ONE BASEBALL PLAYER SLAPPED ANOTHER BASEBALL PLAYER ON THE BUTT
October 15, 2015 6:15 AM   Subscribe

At the beginning of October, the Toronto Blue Jays at long last clinched the AL East division, ending a record 22-year drought [prev.]. Meanwhile, after a disastrous, injury-plagued 2014 season, the Texas Rangers rebounded from a late-summer nadir to improbably win the AL West title. The two teams collided in a best-of-five series -- Texas won two, then Toronto. It all came down to Wednesday night's showdown. Tied 2-2 after six, the 7th inning proceeded to unravel over the next 53 minutes in increasingly bizarre and dramatic fashion. To wit: A freak accident. A controversial call. Roars and brickbats from the crowd. The mayor tweets for calm. A comedy of errors. A violent slide. An epic home run, and an even more epic bat flip. Benches clear. Players ejected. Fans arrested. And the slap-ass heard 'round the world. posted by Rhaomi (109 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
We need a change, this never would have happened at a professional Curling match.
posted by sammyo at 6:20 AM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I kind of love Mark Buehrle and getting ejected from a game he wasn't even on the roster for only makes me love him more.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:23 AM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Great post. I was riding the bus home from work during the game so I had to imagine what was happening based on Ken Tremendous' Twitter feed. Playoff baseball is magnificent.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 6:27 AM on October 15, 2015


Yeah, everything about that inning was amazing. And honestly, even if the butt-slap was meant in a friendly way, there's absolutely no reason for Dyson to walk to the plate on his way to the dugout. So much bizarre in one inning.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:32 AM on October 15, 2015


As a Mets fan, I've seen some crazy innings over the years, but I've never seen anything like that all at once.

Also, the whole concept of bat flipping should be retired after the last week.
posted by hobgadling at 6:33 AM on October 15, 2015


It's too bad that this will be the last baseball game ever played:
Jose Bautista came up and murdered a baseball dead, and now there are no more baseballs because they are all scared and hiding.
posted by Jugwine at 6:34 AM on October 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


Game three of the next series is on election day! Two reasons to be hungover for the work the next day.
posted by beau jackson at 6:38 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jose Bautista came up and murdered a baseball dead

I know I'm a homer, but Cespedes' shot on Monday still looked more brutal. The ball just disappeared. One moment it was approaching the plate, the next moment it was just gone. I think it turned into the fireworks.

And also had a more elegant bat-flip.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:39 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, it could have been worse. Someone could have touched Adrian Beltre's head.
posted by the painkiller at 6:48 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Mets will be waiting for you!

*prays*
posted by jonmc at 6:58 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I started watching in the top of the 8th. Good job, me.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:00 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't really follow baseball, and even I know that was just a filthy inning. It's weird to see people in Toronto excited about baseball again (hell, it's weird to see people in Toronto excited about sports again).


Between Chicago and Toronto, this has basically been my facebook feed for the past two evenings.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:00 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's weird to see people in Toronto excited about baseball again

It's like cicadas - Toronto sports fever comes around once every 22 years.
posted by GuyZero at 7:04 AM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Go Cubs!
posted by chavenet at 7:07 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's just something I love so much about a game where entire dugouts full of grown men charge onto the field over ... rude words. Butt taps. Ungentlemanly bat-flips. Nobody's ever like, "Oh, man, I should stay back here and keep out of trouble." Nope, it's like, "ONE GUY TAPPED THE OTHER GUY ON THE BUTT? EVERYONE RUN ON THE FIELD AT ONCE LIKE A FUCKING TRENCH WARFARE CHARGE! OVER THE TOP, BOYS, OVER THE TOP!"

The only thing this inning lacked was a dirt-kicking fight where someone gets ejected over the dirt-kicking (my absolute favorite baseball ritual).

Baseball can be such a bizarre ballet of repressed rage rituals.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:16 AM on October 15, 2015 [60 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, that's a comment of the year.
posted by The Michael The at 7:26 AM on October 15, 2015


uncleozzy: "And also had a more elegant bat-flip."

It was a more civilized age.
posted by chavenet at 7:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a Torontonian, not a Blue Jays fan (deeply love the game, but can't be a fan of any team), and an avid baseball watcher (probably over 400 games a year). This game was an absolute travesty.

The actual play on the field was exciting, and mostly quite skilled (Rangers' defence in 7th inning aside). The Bautista homerun was a tremendous moment for the game of baseball, and for Blue Jays fans. Stroman and Hamels pitched quite well, and watching the duel was enjoyable. Sanchez and Osuna coming in and shutting it down was impressive to watch. The three Jays' pitchers are 24, 23, and 20. How's that for some fortitude from the youth?

For baseball's sake, I could do without the "interference" play, as it just illuminated how weird baseball (and fan reaction) can get. Of course the umpires eventually made the correct call, but obviously it's a more enjoyable experience if that had never happened. What I find hilarious is the fans' idea that any call that goes against their team, that they don't understand properly, is definitely a slight against them and probably part of a larger conspiracy. Jesus, people, read the rule book, get your act together, and chill-out.

