“Dead Ball” Found near Bobby Ramo’s bag.


Dirk Shadd/ St Petersburg Times

I
am one of those people who love to learn something new every day. It
can be a simple as a new recipe for pasta, or maybe even a simple way
to save money on my car insurance, but the information is given out and
I like to decipher if it can be used in my every day life.

But
every once in a while I have the opportunity to learn a different
interpretation of the rules of baseball. I mean I even went online
about 10 minutes ago and purchased a 2009 MLB Rule Book from a online
bookstore so I can have it on my desktop ready for easy and future
reference.

And you might ask why I did such an
adventure today. Well, if you saw the eight inning of the Boston Red
Sox versus Tampa Bay Rays game, you already know the answer to that
question. It was a play that I begged to differ with at the moment, but
put into a secondary reference,  it made total sense to me and was the
right call at the time.

Let me first run down the play
from my perspective about 5 feet from where the play happen from my
little nook and cranny in rightfield of Tropicana field. At the plate
Rays hitter Willy Aybar puts a perfect bunt down along the third
baseline. Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard picks up the ball with his right
hand and attempts to throw the ball to Victor Martinez at first base
for the out.

The ball skids underneath his glove and
trickles down into the right field corner in front of the Checkers
Bullpen Cafe where it takes a odd right turn after rolling over the
Bullpen mound and sit up against Bullpen coach Bobby Ramo’s equipment
bag. Not in it, but against it. So Red Sox rightfielder J D Drew being
the guy he is immediately throws his hands up both in the air imitating
a football touchdown signal.

This is to furiously
motion to First Base Umpire Tony Randazzo  that the ball is in a dead
situation and that he can not get to the ball in a timely matter. I was
talking to a Rays outfielder after the game who mentioned that if a
ball goes into an unusual place, or hits into an odd-shaped cubbie hole
or under a outfield wall they are immediately instructed to throw both
hands up.


Steve Nesius/ AP

Well
Umpire Randazzo in his correct wisdom and great knowledge of the rule
book, immediately agrees with Drew after coming down a good 15 feet
down the line from his spot on the first baseline. He did not step to
the bag, or even merit a discussion if it had indeed been in the bag at
any time. The ball was ruled dead by him also putting up the same
double arms above the head signal. Case closed, discussion over, time
to confer with the other umpires to award bases and get the play right.

The
disagreement I had with them at that time was that when Umpire signaled
the ball dead, the Rays Ben Zobrist was rounding third base and heading
to home for a possible 3-2 Rays lead. What I did not understand at
first was the way that rule was being interpreted on the field. Of
course when you are in the stands you do not get a great explanation
to the play, or even a rule to search up on the Internet at that moment.

But the rule in question was MLB Rule 7.05 G and it goes like this:

 Two
bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes
into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into
the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting
part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a
wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. 
When
such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in
awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners
at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall
be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw
was made.
 

So
let me see here. The element of Bard throwing the ball past Martinez is
applied in this rule. The Umpire in his view saw the ball in a place
that was deemed ” not of the field” and called for a “dead ball”
situation. Because of this “dead ball” situation, the runners are given
two base from the beginning of the play, not the signalling of the
“dead ball.” So in essence, the runners are given two bases from their
initial starting points before the play began.

That
means Zobrist is awarded third base, and Aybar is situated at second
base, but it is not a ground rule double. Okay that makes sense, it is
the same rule as if the shortstop had taken the throw in his normal
position and threw the ball over Martinez’s head and into the stands.
Both are considered “dead” at the moment the ball leaves the friendly
confines of a usual playing surface.

Considering some of
the odd and unusual calls tonight by the Home Plate Umpire Jerry
Layne on balls and strikes, and the first impression of this play, it
was viewed for a bit as a “Boston advantage” play until this rule
surfaced on the Internet for all of us to see for ourselves. 
Considering how this game was going, I thought i might still be there
right now (1:58 am) and be heading home with the rest of the people
after Last Call at our favorite saloon.


