For 150+ years, baseball has had three outs in an inning, and once the third out is called by the umpire, all action is stopped. Everyone from little league on up knows this. But now, that long-standing rule has been changed in practice. Of course, it involved the San Diego Padres, and (of course) the call went against them in New York. Here’s the situation & what happened.
Top of the 3rd inning, Mets lead 3-0, but the Padres have the bases loaded with RHP Zack Wheeler struggling… Two-out single to left by Wil Myers, Manny Margot trying to score from second base is incorrectly called out at the plate by umpire Manny Gonzalez, for (apparently) the third out. This screenshot below is the bad punch-out call.
After Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco shows the ball to the umpire, the incorrect ‘out’ call is signaled by Gonzalez. The inning is (hypothetically) over, but Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco then throws to third base, to nail Carlos Asuaje for the 4th out [!] of the inning. Carlos Asuaje is puzzled, as he thinks he’s heading to the visitor’s [3rd base] dugout to get his glove, because there’s three outs. Padres manager Andy Green is also puzzled, and challenges the call at home.
After a LONG delay, the call is overturned (Margot obviously safe) and the run scores (3-2), but Asuaje is now deemed the third out– inning over. This is the Mets/Padres at Citi Field on July 24, 2018, with NY replay booth umps. Who are these replay umpires? That should be determined here, for posterity.
Obviously, Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco knew the call at home was incorrect (because it was in front of him), and that’s why he threw to third base. Heads-up play by him, you could say. But how was the runner on second base (Asuaje) supposed to know?
Here’s the MLB write-up, with video of the play & review. Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell is one of the best in the business, and he clearly defines the replay rules in question and their interpretation.
“Section IV of MLB’s replay regulations covers the placement of runners after incorrect calls. Here are the segments in question: The Replay Official shall place the base runners on the bases he believes they would have reached had the reviewed call been made correctly. … Any doubt regarding the placement of runners should be resolved in favor of the last base legally touched at the time of the challenged call.
Subsequent Calls and Outs: If the Replay Official determines that an incorrect call on the field had no effect on the subsequent behavior or conduct of the offensive or defensive players, the Replay Official shall change the incorrect call, but let stand any on-field calls or plays unaffected by the incorrect call. The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to Replay Review.
[Andy] Green had asked to protest the interpretation of those rules. According to section II.L.4. of the replay regulations, no protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the replay official. He was denied.”
Carlos Asuaje had these lucid comments, post-game. “I guess the safest thing would be to just stay at second and, if there’s a close play or something, just wait on the base, I really don’t know how else to do that. Nobody’s going to play that ball through — especially with the third baseman standing there. My only move would be to go full-speed and slide into the guy. What if that was the third out at home? What are we going to do? Are we going to fight these guys? I mean, I’m not going to start a brawl.”
Here were Andy Green’s post-game comments. “I don’t know how you think he’s [Asuaje’s] making a full-bore effort to advance to third base. I think it’s a lethargic jog toward the third-base coach, which is pretty customary when the third out of an inning is made. You go hand the guy your helmet. That’s effectively what was happening.”
That’s how you get rooked by the Black Hand. The correct call would have been to send Carlos Asuaje back to second base: two outs, runners at 1st & 2nd base, with Eric Hosmer up. Any replay call that overturns a call on the field must freeze the base runner situation, as everything that occurs after that depends on the call. That’s rational.
Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler was on the ropes, and the umps (on the field & replay) let him off the hook. That unfair & biased call for the home team completely changed the game, as the Mets won easily 6-3. Why aren’t the replay umpires held accountable?
Note that if this situation occurs with only one out, you still have to hustle until the 4th out. For the record, Wil Myers was standing on first base when Asuaje was tagged for the 4th out, so nice base-running Wil. You never want to run into the 4th out of an inning. That’s a new rule. Wil Myers couldn’t possibly run into the fifth out, but he was one of two people who could have run into the fourth out, if that makes any sense.
As we can see, the rules in MLB are now hypothetical, and as far as getting a call goes, it helps to be an east coast team. Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 ER, so his trade stock goes up, which is also a factor here. This is what has happened to all sports these days. The traditional rules don’t apply anymore, and it mirrors everyday reality. Only the interests of the privileged count for anything. These “contests” are largely manipulated & fixed. The people & fans have noticed, and it won’t hold up much longer, as there’s too much unfairness & hypocrisy.
Final next-day thoughts:
Baseball is an amazing game because anything can happen, and that’s why we watch. Sometimes you witness something at the ballpark that you’ve never seen before. You can’t say that about most sports.
After thinking about this affair in it’s totality, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the WORST UMPIRING DECISION IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. It’s so, not just because of the blatant bias involved, but also because it violates & distorts the game’s most basic rule to it’s essence, which is, “three outs ends the inning.”
Over & Out