Instant Replay: Pence hit ball TWICE for double that broke open Game 7 of NLCS

Would the Giants have won game 7 of the NLCS, if instant replay was used?

The ‘Twice-Struck Double” by Hunter Pence in the third inning that plated two runs and broke the game open was the result of a broken bat and a slo-mo replay showed that the bat hit the ball TWICE.

With instant replay, the Cardinals could have protested the double-hit double on basis of Rule 6.05 (h), which states that:

“a batter is ruled out and the play is ruled dead with no advancement by the runners when the batter hits a ball a second time in fair territory.”

When you review the normal speed section of the video clip, you will notice that the bat breaks as Pence swings and strikes the ball and you will see that Card’s SS Pete Kozma was initially moving to his right, but then, suddenly, he attempts to reverse course and reach toward the second base bag to catch the ball on a hop.  The ball touches the infield dirt and takes a crazy hop away from the SS.

0:00 to 0:40

http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?tcid=mm_sf_vid&c_id=sf

At 0:40, during the slo-mo section, you will see the bat hit the ball and you will see this sequence:

The ball hits the bat and shatters a piece above the batter’s hands.

The bat breaks in two and the separated barrel part strikes the ball a second time, as the piece is carried forward by the momentum created by the break.

The ball then appears to roll all the way down to the end of the detached barrel section, which seems to put a spin on the ball.

The Card’s SS, Pete Kozma, saw the ball hit the bat and reacted, as he would, if the bat had not broken.  Then, he saw the ball shoot off the bat in the opposite direction, then hit the dirt and spin off toward second base.

[VIDEO:  Pence swing in continuous loop: http://www.yardbarker.com/author/article_external/12033176?mailing_id=1936&linksrc=mb_main_col_7]

At Fangraphs, Eno Sarris wonders about the definition of a “broken” bat:

“Is Pence’s bat broken the minute the handle spits out a splinter? Then yes, the hit should be legal. It was just a part of the broken bat touching the ball in fair territory (probably). But if Pence’s bat was still judged to be ‘whole,’ then it was an illegal hit and he should have been out.

In this particular case, there’s no way to heap on this umpire for making a bad call. After all, you’re asking him to make a philosophical decision — when is a bat truly ‘broken’ — after a play that only became clear once the slow-mo camera was applied.”

SEE video loop: http://www.yardbarker.com/author/article_external/12033176?mailing_id=1936&linksrc=mb_main_col_7

Suppose, with instant replay in use, the Cardinals protested and the umpires re-viewed the slow motion clip?  Thanks to a super slow motion camera used by Fox, that shoots at 5,000 frames per second,they would see that the bat hit the ball twice and was then was guided by the barrel section that is no longer under the control of the batter.

0:40

http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?tcid=mm_sf_vid&c_id=sf

Would the umpires have ruled the ball dead, because the batter hit it twice?

Or, did the batter hit it only once, while it was under his control and did the bat barrel, now independent of the batter hit the ball the second time?

Fortunately, the comment under Rule 6.05 (h) provides language that informs the correct call:

if a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called.”

The Cardinals would have lost their protest; the umpires should have ruled that although Rule 6.05 (h) states that:

“a batter is ruled out and the play is ruled dead with no advancement by the runners when the batters hits a ball a second time in fair territory.”

It also includes a ruling for a broken bat:

“if a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called.”

While, in this case, instant replay would not have changed the umpire’s call, it begs the question:  shouldn’t instant replay be utilized in Post-season games?

With so much on the line, one mistake by an umpire could change the outcome of a game and a series.  In the course of the 162 games of the regular season, statistical research suggests that bad calls will even out, or, at least, have a minimum impact on a team’s final W-L record.

The natural flow of the Summer Game’s sultry season, should not be interrupted by replay challenges, but it would be appropriate to allow for appeals during Post-season games.

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

 

 

 

Tags: APPROVED RULING Broken Bat Dead Ball Interference MLB Instant Replay Post-Season Regular Season Rule 6.05 (h) Ruling Umpire

comments powered by Disqus