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(FanGraphs)   With rash of ridiculous replay reversals in MLB due to dumbass application of catch rule, the correct play for outfielders in 2014 is to "intentionally" drop fly balls in order to freeze runners and get easy double play   (fangraphs.com) divider line 60
    More: Obvious, Major League Baseball, double play, Mark Trumbo, Ben Zobrist, runners, first base, Dustin Ackley, Josh Donaldson  
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1480 clicks; posted to Sports » on 15 Apr 2014 at 3:03 PM (35 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



60 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-04-15 01:15:08 PM  
Instant replay will solve all baseball related problems and several unrelated ones. There will be no unintended consequences at all.
 
2014-04-15 01:34:17 PM  
This is why people think baseball players cheat. They grew up in a game where outthinking the rules was a time honored tradition and they are not about to stop.
 
2014-04-15 01:39:04 PM  
Also, this is why there is an infield fly rule. MLB is nuts to think that players won't take advantage of it.
 
2014-04-15 01:40:42 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: Instant replay will solve all baseball related problems and several unrelated ones. There will be no unintended consequences at all.


Let's be realistic, shall we...
 
2014-04-15 01:41:39 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: Let's be realistic, shall we...


Sarcastic was working better than realistic until YOU showed up.
 
2014-04-15 01:51:52 PM  

R.A.Danny: Also, this is why there is an infield fly rule. MLB is nuts to think that players won't take advantage of it.


Solution: Outfield Fly Rule.
 
2014-04-15 02:14:28 PM  
Simple enough problem to solve: Place an explosive charge inside the baseball. The baseball bomb is unarmed until it makes contact with the bat. That arms it. Then, the next impact detonates it. We'll probably go through a few outfielders trying to figure out exactly how much impact force should be required, so that catching the ball in the glove won't detonate it, but dropping it will.
 
2014-04-15 02:28:32 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: Simple enough problem to solve: Place an explosive charge inside the baseball. The baseball bomb is unarmed until it makes contact with the bat. That arms it. Then, the next impact detonates it. We'll probably go through a few outfielders trying to figure out exactly how much impact force should be required, so that catching the ball in the glove won't detonate it, but dropping it will.


Foul balls would get a lot more interesting...
 
2014-04-15 02:37:27 PM  

queezyweezel: Sin_City_Superhero: Simple enough problem to solve: Place an explosive charge inside the baseball. The baseball bomb is unarmed until it makes contact with the bat. That arms it. Then, the next impact detonates it. We'll probably go through a few outfielders trying to figure out exactly how much impact force should be required, so that catching the ball in the glove won't detonate it, but dropping it will.

Foul balls would get a lot more interesting...


Imagine the Cubs players running away when the fans throw home runs back?
 
2014-04-15 03:11:45 PM  
So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.

I take it you have to actually touching a base too, while in possession of the ball, to get a force out?
Good
 
2014-04-15 03:15:07 PM  
Now if only they could get a strike zone called by the book.
 
2014-04-15 03:19:40 PM  

srhp29: So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.


I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.

I take it you have to actually touching a base too, while in possession of the ball, to get a force out?
Good


No change to that rule, and that's good.  Enforcing this would mean middle infielders blowing their knees out every five minutes.  I like my middle infielders' knees.
 
2014-04-15 03:22:56 PM  

R.A.Danny: queezyweezel: Sin_City_Superhero: Simple enough problem to solve: Place an explosive charge inside the baseball. The baseball bomb is unarmed until it makes contact with the bat. That arms it. Then, the next impact detonates it. We'll probably go through a few outfielders trying to figure out exactly how much impact force should be required, so that catching the ball in the glove won't detonate it, but dropping it will.

Foul balls would get a lot more interesting...

Imagine the Cubs players running away when the fans throw home runs back?


Dafatone: srhp29: So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.

I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.

