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.
- 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).
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- The broadcasters had a difficult time with the play as did many others.
Rules consultant: Cardinals, D’backs, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Bally Sports, ESPN, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.