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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki’s Matrix Move at Home Plate

The 38-year-old Suzuki was trying to make it home from first on Robinson Cano’s two-out double into the right field corner. Just like the previous night, though that was with the slower and less agile Russell Martin running the bases, Wieters had the ball before the runner reached home plate.

This time, though, Wieters didn’t get the out. He swung his glove hand into the basepath, but Ichiro leaped sideways and toward the back of the plate to evade the tag. But his mission was far from accomplished as he was well past the plate. Wieters dove to cover the back side of the plate and Suzuki dove to get his hand in.

But Suzuki had one more surprise, arching his body at the last second to go over Wieters’ outstretched glove and get a hand on the plate.

In conclusion, baseball and Ichiro are both great.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:04 AM | 111 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fun, ichiro, mlb_rules, orioles, yankees

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   101. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4262267)
I didn't say such a position is inconsistent. I said (or at least implied) that it's inconsistent to be anti-collision and anti-evasion.


I know that. I was just noting where I stood. I do agree that if you oppose the collisions, as I do, then you probably have to allow the runner some other method to get to the base safely.
   102. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4262276)

I'd call him out. Weiters is 6'5", so half his wingspan is almost certainly more than 3', and he's in Ichiro's path before the evasive maneuver.

I don't think his torso is directly in Ichiro's path. He's basically lunging at Ichiro and part of his arm is in Ichiro's path, but I don't think Ichiro moved 3 feet to avoid the tag at that moment.
   103. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4262281)
That is a somewhat different situation, as runners are supposed to avoid contact with a fielder in the act of fielding. If the runner is doing it right, he should already be trying to avoid the fielder before he has the ball, and there is probably wider latitude than 3 feet allowed for this.


To an extent yes, but the point is, at the time the tag was attempted Offerman took a single lateral step to avoid it, which is consistent with the single lateral step Ichiro took. The big difference is the distance remaining to the bases they were trying to reach. Because Ichiro was much closer to his destination at the time of the evasive step (and subsequent steps), he looks far more "out of the baseline" than Offerman ever did.

   104. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4262393)
I agree that no one cares that he ran past the plate. It's the fact that he was clear on the other side of the batter's box when he ran past the plate that demonstrates how far he ran out of the baseline (much more than 3 feet) to avoid the tag.
No. That demonstrates how far out of the baseline he was after he avoided the tag.
   105. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4262424)
Here.

In the top photo, I'm establishing the base path. I'm starting it at this stage because this is when you could argue either Wieters is starting his tag attempt, or Ichiro is starting his avoidance. The middle dotted line is his base path, which I've tried to center under Ichiro's torso - his left foot is on the ground - and end at the back corner of the plate. The other dotted lines are roughly 3 feet to either side. (The total front-to-back length of the batter's box is 5 feet, for reference.)

In the bottom photo, everything is repeated, but the frame is advanced to the point of avoidance of the tag. The yellow line is a straight line from the start of the base path to Ichiro's position at avoidance - not that he ran that way, but that's where he was. In this case I couldn't get the line to fall under his torso due to software limitations; I got it to his instep, which is (a) just a little to the side of the torso center, and (b) irrelevant because his whole right foot is still within 3 feet of the base path. If you measure based on torso he's probably 2 feet off the base path at that point.

Note Wieters' knees aren't even within 3 feet of the base path. It's because Weiters is far enough out of position to make the tag that Ichiro can avoid him with a sub-3-foot maneuver.

Regardless, after this point the tag has been avoided. Ichiro's momentum will bring him past the batter's box, but he is not moving further away to avoid a tag; he's moving further away because he hasn't yet adjusted to the new trajectory he must take to get to the plate. And Wieters isn't continuing the tag; he's lying on the ground after failing to tag. Both he and Ichiro adjust soon enough, and it all plays out somewhat rationally after that.
   106. Danny Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:15 PM (#4262480)
When Wieters fielded the ball and made the tag attempt, Ichiro took a single step (the distance is not really relevant as much as the steps, since umps don't carry yard sticks) off his established baseline to his right to avoid a swipe tag from a stationary Wieters. That single step did not carry him out of the baseline, either by rule or by common application. That single step did, however, successfully accomplish his goal of avoiding the tag.

So the argument, being made by you and VI, is that the the basepath was established when Wieters attempted the tag and disappeared at the exact moment Ichiro veered more than 3 feet from it?

I could see it if he dodged the tag within three feet of the baseline and then decided to jog a few feet outside the baseline just for the hell of it. But it wasn't just happenstance that Ichiro ran several feet outside of the baseline; rather, it was part of his move to avoid the tag. The baseline was established when Wieters reached for him ("A runner?s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely"), Ichiro made a move to avoid the tag, and Ichiro's move to avoid the tag caused him to run far outside of the baseline ("Any runner is out when [h]e runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged").