The cleared benches also bother me. It's a bunch of toxic masculinity bullshit, and I believe there's no place for it (or any violence) in the game. No punches were thrown, and there wasn't really a brawl, but it's still dick waving and posturing. We can do better. And of course the fans throwing objects onto the field was an embarrassment for my city, and something that should never happen. Completely unacceptable.

I guess I'm saying that despite the fact that the play was mostly awesome, the game was ruined (for me) because of the egos and bad behaviour.

Bring on the ALCS!
posted by LoRichTimes at 7:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


That poor Texas shortstop. The first one was all his fault but the next two throwing errors where he was on the catch end--that guy is going to be having nightmares for the next 15 years.
posted by bukvich at 7:28 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am excited as hell for the Royals to be playing the Jays for the AL title.

(the royals game last night was very good by the way - fantastic pitching and defense - but I'm okay that people aren't talking about it much because that Jays/Rangers game was crazy)
posted by dismas at 7:29 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, and for those debating the Bautista and Cespedes homers, you're forgetting Schwarber's MAMMOTH blast in Chicago.
posted by LoRichTimes at 7:31 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love everything about this postseason with the exception of the lack of Giants, but it's an odd year so whatever! I was indifferent to the outcome of the Kansas/Houston game until I saw Greg Abbotts tweet. I have family in Chicago and Toronto so there's a natural affinity there and I've always had a soft spot for the Mets so if they can crush the Dodgers it'll be perfect!
posted by TwoWordReview at 7:36 AM on October 15, 2015


No punches were thrown, and there wasn't really a brawl

That's because Canadians are nice. It was more of an impassioned chat.

The first one was all his fault but the next two throwing errors where he was on the catch end

I feel bad for the guy but the last one was definitely his fault, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:36 AM on October 15, 2015


There's just something I love so much about a game where entire dugouts full of grown men charge onto the field over ... rude words. Butt taps. Ungentlemanly bat-flips. Nobody's ever like, "Oh, man, I should stay back here and keep out of trouble." Nope, it's like, "ONE GUY TAPPED THE OTHER GUY ON THE BUTT? EVERYONE RUN ON THE FIELD AT ONCE LIKE A FUCKING TRENCH WARFARE CHARGE! OVER THE TOP, BOYS, OVER THE TOP!"

This is yet another example I can give when some asshat says that women are more emotional than men. Currently my go-to response is "Yes, because when a group of men watch a sporting event and their team does something well, they all turn to each other and nod knowingly in silent, staid approval."
posted by grubi at 7:36 AM on October 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: "Nobody's ever like, "Oh, man, I should stay back here and keep out of trouble." Nope, it's like, "ONE GUY TAPPED THE OTHER GUY ON THE BUTT? EVERYONE RUN ON THE FIELD AT ONCE LIKE A FUCKING TRENCH WARFARE CHARGE! OVER THE TOP, BOYS, OVER THE TOP!""

Honestly, given their conduct once on the field, I think it's more like, "Ah geez, that one hot head on our team is running out there, I better go hold him back, or at least go out there and mill about for a while, otherwise he'll get the idea I don't have his back and be pissed at me. Over the top, boys?"
posted by Rock Steady at 7:38 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


kirkaracha - "No punches were thrown, and there wasn't really a brawl" referred to the cleared benches. Only a couple Canadians in that group: off the top of my head I want to say Martin, Pompey, Saunders, Francis (the latter two not even on the playoff roster).

The fans, on the other hand, were involved in some street altercations (if Toronto news media has that accurately).
posted by LoRichTimes at 7:40 AM on October 15, 2015


[Not meant as a rebuttal to grubi's point. I'm a Red Sox fan, I know full well how emotional men get at sports.]
posted by Rock Steady at 7:41 AM on October 15, 2015


Watching Bautista's home run brought back the same happy feels I had sitting on my parents' bed with my brother when we were 14 and 15 and watching Joe Carter hit that walk-off home run in game seven to win the '93 series. *shivers*
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:49 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


sammyo: We need a change, this never would have happened at a professional Curling match.

You obviously haven't been keeping up with the broom tap controversy at the Brier. Shocking lapses in sports etiquette!
posted by clawsoon at 7:51 AM on October 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty impressed that not only was the catcher throwing the ball into the hitter's bat a situation that might already have occurred or been recognized in theory as something that might occur, but that there was already a rule about it.

The Schwarber and Cespedes home runs were both pretty awe-inspiring, maybe even more so than Bautista's (about Cespedes's hit, one commentator said "Mets fans who have tickets to that section don't expect a baseball there"), but as a Red Sox fan I've been well aware of Bautista's home run capabilities for a while now, and coming when it did it was a far more important shot than the others. I was really happy to see him deliver in such a clutch situation when my team wasn't the opponent.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:51 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


The cleared benches also bother me. It's a bunch of toxic masculinity bullshit, and I believe there's no place for it (or any violence) in the game.
We're talking about the same country where the National Sport involves a bare knuckle boxing minigame, right? As a casual sports watcher, I keep expecting them to yank off their gloves and helmet and go to town.

(I think it's dumb but don't see how it's any intrinsic to any game in particular)
posted by pmv at 7:54 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Not meant as a rebuttal to grubi's point. I'm a Red Sox fan, I know full well how emotional men get at sports.]

