October 11, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 3 comments

Tampa Bay began its NFL life in the AFC West, moving to the NFC Central the next season.

Seattle began in the NFC West and moved to the AFC West.

This was planned so that the teams could play each other twice and every other NFL team once during their first two seasons.

posted by rcade at 01:56 PM on October 11, 2021

The umpiring nazi in me has been aroused. It's not the umpiring, the crew on the field at Fenway got it right, but the broadcasters and post game analysts were misleading at best.

First the situation. With a runner on 1st base, the batter hits a long line drive to right field. The ball bounces on the ground in front of the low wall, hits the wall, deflects back toward the fielder, hitting him, and then caroms off the fielder's body and over the wall. At this point the ball has gone out of play. What is your ruling? The announcers and almost every fan call this a ground rule double, and while this accurately describes the result of such a play, it does not describe why it is ruled. The play in last night's game confuses the ruling because the ball hit the fielder before going out of play. Here's where the analysts mislead everyone.

First of all, there's no such thing as a ground rule double. When a ball in play goes out of play, there are rules that specify the placement of any runners. If a fair batted ball crosses any boundary after touching the ground, the batter and all runners are awarded 2 bases from their position on base at the time of the pitch. There is no umpire discretion involved. Two from the time of the pitch, that's it. It doesn't matter that the ball went out of play after contacting a fielder. As long as the baseball was not thrown out of play by the fielder, it's still 2 from the time of the pitch.

What if the ball had been thrown out of play in an attempt to stop play and deprive runners from further advancement? Here the rule is clear, but there is still some limited umpire discretion involved. If the throw was intentional, it is still a 2 base award, but the award is given from the position of the runners at the time of the throw. The umpires must now determine where the runners were when the ball went out of play and place them correctly. Other than being aware of where the runners are when the ball became dead there is no discretion available to the umpires. The analysts on the post game were insisting that the umpires could place the runners, but I don't think they understood the subtle difference between an award from time of the pitch and time of the throw and when each applies.

I could give you another 500 words defining time of the pitch, but I will pass before rcade drops the banhammer. I will say that you should pay attention; there will be a quiz.

posted by Howard_T at 04:23 PM on October 11, 2021

Too late--rcade, hit this guy with the banhammer for providing too much valuable insight! I don't want to know the rules and the nuances to those rules; I just want to argue about the call.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:09 PM on October 12, 2021

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