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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

‘Catcher’s balk’? Not quite ... but it was rare

The incredulity displayed by the Giants’ catching tandem encapsulated the bizarre nature of the play that unfolded in the bottom of the second inning of the Giants’ 3-1 loss to the D-backs on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

After the D-backs put runners on first and second with one out, Asdrúbal Cabrera stepped up to the plate to face right-hander Johnny Cueto. Cabrera took a first-pitch changeup in the dirt that Casali blocked, but Casali then took off his catcher’s mask and used it to stop the ball, which is illegal. Home-plate umpire Chris Guccione called Casali for an error, with both runners moving up 90 feet as a result of the miscue.

The official scorer called the mistake a “catcher’s balk,” but Casali technically violated Major League Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(3)(E), which allows runners to advance one base when, “A fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.”

“It was definitely a strange play,” Casali said. “I can’t say totally that I’ve ever done that before. It was definitely unintentional. It was just kind of one of those plays where normally I’d just flip my mask off and it would just fly behind me, but for whatever reason, it just kind of stuck and fell. I haven’t looked at the replay, but I’m assuming it looked pretty obvious. It was definitely unintentional. Stupid play on my part. It shouldn’t happen in a big league game. It stinks.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 04, 2021 at 04:42 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: balk

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 04, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6032863)
Happened to the Cubs against the Dodgers a lifetime ago. Sounds like basically the same situation. Umpires didn't call anything but, for all his faults, LaSorda was a baseball geek and he came "running" out of the dugout and explained the rulebook to the umps.

It's similar to throwing your glove at the ball which I've never seen in a real game but happened to me in rec league softball. I singled I think, drove somebody in with throw to the plate, other runner going to 3rd drawing a throw over the 3B's head. He tossed his glove (missing the ball), ump called whatever he called, our runner trotted home, I trotted slowly down to second where I was thrown out. Ump claimed only the runner on third got a free advance, I announced my intent to appeal (as captain that day). Looked up the rule (not sure which set of rules were in force) and, if I recall, I was right that I should have gotten a free advance but the rule also states that if the glove doesn't hit the ball then there's no violation so the ump shouldn't have called anything at all and I dropped the appeal.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: August 04, 2021 at 06:33 PM (#6032876)
I know it's logistically impossible, but I'd love to see this scenario:

throw to 3B sails high, and SS sees that the 3B has decided to throw the glove in the air to try to slow the speed of the ball. SS immediately fires his glove at 3B, who gets hit with the glove and therefore has his toss hampered.

ok, maybe the SS could yell "NOONAN!" right in the 3B's "backswing" of his glove toss?

I guess if anyone could do it - Javier Baez? he's kind of a ninja
   3. Scott Lange Posted: August 04, 2021 at 06:42 PM (#6032878)
The rules grant one base for using equipment to illegally touch a pitched ball, two bases for a thrown ball, and three bases for a batted ball. I've never understood why outfielders don't chuck their gloves in the air to knock down balls that are going way over their heads and the fence - turn a homer into a three-base award if you get lucky. Is there some flaw with that strategy I can't see?
   4. TomH Posted: August 04, 2021 at 07:09 PM (#6032880)
I believe the umps have discretion to give the batter 4 bases in that case
   5. Perry Posted: August 04, 2021 at 07:32 PM (#6032886)
There IS such a thing as a catcher's balk, but it wasn't that play, which was scored E2. A catcher's balk happens when R3 is headed home on a squeeze or steal and the catcher jumps out to make the play and interferes with the batter. R3 is awarded home and a balk is charged to the pitcher, even though he did nothing wrong.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: August 04, 2021 at 08:15 PM (#6032894)
I saw this mask violation at Fenway 2 years ago with Christian Vasquez.
   7. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: August 04, 2021 at 11:04 PM (#6032912)
It quite the same but in the minors Jackie Bradley was up at bat with two outs and two on in the ninth inning of a one run game. The pitch was in the dirt and kicked in front of JBJ who obligingly picked it up and handed it to the catcher…and was promptly called out for interference which is a hell of away to end the game.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 04, 2021 at 11:18 PM (#6032916)
This stuff is both dumb and awesome at the same time.

Someone in the DBacks dugout started screaming right away. Well, I guess I assume its the dugout, someone knew the rule and started yelling.
   9. VCar Posted: August 05, 2021 at 03:32 PM (#6033009)
I think if the C leaves his box on an IW b4 the P releases the ball, it's also a C's balk. Never seen it called in MLB but I've asked umps to award it in a few HS games.

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