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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Yu Darvish Loses Perfect Game On Error, Sparks Argument On MLB Network

Listens…pops batch of Sternbach’s finest.

The Rangers’ official scoring decision of an error—charged to Texas right fielder Alex Rios—sparked a contentious debate on MLB Network, which was simulcasting the game. Emmy-winner Harold Reynolds approached berserk levels as he tried to reason with Mitch Williams, as Reynolds asserted Rougned Odor’s starting position (playing in an extreme shift against David Ortiz) made the play non-routine, while Williams insisted Rios’s failure to call off Odor constituted an error of communication, and thus a “legal” error.

Reynolds wasn’t right, either—he insisted that because the ball never touched a glove, the decision was “garbage.” By the letter of baseball’s rules, sure—it’s an error. But by convention, official scorers almost never assign an error unless a fielder makes a physical mistake in the fielding process (which generally means the fielder touches the ball).

The premise of the argument is legitimate. The way these MLB Network broadcasters go about it, though, is embarrassing. Harold Reynolds, at one point, states the scoring decision is “the worst ruling in Major League Baseball history.”

Repoz Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:15 AM | 140 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Spectral Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4703931)
That seems like a really obvious error. I have no idea what Reynolds is talking about.
   2. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:37 AM (#4703935)
Ted Williams vs the Yankees back in the day sparked a similar controversy when he was credited with two hits despite the fact that the second baseman clearly made an error each time. The scorer credited Williams with the hits because the second baseman was in the shift and therefore he reasoned that if the second baseman hadn't been playing the shift those smacks would have been hits.
   3. catomi01 Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4703936)
is fireharoldreynolds.com available?
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 10, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4703937)
That play was a perfect example of why there needs to be a provision for a team error, where it's obviously not a hit but it's hard to assign an error to any specific player. You might call it a "miscommunication error" if you wanted to be more precise.

But even under the current rules, there's no way that that ball was a hit.
   5. Scott Lange Posted: May 10, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4703945)
Wait, what? Are 1 and 4 serious? Or am I crazy? In my experience, if a popup falls between two fielders standing under it both acting like somebody else was going to get it, it is scored a hit 100% of the time. The link has three different example videos showing exactly that. I don't buy the "playing a shift makes every play non-routine" argument, but that play is scored a hit every day and twice on Sunday. Whether scoring that play a hit is a sane practice is another question, but I have never (until last night) seen it done otherwise.
   6. BDC Posted: May 10, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4703951)
It's obviously an "error" in everyday parlance, because the pitcher induced an easy out. But I have to agree with Reynolds that those plays are usually scored as base hits. TFA has numerous example clips.
   7. Rob_Wood Posted: May 10, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4703958)

I have not clicked on the link but the official scorer has stated that before the season began, the official scorers had a meeting with the Elias Bureau to go over rules and protocols. After some discussion, an agreement was reached that starting this season, a popup/flyball that falls untouched between two fielders will be scored an error if it could have easily been caught with normal effort. (It is believed that this new scoring protocol does not apply to a single fielder losing a popup/flyball in the sun.)
   8. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4703960)
After some discussion, an agreement was reached that starting this season, a popup/flyball that falls untouched between two fielders will be scored an error if it could have easily been caught with normal effort. (It is believed that this new scoring protocol does not apply to a single fielder losing a popup/flyball in the sun.)


If that's true then I like the change. It brings the scoring more into line with the actual rule, and it fits what common sense dictates. I think you usually do see a hit given in that situation, but it clearly was an error on the part of the Rangers defense. That was a can of corn if ever there was one.
   9. JE (Jason) Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4703963)
That play was a perfect example of why there needs to be a provision for a team error, where it's obviously not a hit but it's hard to assign an error to any specific player. You might call it a "miscommunication error" if you wanted to be more precise.

Agree. It's obvious the Rangers defense screwed up. One of the reasons I no longer care about no-hitters is that too often we are supposed to give a flying #### about the decision of a solitary, dopey sportswriter sitting a hundred miles up in the air.
   10. BDC Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4703964)
Fair enough, if the scoring rules have changed, it was called correctly.
   11. Repoz Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4703971)
With league batting averages down to its lowest point since 1972...every questionable call should be ruled a hit.

   12. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4703985)
The rulebook hasn't changed, just the agreed-upon convention of how scorers will assess such plays.
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4703987)
Watching sportscenter with the sound off last night I thought this play was how he lost the no hitter. Thankfully that's not the case.
   14. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 10, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4703989)
No pitcher has ever thrown a perfect game

by DIPS. Hits? Errors? Not their problem. Wake me for the perfect DIPS game, not before.
   15. Canker Soriano Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4703993)
This was the closest I've ever seen a sportscaster come to succumbing to the vapors. Reynolds kept repeating that it was the worst decision in the history of MLB. The others were trying hard not to openly mock him, but they failed.
   16. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4704013)
by DIPS. Hits? Errors? Not their problem. Wake me for the perfect DIPS game, not before.


In which the NLCS MVP bats ninth in Game One of the World Series.
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4704015)
1) It was obviously a base hit by the standards that have been used for as long as I have watched baseball.

2) If the rule has been changed as described above, then it would obviously be an error.

3) This is the first I have heard about this change in how such a play should generally be scored.

4) I care a lot less about this than other topics, like instant replay, because none of this changes the result of the game itself. It simply changes the accounting the play on the field. Whether it is a hit or an error, there's a guy on first base at the end of the play. I think it is easy to overlook that in the midst of a debate.
   18. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4704017)
BTW, how awesome is Yu Darvish?
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4704018)
If the rule has been changed


The rule has not been changed. It's always been an error *by the rules*. But the direction to the scorers has changed so they start calling it an error.
   20. JE (Jason) Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4704020)
With league batting averages down to its lowest point since 1972...every questionable call should be ruled a hit.

Which interestingly enough would help Jeter both at the plate and in the field. Hmmm, I see Repoz finally received his gift basket.
   21. stanmvp48 Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4704021)
My rule of thumb is that if I would have caught it, it should be an error.