There's nothing in the rules about the baseline disappearing the moment the runner starts running out of the baseline to avoid the tag, and there's nothing in the rules about the baseline disappearing if the tagger fails to pursue the runner outside of the baseline. The rule just says that the baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs, and that the runner should be called out if he runs more than three feet outside of that baseline to avoid the tag. There's no reason to separate Ichiro's first step in his cut to the right from the next few steps that were part of the same avoidance move.

Could he have made a different move where he went around Wieters with a stutter step and cut directly to the plate without veering 3 feet from the line? Maybe, but that's not what happened. Instead, Ichiro ran more than three feet out of the established baseline to avoid the tag.

   107. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4262541)
So the argument, being made by you and VI, is that the the basepath was established when Wieters attempted the tag and disappeared at the exact moment Ichiro veered more than 3 feet from it?


At the moment Wieters made the attempted tag (the swipe), Ichiro was not three feet outside the baseline. Now stop. That was the tag attempt. It ended the moment he missed Ichiro, and all that matters (in this situation) is where Ichiro was at that point in time. The steps Ichiro subsequently took, even though they were undoubtedly caused by that single veered step, were not relevant to any baseline issue because Wieters was no longer making an attempt to tag him. That's the argument. You're free to disagree with the interpretation (though it's worth noting that your interpretation is not how umpires have consistently applied the rule for as long as I've been following the sport, nor is it any way practical if you want to allow runners to try to avoid being tagged out), but that is the argument we're making.

Now, if Wieters was not making a stationary swipe at Ichiro, but was instead attempting to run him down, then those other steps Ichiro took would be relevant to the baseline discussion because the tag attempt would be an ongoing, rather than discrete, event. And that's why most ROOB calls involve a chase, rather than a situation like Monday's.


   108. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4262825)
So the argument, being made by you and VI, is that the the basepath was established when Wieters attempted the tag and disappeared at the exact moment Ichiro veered more than 3 feet from it?
If you count the tag attempt as being the actual reaching for Ichiro, no. I'm counting it starting once Wieters has caught the ball and has turned toward Ichiro. I'm trying to peg it at a moment before Ichiro starts to avoid Wieters, because it's unfair to wait until Ichiro has already veered away to say OK, give him 3 more feet from there.

I'm also saying once the tag has been missed, the tag attempt is done. It's not an infinite occurrence. I'm also saying - and backing it up with pictures instead of opinions - that Ichiro might have had another foot to spare at that point. So, no, I'm not crafting an argument of convenience, as you imply.

Ichiro continues on that trajectory away from that base path, but there is no tag he is avoiding. Wieters is lying on the ground, not reaching toward Ichiro, and no chance to reach him anyway. It's not until Ichiro has stopped and changed direction toward home that Wieters attempted another tag, but that new attempt established a new base path.
   109. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4262967)
there's nothing in the rules about the baseline disappearing if the tagger fails to pursue the runner outside of the baseline.
Let's say this happened at second instead of home, and that it was a stutter-step as you suggest, keeping Ichiro in the 3 foot range the whole time. Let's also say the shift was on, and Ichiro continues toward third without breaking stride after reaching second safely. By your logic, because the path to third is out of the base path established at the time of the tag attempt near second, and the rules don't say when it ceases, and Ichiro is still trying to avoid being tagged, Ichiro should be declared out. I'm sure you'll suggest the base path ceases when he reaches second, but the rules don't say that. As you pointed out they say he's out if he deviates from that established base path to avoid a tag. And he is.

By my logic, the base path at second ceases after the tag attempt is made and missed, and as soon as someone tries to tag Ichiro on his way to third a new base path is established.
   110. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4266217)
I'm a biased orioles fan, but I thought it was ridiculous and that he should have been called out. Why not just let him run around the field with Wieters chasing him, Benny Hill style?


It seems hard to believe now that the Benny Hill Show once existed, a show predicated on the premise of a horny fat old dude chasing young scantily clad women around town. To do what, exactly, after he caught up with them and learned that they were not interested in sleeping with him, which is (shocker) why they were literally running away from his advances?

   111. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4266278)

It seems hard to believe now that the Benny Hill Show once existed, a show predicated on the premise of a horny fat old dude chasing young scantily clad women around town. To do what, exactly, after he caught up with them and learned that they were not interested in sleeping with him, which is (shocker) why they were literally running away from his advances?


That's why we laugh at the horny old fat dude.
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