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Monday, October 11, 2021

Chicago White Sox’s Yasmani Grandal says he didn’t intentionally get in way of throw to home as Houston Astros claim interference

The Sox were leading 7-6 with runners on first and third and no outs when Grandal hit a ground ball to Gurriel, who attempted to cut down Luis Robert at the plate.

As the Sox’s catcher ran toward first while on the grass to the left of the chalk, he was hit by the ball coming home to Maldonado. It deflected away from the Astros’ catcher, allowing Robert to score and the inning to continue without the Astros getting an out on the play. Houston claimed interference.

“I tried to make the argument that he did get in the way,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

Interference would be called only if Grandal intentionally got in the way of the throw. All six umpires huddled on the infield grass, eventually declaring there was no intention.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:06 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, white sox

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   1. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:09 AM (#6045414)
A few minutes afterward, in the booth, Wainwright said that someone texted him "That was the most A.J. Pierzynski play ever".
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6045439)
I've got some family and friends in Houston that were all up in arms about it, but I don't see it. They keep coming back to either of these rules, neither of which are relevant:

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball

1) Grandal was not past the half-way point from home to first when the throw hit him, and
2) No one was taking a throw at first base, so the conditions for applying this rule don't apply.

He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely

1) Grandal was not avoiding a tag, and
2) He was not interfering with Gurriel's ability to field the ball.

The only rule that looks to me like it applies is 5.09(b)(3): [Any runner is out when...]
He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball

Grandal is running in a straight line toward 1B and does not move into the path of the thrown ball. He may not have taken any action to avoid the throw, but he was under no obligation to do so. Looks to me like the umps got this one right.
   3. TomH Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6045440)
No, A.J.would have punched or kicked or tripped someone also.
   4. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6045445)
Grandal is running in a straight line toward 1B

I agree with all of your post, including the interpretation of the rules, except for this. He started in the LH batters box, so the "straight line" to first base from there wouldn't involve running on grass at all (as a righty, that would be a straight path to 1b).

Runners have been called out for similar paths when it's a catcher fielding the ball and throwing to 1b; so it would potentially only be natural to assume the same rule would be in place on a throw from 1b to C. It's not, and just like the ground rule double off a fielder thing in the other thread, they *could* tweak this rule easy enough for it to be more consistent.
   5. TJ Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6045447)
Is it just me or does Grandal appear to make a deliberate move to run more to his left after a stride or two out of the box? In the clip, his head seems to make a distinct move off a straight line path down to first.

That asked, I have no problem with the umps giving the White Sox the benefit of the doubt since their call went against the Astros...

Edit- here is the link to CBS Sports which has the whole play...
   6. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: October 11, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6045467)
Is it just me or does Grandal appear to make a deliberate move to run more to his left after a stride or two out of the box?

I think in slow motion it looks like that but it's nothing more than the natural flinch in reaction to a baseball being thrown at you (not intentionally but he was bracing to absorb it).
   7. bunyon Posted: October 11, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6045471)
He wasn't taking a direct line and he absolutely shrugs his shoulder into it. Was that shrug a natural reaction or intentional? I don't think it should matter. He should have been out.
   8. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: October 11, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6045484)
If Gurriel throws at Grandal's head, Grandal ducks and the catcher makes the play on Robert.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 11, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6045488)
Was that shrug a natural reaction or intentional?
   10. The Duke Posted: October 11, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6045523)
“Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can shrug”. First rule of Grandal
   11. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 11, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6045528)
I can't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure Grandal purposefully got in the way of the throw. It looks like he moves to his left to, at the very least, make the throw more difficult. I'm less sure that actual contact with the ball was intentional. And that's a really tough call for the umpires to make, especially in real time.

I think Grandal probably should have been out, but I completely understand why the umpires made the (non-)call they did.
   12. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 11, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6045536)
Here I think the umps got it wrong; I would've called Grandal out, even though I'm rooting for the White Sox in this series. He's clearly running out of his normal line.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 11, 2021 at 05:12 PM (#6045537)
I did this intentionally whenever necessary on the softball field -- i.e. take a basepath that makes the throw more difficult while (if I could) maintaining a legal basepath, otherwise let the ump sort it out. I never got called for anything and a few times it worked. I assume Grandal is a smarter player than I am. But I'm sure he's never stolen a sign while standing at 2B either.

