if the fielder opens his glove with the intent of releasing the ball. He no longer has to reach into the glove with his throwing hand.
- To meet the “voluntary and intentional” release of the ball of an incapacitated fielder with the ball in his glove, the nearest teammate should pull the ball from the glove before it trickles to the ground and is no longer “in flight.” Coaches should cover this with their players and broadcasters can use this as fodder for discussion.
- Fortunately for the Braves, the play did not affect the outcome of the game they won, 1-0.
Because of rule 8.02 (c) the umpires were able to correct an error in the May 3rd D’backs-Marlins game, when they changed the call of a foul ball to a fair ball. Here is what happened.
ruled fair by first base umpire Ryan Wills, who inadvertently pointed into foul territory, as if to signaling a foul ball, which resulted in both teams stopping play. Upon crew consultation, the call was rectified as a fair ball, with runners placed as follows: Garrett Cooper, the runner on third and Brian Anderson the runner on second both scored. Jacob Stallings, the runner on first was placed at third base, and Chisholm was placed at second base.
D’backs manager Torey Lovullo argued the play and was subsequently ejected by plate umpire Adrian Johnson.
Replays indicated the ball was fair and the runner’s placement was proper. At the time of the ejection, Arizona was leading, 5-2. The D’backs ultimately won the contest, 5-4.
The umpires were able to lean on 8.02 (c) when the Royals hosted the Indians on May 4, 2021. In the bottom of the third, Kansas City had Whitt Merrifield on third and Andrew Benintendi on second and one out when Salvador Perez hit a Sam Hentges pitch to deep right center. Cleveland center fielder Harold Ramirez and right fielder Josh Naylor converged on the ball, but the ball was not caught and dropped on the warning track.
First base umpire Angel Hernandez gave a non-descript out signal as he was moving out to right field. Everyone was confused. Benintendi was heading to third when Royals’ third base coach Vance Wlison, after seeing Hernandez’s out call, told him to go back to second to tag-up.
Benintendi subsequently got caught in a rundown and was tagged out. But the umpires huddled and protected him. Utilizing rule 8.02 (c), the umpires allowed Benintendi to go to third base.
“I got basically blinded by the outfield scoreboard,” Hernandez told MLB.com. “The pixels on the lights were as clear as white can be. I was trying to make out what happened out there. The harder I looked, the less I could see. So, I was trying to read the players to see what they did with the ball. And I had to come out with the call.
“I basically guessed on the wrong call. So as soon as I turned around, (home-plate umpire) Edwin (Moscoso) started walking towards me. We got the crew together. And we fixed the problem.”