And if it had been caught, he would have gotten the no hitter, because Ortiz would not have batted again
   22. jdennis Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4704023)
Yeah, that was a really annoying fake debate. Kurkjian was on there talking about how it should be a hit because of convention but he thinks it should be an error, it's like, then why are you creating a controversy? If the convention is wrong, defy it. I think it should be an error, I think scorers are too lenient in general these days. And some were talking about how the RF could be to blame but to me the error should clearly have been on the 2b. He stood right under it and failed to catch it. No contact made with ball and confusion over who should take the catch should play no role in that play. To me it is a very clear error on the 2b.

And the hit in the ninth was also poor defense.
   23. esseff Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4704035)
Now hold on here. I think there's one obvious question that's not being addressed and that's . . . how do you pronounce that second baseman's first name?
   24. Chris Fluit Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4704037)
I saw the play last night as it happened. While awaiting the official decision, I said to my wife, "that should be an error, but it won't be called an error because they never call it an error unless it clanks off a guy's glove." So I was pleasantly surprised when the scorer ruled it an error. It was an easily catchable ball. And if this a league-wide directive as some have suggested then that's even better.
   25. bobm Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4704043)
[23]ROOG-ned o-DOOR
   26. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4704045)
HAVE HAROLD AND MITCH STOPPED SCREAMING YET??? JESUS, WHAT AN INSUFFERABLE ########### THAT WAS!!!

It got so bad I turned to The World Wide Johnny Manziel Leader to get an exciting Johnny Manziel recap of Johnny Manziel and Day Two of the Johnny Manziel draft. And I don't give two ##### about Johnny Manziel or the NFL. Johnny Manziel.
   27. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4704049)
I actually didn't mind Williams' raising his voice because Reynolds was being so ridiculous.
   28. Davo Dozier Posted: May 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4704052)
And some were talking about how the RF could be to blame but to me the error should clearly have been on the 2b. He stood right under it and failed to catch it. No contact made with ball and confusion over who should take the catch should play no role in that play. To me it is a very clear error on the 2b.

And the hit in the ninth was also poor defense.

This got me wondering--

The second baseman was some guy with a hilarious name who'd just been promoted from the Minors. And, to me, it was very obvious that he was uncomfortable playing defense with those huge shifts.

I don't watch Minor League Baseball. Do teams not use infield shifts at those levels?
   29. Scott Lange Posted: May 10, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4704054)
From Googling, it appears that the source for the alleged Elias meeting with the official scorers which changed the long-standing rule on this type of play is the scorer who made this decision himself. Does anyone else know of an alternate source, and/or has anyone ever heard of this meeting and decision? I'm hesitant to take the scorer's word for it, not having heard of the supposed meeting/decision and having seen the play scored the traditional way since the supposed meeting/decision took place (for instance, see two of the three videos contained in the article). Also, even if the meeting took place, is Elias charged with the authority to make decisions on how plays are scored?

As I said above, I agree that the rule should be that a "team error" is charged on such a play, but I would want to see such a rule officially announced and followed universally, not unilaterally implemented out of the blue when the play happens to occur in the 7th inning of the home pitcher's would-be no-hitter.
   30. Davo Dozier Posted: May 10, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4704058)
Loved this write-up from MLB.com:

Either player could have been given the error. That really didn't matter. The question was if veteran official scorer Steve Weller would call it a hit or an error. He ruled an error on Rios, which kept alive the no-hit bid even if the perfect game was over.

Rule 10.12 covers errors in the official scoring rules and includes the comment: "The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer's judgment, at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball."

That's how Weller ruled it. But since the play impacted a bid for a perfect game, he called the Elias Sports Bureau and asked for a review of his scoring decision. The bureau agreed with the call.


Sure sounds like he did his due diligence here. Either way...really glad I wasn't the one who had to make the decision!
   31. JE (Jason) Posted: May 10, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4704067)
This was the closest I've ever seen a sportscaster come to succumbing to the vapors. Reynolds kept repeating that it was the worst decision in the history of MLB. The others were trying hard not to openly mock him, but they failed.

I'm not surprised to hear that Reynolds went bananas claiming that it should have been ruled a hit. He's been bad-mouthing defensive shifts for as long as I can remember.
   32. Baldrick Posted: May 10, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4704078)
That's how Weller ruled it. But since the play impacted a bid for a perfect game, he called the Elias Sports Bureau and asked for a review of his scoring decision. The bureau agreed with the call

i don't mind ruling it an error since it was obviously an error. I mind the ad hoc enforcement of the rules when it 'matters' but not when it doesn't. So I hope it really is an official change in interpretation to make errors slightly less stupid.

But one thing I know for sure is that the ruling most definitely did not 'impact a bid for a perfect game.' The instant the ball hit the ground the perfect game was gone. Doesn't matter what you rule it to be. The ruling impacted a bid for a no hitter, which is a whole lot less interesting.
   33. bobm Posted: May 10, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4704089)
[29] http://www.whyilikebaseball.com/2012/06/sabr42-official-scorers-panel/


Stew Thornley: This year they (MLB) got all the official scorers together in New York, which was great, and it’s all well and good to try to have more consistency. We watched 56 plays together that had been sent to the league office, 18 of them were overturned, and it was great to watch them all together. There was a lot of disagreement among us, which isn’t a surprise. There are a lot of plays out there that even with the push for consistency, there is still subjectivity. That needs to be accepted. There are going to be calls that could go either way. We call them fifty-fifties. We have very qualified people making those decisions. Those are the ones we get paid to make. Sometimes we can go many games without anything comes up because the players are so good! You see that ground ball going to the shortstop and you think it’s going to be a tough call… and then they get the out! And we say thank you! It’s a lot different and the pressure is different than it is in the Independent Leagues. The first time I scored for the Twins I realized how much harder it is to do it for real than from the arm chair. It’s always easier from the arm chair, so I really give credit to people who do things for real and in the hot seat.

[...]

(audience question about defensive indifference)
[David Vincent ?] At the scorer meeting in New York we had a breakout meeting all about that. In a one run game you can’t call it indifference. In a 3-2 game you can’t say it’s defensive indifference. The rule book does define it.