Oh, and I'm one of those men! I've literally had to institute a rule for myself that I cannot watch My Teams alone (meaning, without another fan around) because I take failure — my own or My Team's — too hard. It's partially a reflection of my chronic depression, but also because sports is my religion (that irrational thing I love despite it annoying the people around me).
posted by grubi at 7:55 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


grubi: "I've literally had to institute a rule for myself that I cannot watch My Teams alone (meaning, without another fan around) because I take failure — my own or My Team's — too hard."

I have to watch My Teams alone, otherwise I am at risk of embarrassing myself and offending them.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:58 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for those debating the Bautista and Cespedes homers, you're forgetting Schwarber's MAMMOTH blast in Chicago.

I'm not forgetting it, I'm just waiting for it to land. They say the ball's on top of the scoreboard, but that's just what they want you to believe. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

Seriously, though, Schwarber's kind of my favorite baseball player right now. Nearly every one of his plate appearances ends in a walk, a whiff, or a baseball leaving the planet. He's only 22, but already has the plate discipline of a seasoned vet. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but if you're hitting a homer every 14 times you go to the plate, I don't care if the other 13 are Ks. Kind of a shame he can't really handle the C position defensively, but when this kid hits his prime, we might be talking about one of the all-time great mashers, and with that lineup all entering its prime in the next few years, I don't know how anyone's going to hang with them offensively.

I was pulling for the Astros in the AL (I still haven't gotten over Joe Carter singlehandedly murdering my Phillies in 1993) but now that they're out, I guess the Jays are my AL team. KC was fun to root for as the small market underdog, but Kendrys Morales bat flips just don't do it for me.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:06 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have to watch My Teams alone, otherwise I am at risk of embarrassing myself and offending them.

[insert emoji of hearfelt solidarity]

I wish I didn't care so much. I wish I didn't feel so much.
posted by grubi at 8:07 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


pmv - The cleared benches have nothing to do with Canada. The players are mostly not Canadian (off the top of my head, 4 guys on the field yesterday were Canadian). Just because the game happens in Canada it's not any more likely to be like a hockey match. Cleared benches happen all over the world in baseball.

The violence isn't intrinsic to Baseball, it definitely happens in all sport. But I hate violence in all forms, sport included. I just happen to not care about other sports as much as I do about baseball. Violence is discouraged in pretty much all other parts of the game. Catchers can't be taken out at the plate anymore, and that rule will change for plays at the other bags as well. Beaning is dealt with very seriously. The league does not want violence in baseball. Neither do I. I'd just like to see the bench clearing situations be dealt with more severely, and consistently.
posted by LoRichTimes at 8:10 AM on October 15, 2015


Ah yes, the NFL is the "No Fun League" but everyone in baseball freaks out if a star player dares to disrespect the game by not setting his bat down gently after hitting a game winning home run. C'mon. There's a reason baseball is hemorrhaging viewers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:10 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: can be such a bizarre ballet of repressed rage rituals.

We watched this inning several times last night. So much WTF!
posted by rtha at 8:13 AM on October 15, 2015


I don't think it's just the team hothead who expects teammates to have each others' backs.

But I would guess 99% of the time, the purpose of clearing the benches is to actually stop things from going further by trying to depersonalize the situation. A rare situation when someone might write "diffuse" when they mean "defuse", but still kinda be right.
posted by nom de poop at 8:14 AM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


MLB Blue.

Literally. All the teams left have the primary uniform color of blue.
posted by dogwalker at 8:17 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Great win. So exciting. We don't have cable and there aren't any OTA stations showing the game so I had to follow along on Twitter. I have to confess that I was pessimistic when it was 3-2, just because that's been the history for the last 2 decades. Couldn't believe it when like 30 seconds later my Twitter feed said it was 6-3. WTF? Had to wait 'til the news to watch all those crazy plays.

I remember watching the Jays win that first Series, 20-whatever years ago, with a bunch of friends at our house. Then we all piled into my now-wife's old Suzuki jeep and drove down Yonge Street while hanging out the roof yelling and cheering, just to be among the thousands of other cheering people.

Also, the people who threw stuff are fucking buffoons.
posted by chococat at 8:21 AM on October 15, 2015


OVER THE TOP, BOYS, OVER THE TOP!

COMMON FORM

If any question why we fought,
Tell them, because our butts were swot.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:30 AM on October 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


The part that gets me in the bench-clearing things is when all the extra pitchers and catchers also run in from the bullpen. It's so far! And you're definitely just going to stand around when you get there! They only become brawls like 0.3% of the time.
posted by something something at 8:31 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


The rage behind brawls is usually about Fairness and Justice.

(A three-year-old's conception of fairness and justice, sometimes, yes - "HE TOUCHED MY JUICE!!!" - but fairness and justice none-the-less.)
posted by clawsoon at 8:34 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like Dismas, I'm excited that the Royals (my favorite team) will face the Blue Jays in the ALCS (as they last did in 1985). They're both very good teams, but in different ways, and have had a rivalry brewing since this summer. There will be tension! And hopefully good games.

