Umpires totally get it wrong

I’m having trouble thinking about anything important lately. There’s nothing left to say about Trump and his enablers in Congress that could make any difference or even shed any new light on things.

America is poisonously split in two because of the alternate realities we are experiencing. If you watch FoxNews, you are simply unaware of what a disaster the Trump presidency has been and what a terrible course he’s put us on, and a LOT of people watch FoxNews.

It will only change when Sean Hannity decides it’s time.

If you don’t care about baseball and its anomalies, you can stop reading right here, because that’s all I have for you today.

Last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game at Fenway was a good one. Red Sox ace Chris Sale was brilliant, striking out 13 and allowing only three hits through 7 and 2/3 innings, leaving a 1-0 lead in the usually capable hands of All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel, who is typically only required to get three people out in the 9th to do his job, was asked here to get the last out of the 8th as well, which he did.

Kimbrel has not blown a single save in Fenway Park since he got there last year, but last night was the night. Matt Holliday, just off the Disabled List, led off the 9th with a game-tying home-run, sending the affair into extras. It was ultimately decided in the 16th, when the Yankees took advantage of the exhausted Sox bullpen, getting a bunch of hits off Doug Fister, a recent acquisition not usually used in relief. The final score was 4-1, Yankees.

But the game is under protest because of a really weird play in the top of the 11th. Matt Holliday (again) was on first when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Mitch Moreland, a clear double-play opportunity. Moreland fielded it cleanly and threw to Bogaerts covering second for the out there, and Bogaerts threw back to first in plenty of time to double up the speedy Ellsbury. But it didn’t work that way. Here’s what happened:

It was a senior moment for Holliday, who has been around a long time and has no excuse for this kind of mental lapse.

But it’s the umpires who are at fault here. They gave Ellsbury first base, despite Holliday’s interference which prevented Moreland from catching the relay that would have completed the double play. Ellsbury should have been called out. They said Holliday didn’t “intend” to interfere, and therefore it wasn’t interference. Huh?

Holliday is out at second. His crazy move of sliding back into first after being called out broke up the double play. Under the Official M.L.B. rule 6.01(a)(5):

(5)  Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate (see Rule 6.01(j)).

It’s petty simple.

So they review the play, causing a five minute delay, and they decide that the ruling would stand! The Red Sox played the rest of the game under protest, probably thinking the Yankees would get a run out of this situation and that would be the game. They didn’t and the game continued.

You’re probably thinking, “if that play didn’t affect the outcome, the protest is silly”. Not so fast. The game was ultimately decided by attrition – the Red Sox ran out of relievers – and, had that double-play stood, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have had to resort to Fister, at least not as soon as they did. Fewer pitches would have been thrown by the real relievers, thereby allowing them to go deeper into the game.

It’s shaping up to be a tight pennant race, and this game may be well be affect the outcome, so there’s potentially something bigger at stake here. Your view of all this probably depends on which team you support, not unlike your view of politics, I suppose. The pro-Yankee media may see it one way while the pro-Red Sox media disagrees.

One thing I’m sure of, though, is that the divide between the Red Sox and Yankees world views, as great as it always has been, is nowhere near as great or as dangerous as the divide caused by the pro-Trump vs. pro-reality media divide.

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