Steve Nesius / AP

It
was a play that frustrated me until I got a second opinion on it from
Rich Herrera of the Rays Radio Network right after the game wo told me
the umpires got it right and to be sure to listen to the post-game show
on the way home so he could explain it in deep, dull detail. I have to
admit, I did not have my camera tonight, or I would have snapped off a
few pictures to show right where the ball was situated.

But
I understand now that players are drilled with the facts that in
Wrigley Field, if the ball hits the ivy and even if you retrieve it
with little struggle to throw your hands up high in the air. The same
thing has happened to the Rays a few seasons ago in Baltimore when the
ball just nestled under the outlaying of the outfield plastic coating.
It can be a home field advantage, but this time the opponent got to
play the cards.

I do not have issues with
Drew trying to get it called and not moving the bag to the side and
throwing the ball. I do not have issue with the call in general, but
sometimes I do wish I could see the rule on the big screen or maybe
have some sort of vocal acknowledgment so I can understand without
cursing and pointing.

I guess I was lucky to be on
Twitter at the time and got the scoop from the Red Sox faithful like
Julia @ Werbiefitz who let me know what was going on in NESN-land on
the play. So there is a fast and hopefully simple exclamation of that
odd and confusing play in the eight inning tonight/today/whenever.


Brian Blanco / AP

It
is 2 am and if you have seen a picture of me, I need my beauty sleep. I
will throw up some more bad facts and figures from this game sometimes
during the day tomorrow. For the Rays this was a plus/plus win with
pulling a game closer to the Red Sox in the AL East, and picking up a
game on the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card race. Things will get
interesting tomorrow since both Bullpens basically emptied themselves
in this contest.


17 Comments

Cliff – I think part of your post is missing! But, in laymen’s terms, the rule is the players get two bases from the base they were on when the ball was thrown by the pitcher. Listening to the Rays fans on Twitter and also a number of the Red Sox fans on Ian Browne’s blog (he is the beat writer for the Red Sox) live in Florida – I found it a riot that the Rays announcers didn’t know the rule! In a matter of minutes of the play – NESN (the Red Sox home station here in Boston) had the rule up on the screen for everyone to read and it was up again during the postgame show. The Red Sox fans watching the game – we actually talked about buying the Rays announcers a copy of the rules! LOL! It was a wild game last night. Tonight, not only do I hope for a different result but also for a shorter game!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Julia,
I was doing a cut and paste job while eating breakfast at a 24 hour diner and did not check it after I posted it because the grits and food looks so great at that moment.
Hope the missing links to the sotry make it have more sense.
That is what I get for posting at 2 am.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hi, Rays Renegade …

After I watched the Yankees 5-3 victory against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays, I had the pleasure to also watch the final five innings of the Rays dramatic 13 innings, walk-off, 4-2 win over the Red Sox !!! … The eight inning was wild one, and I think the Rays lost a run in that inning because of a terrible rule that really should have some common sense and judgment by the umpires incorporated into the decision making process of where the base runners should be placed !!! … Red Sox reliever, Daniel Bard’s throwing error traveled all the way into the bullpen down the right field line, and at the time Ben Zobrist was rounding third, and would have scored “easily” … But, because of the “rule” once the ball was declared dead, the runners can only advance two bases, which resulted in Zorbrist being called back from the dugout to take third base with the scored tied 2-2. Of course, the Rays then loaded the bases and did not score sending the game into the 9th inning still tied !!! … Now, I think the real issue is where the ball is on the field … Clearly, the runner would have scored when the ball ended up in right field, and this should have been taken into consideration by the umpires [if this judgment factor was written into the rule] … If the ball ended up in the dugout, common sense dictates, the runner would “not” have scored, as the ball would have been fielded closer to home plate and the runner woud have stopped at third base !!! … The other issue is: why are bullpens allowed in foul territory where plays can be affected when the ball rolls into those areas? … I think that’s a rule that MLB needs to change — all bullpens should be placed beyond the outfield walls away from action on the field !!!
.
Anyway, great win by the Rays yesterday … I will be rooting for Tampa Bay to sweep the Red Sox with another big win tonight !!!
.
Take care, Cliff !!! … Enjoy the rest of your day !!!
— Jimmy 27NYY Curran, “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Wow Jimmy,