(audience question about pop ups that no one catches and why that isn’t an error)

Wong: You can’t give an error there. If clearly it’s the right fielder’s ball, and he stops and just doesn’t catch it, you can give him an error. But most often it’s not an error.

Thornley: This is where the “team error” concept might benefit us. We all decided at these meetings we want to call an error when there is a real screw up and they let the ball drop. We want to call it but it doesn’t seem like the league office ever communicated it to the teams that we were going to start calling it, not where they both run hard, but just he ones that they goof up and let it drop. How about Rule 6.09, can you call the ball that bounces of Canseco’s head and goes over the fence an error? Is that a four-base error? There are these places where the fence is low, if the ball clanks off a guy’s glove and instead of just falling to the warning track, which is clearly an error, it manages to fall out of the park? That’s got to be a four-base error. But you know the first guy who makes that call is going to be besieged so we’re going to buy him lunch. The batter will want it to be called a home run. But Elias has said no, that can be called a four base error.

Wong: You have to have REALLY big ones to call that one. (laughter)

(audience member then tries to argue against it…)

Thornley: Nah. I got big ones. (laughter)

(There were more questions from the audience, anecdotes, and laughs, as well as talking about whether if a pitcher dropped a foul pop would he then be called an error, would that keep it from being a perfect game? [no] but you know, I had to uncrick my neck and finally drink my tea…) [emphasis added]


   34. bobm Posted: May 10, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4704092)
http://sabr.org/latest/sabr-42-official-scorers-panel

Above page has a link to audio recording (and video highlights via mlb.com)
   35. Bug Selig Posted: May 10, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4704104)
22 - An assertion that he was standing "right under it" is preposterous. Had Odor caught it, it would have been an impressive last-ditch effort. A good 12-year old playing RF would have caught it, and Alex Rios has no excuse for not doing so.

I'm fine with the outcome and hope that this becomes the new practice. The pitcher did his job - the hitter didn't - the defense didn't.
   36. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 10, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4704116)
In my experience, if a popup falls between two fielders standing under it both acting like somebody else was going to get it, it is scored a hit 100% of the time


Mine too.
   37. Sunday silence Posted: May 10, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4704131)
I dont mind Reynolds yelling and getting excited about a call that's part of baseball, but his problem is:

a) he talks over people and doesnt give their opinions respect;
b) he uses invective e.g. "garbage" etc.
c) he doesnt give a coherent argument, although he does mention nothing touching the glove, there's more to it than that. They ask him about grounders that dont touch glove, routine plays, etc. and he has not interest in explaining this.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: May 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4704150)

No. 33 should have boldfaced this part

"We want to call it but it doesn’t seem like the league office ever communicated it to the teams that we were going to start calling it, not where they both run hard, but just he ones that they goof up and let it drop."

   39. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: May 10, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4704166)
I actually didn't mind Williams' raising his voice because Reynolds was being so ridiculous.
Both of them don't know what their talking about a lot of the time but the difference is that Williams is legitimately funny.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 10, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4704181)
I just want to say that in eleven years of SABR conventions that scores panel is one of my favorite panels/presentations I ever attended. I'm sure a big part of that is that I keep score religiously but it was really interesting.
   41. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: May 10, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4704182)
Slightly off-topic, but #33's Canseco story reminded me of another type of call that would take guts to make, so is never called. Why is a "catch" made while a fielder is tumbling out of sight by flipping over a fence called an out? There is no way that the umpire can see if the fielder completed the catch. Doesn't the umpire actually have to determine they made the catch prior to calling the batter out? They could have easily dropped the ball while out of site while they are performing gymnastic moves trying to land safely. If they dropped the ball, they can pick it up from the ground (since they are out of sight) and show the umpire when they return to the field. Although this play is uncommon, it happens often enough that it is hard to imagine that the fielder always caught the ball and never dropped it when hitting the ground.
   42. Sunday silence Posted: May 10, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4704193)
Why is a "catch" made while a fielder is tumbling out of sight by flipping over a fence called an out?


are you referring to a specific play? this is not at all a routine call of "out" if that is what you are suggesting. didnt we have this problem a year or two ago when someone made a catch in the left field foul section. you might want to specify if you are referring to one play or just in general.
   43. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: May 10, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4704217)
I don't have specific play in mind. It is more a general observation. If you have a counter example in mind where for example they called a home run when the outfielder started to make a catch at the fence, but tumbled over it prior to completing the catch. I would love to see it. Every time I've seen such a play, they have ruled a catch even though there is no visible proof that the outfielder kept control of the ball throughout the play.
   44. Bhaakon Posted: May 10, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4704224)
Slightly off-topic, but #33's Canseco story reminded me of another type of call that would take guts to make, so is never called. Why is a "catch" made while a fielder is tumbling out of sight by flipping over a fence called an out? There is no way that the umpire can see if the fielder completed the catch. Doesn't the umpire actually have to determine they made the catch prior to calling the batter out? They could have easily dropped the ball while out of site while they are performing gymnastic moves trying to land safely. If they dropped the ball, they can pick it up from the ground (since they are out of sight) and show the umpire when they return to the field. Although this play is uncommon, it happens often enough that it is hard to imagine that the fielder always caught the ball and never dropped it when hitting the ground.


I thought they changed the rules a few years back to the effect that the defender had to be on the field when the catch is made. They can reach into the stands to make the catch, but diving into the stands invalidated the catch.
   45. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4704243)
A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team oran umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch,the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught.
Rule 2.00 (Catch) Comment: A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground. Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball. A fielder may reach over a fence, railing, rope or other line of demarcation to make a catch. He may jump on top of a railing, or canvas that may be in foul ground. No interference should be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. If a fielder, attempting a catch at the edge of the dugout, is “held up” and kept from an apparent fall by a player or players of either team and the catch is made, it shall be allowed.