Of course it might have been destined for both the Blue Jays to beat the Texas Rangers and the Royals to beat the Houston Astros. During a game on Monday when it looked like Astros would beat the Royals and advance to the ALCS, Texas governor Greg Abbott managed to curse not one but both of his state's teams – neither of whom have ever won a World Series, but looked promising this year – with a premature tweet congratulating the Astros on their win and hoping the same for the Rangers. In the top of the 8th, the Royals were down 2-6 ... but they managed to rally and beat the Astros 9-6. Then the Rangers also lost spectacularly that day. Considering how otherwise-rational baseball fans can often become superstitious, you can imagine how well this has gone over in Texas.
posted by lisa g at 8:35 AM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


They only become brawls like 0.3% of the time.

"Most disputes die, and no one shoots"
posted by kmz at 8:43 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's too bad there's not another Texas team left for the Jays to defeat. What am I going to do with all these "Remember the Alomar" t-shirts?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:44 AM on October 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


LET'S GO BLUE JAYS LET'S GO

(I'm not even a Sports Guy! The city is pretty stoked--chef kept checking last night on his iPad during service.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on October 15, 2015


This discussion is not complete without Munenori Kawasaki's post-game interview:
"No thinking! Just swing! Just catch! Just throw! No thinking everybody! JUST WIN!"
posted by Kabanos at 8:56 AM on October 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


BUSH PARTY!!!
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]




Jesus, people, read the rule book, get your act together, and chill-out.

To be fair, the Rules of Baseball is an ancient 700 page tome hidden away in a vast and woebegone abbey, guarded by fearesome beastes of olde
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:12 AM on October 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Not to mention how many unwritten rules there are in baseball that are actually enforced.
posted by kmz at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the Rules of Baseball is an ancient 700 page tome hidden away in a vast and woebegone abbey, guarded by fearesome beastes of olde

If only we had some sort of device we could carry with us that had a significant portion of the earth's available knowledge contained therein. ;)
posted by LoRichTimes at 9:17 AM on October 15, 2015


I actually keep a PDF of the rules of baseball on my tablet, but I may be a weirdo.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:25 AM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying MLB would be improved if it were run by a sinister order of monks, but I'm not not saying it.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 9:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


> As a Mets fan, I've seen some crazy innings over the years, but I've never seen anything like that all at once.

Same here! I've been watching baseball for over half a century and I've seen some weird shit, but never an inning like that. I just happened to turn the TV on just as the umps were gathering to work out the call, and I was curious so I turned up the sound, and my wife and I sat riveted for the rest of the game. Thank goodness the Jays won! I like both them and the Royals, so I'll just be rooting for good games in the ALCS, and I like the Cubs too (especially for beating the fucking Cards), so if they beat the Mets (which, as a Mets fan, I expect) I'll be rooting for them in the series. Great postseason!

> I have to watch My Teams alone, otherwise I am at risk of embarrassing myself and offending them.

I watched the first three Mets games, as well as a bunch of others, with my eleven-year-old grandson (who knew far more about the teams and players than I—just as I did when I was eleven, though there were a lot fewer teams then), and I told my wife afterwards I hope she appreciated the effort it took not to use any swears. Once he'd left, I could holler FUCK THE DODGERS! as loud as I wanted.
posted by languagehat at 9:34 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Me: I'm really enjoying watching this game, but how am I going to kill time before this thing I'm going to at 8:30?
7th Inning: That's ok I got you I'm going to take an hour
Me: Ok!

That was really spectacular. I was watching in a pub with a bunch of faculty and university staff, and the amount of analysis going on was hilarious. (Except for the group of British profs who wandered in, looked at the crowd incredulously, and said "I guess they're going to want to stay 'til the end of the match.") I'm pretty sure the couple sitting next to us broke up either professionally or personally during the sixth inning, and that still wasn't the most dramatic thing to happen. Not impressed that we threw things on the field, but otherwise it was a great night to be in Toronto.

I assume "Touch 'em all, Jose" is already a thing, as well as "Hit really far? Call Kevin Pillar."

I also spent half an inning wondering why Jon Hamm was pitching for Texas. He looked very unhappy at the end of the game.
posted by ilana at 9:43 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying MLB would be improved if it were run by a sinister order of monks, but I'm not not saying it.

Well, that would explain Bud Selig.
posted by eriko at 9:49 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


FanGraphs: On the Line Between Emotion and Sportsmanship
Jose Bautista wasn’t showboating last night; he was celebrating. It was a moment that will live on in baseball history, and the inappropriate response would have been to pretend that it didn’t matter. It did matter to everyone in attendance, to everyone in the organization, to his teammates, and to Bautista himself. And when he did something truly great, pushing his team to victory in the biggest game of his life, we’re all better off celebrating with him.

