Wednesday, September 1, 2021

MLB play at first base mistakenly reverses an out back into a safe call in game between Cleveland and Kansas City.

When Armando Galarraga lost his perfect game on what could have been the final out of the game, Galarraga bobbling the throw clearly influenced Umpire James Joyce into calling the runner safe at first base.

While Sportscam Detective was one of the few on the planet that agreed with Joyce's call (under my alter ego of Dashcam Detective), the wiggle room for calling the runner out at first place would be to argue that any bobble that happened after the runner had touched first base would be moot, the remaining issue being was there enough of a bobble BEFORE the runner touched first base to warrant the safe call. 

Unfortunately for all concerned, the Detroit Sports Announcers and the replay crew REFUSED to discuss the OBVIOUS bobble by Galarraga,  choosing to freeze the video frame during instant replay to mask the bobble, so the Galarraga bobble was never discussed.

In this evening's game between Cleveland and KC, The throw beat the runner to first base with the first baseman touching first base, first, then the batter turned base runner touches first base.
After passing the first base bag the now out runner then hits the glove of the first baseman and the ball is knocked loose. 
Because Indians first baseman Bobbie Bradley was turned sideways to received the throw, his was positioned opposite, toe out, rather than heel out when touching first base. Any further encroachment with his glove arm into the base running lane could create a collision situation with the base runner since catching the throw with his arm in the most comfortable position would place his glove arm in the path of the fast approaching baserunner. 

Bradley did the Sportsmanship thing and tried to restrict how much of the running path past first base his glove occupied and the result was the throw from second was caught in the very upper region of his webbing, making it susceptible to being knocked out by contact.
Kansas City fans may remember a play at first many years ago against Cleveland where it was alleged that Carlos Santana occupied too much of the first base bag and the KC runner collided with Santana and was out for a few months, (was that Dyson who was hurt?), so let's not discount Bradley's attempt to avoid a collision with the baserunner even as it compromised his ability to catch the ball deeper in the webbing of his glove.
The runner, who is clearly out, is INCORRECTLY called safe even though the throw beats the KC baserunner to first base before the KC baserunner touches first base. 
The "clearly out" runner then collides into the first baseman's glove AFTER passing first base, knocking the ball out of the glove. The problem with calling the runner safe is the runner was already out and therefore should no longer impact the play. 
This was not a tag play where control of the ball is essential even with contact, this was a force at first base where a tag of the batter / baserunner is not required, thus knocking the ball out of the glove after passing first base should not have changed the call.

Everyone seems to forget that until the batter turned base runner is first safe at first base, the base runner is not considered a baserunner who can decide whether to run to second or back to first, the baserunner is on borrowed time that ends the moment the first baseman has his foot on first base and the ball is in his glove before the baserunner has touched first base.
The saying, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, applies here. 

What happens AFTER the first baseman catches the ball while touching first base BEFORE the baserunner has touched the first base bag stays in Vegas, the play is over. The officially dead baserunner does not get to "un out" themselves 
by contacting the  first baseman and forcing a drop after they have passed the first base bag.
There is no "Back to the Future" option here in which the baserunner, after clearly being out, can become safe by hitting the infielder's glove downstream of the first base bag.

When AROD did the same thing in the World Series, he did it before he reached first base and frankly, AROD had no choice because a second infielder was also blocking the base path meaning AROD had nowhere to go. But that is another article for another day.

Ironically, AROD was called out when he was a live runner with a right to the base path in front of him that was being occupied by two infielders, not one. In this situation the baserunner is past the first base bag and should be thought of as a mosquito being zapped by an electric filament the moment the first baseman had possession of the throw while touching the first base bag before the batter turned baserunner reaches the base. What happened after the runner crosses first base should not be used to retroactively change the call.

These kind of nuanced situations drive Sportscam Detective nuts because the specific event happens and is over so quickly, and then is rarely if ever revisited, and corrected when appropriate.

Los Angeles Emmy winning Producer Alessandro Machi combines his editing, camera and observational skills to provide unique insights into the World of Sports.

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