Here is the definition of catch from the 2013 rule book. I'm not sure that it prohibits making a catch when falling out of bounds. The problem making it categorically against the rules is that sometimes it is clear that the fielder caught the ball (cf Jeter's catch against Boston) as they went into the stands. My issue is that when its not clear what happened, historically they have allowed it to be a catch.
   46. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: May 10, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4704264)
are you referring to a specific play? this is not at all a routine call of "out" if that is what you are suggesting. didnt we have this problem a year or two ago when someone made a catch in the left field foul section. you might want to specify if you are referring to one play or just in general.

Dewayne Wise for the Yankees in 2012. He never even showed the ball to the ump. Bad one, blue.
   47. Zach Posted: May 11, 2014 at 01:45 AM (#4704309)
I say hooray for common sense. If you were to describe that play to a friend who had no understanding of baseball, it would be impossible not to use the word "error," "screwup," "brain fart," or something closely equivalent.
   48. Lassus Posted: May 11, 2014 at 05:56 AM (#4704319)
Odor Odor Odor. Odor Odor Odor Odor, Odor Odor Odor Odor Odor Odor!

Odor Odor Odor Odor Odor? Odor.
   49. Scott Lange Posted: May 11, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4704328)
Thank you, bobm, for 33, a fascinating read. It doesn't really sound like they reached a definitive conclusion to the effect of "going forward, a ball that drops between two confused fielders will be called an error." Instead, it sounds like they talked about what the rule should be, and came to the same conclusion that seems to be the consensus here: it ought to be some kind of error. It makes sense that there was no firm conclusion or directive, since nobody has been able to point to any scorer following the "new rule" that the scorer from the Darvish game followed before Friday night. So then presumably, what happened is that scorer saw the ball drop and ruin a no-hitter for the home team's pitcher, and reached back for some justification to give it back to him. If I'm right, that's a real shame. Somewhat understandable, but still wrong and a dereliction of duty.
   50. BDC Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4704333)
WRT #s 44-45, I would hate to see a convention adopted where a catch in the stands is not an out. (That would be a true change in rules, or at least conventions for applying them, instead of in scoring practice.) My reasons are purely philosophical. Baseball has traditionally been unbounded: there are physical constraints to fields, sure, but the near-mystical convention that foul lines extend infinitely, so we're all on baseball fields all the time, has a wonderful appeal. And it's been the same with foul territory: you have to let fans sit or stand somewhere, fair or foul, but everywhere is still in play. If a rule should be interpreted so that a player has to have both feet inbounds to make a catch, then baseball has a sideline, like football, and it loses some of its magic. {/whimsical rhapsody :)
   51. Rob_Wood Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4704335)

scott, i could not disagree with you more. are you calling the official scorer a liar? if that is his understanding (confirmed with a phone call to elias) he obviously called it the correct way.
   52. Scott Lange Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4704337)
Rob, I'm saying that as far as I'm aware, before Friday night, this play has been scored a hit 100% of the time. This includes all similar plays in the 1.5 seasons since the meeting that the scorer points to as justification for calling it an error took place, two of which are recorded on video in the link above. Accordingly, as far as I can tell, what happened is:

1- There was a meeting at which scorers and representatives from Elias agreed that these plays "should" be scored errors, but (apparently) no official directive was given.
2- Everyone went on calling these plays hits for another 1.5 seasons, including the two 2013 and 2014 plays linked in the article above.
3- Friday, when one of these plays happened to occur in the 7th inning of the home team's no-hitter, the scorer decided (apparently with support from Elias via telephone) that it was time to break out the new rule and call it an error.

I am saying that if this is what happened, it is wrong. If I'm correct that there was no directive, and I am correct that these plays have continued to be called hits since the meeting took place, then it is wrong to arbitrarily change the rule when the home pitcher happens to have a no-hitter going.

What of the above do you disagree with? Are you contending that people (including this scorer) actually have been calling these plays errors since the meeting took place two winters ago? If so, the videos in the article and the fact that nobody has pointed to an example supporting this contention would seem to show you are wrong. Or are you contending that even though nobody has been following the "rule" that was discussed two winters ago up till now, it is OK to suddenly decide to start following it in the 7th inning of the home pitcher's no-hitter?
   53. Rob_Wood Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4704344)

let's agree to disagree. my view is that there has to be a first time to call the play correctly. for all the reasons you give, this was a "perfect" instance to make the regime shift. same with brown v. board, roe v. wade, etc. (these are obviously strained analogies)
   54. Papa Squid Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4704350)
It is rather convenient to cite this meeting that no one's heard of to justify a controversial scoring decision. Didn't a pop-up drop between Wainwright and Molina in Game 1 of last year's World Series? That was ruled a hit and no one batted an eye.

Flip it around: suppose a long hitting streak, and not a no-hitter is on the line? I have a strong suspicion that this becomes a hit -- and everyone says, "Well yeah, it's a cheap hit -- but those things are always ruled hits."

   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4704368)
I hope that at least everyone agrees that the concept of a team error is a good one, because otherwise you get lots of undeserved hits that could have easily been caught without team miscommunication. Maybe this Darvish example will bring attention to the absurdity of calling plays like that a hit, and in the future all official scorers will get the message.
   56. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4704384)
In my experience, if a popup falls between two fielders standing under it both acting like somebody else was going to get it, it is scored a hit 100% of the time



Mine too.


This is my impression, too. That play has always been called a hit.

OF COURSE, it has also been my impression for 40 years of watching the game and having read the rule book that scorer's have been scoring this type of play incorrectly. NOWHERE in the rule book is there any mention of the ball having to hit the glove or fielder to be called an error. It's an error if a player could make the play using normal effort. I suspect there is a significant portion of BBTF membership who catch that ball if they're playing RF. The fact that official scorers have called it a hit forever is simple democracy. By calling it a hit, they make two players happy - the hitter and the fielder - while only making one unhappy - the pitcher. If they call it an error, they make two unhappy.

Really is that simple. That is an error, no matter what the official scorer calls it.

   57. Scott Lange Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4704418)
53, I agree that there has to be a first time. I do not agree that the first time should be in the 7th game of a no-hitter because the home scorer wants to give the home team a break. Partly, its just unseemly to switch to a new rule only when it benefits the home team in a key situation for the first time. More importantly, there is no reason to think that Friday's scorer has ushered in a new era of consistently calling these plays errors. Rather, as 54 suggests, the next one of these is likely to be called a hit, particularly if it favors the home team.
   58. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4704445)
A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession.