If you can’t celebrate in that moment, then none of this is worth anything.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:50 AM on October 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


Was anyone else hugely impressed by Osuna's cold-as-ice close? I know probability was on his side at that point, but still with only one out in the 8th and two on base, with everything on the line, the pressure must weigh heavily on a guy of only 20. He gets brought in to make the last 5 outs, and does nothing but that, including 4 swinging strikeouts. Holy hell.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:52 AM on October 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


The kid mimicking Bautista's swing just as he hits the home run embedded in that Fangraphs article is great. Even better then the bat flip.
posted by papercrane at 9:56 AM on October 15, 2015


This is what happens when we as a society let the Cubs win at anything. Goddammit, Cards. God damn it.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:20 AM on October 15, 2015


I'm calling all of this stuff into the Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line.
posted by clawsoon at 10:23 AM on October 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


While you're at it, can you call in all the 'unwritten rules' troglodytes who think a career-ending beanball is a suitable punishment for a bat flip?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:27 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sounds like you're emotionally involved in this, too, [expletive deleted]. Consider yourself reported!
posted by clawsoon at 10:35 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"For bat flip aficionados, the speed, trajectory and distance of a toss are crucial details. Midair rotations add to the visual splendor. Dramatic posturing and histrionic facial expressions elevate things to the next level. Bautista’s had it all."
- Baseball Reaches a Flipping Point
posted by Flashman at 10:38 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Was anyone else hugely impressed by Osuna's cold-as-ice close?

Both Osuna & Sanchez were amazing this series.

Osuna pitched in the the last four games of the series, 5.2 innings in total, striking out 6, walking nobody, and gave up no hits and no runs.

Sanchez pitched every game, 5.1 innings. Struck out 6, walked one, gave up 3 hits, and no earned runs, the one unearned run was on Martin's error in this game.

I don't think I've ever been more excited about the young pitchers that the Jays have right now. Incredible talent.
posted by papercrane at 10:46 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Was anyone else hugely impressed by Osuna's cold-as-ice close?

Yes! I made several remarks about it to my wife. Great kid, will go far.
posted by languagehat at 11:03 AM on October 15, 2015


Jesus, people, read the rule book, get your act together, and chill-out.

Maybe if the home plate umpire also knew the rules... He called the ball dead before the run scored, then he was confronted by the Team manager, had a confab with the other umpires, called MLB headquarters... If the guy running the game calls the play dead the run should not have been allowed regardless of the rules. All I saw was him waiving his arms and the Toronto pitcher stops chasing the ball... play is dead. You just can't then decide that the ump was wrong because of some rule on page 727.
posted by Gungho at 11:04 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gungho - I understand your opinion on this, but you're not correct. The League's intent is to make sure the play on the field is eventually correct. The rules allow for what happened. It is perfectly within the rules for an umpire to incorrectly call the dead ball, players to continue playing out the play, and for a conference to be called before the next play to ensure the rules are applied correctly. This happens on foul balls, homerun calls, etc.

Essentially, provided the umpire does not physically interfere with play (which they are trained not to do), a new ball is introduced into the game, and/or a new play is not started, then any dead ball is technically capable of being over-turned by umpire conference.

It's unusual, and it definitely sucks, but what happened is absolutely within the rules of the game.
posted by LoRichTimes at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder what would have happened if the runner stopped because of the ump and got tagged out.

Either way, it was a bad call by the ump.
posted by sauril at 11:26 AM on October 15, 2015


sauril - If the defence had picked up the ball, thrown to home, and the runner had been out, and the umpires conferred, they likely would have made the call that the ball was still live and the runner was out at the plate.

The ump's first call was bad. No doubt about that. But umpires are human and make mistakes. That's why the rules allow for umpire conferences, and replays have been added into the game. The League really wants to call on the field to be correct...eventually.
posted by LoRichTimes at 11:32 AM on October 15, 2015


If it were any other sport, Gungho, that would be right. But baseball just has to be a little different. Even if an umpire calls a play dead, it ain't necessarily so, and they have the authority to judge what should have happened. The Jays were wrong in not completing the play and then determining if it was dead (although there's no way they would have been able to get Odor out).

Much of the crowd reaction could be attributed to this. You've got a lot of bandwagoners who may not follow baseball but are likely sports fans. And in other sports, like hockey, when the ref whistles a play down, it never happened. But in baseball, even if an umpire signals a dead ball in the middle of a play, they can overrule themselves and allow the play to stand (uhh, except if the umpire calls time in the middle of a pitch, that's not a pitch, unless the batter swings at it). So many in the stands come from a background where an official calling off a play means there's no play. And this was an event so uncommon the umpire didn't even know the rule (nor did most of the announcers/sportswriters).

On preview: Odor would have been called out, the Rangers bench would have erupted, and Bannister would have continued the game under protest. And we probably wouldn't have gotten to the bat flip, so everything worked out for the best

Another aspect of this, besides the wait Toronto has had to endure to return to the playoffs, is the time some of these players have waited to play a postseason game. Bautista and Encarnacion ranked #2 and #3 in games played by an active player without a postseason appearance*, so Bautista's already well known exuberance has extra fuel. He's waited a long time, on a lot of really bad teams, to get to this point.

(*Oh, and #1 on that list was Alex Rios, a former Blue Jay and current member of the Royals - see you Friday!)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:32 AM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Game three of the next series is on election day! Two reasons to be hungover for the work the next day.

It's also Jose Bautista's 35th birthday!
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 11:34 AM on October 15, 2015


To add to what LoRichTimes said, the replay review rules to say that when placing the runners the officials should account for whether the incorrect call affected players behaviour.

