Did you know that bat boys and girls have to wear double ear-flap helmets? Or that the umpire-in-chief can choose a team’s manager for a game if the manager is ejected and doesn’t designate a temporary replacement? Or that a first baseman can now wear a glove instead of a mitt?
These are just a few of the hundreds of rules you may not be familiar with, and they’re found in the first few pages of the official rules.
Rules change every year, and the two most controversial calls of this year’s postseason, the Chase Utley slide and Wednesday’s call allowing Texas’ Rougned Odor to score on interference are sure to be looked at after the season.
While crew chief Dale Scott initially failed to make the correct call, I suppose he can be excused. It’s a play that few have actually seen before.
It turns out that there’s a rule that applies specifically to the play.
Coincidentally, Scott was involved with another controversial interference play just a few weeks earlier.
On Sept. 19, in the eighth inning of an Orioles game at Tampa Bay, Scott called Evan Longoria out for attempting to interfere with Matt Wieters’ throw to second. Pinchrunner Mikie Mahtook was out, and the Orioles won the game 2-1.
Scott was correct then, and he was correct yesterday, but something needs to change.
In the NFL, a referee announces to the crowd each time a play is being reviewed. In baseball, the umpire-in-chief needs to announce to the crowd each time there’s a review.
In most instances, it’s obvious what the review is for. Sometimes, there’s confusion, but as technology plays an ever greater role in the sport, fans and those in the press box deserve a timely review.
It’s fine for the crew chief to be available after a game to explain a rule or a decision to a pool reporter, but there needs to be something more.
In April, Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected from a game at Fenway Park for what home plate umpire Jordan Baker felt was an intentional throw at Boston’s Pedro Sandoval.
Crew chief Jerry Meals explained the interpretation to the pool reporter why Baker felt that way.
In this case, I was the pool reporter, and I distributed Meals’ explanation to all who were interested.
That’s good, but an explanation at the time of the call, even if it may incite the home crowd, would be better.
By the time the madcap inning ended, the Toronto Blue Jays were on their way to the ALCS for the first time in 22 years.
The Blue Jays-Royals series may be a fascinating one. It may be a close one, but certainly it’s not one that many Orioles fans can be looking forward to.
After the all the preening, the bat flips and the scrums, Orioles fans may temporarily root for Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Tommy Hunter’s Chicago Cubs against the winner of tonight’s Mets-Dodgers game.