I take it you have to actually touching a base too, while in possession of the ball, to get a force out?
Good

No change to that rule, and that's good.  Enforcing this would mean middle infielders blowing their knees out every five minutes.  I like my middle infielders' knees.


Once again, players will take advantage of the rules any way they can. As long as the umps call it the same way all the time I'm ok with saving knees and ankles.
 
2014-04-15 03:26:50 PM  

srhp29: So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.


Yeah, but they're also calling it in the outfield on plays where it's pretty damn obvious that the guy caught the ball, and then fumbled it as he's trying to take it out of the glove/throw it back in.  Which is stupid.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-15 03:27:50 PM  
Wasn't this the rule like a century ago? I thought I read that somewhere. The outfielder would make an inning-ending catch, run to the infield, toss the ball somewhere, and the out would be undone.

Adding a time limit is one way to fix the rule.  If your ice cream cone catch lasts two seconds without falling, you get the benefit of the doubt.
 
2014-04-15 03:33:43 PM  

Dafatone: I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.


Sure, but catching the ball, taking several steps with it in your glove, and dropping it on the transfer isn't iffy, and under the letter of the catch-and-transfer rule, that is not a catch.
 
2014-04-15 03:35:21 PM  

Dafatone: srhp29: So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.

I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.

I take it you have to actually touching a base too, while in possession of the ball, to get a force out?
Good

No change to that rule, and that's good.  Enforcing this would mean middle infielders blowing their knees out every five minutes.  I like my middle infielders' knees.


You're either a football fan, an idiot, or both. If you 'flick the ball from glove to hand' that's a catch. It's been that way for 100 years.
 
2014-04-15 03:38:54 PM  
I swear Dawson got an inside the park homerun on this rule back in the early '90s.

Hit a liner to the OF and the CF made a nice diving catch.  Dawson had been running the entire time as he couldn't tell if was a catch or trap and the ump never signaled.  However, the CF jacked up his shoulder on the play and couldn't remove the ball from his glove.  Another OF ran over and removed it from the glove, so the umps called it not a catch.  So home run.
 
2014-04-15 03:39:17 PM  
Not at all surprised that they are running into problems with the new rules. That the new rules are changing the play on the field is unacceptable. Continuity is an essential part of baseball.
To all those who kept saying 'There's no reason why we can't have instant replay at the Major League level' allow me to show you where you can shove it. If you really love fiddling around with changing rules, there's the NFL right over there - knock yourself out.
 
2014-04-15 03:40:59 PM  

MFAWG: You're either a football fan, an idiot, or both. If you 'flick the ball from glove to hand' that's a catch. It's been that way for 100 years.


That is still a catch.  The issue is when you fail to flick the ball to your hand.

And some MI really don't flick the ball *from* the glove, at best it would be "flick the ball with the glove".
 
2014-04-15 03:41:00 PM  

R.A.Danny: Also, this is why there is an infield fly rule. MLB is nuts to think that players won't take advantage of it.


Oh geez. King Kelly. This is a guy who has a story revolving around him where he's on the bench, a pop fly comes his way, he screams 'Kelly now catching for Boston!' and makes the catch. Nobody can name what game exactly that happened in, but Kelly was such an unrepentant rule-bending rat bastard that nobody questions that he would have done it.
 
2014-04-15 03:41:10 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: R.A.Danny: Also, this is why there is an infield fly rule. MLB is nuts to think that players won't take advantage of it.

Solution: Outfield Fly Rule.


ofarrellcm.com

Approves
 
2014-04-15 03:43:20 PM  

R.A.Danny: This is why people think baseball players cheat. They grew up in a game where outthinking the rules was a time honored tradition and they are not about to stop.


Did he not have possession when he tagged the bag before the runner got there? That's what it looked like to me. That play was over, and he was onto the next play and dropped the ball. Whether he dropped it on purpose or not, I can't say, but it looks to me like he was fully ion control when the runner slid into second.
 