Didn't expect to see Option J in the MLB rulebook.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4704502)
53, I agree that there has to be a first time. I do not agree that the first time should be in the 7th game of a no-hitter because the home scorer wants to give the home team a break.


It doesn't, really, though, does it? The runner(s) don't advance because of the ruling. No extra outs are recorded by the ruling. It's just a scorer's decision. It doesn't affect wins and losses. There's no break for any team. You're giving the individual a break.
   60. Scott Lange Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4704508)
It doesn't, really, though, does it? The runner(s) don't advance because of the ruling. No extra outs are recorded by the ruling. It's just a scorer's decision. It doesn't affect wins and losses. There's no break for any team. You're giving the individual a break.


That seems like an awfully semantic distinction in this case. I mean, I think its plain that there is a connection between the individual and the team. You may notice the individual was wearing the team's name on his shirt, for instance. But if you insist: the scoring rules should be consistent regardless of whether following the rules helps or hurts either the home team or the home team's starting pitcher.
   61. AuntBea Posted: May 11, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4704519)
The way errors have been traditionally scored (i.e. not given if the scorer could find any excuse to avoid calling the play an error) long ago soured me on things like no hitters and hitting streaks (not to mention fielding %s and the like). Errors at this point are merely an artifact of an esoteric scoring system, essentially divorced from common sense, ability, and reality. So long as infield pop-ups and the like can be ruled as hits (and especially at the scorer's discretion), the distinction between hits and errors has no integrity. Now this does not matter for things like batting average, as mostly it washes out in the long run. But for other achievements such as no hitters and hitting streaks, the difference in the scoring of a single play is very significant. Until baseball get serious about errors (or simply gets rid of them altogether), I won't be paying any attention to such accomplishments.
   62. BDC Posted: May 11, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4704520)
It probably doesn't matter how these things get scored as long as it's consistent over the long haul and advanced analysis takes ROE into account. In a weird way, whatever the semantic justice of a change, I'd actually argue that long-standing scoring conventions should stay in place, just so you don't have to mentally adjust for a "started calling lots more errors in 2014" threshold.

The principle that a batted ball has to hit a fielder's person or intimate personal space to be scored an error, and not always then, is illogical. But if reasonably attentive fans can say "well they usually score that play X way," what's the actual harm? As many have said, it has nothing to do with game outcomes.
   63. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 11, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4704527)
Scott, whether a play is scored a hit or an error isn't material to the outcome of any game. The runner is still safe, isn't awarded extra bases. The only thing harmed is an individual's stats. The team isn't harmed.
   64. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: May 11, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4704539)
David Ortiz has appealed for that ruling to be changed to a hit. Link
   65. BDC Posted: May 11, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4704549)
David Ortiz has appealed for that ruling to be changed to a hit

Oh for crying out loud, didn't he have enough hits in that game as it was.
   66. Lindor Truffles Posted: May 11, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4704671)
[23]ROOG-ned o-DOOR


And his younger brother is also named Rougned. Perhaps their father is the Venezuelan George Foreman.

The younger Rougned moved to the States last year so should be eligible for the 2014 Draft.
   67. Scott Lange Posted: May 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4704692)
Joe, what is your point? Are you saying that if the outcome of a game isn't affected, then it doesn't matter what the rules are or whether they are followed on a consistent basis? If so, then your complaint is with the entire idea of having an official scorer and keeping baseball statistics, not with my argument against ad hoc rules for scoring a particular type of play.

(Also, it hardly matters, but you're wrong about the only thing being affected being the individual's stats. Teams keep track of their no-hitters too. The Mets were very excited to get their first no-hitter a couple years ago. The Rangers would've added Darvish to their list of Rangers' no-hitters if he had succeeded.)
   68. Squash Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:57 PM (#4704708)
Reynolds would have been "right" (though wrong) if he had made the point that it was contrary to many years of tradition to award an error on that play. However, he wasn't arguing that, he was arguing it wasn't a routine play when it clearly was, which makes him all the way wrong.
   69. Sunday silence Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4704807)
isnt there something to be said for integrity? Even among official scorers? If you are not going to keep scoring the same plays as it has been traditionally done for decades then what is the point of scoring? It ceases to mean anything.
   70. spike Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4704843)
it hardly matters

QFT.
   71. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4704870)
David Ortiz has appealed for that ruling to be changed to a hit. Link


While clearly not Ortiz's intention, this could be a good thing, as it gives MLB the opportunity to rule definitively that these balls should be scored errors.

Oh, and I care about no-hitters, hitting streaks and official scoring distinctions. They make for fun side events in the 162-game schedule. And I'd like see a break from tradition when the tradition is broken, as has been the case on the scoring decision on these plays for as long as I've been following the game. Whether it's the team error on plays where blame is hard to identify (or shared), or simply tagging someone with an error, plays where outs should not be considered hits.

   72. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4704885)
About 2-3 years ago their was a thread here regarding Dwight Gooden's 1 hitter from 1984- the sole hit was an infield single from Keith Moreland, possibly the only one of his career- he was not fast, he had below average footspeed for an MLB player- he got a hit on a slow roller to third that Ray Knight vapor locked on, he didn't charge, he didn't move a step and the ball rolled slowly, so slowly, until it virtually came to stop by itself a step or two in front of Knight, who suddenly snapped to attention, took one step, picked up the ball, pumped to throw (which if he had thrown might have beaten Moreland), pumped again... and held onto the ball... (If he'd thrown at least it would've been close)
It was a ball that an MLB/College/HS 3b would have made with ordinary effort, Knight literally made no effort he either froze or he'd been paying no attention/daydreaming (which was not usual for Knight who was a bit of a red ass).

The official scorer ruled it a hit, a decision the fanboy in me disagreed with for 25+ years.

The hit last night was like that in the sense that it was an "error" in the non-rule book sense, it was a play that should have been and is usually made.

