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Thursday, May 03, 2018

This wasn’t a catcher’s balk in Royals’ game, but it was a rarity in baseball history

The play didn’t have an impact on the outcome of the Royals’ wild 7-6 win at Boston on Tuesday, but this was one of the rarest plays you’ll see in a game.

The Royals had runners on first and second with two outs and Lucas Duda at the plate. Boston catcher Christian Vazquez blocked a pitch from Carson Smith, and the ball was on the ground next to him. Vazquez used his catcher’s mask to secure the ball, and that’s not allowed.

Zach Posted: May 03, 2018 at 11:58 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catchers, rare plays, red sox, royals

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   1. villageidiom Posted: May 03, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5665315)
Regardless of what you think of the rule, kudos to the umpire for knowing even the obscure rules well enough to make the call right away.

I'd like to think that I could do the same, were it my job to know the MLB rules at that level of detail. But I don't know.
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 03, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5665323)
Regardless of what you think of the rule, kudos to the umpire for knowing even the obscure rules well enough to make the call right away.


The prohibition against using detached equipment or uniform bits (like a hat) to catch or secure a ball is pretty commonly known, if not commonly seen.

edit: that said, having read the rule, I would have gotten it wrong and awarded 3 bases. The three base penalty applies to only hit balls I guess.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: May 03, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5665331)
I was at the game, and didn't understand what was going on even after the scoreboard erroneously (according to this article) identified it as a "Catcher's Balk." And then yesterday I read what had happened.

It was an unnecessary move by Vazquez. The ball was pretty much at rest, and he just tapped it back between his legs with his mask. It seemed like he was just doing a funky little move to amuse himself. But the ump made the correct call.
   4. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 03, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5665337)
OK, researching the rules, it appears to be 1 base for a pitched ball, 2 bases for a thrown ball, and three bases for a hit ball.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: May 03, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5665367)
Nice job by the color man immediately recognizing what Vazquez had done

So the new IBB rule has virtually eliminated the likelihood of a catcher's balk, though I suppose it could conceivably still happen on a horribly executed pitchout.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 03, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5665377)
It was an unnecessary move by Vazquez. The ball was pretty much at rest, and he just tapped it back between his legs with his mask. It seemed like he was just doing a funky little move to amuse himself.


I suspect not nearly that much thought went into it. Just a force of habit. A couple years ago in Pawtucket Jackie Bradley was called out for interfernce in a similar way. Runners on base and the ball was blocked by the catcher and rolled in front of the plate. JBJ, as hitters often do with no one on base, used his bat to tap the ball back to the catcher. It might even have ended the game.

I love this kind of thing because I use it when coaching little league. "This is why I get on you guys for goofing around in practice. Fool around in practice and you fool around in the game." Anytime I can equate something big leaguers do to something they do the kids really respond. (now if a big leaguer would have lost a baby tooth during a game last week I would have been able to handle it when my 10 year old 3rd baseman did the same thing).
   7. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 03, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5665394)
I love this kind of thing because I use it when coaching little league. "This is why I get on you guys for goofing around in practice. Fool around in practice and you fool around in the game." Anytime I can equate something big leaguers do to something they do the kids really respond. (now if a big leaguer would have lost a baby tooth during a game last week I would have been able to handle it when my 10 year old 3rd baseman did the same thing).


I was umping a LL game a couple of weeks ago, and the 3B and SS were playing catch and catching the ball in their caps. One asked me "Hey umpire, is it OK if we catch a ball in out hats?" I said no, and if you do it in the game, everybody scores and the batter gets 3rd base. Their jaws dropped to the ground and one said meekly "gee, I guess we better not do that anymore."
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: May 03, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5665415)
I suspect not nearly that much thought went into it. Just a force of habit. A couple years ago in Pawtucket Jackie Bradley was called out for interfernce in a similar way. Runners on base and the ball was blocked by the catcher and rolled in front of the plate. JBJ, as hitters often do with no one on base, used his bat to tap the ball back to the catcher.
Ha, I'm not surprised! If there's anything strange involving baserunners or weird rules mistakes on offense, it's a good bet that JBJ is somehow involved. It's weird, because otherwise he is a good baserunner and smart player.
   9. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 03, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5665442)
though I suppose it could conceivably still happen on a horribly executed pitchout.


I can't remember the last time I saw anyone even TRY a pitch out.

Players don't run as much, so trying to catch a guy guessing on a steal is going to be rare.
As well, giving up a free ball to a batter seems pretty frowned upon by modern pitching coaches as everyone loves the strikeout now.

Combine those two things and I can see the pitch out being as rare as this very play...
   10. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5665629)
I've seen it before. Dodgers with LaSorda ... might have been against the Cubs, might have been game of the week. Anyway, similar situation and catcher nonchalantly did that. Ump didn't make the call but LaSorda came charging out of the dugout and won the argument.
   11. zack Posted: May 03, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5665649)
I can't remember the last time I saw anyone even TRY a pitch out.


The Mets got one of their fewthrow-outs on a pitch out. It was either the first or second successful denial of the season.
   12. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: May 03, 2018 at 08:26 PM (#5665877)
I've seen it before. Dodgers with LaSorda ... might have been against the Cubs, might have been game of the week. Anyway, similar situation and catcher nonchalantly did that. Ump didn't make the call but LaSorda came charging out of the dugout and won the argument.


That's funny, because I distinctly remember seeing it called against Piazza once. Tracer, anyone?
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 03, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5665905)
This is probably the game LaSorda successfully argued.. Winning run scored in extra innings on a play like this.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 03, 2018 at 09:12 PM (#5665907)
No luck finding the Piazza error. He committed a bunch of errors (mostly throws) and BBRef doesn’t have a simple tool (or I don’t know about it if they do) to do a finder on errors.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2018 at 09:39 PM (#5665923)
Hmmm ... seems unlikely I'd have seen a Dodgers-Pitt Sat night game ... did ESPN run Sat Night Baseball at some point? ... might have seen the highlights on SC or BBTN I suppose. And #12 ... sure it's distinctly possible my memory is LaSorda storming out to argue that it wasn't a rule violation although my brain has always had it as "the man is annoying but he's observant and he knows the rules."
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: May 03, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5665931)
did ESPN run Sat Night Baseball at some point?


I don't think so. If I"m not mistaken, the network started with games on Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesday DH (and a single game the other day) and a Friday DH.

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