In this case Odor was going to be safe no matter what, there was no chance Sanchez gets to that ball in time to make the play at home. If it had looked like it was going to be closer they should have sent Odor back to third.

The one thing I think they did get wrong at first was the Umpires at the game awarded Odor home. The placement of runners is the sole responsibility of the replay officials. They corrected that mistake though, eventually conferring with the replay office.
posted by papercrane at 11:36 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


LoRichTimes, I wasn't clear in what I wrote. I'm sure you're correct, I was more thinking of the drama around the play.

I imagine that the Rangers' manager would have gotten as upset as they Jays'.

Anyway, I'm not even really a baseball fan anymore (RIP Expos), but this pennant drive and playoffs have been a lot of fun to watch. Can't wait for the next series!
posted by sauril at 11:42 AM on October 15, 2015


sauril - I hear you. It was some crazy shit, and left a bad taste in my mouth as well.
posted by LoRichTimes at 11:54 AM on October 15, 2015


If it were any other sport, Gungho, that would be right. But baseball just has to be a little different.

Funny enough, the NFL seems to have moved in the MLB's direction of "eventual consistency" (to abuse a nerdspeak term) now that replay review is more of a thing. It is narrowly true that an NFL ref blowing the whistle is much more of a final "end of play" event than umpires calling time is, but because of that, NFL refs seem to have developed a serious aversion to false positives when blowing the whistle. You see this a lot with edge cases around plays that might be incompletions or fumbles depending on whether the ball was caught, and sometimes with calls on whether players are down by contact -- refs seem to not want to make the call that ends the play unless they're sure about it.

This is all probably a good thing, because nobody wants a game to turn on a bad call that can't be overturned by replay, and in this case, it's obviously right to have a rule on the books that lets players act in accordance with the rules of the game even when the umpire on the field makes a mistake.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:56 AM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Between Chicago and Toronto, this yt has basically been my facebook feed for the past two evenings.

This is all kinds of fun for me being from Toronto (Mississauga actually) and living in Chicago. I'm hoping for a world series collision so I can spin like a floating magnet.

The only thing that could make it even better would be if the 76 expos came back from the dead and beat them both senseless.
posted by srboisvert at 12:01 PM on October 15, 2015


If the guy running the game calls the play dead the run should not have been allowed regardless of the rules.

No, if the rules say he should score, he should score. You don't change the rules on the fly. If you want the rules to say that the umpires cannot place runners after a ball becomes dead, you need to get that changed in the rules.

You would also, if you just said that, make home runs useless -- the ball is dead when it leaves the field, if you cannot advance runners on a dead ball for actions that occurred while the ball is alive, you've just turned home runs into outs. So it's a much subtler change than just saying you can't do that.

The one thing I think they did get wrong at first was the Umpires at the game awarded Odor home. The placement of runners is the sole responsibility of the replay officials.

Incorrect. Placement of the runners by the on field crew is specifically allowed in this case, and many others. Replay doesn't even enter into this. Let me copy myself from the NL thread.

---
Why it wasn't a blown call. (2015 MLB Rulebook citations in [square brackets].)

1) The batter was in his legal position -- in the batters box. [5.04(b)(5)]

2) The definition of batter interference states it is interference and an out is ""He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball" [6.01(a)(10)]. Note the word intentionally. The umpire rules that he did not intentionally interfere with the ball, which I think was obvious, he wasn't even looking at the catcher. The ball is still live at this point -- you can score if the defense throws the ball away.

3) The umpire then shanks it and calls time, which does then make it dead [5.01] "After the umpire calls “Play” the ball is alive and in play and remains alive and in play until for legal cause, or at the umpire’s call of “Time” suspending play, the ball becomes dead." So, the ball is dead, with the runner halfway to home.

But!

4) We then get to the rule about dead balls [5.06(c)] "While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk, an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playing field)."

The umpires judged that he would have scored because of actions he took while the ball was alive -- he broke for home and clearly would have made it. So, the umpires awarded him the base, and the run counts.

The protest will go nowhere -- the only issues here is "Should the umpire have called time?" and "Did Choo intentionally interfere?" and "Would Odor have scored if time had not been called?" In all three cases, these are judgement calls and cannot be reversed via protest.

----

What I didn't mention there but will here. The ball was alive, of course -- otherwise, you can't steal on a pitch. When the ball hit the bat (or Choo's hand, but a hand on the bat is considered the bat) the ball was dead only if the umpires ruled that Choo had intentionally interfered. They didn't, so the ball was still alive, you may advance (at your peril) any time the ball is alive.

Also: the crew did not call for a replay and would have disallowed a replay request (as all were judgement calls and thus not reviewable.) They did call into New York as a check to make sure they were doing the right thing after the plate umpire had called time when the ball was in play. New York confirmed that yes, they could allow the runner to score. (Remember -- they waved him home after the on field conference.) This is also why no challengers were in play. Toronto apparently thought that they couldn't allow the runner to score by rule, which is why they declared a protest. They were wrong by 5.06(c) and the protest would have been ruled against, but it didn't make it that far: the Blue Jays almost certainly withdrew the protest after the game, since they won. Texas was fine with it, they got a run out of it.