You know at first I was a bit confused and wondered the same thing, then I thought that since i have attended or watched most of the Rays games since their inception, that is the first time I had seen that called like that.
For that reason the frustration was more ” the unknown” than the actual reason for the rule.
The “dead ball” rule did not work in our favor, but it was called correctly by the umpiring crew.
Same rule applies if it goes into a camera well, the dugout, or get wedged behind home plate somehow.
Rule makes sense if you visualize it, but on paper it looks a bit confusing.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hey Cliff – Glad I could help last night! And congrats on being #13 on the latest Leader’s List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Heya Cliff! Just check out the leader’s list…wow! 3 Rays bloggers in the top 20! Congrats on being lucky 13. :)
At least we won, so that “dead ball” didn’t matter in the end.
Ginny
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I carry around Zack Hample’s book “Watching Baseball Smarter.” That way I can look up rules, terms, etc. when I’m confused. I didn’t see the game, but I did read another Rays blog that wasn’t sure about it. I’m one of those people who carries around a dictionary and a baseball book, so I think even for someone who knows the game really well should get a rule book.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Emily,
I agree with that totally.
I mean not every fan should get a rule book, then we would have anarchy in the stands…..just kidding.
But for those of us who do write about the game, it is almost as valuable as a dictionary and a team media guide, which are bibles to the craft.
I sent away for my 2009 MLB Rulebook last night so I can have a reference material near me.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks Ginny,
Guess I am not longer the big dog.
Got you and Cowbell on my tail now.
It did matter actually that the play happened last night. It educated us on another part of the game, which is a good thing.
I just hope the Rays outfielders do the same some day in Fenway Park, or another park and we get the same type of call.
But you never know.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Lessons learned. Some times the hard way. Bet they won’t be leaving stuff on the ground anymore! :)

Ginny

Ginny.
I think it was just such an isolated incident that it has spawned out of proportions.
Considering the Rays have played 1887 games at the point of that “dead ball” drama, and that was the first time there was any problem shows you just how rare the play was from start to finish.
But last night Bobby did not bring down his gear at all, and Scott Cursi had to bring all his gear down by hand, or wear it the entire game.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jane,
No sleep my roommates 4 anklebiters decided that 6 am was a good time to wake everyone in the house up for no reason with a firecracker.
So after I put my heart back into my chest and re-hide the arsenal I could not get to sleep to save my life.
Did sleep a whole 8 hours today……….
Guess I will catch up since we will have 10:10 pm games for the next 6 days since we are on the West Coast rivial tour this week (Seattle, LA).

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

The good news is you won both games and, presumably, got some sleep! As for the rule, it would have been great if the viewing audience watching the Tampa feed had understood what was going on, but it was a pretty obscure rule. Maybe the idea is to have every scoreboard post an abbreviated explanation – like they do with a passed ball or wild pitch.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

THAT WAS Awesome Longoria struck out 4 times, but then he hit the walkoff, I was just watching something about him on espn before it happened it was so cool!

Johnny
http://13mlb.mlblogs.com/

Ramos… was it his fault? His bag, right? Haha. Thanks for the lesson. I had no idea. I did learn something new today! But wait, how in the world can I save on my car insurance (besides not owning or driving a car, which is the case)? Hmm.. now I seem to remember the cave-man post. Good times indeed!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Johnny,
Just the fact that he went 2 for 6 with 2 homers in itself is a wild night at the Trop.
But he has a way of taking the ordinary at times and making a celebration out of it……….just kidding.
It was a major rush to finally get out of the Trop before the sun came back up.
they way that game was going, I was looking for at least 18 innings.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jeff,
But it is so easy!
Hey like I told ginny before, 1,887 times the Rays have played games have and it was the first time anyone moaned about the catcher’s bags.
Fluke with a huge upper case “F” on it.
But that is the fun of baseball. Seeing something you never saw before, like a ball biting a ball and swallowing it whole ( a rumor).
But I loved how an early ESPN story had it as Fan Interference, which would have scored Zorbrist.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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