10.12 ERRORS

An error is a statistic charged against a fielder whose action has assisted the team
on offense, as set forth in this Rule 10.12.

(a) The official scorer shall charge an error against any fielder:

(1) whose misplay (fumble, muff or wild throw) prolongs the time at bat of a
batter, prolongs the presence on the bases of a runner or permits a runner to
advance one or more bases, unless, in the judgment of the official scorer, such
fielder deliberately permits a foul fly to fall safe with a runner on third base
before two are out in order that the runner on third shall not score after the
catch;


the "official" comment to the rule has what I call the Knight/Moreland rule:
Rule 10.12(a)(1) Comment: Slow handling of the ball that does not involve mechanical misplay
shall not be construed as an error. For example, the official scorer shall not charge a fielder with an error
if such fielder fields a ground ball cleanly but does not throw to first base in time to retire the batter


The comment goes on:

error
if such fielder fields a ground ball cleanly but does not throw to first base in time to retire the batter. It is
not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a
fielder’s legs or a fly ball falls untouched and, in the scorer’s judgment, the fielder could have handled
the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error. For example, the
official scorer shall charge an infielder with an error when a ground ball passes to either side of such
infielder if, in the official scorer’s judgment, a fielder at that position making ordinary effort would have
fielded such ground ball and retired a runner. The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error
if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder
at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball. If a throw is low, wide or high,
or strikes the ground, and a runner reaches base who otherwise would have been put out by such throw,
the official scorer shall charge the player making the throw with an error.
   73. Nasty Nate Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4705021)
Are you saying that if the outcome of a game isn't affected, then it doesn't matter what the rules are or whether they are followed on a consistent basis?


In a competitive sense, it doesn't matter what the rules of how plays are categorized by the scorer are or whether they're followed. All 14 of the Rangers hits that night could have been scored Sox errors and it wouldn't have helped/hurt either team competitively. It would have been stupid for other reasons, but would have been totally irrelevant to either team's opportunity to win the game.
   74. Sunday silence Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4705061)
having read the first part of no72 ("prolongs an at bat") then the hypothetical posed in the discussion is still an issue. Namely what if a pitcher throwing a perfect game drops a foul pop? Is it still perfect?
   75. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4705063)
Namely what if a pitcher throwing a perfect game drops a foul pop? Is it still perfect?


Yes it is. A perfect game is not 0 0 0*, but no baserunners. An error on a foul pop-up would not end a perfect game.

*Actually that would be 0 0
---------------------------0
   76. Scott Lange Posted: May 12, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4705089)
73- Well obviously, but as I said in the sentence after the one you quoted, if you defend the Darvish scorer's decision on those grounds, then you are really critiquing the entire enterprise of scoring and tracking baseball statistics.
   77. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 12, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4705101)
Reynolds would have been "right" (though wrong) if he had made the point that it was contrary to many years of tradition to award an error on that play. However, he wasn't arguing that, he was arguing it wasn't a routine play when it clearly was, which makes him all the way wrong.


I watch MLBN all the time when I am at home for background noise. After hearing Harold whine about that crap for about 1.5 hours, I switched channels and watched the end of Django Unchained. My night was much better for it in the end.
   78. Rob_Wood Posted: May 12, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4705113)

The point is that the official scorer's decisions do not affect the outcome of the game. So let's put that issue aside. That leaves the issue of making the correct decision for its own sake (essentially, distinguishing between hits and errors).

If everyone agrees that the play in question was an error (surely by rule book and probably by agreement), then I cannot believe that anyone at "Baseball for the Thinking Fan" can argue the other side. The only "argument" which can be given is that "it has always been ruled a hit". Well, that reasoning may be sufficient for close-minded people like Harold Reynolds, but anyone with a decent dose of intellectual curiosity surely prefers a world in which the correct decision is reached.
   79. deputydrew Posted: May 12, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4705171)
Emmy-winner Harold Reynolds


That's all.
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 12, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4705197)
If everyone agrees that... then I cannot believe that anyone at "Baseball for the Thinking Fan" can argue the other side.


You must be new here, either that you haven't being paying attention, either that or you have retrograde amnesia
   81. Scott Lange Posted: May 12, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4705236)
My argument, as expressed in #57:

Partly, its just unseemly to switch to a new rule only when it benefits the home team in a key situation for the first time. More importantly, there is no reason to think that Friday's scorer has ushered in a new era of consistently calling these plays errors. Rather, as 54 suggests, the next one of these is likely to be called a hit, particularly if it favors the home team.


My argument, as mischaracterized in scare quotes in #78:

The only "argument" which can be given is that "it has always been ruled a hit".


Maybe if you spent less time calling those who disagree with you "close-minded," "(lacking a) decent dose of intellectual curiosity," and "(unworthy of) Baseball for the Thinking Fan," you would have more time to read and understand what people have written in the thread before you post.
   82. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4705265)
I understand your argument Scott, though I think most of us disagree with it. Any change from the existing protocol on this play, regardless the reason behind it, is a good thing as it may help usher in an age when scorekeepers tag this with the E it deserves. You don't necessarily disagree with the error ruling, but you can't tolerate it under the circumstances it was issued (to protect a guy throwing a no-hitter).

But, as I noted above, I think this makes Ortiz's appeal more significant. If MLB is forced to address this publicly, and does so with a ruling that reinforces the scorekeeper's decision, it will carry a whole lot more weight than a single call in Texas otherwise would. It may in fact serve to help future plays like this get called correctly.
   83. Scott Lange Posted: May 12, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4705282)
Thank you, SoSH, for characterizing my position accurately!

