Time for the Reds to Review Baseball's Finer Points

Published on 20-Aug-2015 by Alan Adamsson

MLB    MLB Daily Update

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Time for the Reds to Review Baseball's Finer Points

The Cincinnati Reds must envy the Bengals. Football's rules are simpler. Under further review to the point of madness, maybe, but simpler.

In contrast, the official MLB rule book has 282 pages, and it's becoming clear that's too many for manager Bryan Price's crew.

Take their wacky walkoff loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month.

There was so much wrong with that play. Frankly, the umpires were bailed out by that security guard touching the ball. Not sure if they were on top of all the possibilities. Because, if Reds CF Billy Hamilton had simply fielded it on the off-chance Arizona would start celebrating too early, Price might have had an argument.

The blues did cite Rule 5.08(b) in the 2015 edition, but there's a qualifier as to why. Here's the pertinent passage:

[On any play with the bases full that] forces the runner on third to advance, the umpire shall not declare the game over until the runner forced from third has touched home and the batter-runner has touched first base.

Now, for the qualifier.

Time to venture back into baseball's annals and review one of the game's most infamous moments. Keith Olbermann did the honors in 2013:

The fundamental point ever since has been that a run cannot score if a force play ends an inning. Rule 5.08(b) muddies that tenet.

So, here's what the Reds should have done to keep the game going:

  • Hamilton fields the ball in left field before the security guard ever gets near it;
  • Owings had already touched first base and Paul Goldschmidt had already crossed the plate, so while there were two potential force plays left, first and home weren't among them;
  • Had it been Hamilton throwing the ball to Brandon Phillips, the Reds' 2B should then have thrown the ball to third to force David Peralta; and then
  • The Red making the play at third should have thrown the ball back to Phillips at second to force Jake Lamb.

Voilà! A force-force double play. Run doesn't count. That's in the rule book, too. Might've had a case.

Well, it would've been. After all, what else was on Hamilton's schedule immediately afterward? Lotsa warm water in an MLB shower, and it's not like he had to catch a plane. Finish the damn play!

Time now for one of life's little truisms:

Q: What's the world's safest airline?

A: The one that just went through a plane crash ... unless it's Malaysian and flies near Russian-backed militias.

When do airline personnel check every little detail of their operations? For weeks, right after the crash.

Come to think of it, maybe the Malaysian Air honchos have something in common with Bryan Price. He didn't learn his lesson, either.

He and his staff clearly took Jason Bourgeois' baseball acumen for granted:

Now Riggleman talks to him!

Fred Merkle woulda stayed on third. And Yogi Berra woulda known that it's never over 'til it's over.