October 12, 2021

Outfielder Deflects Batted Ball Over the Wall

Did this Play Cost the Rays the Playoffs

Outfielder Deflects Batted Ball Over the Wall

The Rays and Red Sox played Game Three of the ALDS at Fenway October 10, 2021.

In the top of the 13th with the score tied 4-4, the Rays had Yandy Diaz on first base and two outs when Kevin Kiermaier ripped one to deep right-center. The drive hit the wall on the fly, then deflected off of Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe and into the bullpen. It was ruled a book-rule double, so Yandy Díaz was held at third.

Ruleball Comment

  1. When a fair batted ball or thrown ball is deflected out of play, the base award is two bases from the position of the runner/s at the start of play. Since Diaz was on first base when the pitch was delivered, he was awarded third base per rule 5.06 (B) (4) (F); or you can cross reference rule 5.05 (a) (8).
  2. If Diaz was running with the pitch and was on or beyond second base at the time the ball was deflected, the award would still be only two bases from the runner’s position at the start of play and Diaz still would only get third base. Is that fair?
  3. Many are questioning the logic of the base award aspect of the rule. Should the umpires have discretion as to where to place the runners had the ball remained in play? Maybe. The rule does deserve to be reviewed.
  4. If a fielder (Renfroe) intentionally kicks or deflects a fair batted ball into dead ball territory, or if a fielder has complete possession of a batted or thrown ball and subsequently deflects or kicks the ball out of play, the base award is two bases from the position of the runners at the time the ball was kicked or deflected.
  5. In the above play there was no intent to deflect. Therefore, it is a two-base award under rule 5.06 (B) (4) (F) from the position of the runners at the start of play. The umpires got it right.
  6. If a fair batted ball deflects off the outfielder or the outfielder’s glove, and goes over the wall in fair territory it is a home run because the ball remains “in-flight.” If the ball deflects out of play into foul territory, it is a two-base award.
  7. If a fair batted ball makes contact with the wall or the ground before it deflects off the fielder and goes out of play, it’s two-base award whether or not the ball lands in fair or foul territory because once the ball makes contact with the fielder after it touches the wall or the ground, it is no longer “in-flight.”
  8. The broadcasters had a difficult time with the play as did many others.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant:  Cardinals, D’backs, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays,  Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Bally Sports,  ESPN, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

Comments

siskiyoupackers

My earlier comment was a reply to Richard Lyman’s 12-U case play regarding a batted ball dropped into dead ball territory. The drop is considered a throw by an outfielder which is a two base award from the runners position at the moment of the throw. There was no ground rule double. In Boston at Fenway Park the baseball struck the wall which is the same as striking the ground, and then deflected off the body of the outfielder. That’s not a throw. The award is two bases from the runners’ position from the time of the pitch. Rays fans feel like the defense was rewarded for an error, but that’s not what happened. The Red Sox player did not make an error. He had no control over a ball off the wall deflected off his body, and not only had no intent to deflect the ball into dead ball territory, but actually tried to glove the ball in the air as it sailed over the home run fence into dead ball territory.

siskiyoupackers

Throwing a ball, or dropping a ball into dead ball territory is not a ground rule double. It’s a two base award from the base legally attained at the time of the throw, or drop.. Intention has no relevance. The action is judged; not the intent. Batter/ runner should have been awarded two bases from first base which he had attained at the time of the throw, or drop of the ball into dead ball territory. Ball is dead; place batter/ runner at third base.

Ptaylor

This was a truly bad break for the Rays but I agree that it was officiated correctly as the rule is written. Furthermore the headlines the following day all read that the play cost the Rays a trip to the ALCS but the truth is there were 2 outs when it occurred. The run this play cost them theoretically would have made the score 5-4 but that may very well have been the only run they got that inning. This is all hypothetical at this point but the Sox did come right back with a 2 run homer in the bottom of the inning. The play in question was unfortunate but the Rays season may very well have come to an end even if they had been awarded a run on the play—just with a slightly different final score. Again—all hypothetical because if that play were called differently a subsequent play may have occurred differently.

Grgldrbck

I was watching the game live on TV over cable. The deep fly ball hit by Kiermaier hit the fence first and then bounced off the chest of Hunter Renfro and then bounced over the wall. The preview picture for this video is misleading in one aspect., it makes it look like it hit off his glove when he was still trying to get the ball back in. At No Time did the fielder touch the ball with his hand or glove. It hit the wall in the air then bounced off the ground and then off the body of Hunter Renfro & then over the fence. It appears there’s some people who either didn’t see it live or the video of the Play and is misrepresenting the facts for some other reason.

Gerry

Based on what I’m reading in this post above the F8 picked the ball up and had it in his hand or glove and dropped it over the wall in the act of throwing the ball and while the call of two bases was correct I believe it should have been two bases from the time he dropped it over the wall as the fielder had possession of the ball and caused it to go out of play while in the act of throwing it.

Gerry

This was meant for the comment below and I thought I had hit the reply key but I guess not so I repeated it in the correct spot below.

Grgldrbck

I was watching the game when this happened & yes it was a bad break for the Days but it wasn’t intentional. Renfro was trying to make the play to throw the ball back to the infield. It’s possible that Diaz could have scored if it had been fielded cleanly. The ball never touched Renfro’s glove, it bounced off his body before going in the bullpen. It’s also possible he would have been thrown out to have ended the inning. If the shoe was on the other foot, the Red Sox would have the same outcome. That’s why there are rules clearly spelled out. The teams will have this winter to revisit this rule to see if any changes should be made. IMO they will leave it as is.

Richard Lyman

Saw this in a 12U game. Leadoff batter hits a rope to CF which rolls to the fence. The batter is halfway to second when F8 retrieves the ball against the fence, picks it up, and drops it over the fence. The umpires ruled a ground rule double. The offensive coach argued the “drop” was intentional and therefore a throw and the award should have been two bases from the runner’s position at the time of the “throw” and he should be awarded third (which is very likely where he would have ended up given his speed). Ground rule double was the call. Comments?

Gerry

Based on what I’m reading in this post above the F8 picked the ball up and had it in his hand or glove and dropped it over the wall in the act of throwing the ball and while the call of two bases was correct I believe it should have been two bases from the time he dropped it over the wall as the fielder had possession of the ball and caused it to go out of play while in the act of throwing it.

Leave a Reply

Don't strike out!

Become a part of the largest baseball rules community in the world!

Get free access to baseball forums, rules analysis and exclusive email content from current and former Major League Baseball players and umpires.