I think just about everyone, myself included, agrees that there is a better way to score these plays rather than as hits. It sounds like the only differences you and I have are that you think A) the Darvish scorer's decision is defensible as a blow against the old rule and B) the Darvish scorer's decision is likely to lead to a new uniform standard. I could be wrong about B- I guess we'll see. But as to A, do you think the scorer was engaging in an act of civil disobedience? I don't; I think he was just trying to help out the home team's starting pitcher. Assuming I'm right about his intent, I think that negates any argument that the potential for change justifies his position. But even if he did intend it, would you argue that a scorer is justified in making up whatever new rules he wants if he (or a consensus of BBTF posters) think they are better than the old rules? If not, what is different about his decision Friday? I mean, I don't think the save rule makes a lot of sense. If I get hired to score the Dodgers game tonight, am I justified in refusing to give Jansen a save if he comes in with a three-run lead on the grounds that giving out saves for low-leverage relief appearances is a lousy rule?
   84. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4705284)
Emmy-winner Harold Reynolds
Back when I worked in television news, it used to drive me absolutely insane that, for one month every year, my coworkers spent more time on their awards submission tapes than they did on their actual job.

I couldn't succinctly articulate why, but I felt like Emmys were a bogus, meaningless award that had nothing to do with quality and everything to do with how much that turd got polished before it was sent in.

Now I can articulate exactly how meaningless they are: "Emmy-winner Harold Reynolds".
   85. Rob_Wood Posted: May 12, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4705286)

scott, look around. the only person who seems to agree with you is harold reynolds. what does that tell you?

what difference does it make to you? why are you making such a big deal about this? (it is kinda weird)

harold was mocked for over-reacting to this on live national television. but at least he was reacting in the moment. presumably you have had some time to consider all angles here.

can you just consider the possibility that the correct call was made for whatever reason? and, if so, then maybe a saner era of official scoring is dawning? that would be a good thing, right?
   86. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4705291)
But even if he did intend it, would you argue that a scorer is justified in making up whatever new rules he wants if he (or a consensus of BBTF posters) think they are better than the old rules?


Me? Yes.

Dick Young was scoring a game, and there was a player who would routinely lay down a last-minute bunt attempt with a man on first. By scorekeeping convention at the time, if he was thrown out at first, it was a sacrifice; if he reached first it was a base hit. It was a very nice way of artificially inflating his BA. One day, Young scored it a 5-3, no sacrifice. He was right, and soon after scorekepers began scoring it the way it should have been scored (though some say they've regressed in that regard - I can't say for sure as I don't see too many guys try this particular play).

I would love to see official scorers take some initiative on various things - such as a commonsense application of "pitched effectively" before awarding wins. Hell, I would like to see them act in defiance of the rulebook where a rule is poorly written or vague or just plain wrong. There are several areas of scorekeeping that I disagree with; I'm sure there are areas where big league scorekeepers think likewise. I'd love to see them challenge MLB to defend some of these questionable rulings rather than blindly follow them. If not them, who will?

   87. Nasty Nate Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4705292)
Dick Young was scoring a game, and there was a player who would routinely lay down a last-minute bunt attempt with a man on first. By scorekeeping convention at the time, if he was thrown out at first, it was a sacrifice; if he reached first it was a base hit. It was a very nice way of artificially inflating his BA. One day, Young scored it a 5-3, no sacrifice. He was right, and soon after scorekepers began scoring it the way it should have been scored


I think that should be scored a sac, and that there's nothing artificial at all about it raising his BA. A bunt that advances the runner and also gives the bunter a chance to reach safely is better than one that doesn't.
   88. tshipman Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4705294)
If everyone agrees that the play in question was an error (surely by rule book and probably by agreement), then I cannot believe that anyone at "Baseball for the Thinking Fan" can argue the other side. The only "argument" which can be given is that "it has always been ruled a hit". Well, that reasoning may be sufficient for close-minded people like Harold Reynolds, but anyone with a decent dose of intellectual curiosity surely prefers a world in which the correct decision is reached.


Uh, it causes problems if we have different interpretations of what is and is not a hit/error. I prefer consistency over slavish devotion to the rule book. The fact of the matter is that for 30+ years, that play has been scored a hit. If it's not to be scored a hit in the future, the time to announce it is in the offseason, and the person to make the announcement is the commissioner.

Ad hoc changes to the game on the field are bad for baseball.
   89. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4705302)
I think that should be scored a sac, and that there's nothing artificial at all about it raising his BA. A bunt that advances the runner and also gives the bunter a chance to reach safely is better than one that doesn't.


I like it as a play, just not as a scoring decision.

A sacrifice is giving yourself up to advance another runner. You're specifically trading one out for advancement. If you're trying to get a base hit, you're not trying to sacrifice anything, and thus it shouldn't be treated as one.

Along those lines, I don't like the idea that sac flies are treated as non-at bats. I don't see any reason to think that a batter was specifically hitting a ball to the leftfielder to score the run, any more than he was specifically hitting the grounder to the shortstop with the infield back. Hell, I'm more inclined to think the No. 2 hole guy was intentionally hitting the groundball to the right side to move the runner over, but that gets treated as the 4-3 it should.

As far as I'm concerned, if something is to be scored a sacrifice - the intent has to be obvious. And the only time it's obvious is when the guy squares at/near the time the pitcher is making his delivery.
   90. Nasty Nate Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4705314)
As far as I'm concerned, if something is to be scored a sacrifice - the intent has to be obvious. And the only time it's obvious is when the guy squares at/near the time the pitcher is making his delivery.


Your way rewards someone for making a worse play.

If the 'intent' criteria was applied to sac flies it would at least have consistency on its side.
   91. Scott Lange Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4705322)
85- I've gotta give you credit- it takes guts to post five times in a thread on BBTF arguing about a scoring decision and then ask why the other guy is making a big deal out of things. As to the substance though, I'm going to move on to engaging the adults in the thread.

Everyone else- I think SoSH articulates a coherent position, but I'm with 88: I think scorers should not be free to make ad hoc changes to how games are scored. The statistics we all love to analyze and argue about lose meaning if the same play is scored differently from game to game, park to park, and situation to situation. What if half the scorers decide they don't like shifts, and start charging errors to fielders who "should've" caught balls hit to where the fielders would've been standing had there been no shift? Would you say they were right because they were challenging authority, or only say they were right if you agreed with them, or say they were wrong?
   92. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4705324)
Your way rewards someone for making a worse play.

It's not about rewards - it's about accurately capturing what happened. The guy trying get a base hit wasn't trying to sacrifice an at bat (or an out), and the play shouldn't be treated as such.

