White Sox

The home run that wasn't: Jose Abreu hit a single out of the park

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By White Sox Insiders
White Sox

Sometimes, the things we love are dumb. It's inevitable. As much as we might love something, there are parts about that something, tiny parts or big parts, that will pop up from time to time and strike us as silly and nonsensical.

We saw one of the dumb things about baseball in action Friday night on the South Side.

In the midst of a thrilling White Sox comeback — they were down a run, 10-9, after trailing 8-1 earlier in the evening — Jose Abreu hit a home run that had Guaranteed Rate Field on its feet. It was a three-run shot, into the front row of the seats in left-center field. The White Sox had a 12-10 lead and seemed on their way to a big comeback win over the division-rival Detroit Tigers.

But then the dumb thing happened.

The Tigers challenged the play, saying Abreu had run past Tim Anderson, who started the play at first base, during the home-run trot and that Abreu should be out because of it. They were right. That's what the rule book says. After a video review, Abreu's three-run home run was overturned to a two-run single, with Abreu out on the base paths.

That's right, Abreu didn't score on his own home run.

Well, the White Sox still had a lead. Briefly. Kelvin Herrera served up a game-tying solo shot not long after, and what should've been a 12-11 game was then an 11-all game. If not for Anderson's walk-off homer in the ninth inning, this bizarre play could have been the difference between a win and a loss for the White Sox on Friday night.

 

"I made a mistake. It was my mistake," Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo after the game. "When I hit the ball, I just thought it was a regular fly ball to the warning track and I didn’t see TA. That happened, it was my mistake, I take full responsibility for that. I felt bad, but we won the game and like I said before, that’s what matters."

Certainly. The White Sox won. Let Anderson be the GOAT instead of trying to make Abreu the goat. Mistakes happen. Big deal. The biggest bummer, perhaps, is that it made Abreu's recent hot streak slightly less scorching. He's batting .519 with four doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs in his last six games. There could be another homer and another RBI on that tally.

What's dumb about this whole situation, though, is that the rule is what it is in the first place. If the ball leaves the field of play and there is no chance or need for a play to be made at any base, who really cares whether Abreu briefly passes Anderson on his way to home plate? What difference does that have on the outcome of the play? The ball left the yard, it's a home run. In what way does the positioning of the trotting base runners matter if they've already been awarded home plate?

If Abreu roped a ball down the foul line or bounced one off the wall, then certainly the rule should apply. Jockeying base runners with a ball in play could screw up all sorts of things for the fielders and the runners themselves. But if they're just casually making their way around the bases? Doesn't seem like something that needs to exist.

Again, the White Sox won. This served merely as a bizarre moment in the game, not the defining one. But maybe baseball wants to rethink this one.

Otherwise, it will have to remain one of those quirky, dumb things about this game we love.

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