2014-04-15 03:47:53 PM  

GQueue: Yeah, but they're also calling it in the outfield on plays where it's pretty damn obvious that the guy caught the ball, and then fumbled it as he's trying to take it out of the glove/throw it back in. Which is stupid.


No, that is the rule and always has been.  Just because they never call it doesn't make it not so.

Just wait til they start awarding guys who ground out to end an inning 2nd base when the first baseman keeps the ball in his glove and goes into the dugout without ever having taken it out of his glove after the catch/force out.
 
2014-04-15 03:53:18 PM  
Are statistics of replays online anywhere?  Just curious what percentage the New York based judgments have been decided against the Yankees.
 
2014-04-15 03:53:25 PM  

srhp29: GQueue: Yeah, but they're also calling it in the outfield on plays where it's pretty damn obvious that the guy caught the ball, and then fumbled it as he's trying to take it out of the glove/throw it back in. Which is stupid.

No, that is the rule and always has been.  Just because they never call it doesn't make it not so.

Just wait til they start awarding guys who ground out to end an inning 2nd base when the first baseman keeps the ball in his glove and goes into the dugout without ever having taken it out of his glove after the catch/force out.


Actually, the problem is that they're calling "no catch" on guys who catch the ball, take several steps, and drop it on the transfer. Yes, it's a technically correct application of the rule, but you can't tell me that is the desired situation when it comes to outfield fly balls.
 
2014-04-15 03:53:32 PM  

ZAZ: Wasn't this the rule like a century ago? I thought I read that somewhere. The outfielder would make an inning-ending catch, run to the infield, toss the ball somewhere, and the out would be undone.

Adding a time limit is one way to fix the rule.  If your ice cream cone catch lasts two seconds without falling, you get the benefit of the doubt.


That would be an out under the current, or former interpretation.  It's not that it's not a catch UNTIL you take it out of the glove, it's that they are ruling it not a catch if you drop it shortly after it hit the glove.
 
2014-04-15 03:55:08 PM  
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this bullshiat because there's nothing more exciting than watching people standing around waiting for a decision to be made.
img.fark.net
 
2014-04-15 03:56:51 PM  

qorkfiend: Actually, the problem is that they're calling "no catch" on guys who catch the ball, take several steps, and drop it on the transfer. Yes, it's a technically correct application of the rule, but you can't tell me that is the desired situation when it comes to outfield fly balls.


I'd walk all the way back to the infield then drop the transfer. Triple plays every time there are two on base.
 
2014-04-15 03:57:21 PM  

red5ish: I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this bullshiat because there's nothing more exciting than watching people standing around waiting for a decision to be made.
[img.fark.net image 512x349]


You'd rather have obviously incorrect calls deciding games? Interesting.
 
2014-04-15 03:59:16 PM  

TonyDanza: ZAZ: Wasn't this the rule like a century ago? I thought I read that somewhere. The outfielder would make an inning-ending catch, run to the infield, toss the ball somewhere, and the out would be undone.

Adding a time limit is one way to fix the rule.  If your ice cream cone catch lasts two seconds without falling, you get the benefit of the doubt.

That would be an out under the current, or former interpretation.  It's not that it's not a catch UNTIL you take it out of the glove, it's that they are ruling it not a catch if you drop it shortly after it hit the glove.


The two that I saw live on TV, that was the case. Josh Hamilton tried to flip the ball immediately to his free hand after a "catch" in LF and dropped it on the ground. Same with the play at the plate last night in the MAriners-Rangers game. The catcher was trying to double up the batter running to first on a comebacker and flipped the ball right past his throwing hand immediately after the ball hit his glove.

Have they actually overturned catches in which the ball was in the fielder's glove for a considerable amount of time?
 
2014-04-15 03:59:29 PM  

qorkfiend: Dafatone: I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.

Sure, but catching the ball, taking several steps with it in your glove, and dropping it on the transfer isn't iffy, and under the letter of the catch-and-transfer rule, that is not a catch.