But what changed this game wasn't that bizarro play, it was Texas giving up THREE ERRORS IN THREE PLAYS that loaded the bases with no outs and set everything up to be a disaster.

Texas basically needed six outs in the bottom of the seventh, because they gave up three outs with three errors in a row. They make those plays, Toronto goes down in order and it's 3-2 Texas in the top of the 8th. Instead, they shank three plays in a row, then freak out, and threw a meatball to Bautista, who's one of the hardest hitters in the game, and BANG, end of playoff run.

Three errors in a row. There's bad, and there's that.
posted by eriko at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Between New York, Kansas City, Toronto, and Chicago, there are inevitably going to be some long-suffering fans getting their hearts broken all over again this fall.

I will pour some beer out on the ground for y'all while I'm at the Cubs victory parade.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:07 PM on October 15, 2015


Chicago isn't long suffering, it's only been ten years since the last Chicago World Series!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:09 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


(transforms into a demonic rage monster)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:11 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos: "Chicago isn't long suffering, it's only been ten years since the last Chicago World Series!"

That one didn't count, it was by the third-most-popular baseball team in a state with only two baseball teams.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:11 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


That play really determined the game. If it wasn't so bizarre then the Blue Jays and their fans wouldn't have been so riled up. It's doubtful Andrus makes three errors in the bottom of the inning without the wrath of the Rogers crowd beating down on the Rangers, and it's doubtful the Jays would have been as aggressive at the plate.

(and it should be pointed out that the reason it hasn't really come up before is the new "hurry up" rules they instituted this year, that requires the batter to stay in the box. Choo normally would be five, six feet away doing his pre-swing rituals and in no position to interfere with that throw.)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:13 PM on October 15, 2015


Did I just prompt a Cubs fan to favorite a comment about how popular the Cardinals are in Illinois? Since this is apparently the end of days, the Cubs stand a chance!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:15 PM on October 15, 2015


Rule 5.06(c) isn't clear on the issue. It says definitively that no runner can advance while a ball is dead, but then lists exceptions, all of which are situations in which the rules stipulate fixed base runner advancements such as balks, interference, or balls leaving the field of play. This situation was different in that there was no prescribed base runner allowance. No unlimited base running situations are listed in the exceptions.
But...the rule also says "such as but not limited to" in reference to those stated exceptions. It seems the umpires, and MLB officials in New York, took that to mean unlimited base running can be allowed after time is called (making the ball dead) by the umpire. It's their call to do that, but it widens the rule to cover very different situations than those stated, effectively changing the application of the rule.
The Blue Jays had legitimate cause to protest that decision.
posted by rocket88 at 12:23 PM on October 15, 2015


The real drama would have been if the catcher's throw off the bat had caromed near a fielder, but the fielder didn't react promptly because they saw the ump call time, while the runner bolted for home. As it actually happened, the defense had no chance to get the runner, no matter what the ump did, but there are times when the umps have to place the runners after a dead ball where it is a lot more arbitrary.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:25 PM on October 15, 2015


Are you saying that these people have a whole set of rules and judicial processes that apply only to them? Some kind of Sharia Law?
posted by clawsoon at 12:28 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


tonycpsu: "It is narrowly true that an NFL ref blowing the whistle is much more of a final "end of play" event than umpires calling time is, but because of that, NFL refs seem to have developed a serious aversion to false positives when blowing the whistle. You see this a lot with edge cases around plays that might be incompletions or fumbles depending on whether the ball was caught, and sometimes with calls on whether players are down by contact -- refs seem to not want to make the call that ends the play unless they're sure about it."

It's been a really interesting gradual change in how the NFL is officiated and played. Players are much more likely to dive onto an incompleted pass that might eventually be ruled a lateral, and officials hold onto those whistles until everything stops moving.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:29 PM on October 15, 2015


I was at the Dome last night. The seventh inning was the most batshit crazy hour I have ever experienced. MLB wouldn't show it on TV, so the telecast really doesn't give you a clear picture of the rain of beer cans that was being thrown from the upper deck. It was a miracle nobody was hurt.

One of the Rogers Center staff was on the Fan590 morning show this morning, and said that people don't realize how close the umpires were to calling the game for safety reasons--which would have resulted in a forfeit for the home team.
posted by HighLife at 12:39 PM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


One of the Rogers Center staff was on the Fan590 morning show this morning, and said that people don't realize how close the umpires were to calling the game for safety reasons--which would have resulted in a forfeit for the home team.

I was curious and looked it up. 4.07 (b) (3.18 if you prefer 2014 rules)
(b) (3.18) The home team shall provide police protection sufficient
to preserve order. If a person, or persons, enter the playing field
during a game and interfere in any way with the play, the visiting
team may refuse to play until the field is cleared.
PENALTY: If the field is not cleared in a reasonable
length of time, which shall in no case be less than 15 minutes
after the visiting team’s refusal to play, the umpirein-chief
may forfeit the game to the visiting team.
I can't even imagine what would've happened if they forfeited the game.
posted by papercrane at 12:48 PM on October 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I found this interesting:

Rule 5.12 (8) Except in the cases stated in paragraphs (2) and (3)(A) of
this rule, no umpire shall call “Time” while a play is in
progress.

