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Knotty Problem of Baseball #3
2007-07-10 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

The situation: the Detroit Tigers have Omar Infante on third and Brandon Inge on first with none out and Curtis Granderson at the plate. It's a 1-1 game in the seventh in Detroit with the Yankees visiting. Andy Pettitte is on the mound.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland gives Granderson the squeeze sign. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was already playing in and is charging on the play. Infante breaks for home, but Rodriguez is breaking with him. Pettitte is a bit confused and throws home after a hesitation, but Rodriguez is already in front of home plate. The pitch is caught by Rodriguez in front of the plate.

So, what do you do now if you're the home plate umpire?

Again this play is adapted from a situation in this book.


2007-07-10 12:13:49
1.   Eric Enders
I don't really know, but I'm guessing it's a balk.
2007-07-10 12:15:24
2.   Tom Meagher
Infante wouldn't even be in the game if Neifi wasn't suspended. Sigh.
2007-07-10 12:17:19
3.   Sam DC
Make fun of A-Rod's personal life?
2007-07-10 12:21:15
4.   mehmattski
It's clearly A-Rod's Fault.

But seriously, this is dealt with kind of plainly in the rulebook. Assuming, of course, that by "and throws home after a hesitation" means he threw a pitch from the rubber:

6.08(c):The catcher or any fielder interferes with him. If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference.

So if the runner is safe Jim Leyland can accept the run, but if the runner is not safe, Leyland can have Infante go back to third base safely. If, however, Pettitte did step off the rubber before making his throw, then it's a play at the plate.

Note that no extra points are given to Granderson for swinging at the pitch and hitting A-Rod with his bat...

2007-07-10 12:29:16
5.   mehmattski
Oh. Even more directly, rule 7.07:

If, with a runner on third base and trying to score by means of a squeeze play or a steal, the catcher or any other fielder steps on, or in front of home base without possession of the ball, or touches the batter or his bat, the pitcher shall be charged with a balk, the batter shall be awarded first base on the interference and the ball is dead.

2007-07-10 12:56:04
6.   Bob Timmermann
Bingo. It's a balk for Pettitte and interference on Rodriguez to allow Granderson to reach first. Inge moves up to second. Infante scores.
2007-07-10 20:20:42
7.   overkill94
How do you know he wasn't just protesting to third and A-Rod was just really far off the bag? ;)

Interesting that the batter gets first base. Is that true in any other type of balk situation?

2007-07-10 20:37:58
8.   Bob Timmermann
Any time a fielder interferes with a batter trying to hit a pitch, the batter gets first base. It's usually the catcher who gets called for this obviously.
2007-07-11 03:16:02
9.   overkill94
8 But how do we know the batter was going to swing? It's not like they call CI if the catcher's glove extends too far across the plate and the batter doesn't swing. Double standard!
2007-07-11 06:31:16
10.   Sammy Maudlin
What happens if the ball deflects off of A-Rods glove and Granderson is swinging away (after missing the sign) and connects with a screaming line drive over the right field fence?
2007-07-11 06:57:27
11.   Bob Timmermann
The offense has the option to accept either the balk and interference or the home run in that case. Leyland would have to tell the umpires what he wants immediately after the play.
2007-07-11 08:07:22
12.   El Lay Dave
11 Two on and none out did you say? Obviously he'll take the balk and interference instead of the rally killer!
2007-07-11 08:42:51
13.   Bob Timmermann
No one has asked why Joe Torre left Andy Pettitte in the game in a 1st and 3rd, no out situation in the 7th.

There's a lefty coming up.

It was time for Mike Meyers!

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