If the 'intent' criteria was applied to sac flies it would at least have consistency on its side.

They're already inconsistent, as evidenced by the run-scoring grounder or move-the-runner over grounder to the second baseman. What rationale is there for one being ruled a sacrifice and the others not?

Regardless how the bunt play is scored, the sac fly scoring is just wrong.
   93. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4705325)
I'm on board with SoSH that IF MLB starts scoring that play as an error regularly then it is a correct scoring decision. I will be surprised if this becomes a change so I guess I agree with Scott about what the "correct" decision is.

The bunt with a runner on base almost always gets scored a sacrifice regardless of whether the intent is there or not. I'm with SoSH, I'd prefer it to be a sacrifice when the player gives himself up but convention has evolved that it is a sacrifice in all situations.
   94. Nasty Nate Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4705330)

It's not about rewards - it's about accurately capturing what happened. The guy trying get a base hit wasn't trying to sacrifice an at bat (or an out), and the play shouldn't be treated as such.


But in the scoring convention it is a reward, because one guy gets an 0-for-1 added to his at-bats and hits and the other guy doesn't under your way.
   95. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4705332)
What if half the scorers decide they don't like shifts, and start charging errors to fielders who "should've" caught balls hit to where the fielders would've been standing had there been no shift?


I'd say that's pretty damn dumb myself. (-:

More important, presumably baseball would agree and act accordingly.

If an official scorer takes a position that's not defensible, baseball has the authority to overturn it. But seeing as the rulebook regarding scoring decisions is so infrequently changed, I think baseball scorers showing some initiative is the best bet for any needed changes to occur. For example, this one. And here, the act of one scorer (and one easily irked DH) may force a change that many of us have sought for years.

By the way, the chronic shifting does bring up some interesting philosophical questions. If the Yankees put on the shift against David Ortiz, leaving Derek Jeter as the sole defender on the left side of the infield, and David Ortiz grounds out to Solarte playing between Jeter and Roberts on the right side of the diamond, how should that be scored? Should the play reflect the number of the defender, 5, where he's ordinarily stationed, 6, since he would be positioned as the third infielder from the right, or 4, given he's playing where a second baseman ordinarily would be stationed. In other words, should the number we put in a scorebook correspond to a permanent position, a place in the order of infielders or a place on the diamond itself (thereby accurately reflecting where the ball was hit)?



But in the scoring convention it is a reward, because one guy gets an 0-for-1 added to his at-bats and hits and the other guy doesn't under your way.


Yes, because that accurately describes what happened. The first guy tried to get a base hit, and he failed, so he gets the same 0-1 that all failed attempts at base hits get. The second guy tried to give himself up, and he succeeded. Thus, the very limited application of the sacrifice. Nice, clean and accurate.

Now, if you want to say that all of these plays should end with an at bat, even the very obvious sac bunt, that's a change that wouldn't bother me.
   96. Nasty Nate Posted: May 12, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4705335)
Yes, because that accurately describes what happened. The first guy tried to get a base hit, and he failed, so he gets the same 0-1 that all failed attempts at base hits get. The second guy tried to give himself up, and he succeeded.


No. The first guy tried to get a base hit and advance the runner - two things.

And the second guy isn't trying give himself up, he is trying to advance the runner - and is willing to give himself up. That's why he doesn't get credit with the sac bunt if it doesn't work.

You are focusing on the sacrifice, when the real essence of the play is the advancement of the runner.
   97. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 12, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4705372)
Scott, having re-read, I'll say this: I am sticking to my belief that scorers' decisions have no bearing on wins and losses, so I don't get worked up about their judgments, or errors thereof. I don't recall too many times where I've had a major beef with a scorer's call.

That said, I think the play in question should be called an error. But not this year. Let them say, during the off season, that going forward, the scorer has discretion, and that simply the fact that a fielder does not touch a batted ball before it lands should not automatically mean "hit". If the scorer decides that a play should have been made and wasn't, let an error be assessed, to whomever the scorer thinks should have made the play. I'd give this particular error to Rios. He should have been sprinting and screaming, calling the 2B off, and he would have easily made that play if he did.
   98. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 12, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4705377)
Any ball that should have been caught but isn't should be an error. Period. The only question should be who gets the error, not whether a play like the other night should be called a hit. Papi should be ashamed even to try to get that call reversed.
   99. Scott Lange Posted: May 12, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4705380)
I think I basically agree with you, Joe, with the minor difference that I do kinda care about scoring decisions, although they are certainly less important than umpire's decisions that affect the results on the field. But yes, by all means: let's change this rule, systematically and baseball-wide.
   100. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 12, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4705398)
You are focusing on the sacrifice, when the real essence of the play is the advancement of the runner.


And when you focus on the advancement of the runner, you get into all sorts of problems, as illustrated by the sac fly/run-scoring groundout/runner-advancing grounder to second situations. You're simply looking at it as regular bunt vs. sac bunt, rather than comparing this bunt for hit to all situations.

As I see it, there are three ways this type of play can be scored in a consistent fashion:

1) Any plate appearance that results in an advanced runner on a ball in play results in no at bat. I don't think anyone supports this, for a variety of reasons.

2) Any plate appearance that results in an out/force out* is an at bat, regardless what happens with the runners.

3) A sacrifice (and no at bat) can be awarded when the offensive player makes a clear and unambiguous attempt to sacrifice an out for baserunner advancement. And the only time this is clear and unambiguous is on a squared bunt attempt - all other players can and should be interpreted as an attempt to get a hit, and thus carry the same risk that all failed attempts to hit do.

Now, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to just go with No. 2. First, we already charge IBB to the pitcher's record, so the intent of the team to do something that may be otherwise counterproductive is scored one way on the defensive side of the ball, so it makes sense to act similarly on the offensive side. And second, if a guy wants to complain about a sac bunt's effect on his BA, he can take it up with his manager.

But if that particular course of action isn't followed, I'd rather see the still-consistent application I've outlined in Option 3.

* Out/forced out to be distinguished from advancement out, such as single to center, runner on second thrown out trying to score. That would still be a hit.

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