The article explains the dilemma pretty well.  Outfield plays and the middle infielder transfer need different rules.  Or just go back to calling an out when the ball is lost on the transfer, cause it's not like anyone was really up in arms about that.
 
2014-04-15 04:02:07 PM  

MFAWG: Dafatone: srhp29: So they are calling the catch/transfer thing like it is supposed to be called now?
Good.

I'm okay with that.  Flicking the ball from glove to hand while never really having it in the first place is iffy.

I take it you have to actually touching a base too, while in possession of the ball, to get a force out?
Good

No change to that rule, and that's good.  Enforcing this would mean middle infielders blowing their knees out every five minutes.  I like my middle infielders' knees.

You're either a football fan, an idiot, or both. If you 'flick the ball from glove to hand' that's a catch. It's been that way for 100 years.


And if the second baseman comes off the bag a half second early to avoid the runner, by the letter of the law, the guy is safe, and it's been that way for 100 years, too.  And yet that's not what's called, so clearly there's some flexibility worked into the system.

Obviously the league has to clear up the rules with regard to infield and outfield transfers, since there's a difference between catching the ball, crashing into a fence, falling down, getting up, and then dropping on the transfer, and having the ball in your glove for a split second before popping it back out and failing to catch it.

Also, keep on keeping on with the whole being a dick thing.  I'm sure it's working out for you.
 
2014-04-15 04:02:14 PM  

R.A.Danny: qorkfiend: Actually, the problem is that they're calling "no catch" on guys who catch the ball, take several steps, and drop it on the transfer. Yes, it's a technically correct application of the rule, but you can't tell me that is the desired situation when it comes to outfield fly balls.

I'd walk all the way back to the infield then drop the transfer. Triple plays every time there are two on base.


You do know that a runner can start going as soon as the ball touches the defenseive players glove, right?  So if it hits the glove and bounces up then he catches it...if the runner left on a tag as soon as it hit the glove the first time, he could not be forced out.
 
2014-04-15 04:03:00 PM  

R.A.Danny: I'd walk all the way back to the infield then drop the transfer. Triple plays every time there are two on base.


Fomr MLB Official Rules: If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.

If you walked all the way back in, that would constitute holding it long enough.  It's the plays where the outfielders are trying to quickly get he ball back in due to runners on base and tagging are in question.  The plays linked in the article, I actually agree with the Hamilton call being an error, the Elliot Johnson one though, since he takes two full steps, bouncers off the wall, then drops it, I would say should have been an out.
 
2014-04-15 04:03:25 PM  

srhp29: R.A.Danny: qorkfiend: Actually, the problem is that they're calling "no catch" on guys who catch the ball, take several steps, and drop it on the transfer. Yes, it's a technically correct application of the rule, but you can't tell me that is the desired situation when it comes to outfield fly balls.

I'd walk all the way back to the infield then drop the transfer. Triple plays every time there are two on base.

You do know that a runner can start going as soon as the ball touches the defenseive players glove, right?  So if it hits the glove and bounces up then he catches it...if the runner left on a tag as soon as it hit the glove the first time, he could not be forced out.


Except that in this extreme case, the fielder could always just throw to the bag as soon as the runner broke from the base.  He could forget about the drop for a triple play and just throw out a guy tagging up for the double play.
 
2014-04-15 04:04:32 PM  
That is dumb.

But it isn't an issue with replay, it is an issue with enforcement of a terrible rule.

In cases where it is caught and transferred in one motion, sure, you never demonstrated control of it in your glove hand. When there is a clearly distinct catch and transfer it should not matter.
 
2014-04-15 04:07:41 PM  

srhp29: R.A.Danny: qorkfiend: Actually, the problem is that they're calling "no catch" on guys who catch the ball, take several steps, and drop it on the transfer. Yes, it's a technically correct application of the rule, but you can't tell me that is the desired situation when it comes to outfield fly balls.

