The Right Wrong Call
There was a strange play in game two between the Rockies and Diamondbacks last night. In the ninth inning with runners on first a third, a potential double play ball was hit to second. J.D. Drew’s brother, Steve, slid into the second baseman hard to break up the double play and the tying run scored. However, Mr. Drew did not notice that he had actually been called safe by the umpire because Tulowitzki was off the bag when he caught the flip from Kaz Matsui, and dutifully trotted towards the dugout, where he was tagged out. The commentators called it a “rookie mistake” and mentioned that the umpire had clearly made the “right call”, and it could have had a very big impact on the game- the difference between first and second with 1 out and they winning run on second, and only a runner on first with two away.
But really, Drew did baseball a favour. He jumped up because he knew he should have been out even if the shortstop was anywhere in the vicinity of the bag. Although he was technically off the bag, the phantom out is something that happens hundreds of times during the year, and is a totally accepted part of baseball. The player fielding the relay at second and trying to turn two just has to brush his foot by the bag somewhere around to the time he receives the ball, so he doesn’t get mauled by the runner coming in hard. It’s even how young players are taught to turn two properly. This is the third time in the playoffs a player has been called safe- it seems like umpires are being more strict about it and that’s just dumb. It’s like calling a textbook strike zone all of a sudden in the playoffs when nobody has done it all year. What are the fielders supposed to do now?? Guess if you’re going to be a jerk about it?
Here’s the play. It’s close enough. Give me a break…he could have touched the bag for sure if he’d had to, it’s not like he was trying to jump the gun. Nobody needs to see a rookie gold glove shortstop take spikes to the inner thigh on a routine out.