“Dead Ball” Found near Bobby Ramo’s bag.
am one of those people who love to learn something new every day. It
can be a simple as a new recipe for pasta, or maybe even a simple way
to save money on my car insurance, but the information is given out and
I like to decipher if it can be used in my every day life.
every once in a while I have the opportunity to learn a different
interpretation of the rules of baseball. I mean I even went online
about 10 minutes ago and purchased a 2009 MLB Rule Book from a online
bookstore so I can have it on my desktop ready for easy and future
And you might ask why I did such an
adventure today. Well, if you saw the eight inning of the Boston Red
Sox versus Tampa Bay Rays game, you already know the answer to that
question. It was a play that I begged to differ with at the moment, but
put into a secondary reference, it made total sense to me and was the
right call at the time.
Let me first run down the play
from my perspective about 5 feet from where the play happen from my
little nook and cranny in rightfield of Tropicana field. At the plate
Rays hitter Willy Aybar puts a perfect bunt down along the third
baseline. Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard picks up the ball with his right
hand and attempts to throw the ball to Victor Martinez at first base
for the out.
The ball skids underneath his glove and
trickles down into the right field corner in front of the Checkers
Bullpen Cafe where it takes a odd right turn after rolling over the
Bullpen mound and sit up against Bullpen coach Bobby Ramo’s equipment
bag. Not in it, but against it. So Red Sox rightfielder J D Drew being
the guy he is immediately throws his hands up both in the air imitating
a football touchdown signal.
This is to furiously
motion to First Base Umpire Tony Randazzo that the ball is in a dead
situation and that he can not get to the ball in a timely matter. I was
talking to a Rays outfielder after the game who mentioned that if a
ball goes into an unusual place, or hits into an odd-shaped cubbie hole
or under a outfield wall they are immediately instructed to throw both
Umpire Randazzo in his correct wisdom and great knowledge of the rule
book, immediately agrees with Drew after coming down a good 15 feet
down the line from his spot on the first baseline. He did not step to
the bag, or even merit a discussion if it had indeed been in the bag at
any time. The ball was ruled dead by him also putting up the same
double arms above the head signal. Case closed, discussion over, time
to confer with the other umpires to award bases and get the play right.
disagreement I had with them at that time was that when Umpire signaled
the ball dead, the Rays Ben Zobrist was rounding third base and heading
to home for a possible 3-2 Rays lead. What I did not understand at
first was the way that rule was being interpreted on the field. Of
course when you are in the stands you do not get a great explanation
to the play, or even a rule to search up on the Internet at that moment.
But the rule in question was MLB Rule 7.05 G and it goes like this:
bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes
into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into
the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting
part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a
wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When
such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in
awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners
at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall
be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw
let me see here. The element of Bard throwing the ball past Martinez is
applied in this rule. The Umpire in his view saw the ball in a place
that was deemed ” not of the field” and called for a “dead ball”
situation. Because of this “dead ball” situation, the runners are given
two base from the beginning of the play, not the signalling of the
“dead ball.” So in essence, the runners are given two bases from their
initial starting points before the play began.
means Zobrist is awarded third base, and Aybar is situated at second
base, but it is not a ground rule double. Okay that makes sense, it is
the same rule as if the shortstop had taken the throw in his normal
position and threw the ball over Martinez’s head and into the stands.
Both are considered “dead” at the moment the ball leaves the friendly
confines of a usual playing surface.
Considering some of
the odd and unusual calls tonight by the Home Plate Umpire Jerry
Layne on balls and strikes, and the first impression of this play, it
was viewed for a bit as a “Boston advantage” play until this rule
surfaced on the Internet for all of us to see for ourselves.
Considering how this game was going, I thought i might still be there
right now (1:58 am) and be heading home with the rest of the people
after Last Call at our favorite saloon.
Steve Nesius / AP
was a play that frustrated me until I got a second opinion on it from
Rich Herrera of the Rays Radio Network right after the game wo told me
the umpires got it right and to be sure to listen to the post-game show
on the way home so he could explain it in deep, dull detail. I have to
admit, I did not have my camera tonight, or I would have snapped off a
few pictures to show right where the ball was situated.
I understand now that players are drilled with the facts that in
Wrigley Field, if the ball hits the ivy and even if you retrieve it
with little struggle to throw your hands up high in the air. The same
thing has happened to the Rays a few seasons ago in Baltimore when the
ball just nestled under the outlaying of the outfield plastic coating.
It can be a home field advantage, but this time the opponent got to
play the cards.
I do not have issues with
Drew trying to get it called and not moving the bag to the side and
throwing the ball. I do not have issue with the call in general, but
sometimes I do wish I could see the rule on the big screen or maybe
have some sort of vocal acknowledgment so I can understand without
cursing and pointing.
I guess I was lucky to be on
Twitter at the time and got the scoop from the Red Sox faithful like
Julia @ Werbiefitz who let me know what was going on in NESN-land on
the play. So there is a fast and hopefully simple exclamation of that
odd and confusing play in the eight inning tonight/today/whenever.
is 2 am and if you have seen a picture of me, I need my beauty sleep. I
will throw up some more bad facts and figures from this game sometimes
during the day tomorrow. For the Rays this was a plus/plus win with
pulling a game closer to the Red Sox in the AL East, and picking up a
game on the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card race. Things will get
interesting tomorrow since both Bullpens basically emptied themselves
in this contest.