Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mookie Betts' catch was not a home run

I'd never seen anything quite like this in a baseball game before, and I'm so fired up about it that I'm bumping my Tom Brady blog back another day (although that story keeps changing anyway).

Here's a video of Mookie Betts' spectacular catch last night, which the umpires ruled a home run after viewing the replay:

According to the crew chief, they decided Betts "didn't have control of his body when he hit the fence and the ball popped out."  From the MLB rulebook:

"A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball."

The "immediately following" part is the key phrase.  Here's are the many things that happened during the time that Betts allegedly didn't have control of his body:

First, he caught the ball.  In the picture on the right, you can't see the ball because it's already in Betts' glove.  If he'd missed it it would've landed well in front of the wall.  After the catch, he did that thing players often do where they open and close their glove a bit to show they securely have possession of the ball.  Generally that is evidence of a catch.

In the process, Betts took two steps.  Following his two steps, Betts jumped into the wall.  One might think taking two steps then jumping constitutes having control of his body, but apparently not.  When he collided with the wall, the ball was still securely in his glove.  It did not fall out of his glove until after he'd flipped over the wall and landed on his head on the other side, likely suffering a concussion.

The way I see it, far too many things happening to all fall under the umbrella of "immediately following" the catch.

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