Baseball is back in Philadelphia. How do we know? Because the umpires blew a basic call that could not be overturned by a challenge and confused everyone at the ballpark for ten minutes. With the bases loaded, Darin Ruf’s pop-up started to carry into the outfield. Padres shortstop Alexei Ramirez never had his footing under the ball, and it dropped to the outfield grass. It was called an infield fly. A run scored on the play, but Ruf was called out. Here’s how it looked:
The infield fly as defined by Major League Baseball, emphasis mine:
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out …
Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpires judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpires judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.
The umpires talked to MLB officials in New York on the headsets because of a tag out on an advancing runner at third base, which only added to the confusion. An inning later, Ruf was pulled off of first base on a stretch, even though the Padres’ runner had been called out. It was one of the more obvious overturned calls you’ll ever see. It still took the umpires five minutes to fix the call.
Baseball is BACK, baby.