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Another early oddity: Seattle catcher uses mask to field ball

Apr 8, 2010, 6:07 PM EDT

It’s not just my imagination that we’ve had more than our usual share of weird plays these first few days, is it?
With the A’s up 4-0 on the Mariners in the eighth inning and Travis Buck on first Thursday, Cliff Pennington dropped down a bunt that bounced off the glove of third baseman Jose Lopez and started to roll towards foul territory down the third-base line.
Fortunately, catcher Adam Moore was in good position at the time and scooped the ball up before it got too far away. Unfortunately, he performed said scoop with the catcher’s mask in his right hand, rather than the glove on his left.
The miscue led to a meeting between the umpires and the eventual decision to award both runners an extra base, putting Pennington on second and Buck on third. Both later came around to score, giving the A’s a 6-0 lead.

  1. Roger Moore - Apr 9, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    That looks like a bad ruling. By Rule 7.05(b), the award is supposed to be three bases if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with “his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person”. Two bases would be correct for a thrown, not batted, ball.

  2. Mike - Apr 9, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Maybe it was only 2 bases since the ball first went off of Jose Lopez? Maybe that’s considered closer to a “thrown” ball than a “batted” ball since it came off of a fielder.

  3. Peter / Seattle - Apr 9, 2010 at 3:21 AM

    Roger – you got that one right on. I saw it on TV, said oh man that’s really bad. I’m a little league umpire, and I knew the penalty was there for that league, but wasn’t sure if it were the same for MLB as well. Sure enough. Same rule verbiage was on MLB rules site in 7.05.
    4 umpires in a huddle and all they came up with was a single base award – i feel better already for some of my calls…

  4. Dorian Gray - Apr 9, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Penalty for detached equipment on a batted ball is three bases. This instance is not a batted ball because Lopez misplays/deflects the ball, thus the two base award.

  5. John R. Grout - Apr 9, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Bob Geren may have been arguing that the A’s deserved two bases from the time of the violation for the mask being used to play a thrown ball. The sections of Rule 7.05 that deal with dead balls work that way… but misuse of equipment to field a thrown ball leaves the ball in play, so the penalty (two bases) is assessed from the beginning of the play and the runners are allowed to advance farther at their own risk (e.g., if Moore had misused his mask and then thrown the ball wildly into center field, Pennington could go beyond second and the lead runner beyond third… but only at their own risk).

  6. Daniel Watkins - Apr 10, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Why is using detached equipment considered a bad thing?

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