So the umpires can be in violation of the rules just as players and managers can, which appears to have happened here. I guess it's up to the players to determine on their own whether an umpires "time" call is legitimate, and act accordingly.
posted by rocket88 at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2015


My hoped-for and feared outcome looms: Cubs v. Jays in the WS. I previously described my hoped for result of the WS: Mune drives in the winning run in Game 7. If it is Cubs/Jays i will find myself in an awkward position should this come to pass.

BUSH PARTY!
posted by mwhybark at 2:31 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd already fallen in love with the Astros as my AL team for turning a laughing stock into a contender and having so much exciting young talent in Correa, Altuve, Springer, etc. but this guy is my new hero.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:14 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


If the field is not cleared in a reasonable length of time, which shall in no case be less than 15 minutes after the visiting team’s refusal to play, the umpirein-chief may forfeit the game to the visiting team.

I can't even imagine what would've happened if they forfeited the game.


I expect the field would continue to not be cleared.
posted by Kabanos at 3:45 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I'm so late to the game on this thread. I saw the one about the Cubs this morning, but totally missed this.

So, I was at the game, and I still have not come down from the fugue state created by that seventh inning. I've re-watched Bautista's home run about 30 times already today.

Also, Sportsnet just announced the ratings for the series:

-Average audience of 4.85 Million viewers (highest in the network's history, topping Game 4 of the series)
-Overall, 11.5 Million people watched some part of the game
-The audience peaked at 8.1 Million people during the ninth inning.

So, almost a third of the ENTIRE COUNTRY watched part of the game.
posted by dry white toast at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


As for myself, I have been a hardcore Jays fan since The Drive of '85. It has been a long 22 years. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life and I'm still not done savouring it.
posted by dry white toast at 3:58 PM on October 15, 2015


Also, if we're going to make jokes about how polite Canadians celebrate, the best evidence is this video of people running into the intersection of Yonge and Dundas to celebrate during the pedestrians-only phase, then clearing out when traffic gets a green light again.
posted by dry white toast at 4:05 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


That poor Texas shortstop. The first one was all his fault but the next two throwing errors where he was on the catch end--that guy is going to be having nightmares for the next 15 years.

This probably isn't going to make you feel better, but he was close to tears after the game because of that. I'm sure he won't be feeling better about that for a long time. Also, those two errors account for a little less than 10% of his total errors for the season. That dude is a beast when it comes to playing shortstop.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2015


dry white toast, I feel like years from now, I'll be able to walk by a random stranger on the street, our eyes will meet for a moment, and we'll just know the other was in the building for the 7th inning. It changes you, man.
posted by HighLife at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


“53 Minutes of Madness in Toronto: An Oral History of the ALDS Inning That Broke Baseball,” Ben Lindbergh, Grantland, 15 October 2015
On October 14, 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 in the fifth and final game of their American League Division Series. But Toronto’s win came at a steep cost to the sport, as the game’s senseless seventh inning pulled back baseball’s logical outer layer to expose the fetus fields and Langoliers below. For years, most participants have considered the inning too painful to talk about, but time has smoothed some of its emotional edges. Recently, we asked a few of the principals to delve into their pasts to explain the game’s troubling legacy.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:19 PM on October 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


"An Oral History"

I was going to rip them for calling something that happened yesterday "an oral history" but I see they anticipated that and made a funny out of it.

Well-played, Grantland. Well-played.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:27 PM on October 15, 2015


I'm mildly disappointed that the Dodgers lost and the Mets are going on. I live in Los Angeles so I guess I should be a Dodgers fan but I don't follow baseball too closely. I did waste some time on Tuesday night at Mlb.com looking at clips of Bartolo Colon hitting. It was an enjoyable experience and I can't recommend it enough.
posted by rdr at 4:24 AM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just now finally watched the video of the Martin/Choo/Odor incident. I'd heard the Toronto radio broadcast when it was live (on XM) and the way'd described it, it was obvious batter interference and the call was insane. They were insistent about it. I know announcers can be prone to homerism, but criminy, it's like they saw an entirely different game. The umps absolutely made the right call. It wasn't even close to being interference.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:31 PM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oof.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:52 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The umps absolutely eventually made the right call. The first call was dead ball/time out. No doubt that added to the announcers' confusion.
posted by rocket88 at 9:18 AM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Joey Bats: Are You Flipping Kidding Me?
The reality is that these guys came up playing baseball in an entirely different atmosphere. Come down to the Dominican Republic and experience it yourself. We’re loud. We’re emotional. We’re always singing and dancing. We love to laugh and have a good time. It’s ingrained in our DNA. And it doesn’t change when we’re playing baseball. To us, baseball isn’t a country club game. It’s our national pastime, and it comes packed with emotion.

[...]

In my opinion, true respect is about embracing the differences in people’s cultures. That’s what the melting pot of America is all about.

I flipped my bat. I’m human. The emotion got to me. It’s in my DNA. If you think that makes me a jerk, that’s fine. But let’s call it what it is. Let’s not have these loaded conversations about “character” and the integrity of the game every time certain players show emotion in a big moment. That kind of thinking is not just old school. It’s just ignorant.

And it is slowly becoming extinct.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:29 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


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