I'd walk all the way back to the infield then drop the transfer. Triple plays every time there are two on base.

You do know that a runner can start going as soon as the ball touches the defenseive players glove, right?  So if it hits the glove and bounces up then he catches it...if the runner left on a tag as soon as it hit the glove the first time, he could not be forced out.


Yes, but if the catch is made where the runner would be thrown out....
 
2014-04-15 04:08:37 PM  

R.A.Danny: This is why people think baseball players cheat. They grew up in a game where outthinking the rules was a time honored tradition and they are not about to stop.


Is this like that play in basketball where a player falling out of bounds with the ball or "locked up" (picked up the dribble) on the sideline banks it off an opponent's body to regain/keep possession?

Since middle school I've hated that play, and instantly thought less of anyone employing it.

// I hate that play and I think it should be ruled last touched by the jackass, but it remains 100% legal
// gaming the rules is as much a part of the game as the game
 
2014-04-15 04:14:36 PM  

Shame Us: Have they actually overturned catches in which the ball was in the fielder's glove for a considerable amount of time?


Not that I know of.  The Elliot Johnson one they link to in that article is the longest I have seen, and even that was a pretty short time frame (yet, as I stated, I think in that case it was long enough to be called an out).
 
2014-04-15 04:17:26 PM  

Dr Dreidel: // I hate that play and I think it should be ruled last touched by the jackass, but it remains 100% legal


I would dislike the guy that just turns the ball over instead.
 
2014-04-15 04:32:00 PM  

srhp29: No, that is the rule and always has been.  Just because they never call it doesn't make it not so.


Citation?

The official rule defining a catch just says you have to hold it long enough to show you have control and that the release is voluntarily and intentional.

You can do all of that without touching the ball with your throwing hand.  The OF transfers we are talking about here all clearly have control with a botched release.  But nothing in the rule indicates the botched releases aren't voluntarily and intentional.
 
2014-04-15 04:51:39 PM  

qorkfiend: red5ish: I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this bullshiat because there's nothing more exciting than watching people standing around waiting for a decision to be made.
[img.fark.net image 512x349]

You'd rather have obviously incorrect calls deciding games? Interesting.


There are 2430 games in the regular season - how often are games decided on "obviously incorrect calls"?
Instant replay is a solution in search of a problem, and it's screwing up the way the game is played on the field. In an ideal world there would never be any incorrect calls, but instant replay, as it is currently implemented, is garbage. It's not ready for prime time - the whole "one challenge per game" concept is crap. Instant replay, properly implemented, would be a tool that would aid the umpires in making the correct call in close situations and wouldn't involve the team managers at all. I'm not against technology helping to make the right calls, I'm against the game being changed to accommodate the introduction of half-baked technology.
 
2014-04-15 04:53:13 PM  

bacongood: srhp29: No, that is the rule and always has been.  Just because they never call it doesn't make it not so.

Citation?

The official rule defining a catch just says you have to hold it long enough to show you have control and that the release is voluntarily and intentional.

You can do all of that without touching the ball with your throwing hand.  The OF transfers we are talking about here all clearly have control with a botched release.  But nothing in the rule indicates the botched releases aren't voluntarily and intentional.


That's a fair analysis.  I really don't like the enforcement for this year.  It is ridiculous, and I wonder if MLB officials have realized this is a violation of the spirit of the infield fly rule.
 
2014-04-15 05:08:46 PM  

harleyquinnical: I really don't like the enforcement for this year. It is ridiculous, and I wonder if MLB officials have realized this is a violation of the spirit of the infield fly rule.


But the infield fly rule is pretty easy to abuse (if it wasn't in place I mean), it's going to to be a lot more difficult to pull off the sort of thing they are talking about here in the article.  You basically have to catch it, make sure the runners have returned, or at least started to return to the bag, then drop it on purpose, without it looking like it was on purpose.  I just don't see this being as big a deal in in that regard.  I do see it being a big deal in the fact that a lot of what most people would call outs being deemed errors.
 
