Umpire Calls “Time” While Runner Sprints Toward Home
Umpires are allowed to call “Time” under many conditions. But when should an umpire be prohibited from calling “Time?”
The top of the ninth inning of the Yankees-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday turned into one of the most bizarre half innings of the season as multiple rules surfaced on the same play.
When home plate umpire, Gabe Morales, called “time” the play became controversial.
The Yankees had Gleyber Torres on second and Brett Gardner on first with one out trailing 2-1 when Gio Urshela bounced a ball to Dodgers’ third baseman, Justin Turner, who threw to second baseman Max Muncy. Gardner slid hard into second base and Muncy fell to the ground. Gardner was originally called out by second base umpire Jansen Visconti.
Double Replay Review
The Yankees challenged the out call and the Dodgers challenged the slide hoping to get a double play ruling on an illegal slide. The ruling out of NYC was that Gardner was safe and his slide was legal.
Bad news for the Dodgers, good news for the Yankees.
But this was only part of the play.
While Muncy was on the ground in apparent pain, the ball remained alive. Torres, who had advanced to third, kept his eyes at second base with a foot on third base. He then took off for home. Shortly before his dash to the plate, Dodgers’ pitcher Kenley Jansen asked for “Time” because of his injured teammate. About two or three seconds later the “Time” request was granted by plate umpire Gabe Morales.
At that point Torres was well down the line. Morales sent Torres back to third claiming that “Time” had been called. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone argued that the run should score and that “Time” was incorrectly called (because there was a play in progress.) But Torres was sent back to third and the game resumed with the bases loaded and one out. Jansen proceeded to strike out the next wo batters and the Dodgers won the contest, 2-1.
Good news for the Dodgers and bad news for the Yankees.
Yankees’ third base coach Phil Nevin was adamant that Morales had no business calling “Time.: He said, “I absolutely know he (Morales) screwed it up. He (Morales) put his hands up for the first time when Gleyber was at least halfway home.”
So why did Morales kill the play? According to Nevin, “Morales said he didn’t think the play should continue with an injured player on the field. I told him he was wrong. What if an outfielder crashes into a wall and laying there with the ball. There was no good explanation at all.”
You can view the play by going to the link below: To view the “Time” call in relation to Torres’ advance to the plate, go to the 3:07 mark of the video. https://f.io/ny-ObGED
Baseball Rules Academy Rules Desk Comment: It appears that Kenley Jansen asked for time while the runner was standing on third base but by the time Gabe Morales called time, Gleyber Torres was already sprinting to home.
Rich Marazzi Ruleball Comments:
- Rule 5.12 (b) states, “The ball becomes dead when an umpire calls ‘Time.’”
- Rule 5.12 (b) (3) allows an umpire to call “Time” when an injury incapacitates a player or umpire. Subsection (A) of the rule specifically covers a runner who is incapacitated. In such an event, “Time” is only called if the ball is in dead ball territory such as a book rule/ground rule double or a home run hit over the wall. In those situations, the umpire can call “Time” and the manager of the offensive team can insert a substitute runner who advance to the awarded base.
Example: Mike Trout hits a home run. As he is rounding first base, he pulls a hamstring. At that point “Time” can be called and Angels’ manager Brad Ausmus can insert a substitute runner to finish Trout’s run around the bases. Trout would get credit for the home run and the substitute runner would get credit for the run scored, according to Elias. If the ball remained in play and did not go over the wall, the umpires could not grant “Time” to the injured Trout. And he could be tagged-out. There’s no mercy when the ball remains in play.
- The Official Baseball Rules also read, “Except in the cases stated in paragraph (2) and 3 (A) rule 5.12 (b) (3), no umpire shall call “Time” while a play is in progress.
- “Time” can only be called for an injured player while a play is in progress only if the ball is in dead ball territory as stated above or at the conclusion of continuous action which is when runners have ceased trying to advance, and the defensive team has relaxed and is returning or has returned the ball to the pitcher or pitcher’s mound. Torres was in the process of advancing before continuous action stopped.
- If Morales called “Time” to protect an injured defensive player, I believe he misinterpreted the conditions in which an umpire is allowed to call “Time” because a play was in progress.
- Umpires should never rush to call “Time.” They should be sure that no further action can take place. By calling “Time” prematurely, the umpire can put a team at a disadvantage. Sometimes it can be the defensive team and other times it can be the offensive team. In the above play, it appeared that Morales was not paying attention to Torres at third base. He appeared to be focused on what was occurring at second base and thus put the offensive team at a disadvantage.
Asked if there was any chance of the Yankees filing a protest based on Morales’ premature calling of “Time,” Boone replied to MLB.com, “We’ll certainly inquire with everyone and try to get a good explanation.” If this was a game-ending play, the Yankees would have had until noon on Sunday to file a protest. But since this was not a game-ending play, for a protest to be properly filed, it would have had to be done before the next pitch, play or attempted play. See rule 7.04 Comment.
- If the game was protested, in my opinion, MLB would protect the umpire and dismiss the quick “Time” call citing umpire judgment as to when continuous action had ended. And protests cannot be heard on judgment calls.
- In my opinion, the field umpires should have huddled and used rule 8.02 (c) that would allow them to correct the improper “Time “ call and place Torres to the base he would have made had the play remained alive. Torres should have been allowed to score since it is the philosophy of MLB to “get the call right.”
- Muncy reportedly did a “soccer flop” to sell the call. What he should have done is get the ball to shortstop Chris Taylor to prevent further running action. Assuming Muncy faked a more serious injury is precisely the reason why the ball should be kept alive until the umpires are 100% sure that there can be no continuing action.
Rich Marazzi is a rules consultant for Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, D’backs, Dodgers, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, the FOX Regional Sports Networks, ESPN, the White Sox TV announcers and WFAN radio.