April 29, 2014

"Andre Ethier out at first". On a foul ball... uh?

editor's note: this is a repost of an item originally appearing in my Baseball Scoring Rules site.

I was watching the Dodgers-Marlins game the other night and a strange play happened.   Andre Ethier was at first base and Adrian Gonzalez at second with only 1 out.  It was an infield fly situation.   The situation that occurred, led to someone who was following Gameday on line to ask "Anyone know what just happened in the Dodgers game? Gameday just says "on field delay" then Andre Ethier Out. "  I'm sure anybody else who read a text based play-by-play would likely have the same question.   Here's what happened:
Luis Cruz hit a high pop-up about halfway down the first base line.  It fell to the ground uncaught, as umpires were signalling an infield fly... Adrian Gonzalez started running to 3rd base and was tagged out.  Lots of arguing ensued.   When the dust had settled, A-Gon was placed back on second base, Andre Ethier was out and Luis Cruz continued his at bat.  Here's the explanation: As Marlin 1st baseman Carlos Lee started to run to catch the ball, he bumped into Andre Ethier.  Usually, this is runner interference, he is out, dead ball, and the batter is awarded 1st base.  BUT... the ball fell uncaught, and actually rolled foul.  So, the runner is still out, because he prevented the fielder from catching the ball, but it's just a foul ball to the batter. So, a ball falls untouched and an out is recorded.  Who gets the putout?  Carlos Lee, as he was the fielder who was interfered with, and therefore he gets credit for making the out. I think a scorer would actually have an easier time with this play than an umpire.  Here's the video of the whole play.

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