Tuesday Night, May 13, 2008
Out of Order
From time to time, I get fairly busy and ask readers of the site to consider writing guest columns for the site. Here is an article written by Greg Gilstad regarding the Cincinnati Reds batting out of order over the weekend. Be sure to leave your thoughts or comments below. And again, if others want to ever write something for the site, please let me know.
There was a story in the Star-Tribune about David Ross of the Reds batting out of order, an oddity in the Majors.. After the Mets’ manager Willie Randolph appealed (and after about 10 minutes of discussion), the umpires got the call right – the Ross at-bat (a fly-out) was nullified, the #8 hitter (Patterson) was declared out for failing to bat in his turn, and Ross was sent up to bat again with one out, this time in the proper 9th spot, and singled. (Patterson and Ross had both entered the game as parts of double-switches, so they didn’t realize they were batting in the wrong spots.)
This one could have been even more fun if Randolph had waited. Batting out of order is an appeal play – the umpires or scorekeepers aren’t permitted to do anything about it until the opposing team says something. If the opposing team doesn’t call it to the attention of the umpire and throws a pitch to the next hitter, the batter who had batted out of order is considered legal and the new legal batter is now the person who follows him in the line-up (and the person who was skipped is now legally skipped). Here is how this could have become really fun:
1. According to the story in the New York Daily News, the next person walking up to the plate was Patterson. If Randolph allows the Mets to pitch to him, Ross’ at-bat (the fly-out) becomes legal and Patterson is batting out of order. (The legal hitter is the person who follows Ross in the line-up card – the leadoff hitter.)
2. If Patterson get a hit, the Mets appeal and the legal batter (#1) is out. (The down side is the #2 hitter now become the next legal batter.) But if Patterson makes an out (which is more likely), Randolph should again hold his tongue because the legal batter becomes the person who follows Patterson in the book...
3. ...Ross again! Chances are the Reds are sending up their leadoff hitter now. (There's no way they are sending Ross up - he just hit.) If the leadoff hitter then gets a hit, Randolph could appeal. Ross is called out for failing to bat in his spot and (since it was the 9th inning) the ballgame is over.
That would have been a LOT more fun (and made for an even better story) (and required even more than 10 minutes to sort out.) And Ross would have made 2 of the 3 outs in a 1-2-3 inning.
Unfortunately, Randolph apparently still doesn’t understand the rule well enough to implement this plan. He was quoted in the Daily news saying “we could have gotten two outs if Patterson had actually seen a pitch." But that’s not exactly true - if a mistake is noticed during the AB, then the legal batter is sent up to the plate to assume the existing count and there is no penalty. If Randolph had appealed after one pitch, the umpires would have had the Reds replace Patterson with their leadoff hitter, and there would still be one out. But that argument would probably have been worth the price of admission.
That’s not really a knock on Randolph – according to one of Ron Luciano’s old but still funny books (I think it was Strike Two, but it may have been The Umpire Strikes Back) he and many umpires he worked with didn’t know the rule either. Based on the 10-minute discussion they had yesterday, there may have been some uncertainty with these umpires, too. Retrosheet has a list of instances of batting out of order, and in the last example on the list (9/1/2007) the umpires blew the call.
There was also a game involving the Twins where it happened, and my memory of the game is a bit more dramatic than the Retrosheet write-up. I will grant that my memory may have been at fault – it was 1975 (June 9th to be exact), I was 10 years old. I grew up as a Twins fan in Connecticut, and I was normally limited to listening to Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees games on the radio. But I could occasionally pick up the games from Baltimore or Cleveland later in the evening, and I remember listening to the end of this crazy Twins game against the Indians.
All I really remember is Danny Walton hitting a home run to cap off a big rally, the announcers being certain he had batted out of order, and then the umpires ruling his home run legal because the line-up the Twins followed in the 9th inning matched the one the umpires had (but not the one the press box had, the Indians had, and not the one the Twins had followed for the previous 8 innings.)
With help from the box score / play-by-play, this is what I think happened (my notes in red):Indians 10, Twins 6Oliva singled to center; GOMEZ RAN FOR OLIVA;Beene threw a wild pitch [Gomez to second];Soderholm walked; BUSKEY REPLACED BEENE (PITCHING);Kelly reached on an error by Carty [Gomez scored (unearned), Soderholm to third, Kelly to second];(10-7)Ford grounded out (second to first) [Soderholm scored, Kelly to third];According to every line-up card but the umpire’s, this was the first “out of order.” No appeal. (10-8)Thompson grounded out (shortstop to first) [Kelly scored (unearned)];(Second “out of order” – should have been Roof after Ford according to the Press/Indians’ card.) No appeal. (10-9)WALTON BATTED FOR ROOF; Walton homered (unearned);(Third “out of order” – should have been Ford after Thompson according to the Press/Indians’ card. Robinson appeals. Umpire’s line-up matches the order the Twins just used, so the HR is allowed (10-10). Robinson goes ballistic about receiving the wrong line-up. I believe he played the game under protest. The Twins won 11-10 in 11. The protest (if it occurred) was denied – I guess he should have compared his line-up card to the umpire’s at the start of the game.)
Any thoughts, please share... and thanks again Greg!|
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