Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baserunner Interference call on Jay's Yunel Escobar hands Angels Win

The story

It's the top of the 13th inning. The go-ahead run is ninety feet away, the Jays need a hit to plate it. The ball bounces lazily towards the shortstop position, it's too slow for the short stop who's playing deep with 2 outs - it's third baseman Alberto Callaspo's ball. First thing he does it seems to me, is notice that Yunel Escobar is going to intersect him at the point where he wants to field the ball - so instead of taking charge he waits until Escobar is by - then grabs the bouncing ball and makes a one motion zing to first - the ball sails towards the right field side and pulls the first baseman off the bag. SAFE!
The run scores! Holy cow, we finally scored - this is the Jays first base hit since the ninth inning - about an hour ago...

Wait a minute...

The third base umpire's saying the batter-runner's out, baserunner interference. Yunel Escobar interfered with Alberto Callaspo's attempt to field the ball - he's out, run does not score, inning over! WHAT?!?
(More on this amazing game here.) 

Two Arguments

There will be LOTS of conversation about this tomorrow, I am sure.

I'm of two minds; Escobar didn't come out of the base-path; he left the ball behind him as he made his way to third - he was past the ball before it left the infield - Callaspo was positioned deep and well off the foul line on the outfield side of the base path. How could have Yunel have interfered?

On the other hand, there was no runner on first, Yunel didn't have to go, no force was in order, so he wasn't trying to beat the third baseman past the ball - he cold have held up. Usually in that situation that's what you do, you slow up because you don't run into the tag --- but it looked like Escobar was racing to the intersection of the three; the ball the third baseman and himself - like he was testing the situation, the rule and the opposite player all in that second.

Ask yourself, if there had been no runner coming from second would Callaspo have made the play? The answer is yes - it would have been an easy out with out a runner bearing down on him. So if you look at it that way - he did interfere, or at least his intent was to make the third baseman reconsider his route to the ball - as he had already shown that weakness right off the bat, that he could be 'cowed' it appeared to me... . Callaspo should have charged the ball and forced the issue, Escobar would have had to slow and let him make his play.

Looked at in that way the third base ump might have made the right call after all - the first time all game long, I might mention, that he had done such a thing - so you can see the problem....  ;)



  1. There were two outs in the inning and it was a ground ball, all base runners are supposed to run. Have you ever seen runners not try to advance with two out before? I definitely haven't.

  2. Cory, "..runners not try to advance with two out..."

    Yes, as I said above, there IS a situation where as a base runner with 2 outs doesn't automatically advance. When on second with the ball hit-ball in front of you, you hold up - you don't want to run into an easy tag-out. Wait, force the defense to throw to First.

    That was part of my thinking in the pro-Escobar point of view too - he was actually Past the ball before it crossed the base path, before it got to the fielder - so you could say, good base running.

    On the other hand the umpire thought that Escobar was racing to the point on the base path where Callaspo naturally would have fielded the ball - like Escobar was forcing a decision to avoid a collision, on the third baseman:

    I think Callaspo should have done the 'hard-wired', 'trained-in' thing - charge it like every third base-person is taught to do on slow rollers - and in doing so force *Escobar* to avoid the collision - or the tag for that matter!