2014-04-15 05:08:55 PM  
Outrageous. A catch is a catch. The transfer should have NOTHING to do with that. this is just as stupid as the plays int he NFL where the guy clearly catches the ball then they say he didn't because he didnt make a "football move". Calvin Johnson got cost a TD a few years back from that BS and he landed sqaure on his back in the endzone. Kill the infield fly rule. Let them play it out. A fly ball to shallow left, or to the 2nd baseman should be a double play, just like a hotly hit ground ball to same. The potential for a ground ball double play is there, and too bad. Add some GD excitement to the game for once and stop rtying to overcomplicate the "ball or man got there first" caveman crap, because it IS that simple just as soon as you accept that a shallow fly can produce multiple outs. The potential dilemma is awesome.

If there is a fly ball to the 2nd baseman, the runner should stay on first. The batter will be out (and the runner safe on first), OR the 2nd baseman will drop it and the guy on first will make a mad dash to second (or accept his fate), while the batter reaches safely. It isn't a problem. The only reasonable alternative is you force, by rule the 2nd baseman to catch the ball, and if he fails to do so, you penalize him, but in 99% of cases with a guy camped under a fly ball, even manny ramirez is making that catch, so if people suddenly start dropping a lot, it should be relatively obvious (in which case you may consider instituting the penalty for nearly ANY drop on which there is a question, again adding some excitement to the game--these guys arent actors--READ: NBA players flopping--easy to spot on replays). There is potential here to make this stupid game more interesting AND simplify it.
 
2014-04-15 05:12:14 PM  

red5ish: instant replay, as it is currently implemented, is garbage. It's not ready for prime time - the whole "one challenge per game" concept is crap. Instant replay, properly implemented, would be a tool that would aid the umpires in making the correct call in close situations and wouldn't involve the team managers at all. I'm not against technology helping to make the right calls, I'm against the game being changed to accommodate the introduction of half-baked technology.


That's all true, but you've gotta give MLB a chance to work out the kinks, like the NFL, when they implemented instant replay in 1999. It takes a few seasons of tweaking on the rules to get them right. If the replay situation doesn't improve next season, and the season after that, then maybe revisit the entire concept of instant replay. But you can't call it a total failure if they haven't had a chance to identify and correct the problems with the new rules. Growing pains.
 
2014-04-15 05:12:16 PM  

harleyquinnical: bacongood: srhp29: No, that is the rule and always has been.  Just because they never call it doesn't make it not so.

Citation?

The official rule defining a catch just says you have to hold it long enough to show you have control and that the release is voluntarily and intentional.

You can do all of that without touching the ball with your throwing hand.  The OF transfers we are talking about here all clearly have control with a botched release.  But nothing in the rule indicates the botched releases aren't voluntarily and intentional.

That's a fair analysis.  I really don't like the enforcement for this year.  It is ridiculous, and I wonder if MLB officials have realized this is a violation of the spirit of the infield fly rule.


Isn't there also a rule about intentionally dropping the ball? Or is that just for line drives and/or lower levels?
 
2014-04-15 05:21:05 PM  

TonyDanza: You basically have to catch it, make sure the runners have returned, or at least started to return to the bag, then drop it on purpose, without it looking like it was on purpose.


Would that even matter? According to the rule, couldn't you drop the ball on purpose, without penalty? Or is this one of those "judgment calls"?
 
2014-04-15 05:32:15 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: TonyDanza: You basically have to catch it, make sure the runners have returned, or at least started to return to the bag, then drop it on purpose, without it looking like it was on purpose.

Would that even matter? According to the rule, couldn't you drop the ball on purpose, without penalty? Or is this one of those "judgment calls"?


You can do anything that you can get away with.
 
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