They put in a rule a few years ago to require the runner to get out of the way on throws on DPs didn't they? How's that one written?
   14. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 11, 2021 at 06:14 PM (#6045552)
Walt, that's a runner who's already out. First baseman didn't step on the bag on this play.
   15. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 12, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6045810)
What is it about White Sox catchers and these sorts of plays? Was Sherm Lollar a notorious cheat, too?
   16. dave h Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6045834)
I did this intentionally whenever necessary on the softball field

There are times when this is okay imo and times when it's not. In beer league, we'd often have runners coming in standing up to 2B. That's in part because they didn't want/know how to slide, and in part because they thought they could block the ball. (Sometimes they would even put their hands up to distract/deflect the ball.) This was extremely unsafe because a) they usually couldn't stop, and would bowl over whoever was covering, whether it was me or our 100-pound 2B and b) if I did throw directly at the base, which was what I was taught to do in that situation in baseball, then I could really really hurt them. I would generally just take the extra time to throw around, but I'd also warn the runner afterwards that they could easily get hurt there, even if I'm trying my best to avoid them. This was nearly always met with incredulity, which is why beer league softball often sucks.

On the White Sox play, I think the umpires called the play as instructed, but the interpretation should be changed so the batter-runner is out. Grandal is intentionally interfering with the play by taking an unusual route to the next base. I don't see why the rule has to be interpreted as only last-second motion mattering - just because they planned a few steps ahead doesn't make it less intentional. Runners should not be able to block the bases beyond what they would normally do in the process of running. A similar play happened to the Red Sox a few years ago - a runner on 1B was put out, but for some reason thought they could retreat safely to 1B. In doing so they interfered with the throw to get the batter-runner; they were so close to the 1B bag it made it nearly impossible to make the play. That runner was already out and the interference was unreasonable but clearly not intentional. Put all together it seems like taking intent out of this calculation would make it easier. Of course that is done for the second half of the home to first basepath and most people hate that, so who knows.
   17. John DiFool2 Posted: October 12, 2021 at 02:51 PM (#6045839)
Reggie famously did this years ago and also got away with it.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 12, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6045842)
Immediately upon seeing this play, I thought of Reggie. Both in the positioning before the throw got there, and the "I see it coming, and I'm just gonna do nothing while it hits me."

   19. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: October 12, 2021 at 03:29 PM (#6045847)
Reggie contorted his body as he stood there...he kind of hip checked the ball.
   20. TJ Posted: October 12, 2021 at 09:32 PM (#6045934)
This was nearly always met with incredulity, which is why beer league softball often sucks.

Saw this happen a number of times the one summer I played in a beer league. My best friend asked me to join his bar team when I decided I had destroyed my body too much to keep playing high-level softball at the level I was accustomed to. I showed up for the first game in my uniform, as always carrying my gear and bats in a bag slung over my shoulder. My best friend told me I was a bit overdressed. That’s when I noticed guys playing in jeans and tennis shoes. More than once there were multiple players wearing polo shirts. My best friend advised me not to try too hard and avoid making everyone look bad.

The first time I had a runner come in on me at second base like described above was hilarious. I went to turn a double play and looked up to see this tall, gawky looking guy running straight up and waving his arms like a crazed preying mantis. I burst out laughing so hard at the sight I couldn’t have turned two if I tried. The next time it happened I just stepped back and tossed a high arching lob over the runner’s head to first. I would switch-hit on whim, let a ball I knew I could get to go through for a hit because the batter had his family in the stands cheering for him, and not make a relay throw to cut down a run at the plate so as to avoid the mercy rule and keep playing. Yeah, beer league softball may not have been the best ball, but I had as much fun playing that summer as I ever did in competitive leagues. You’ll never hear me badmouth beer league softball…

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