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A guide to obscure MLB rules in the 2021 postseason


There is always a chance that while watching a baseball game you will see something that you have never seen before. No matter how much baseball I’ve seen, no matter how broad and deep my knowledge of the game is, there is always more to learn. The intricacies of baseball are amazing and strange, and at times it seems like there are an infinite number of them.

In the games of the 2021 postseason that have taken place so far, a number of obscure rules of baseball have come into play. It’s exciting to see these strange games and situations develop. Baseball is a sport where the box score doesn’t really reveal anything about the history of the game, and the way some strange rule application can alter the outcome of the game means that something unpredictable can always happen. Let’s review some of those esoteric postseason games that saw fans, broadcasters and gamers alike digging into the annals of Major League Baseball rulebook.

Baseball Rule 5.05 (a) (8): The rule that gives the Rays the starting gun in ALDS Game 3 against the. has cost Red Sox

With two outs in the top of the 13th inning of a game that would last more than five hours, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was on the plate and Yandy Diaz was first. Kiermaier hit Nick Pivetta with a flyball into the right field. At first it looked like Kiermaier had hit a homer. But the ball sailed over Renfroe’s head and hit the short fence of Fenway Park in right field. Renfroe chased the ball but couldn’t quite get to it and the ball bounced off Renfroe’s torso and over the wall, out of reach. If the ball had stayed in the outfield and not rebounded over the low wall, Diaz would have hit without any problems. However, instead of being honored home – and thus giving the go-ahead – Diaz was sent back to third base and Kiermaier was instructed to finish second.

Sudden confusion and murmurs spread throughout the stadium. A batted ball that bounces over the wall of the outfield is of course a double, but what happens if the ball bounces over the wall because it ricocheted off the outfield player’s body?

Item 13 – Rule Interpretation No. 20, Bullet No. 8 from the MLB Referee Handbook 2021 stipulates: “If a fair ball that is not in flight is deflected by a fielder and then goes out of play, the price is two bases from the time of the pitch call confirmed, runners placed on 2B and 3B.

– MLB reruns (@MLBReplays) October 11, 2021

Rule 5.05 (a) (8) explains what should happen in this situation: It should be treated like a rule double so that each runner gets two bases. The referees have no discretion (ability to use subjective judgment) in this type of game. Many Rays fans found this result annoying as most would agree that this rule is wrong in this particular case. In fact, the rule penalized Kiermaier who had just made an extra base hit and benefited the Red Sox player who did not play the ball cleanly. Below, Jeff Passan describes how the rule is applied differently depending on whether or not the deflection of the ball away from the player’s body was intentional.

For those who ask, well, Yandy Diaz was halfway between second and third positions when the ball hit Hunter Renfroe, so why didn’t he get two bases and advance home? Here is the rule from the MLB Referee Manual. It has to do with possession of the ball – and it determines when the two are awarded.

– Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 11, 2021

Baseball Rule 5.09 (b): The unusual baserunning call made against the. went Astros in the ALDS game 3 against the White socks

The White Sox led 7-6 in the lower part of the fourth inning and had runners in first and third place without anyone when Yasmani Grandal hit a ground ball to first base by Zack Grienke, who had just entered the game for the Astros. Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel stormed the ball trying to knock Luis Robert out of play, who was trying to score from third place. Gurriel pledged to throw home, but Grandal, who had begun running to first base, spun around the foul line enough to walk on the grass rather than the dirt lane surrounding it. Because of his direction of travel, Grandal blocked Gurriel’s trajectory to the plate, and Gurriel’s throw home deflected off Grandal’s shoulder and rolled to the backstop, so that the run could safely score with everyone.

Why wasn’t Grandal called because he was either a) off the baseline or b) physically interfering with Gurriel’s throw home?

According to the MLB rulebook, any runner is out if they run more than three feet from their baseline to avoid being marked, or if they intentionally interfere with a thrown ball or prevent a fielder from intercepting a struck ball. While Grandal looked like he was off the baseline, no one tried to tag him. The first and most important thing you should know about what is called the base path is that no base path is set unless a play is made on a bishop (in the case of Grandal, this would be a play first). Because Gurriel threw home, no one tried to label Grandal.

The base path is established when a field player tries with the ball to mark a runner. While the rule is commonly referred to as “out of the baseline”, this rule only applies to situations where a skater is trying to mark the runner or when a game is being played at base that the runner is running to. When the runner is not playing, it can essentially set any basic path.

Yasmani Grandal was so within the baseline that one has to wonder if he was sticking his shoulder out to let the ball deflect away from him. Gurriel was called up because of an error with the RBI of this field player. #Whitesox

– Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) October 11, 2021

The other part of the umpire’s reputation depended on whether Grandal’s path – which seemed to end in Gurriel’s throw – could be viewed as an intentional interference. Interference calls are at the discretion of the umpire. The referees huddled together and decided that Grandal had not intentionally disturbed Gurriel’s throw, so Grandal was considered safe in first base.

Braves vs. brewer NLDS Game 4: Why Luis Urías’ Questionable Catch Wasn’t a Reviewable Game

Since the MLB first published its Replay Review Regulations in 2014, the question of what counts as verifiable and what is not has been controversial. While certain plays – pitchers who deliberately throw at batters or certain interference / obstruction calls – are left to the discretion of the umpire and are excluded from replay eligibility, there are other plays where the reasons for not being eligible for review are less clear . For example, you can fly balls in the infield.

At the end of the fourth inning during Brewers-Braves NLDS Game 4, Brewers third baseman Luis Urias made a seemingly phenomenal catch on Adam Duvall’s foul pop-up after it ricocheted off Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez. Slow-motion replays in the broadcast indicated that the ball may have hit the ground before Urías fastened it in his glove, so the referees met to review the catch. Here’s a closer look.

The referees came back immediately and the call that Urias made the catch was up. Although the replay appeared to show that the ball touched the ground before Urias caught it, the game cannot be verified, so the question of whether Urias made a legal catch is debatable. MLB’s replay review rules state that the following calls can be replayed:

Catch games in the outfield: The decision of a referee as to whether an outfield player caught a flyball or a line drive in flight before it touches the ground is verifiable, but fly balls or line drives used by a defensive player in the infield is verifiable , are not permitted for review.

Even though the replays showed that Urias couldn’t catch the ball before it landed in the dirt, the game was made by catcher Narvaez, who is an infielder. That is, even if the umpire’s reputation was false – and it appeared to be – the reputation is unverifiable and the false reputation that the catch was made had to persist. No matter how hard Braves manager Brian Snitker wanted to challenge the game, infield catch calls are not considered reviewable.

If replay is about getting the call right, this game makes a strong case for MLB to need to revise the rules for replay challenges.


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