Playing, coaching or umpiring baseball games for a number of years should lead to knowing all the ins and outs of the rule book, right? That doesn't seem to be the case for everyone given the amount of blown calls we've seen this season. ESPN's baseball crew teamed up with a rules expert to create and administer a quiz to current MLB players, managers/coaches and the media. The results were less than impressive. Do you know the game better than the people who live it every day?
1. The Phillies have Ben Revere on second base and no outs when Michael Young hits a shot to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who is playing at normal depth. On the pitch, Revere attempts to steal third and is hit by the batted ball while sliding into the base. Even though Revere was on third base when struck by the batted ball, he should be called out because he interfered with Frazier and kept him from making a play. True or false?
2. The Indians have Michael Bourn on first base and one out when Nick Swisher launches a fly to deep center field. Bourn rounds second base and then tries to retreat to first base thinking the ball will be caught by Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner. But Gardner can't reach the ball and, in the process, Swisher heads to second base and is about to pass Bourn, who is returning to first base. Swisher, realizing the ball was not caught, pushes Bourn toward second. Bourn reaches second safely while Swisher returns to first. Swisher should be called out for making contact with Bourn and assisting him on the bases. True or false?
3. The Cubs have Starlin Castro on second and Welington Castillo on first and no outs when Darwin Barney bunts the ball about 20 feet in the air. Mets pitcher Matt Harvey allows the ball to fall to the ground untouched and starts a 1-5-4-3 triple play. There is no argument, but the umpires should have called the infield fly rule to protect the runners. True or false?
4. The Astros bat out of order in the first inning as they do not follow the lineup card submitted to the plate umpire prior to the game. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly does not appeal the batting out of order since no runner reached base. Astros manager Bo Porter can correct the mistake and have his team bat in proper order the remainder of the game without penalty. True or false?
5. The Pirates have Neil Walker on third base and one out when Pedro Alvarez hits a fly ball near the stands along the third-base line. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre makes a leaping catch and falls into the stands, holding on to the ball. The catch should count, but as soon as Beltre falls into the stands, time should have been called and Walker should have been sent home and allowed to score. True or false?
6. The Angels have the bases loaded and no outs. Kansas City's infield is playing in when Josh Hamilton hits a shot that gets by Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and hits Albert Pujols, who is immediately behind Hosmer and headed to second base. Even though the ball strikes Pujols, he should not be called out because no other infielder had a chance to make the play after the ball got past Hosmer. True or false?
7. The Twins have the bases loaded and two outs when Justin Morneau wallops a grand slam. Josh Willingham, the runner on first base, misses second base as he circles the bases. The Athletics appeal that Willingham missed second base, and the appeal is upheld. Willingham is called out. The Twins should score two runs on the play. True or false?
8. The Red Sox have Dustin Pedroia on second and no outs. David Ortiz is the batter facing White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana, who does not make a complete stop in his set position. Umpire Dale Scott yells "Balk," but Quintana delivers the pitch and Ortiz crushes it for a home run. Because Quintana balked, the ball is dead, the home run is nullified, and Pedroia is sent to third base. Ortiz must remain in the batter's box with the same count as before the balk occurred. True or false?
9. The Blue Jays are playing the Padres. In the eighth inning, Jays manager John Gibbons goes to the mound to remove R.A. Dickey. He brings in Chad Jenkins and spends some time going over the situation with the reliever. Gibbons walks back toward the dugout and crosses the foul line when he decides he wants to give further instructions to Jenkins. Gibbons should not be allowed to do this because it would give him two trips to the mound with the same batter at bat. True or false?
10. The Orioles have Nick Markakis on third and no outs when Chris Davis hits a ground ball to Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin and is out 4-3. On the play, Markakis scores from third. But plate umpire Todd Tichenor calls catcher's interference on Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre. Tichenor carries out the penalty of the rule and sends Markakis back to third and awards Davis first base. Orioles manager Buck Showalter informs Tichenor that he wants to take the play instead of the penalty. This means that Showalter trades the out for the run. Tichenor does not allow Showalter to do this, claiming the ball is dead the moment Davis' bat makes contact with the catcher's mitt. The umpire is correct. True or false?
1. True. With the exception of the infield fly rule, the base does not provide a sanctuary for the runner if struck by a batted ball while on it.
2. False. A runner can assist another runner as long as he did not score or was already put out. A runner can actually carry a teammate around the bases.
3. False. Bunts are not included in the infield fly rule. The umpires were correct in not invoking the rule.
4. True. The offensive team can correct the error at any time during the game.
5. True. When a fielder carries the ball into dead ball territory and controls the ball, he is credited with the catch but all runners are awarded one base on the play.
6. True. When a runner is struck by a batted ball, he should not be called out if no other infielder has a chance to make a play. This applies only if the ball has passed an infielder.
7. False. No runs can score when an inning ends in a forceout. Because Willingham was forced to go to second on the play, the appeal resulted in an inning-ending forceout.
8. False. When a balk is called, the play is not necessarily dead. If all runners including the batter advance at least one base on the play, the balk is nullified.
9. False. Gibbons was within his rights to return to the mound. He had not yet made a visit to Jenkins since the original visit is charged to Dickey, the pitcher being removed from the game.
10. False. The ball is not dead when catcher's interference is called. If all runners including the batter advance one base, the infraction is ignored. However, if that does not happen, the manager of the offensive team can elect to take the play instead of the penalty -- sounds like football! In baseball, however, the manager must initiate the conference with the umpire. If he doesn't, the umpire will carry out the penalty aspect of the rule. In the play in question, Markakis would be returned to third since he was not forced to advance on the play and Davis would be awarded first base.