April 24, 2023

Umpires Change Foul Ball Call to Fair Ball

MLB umpire crew changes an errant foul ball call

Umpires Change Foul Ball Call to Fair Ball

The Mets and Brewers met in Milwaukee on April 5, 2023 when Alan Porter’s crew changed an errant foul ball call by first base umpire Sean Barber to a fair ball off the bat of New York’s Omar Narváez with one out and the bases empty in the top of the fourth.  Plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, from his position at home plate had a fairly decent angle to see the line drive hit past first base and down the right field line where it was fielded by Brian Anderson. The crew huddled following the play, leading to the reversal. Narváez was given first base on the play.

The overhead below shows Narváez running hard out of the box but slowing up into his turn at first. Anderson in rightfield takes the wrong route for the carom but slows up.

Ruleball Comments

  1. Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) allows umpires to change earlier calls and place the runner/s in their judgment to the base they would have reached had the original call been correct.
  2. The umpires considered the batted ball’s path caroming off the outfield wall and in proximity to Brewers right fielder Brian Anderson, combined with Narváez’s below average running speed, suggesting the likely outcome of this play had the initial call been “fair” was a single for Narváez, so they placed him at first base.
  3. Such plays are treated like spectator interference meaning the umpires can arbitrarily place the runner/s to the base they would have made had there been no interference.

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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