Insider Report

Holding the Tag on the Runner

There is no doubt that the advent of the Instant Replay has changed the game. Because fielders are holding the tag longer on tag plays, hoping that the replay will overturn a safe call, runners are at risk. In many cases umpires must determine whether the runner’s momentum took him off the base or did the fielder push the runner off the base. This past week the Pirates’ Gregory Polanco twice appeared to be safe…

The Right-of-Way Rule

The Angels hosted the Mariners on June 26. In the top of the third, the M’s had Brad Miller on second when Mike Zunino attempted a sac/bunt. As Zunino exited the batter’s box, he collided briefly with catcher Chris Ianetta. Zunino then took a step back to relinquish space to Ianetta. Plate ump Cliff Fagan called Zunino out for interference and sent Miller back to second. M’s manager Lloyd McClendon argued the call to no…

Two Runners on Same Base

The Pirates hosted the Braves on June 26 when the following play occurred that was reported to mlb.com by Adam Berry. “Gregory Polanco was on first base, and Jordy Mercer stood at second. Chris Stewart knocked a ground ball deep into the hole, but Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons stopped it, got up and fired to first base. “Stewart reached safely, and Polanco wheeled around the bases with his head down until he slid into third…

Trail Runner Passing Lead Runner & Two Runners on Same Base

Perhaps the most bizarre play of the 2015 season occurred at Citi Field on Wednesday night (July 1) where the Mets hosted the Cubs. And in my opinion the umpires did not invoke the proper penalty. From this corner the Mets caught a break. The Mets were batting in the bottom of the eighth with one out and runners on second (Daniel Murphy) and third (Ruben Tejada). Darrell Ceciliani attempted a suicide squeeze, but missed…

Pop-ups Caught Near or in Dugout

Dugout Rules       The Phils hosted the Rays on July 22, 2015. Brandon Guyer, the first batter of the game, hit a foul ball near the first base dugout. Phils catcher Carlos Ruiz chased it down and made a sliding catch with one foot on the grass and one foot on the lip of the dugout steps even with the playing field. He then did a split into the dugout steps with his front foot extending…

Pitcher Throws to 2B but No Fielder is Covering

The Yankees hosted the A’s on July 9. In the bottom of the third inning, the Yanks had Jacoby Ellsbury on second and Brett Gardner on first with no outs and Mark Teixeira at the plate. A’s pitcher Jesse Chavez, while in contact with the rubber, wheeled toward second and threw to shortstop Marcus Semien, who was shifted and standing about 10 feet behind second base. Semien did not expect the throw and made no…

Pitcher Throws to First Baseman not Covering the Base

Throwing to the first baseman when the first baseman is not in the vicinity of the base creates a balk when there is no obvious intent on the part of the first baseman to retire the runner. For example, let’s say the first baseman is positioned several feet behind or in front of the base and is not holding the runner when the pitcher, while in contact with the rubber, throws to the first baseman…

Legal Catch

Fielders should be aware that when they extend their glove over to the spectator side of the stands, they are open game and interference cannot be called. If a fielder gloves the ball and a fan removes the ball from the glove, it is no catch. I have seen Carlos Delgado and Vinny Castilla lose catches this way. If a fielder gloves the ball on the spectator side of the stands, I think it would…

Interference: Where Umps Place Runners

As stated, spectator interference creates a dead ball and empowers umpires to place the batter and runners at any base they judge they would have reached had there been no interference. In the April 16 Royals/Twins game at Target Field, Kennys Vargas singled to the right fielder corner in the bottom of the seventh inning when a fan promptly picked up the ball. Umpire Joe West signaled fan interference. The umpires ruled that Vargas would…

When Not to Argue Fan Interference

In the April 16 Royals/Twins game at Target Field, Kennys Vargas singled to the right fielder corner in the bottom of the seventh inning when a fan promptly picked up the ball. Umpire Joe West signaled fan interference. The umpires ruled that Vargas would have only made one base had there been no interference so he was only given first base. The reason for the one base award was most likely because right fielder Jarrod…