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MLB changes the controversial scoring decision from Yu Darvish’s near-no-no

May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Darvish Odor Rios AP AP

Last Friday night Yu Darvish technically had his no-hitter broken up by a clean David Ortiz single in the ninth. In reality, if the official scorer of that game had done what every other official scorer does, it would’ve been broken up in the seventh when Ortiz lofted one between the second baseman and the right fielder, and having it drop in. That’s almost always ruled a hit, but the scorer called it an error.

That call has now been changed by Major League Baseball.

Definite mixed feelings on this. In an ideal world, mental errors that lead to balls dropping without being touched should be errors. They are miscues and mistakes and why more fielder’s aren’t credited with errors for making them is beyond me. On the other hand, if you’re going to make this corrective, you do it via an official action or instruction from Major League Baseball to its scorers, you don’t change the convention on the fly, in a situation that, by sheer coincidence, I’m sure, aided the home player pursuing history.

But we can all agree on this: no way this gets changed if Darvish completed the no-hitter by retiring Ortiz in the ninth. I can’t feature MLB erasing a no-no that got celebrated on the field and which likely would have led to memorabilia sales and all of that.

  1. scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Not crediting fielders with errors helps everyone. The fielder keeps his .992 rating, the hitter’s average goes up, and no one has to look like they made a mistake. I’ve always been of the opinion that there should be VASTLY more errors called than are in actuality. I understand that players are not robots, but isn’t that the point? Do we really need to baby professional athletes? The rule of thumb should be simple. If there was a reasonable assumption a play should have been made, and wasn’t, it’s an error. Notice that no where in my description does a player have to touch the ball, or even be in the vicinity. If I’m playing right field and a ball is hit directly toward me and I decide instead of raising my arm and catching the ball that I’m going to lay down and take a nap and the ball falls 15 feet from me, shouldn’t that be an error?

    • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      There’s even a rule in place for such a situation. Apparently MLB has either ignored it completely or decided “Well they’re the defending champions. If we don’t change this we’re gonna look stupid.” or something

    • Bryz - May 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      It helps everyone except the pitcher, who now watches his ERA rise a bit because of the run being earned instead of unearned.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Didn’t you know? It’s the pitcher’s fault for not getting a strikeout in the first place.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        There was no run.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    If you are going to break up a no-hitter it should be a clear cut hit. This was not a clean hit, regardless of official scoring trends.

    Changing it to a hit after the fact also seems silly. What is the benefit? Erasing an error from the fielder? He deserved an error. Adding a hit for Ortiz? Perhaps he ranted at the official scorer (again) and lobbied for this change.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      I hear what you are saying – but surely you would agree, 90% of the time that is called a hit. Where do you then draw the line? How many “non-clean” hits get ruled errors? If only one, why just one?

      • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        90% of the time it IS called a hit. It’s been called like that for years. And yes you can make the argument the scorer was influenced by the fact that it was his team. Still, he used proper judgement and applied the rules correctly. By changing it now, you’re basically saying you don’t care what the rules say and that we’re going by tradition.

        That’s what it was like up until this year on the topic of replay.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Find me two instances in which that play was a hit, and I will agree

      • clemente2 - May 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        In this case, the rules are the tradition.

        I agree this should have been an error, but to call it that, you need to change the way errors are being recorded in general, not just for this game.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        I totally agree. To be clear, I think that play SHOULD be an error. Same on making a low throw to first on a Double Play when you had all the time in the world to make an accurate throw.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Probably more than 90%. But it is still an error (whether officially or not), and should not be the lone play that stands between a no-hitter and something else. I think there is also a pretty rich history of these kinds of plays being ruled errors during no-hit bids. I don’t know how many such plays would be too many, but it usually works itself out.

    • playball - May 14, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Ortiz did appeal the call.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        of course he did. **rolls eyes**

      • playball - May 14, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        Grateful for production on the field, not so much off the field. I take a lot of heat for not falling for the act.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    My sense is that this was intended to send a message: hey official scorers! You have a job to do regardless of the repercussions. Hits are hits, regardless of the situation.

    • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Problem though is that the scorer made the right call based on the rule that was used. Rule 10.02 if I remember correctly. Elias Sports Bureau even agreed with him, so what the hell?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Here are the officical rules, read 10.12 for errors.

        What is says is this:

        The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball…….The official scorer shall not score mental mistakes or misjudgments as errors unless a specific rule prescribes otherwise.

        If that play was not a mental mistake, then what would constitute a mental mistake?

      • Francisco (FC) - May 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        The official rules you printed actually give you examples of what constitute mental mistakes:

        …The official scorer shall not charge an error if the pitcher fails to cover first base on a play, thereby allowing a batter-runner to reach first base safely. The official scorer shall not charge an error to a fielder who incorrectly throws to the wrong base on a play.

        THIS is what is meant by mental mistakes. I think the Ortiz dropped fly ball was a communication problem, THAT’S an error.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Of course Official scorers and MLB have been ruling these occurrences as hits forever. So really, they should just make up their minds and re-write the rule.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 14, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        @ FC – yes, that is AN example. It does not say it is the only example.

        In this case, both players thought the other was going to make the play. I think you are tying to split hairs saying “communication” mistakes are not mental mistakes. First off – it’s not like they sat and talked about it for 30 seconds – they had like 1 second at most. And second neither one called for the ball, and they each assumed the other was taking it. If that is not mental then what is it? An emotional mistake?

        Again, I think a play like that should be an error

  4. flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    This is where MLB has really displayed its hypocrisy. If the no-hitter had gone through and they had changed the call, fans everywhere would’ve been clamoring for Bud Light to change Armando Galarragga’s imperfect game to a perfect game, where Selig has been adamant that the call will never change. Here, they change it despite the fact that the scorer applied the proper rule into making the judgement. He even consulted with Elias Sports Bureau and they agreed with him. That means MLB is saying Elias is wrong.

    If you were going to leave if as a no-hitter, why not leave it as one hit? What are you gaining? IMO it just makes MLB look bad here because it’s not like the scorer made a egregious call.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      I am not one to defend Bud, but in the Galaragga case there really was no error to be found. Except for Joyce. If Joyce said the runner beat the ball, the runner beat the ball. There was no bobble or other error that could be called.

  5. senioreditor2 - May 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Loose the ball in the sun….a hit or error? To subjective and can be called either way. It’s been a hit and not an error for over a 100 years. The situation of the game should not dictate the call.

    • deep64blue - May 14, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      You need to learn the difference between loose and lose!!

      • infieldhit - May 15, 2014 at 12:43 AM

        Error all the way.

  6. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - May 14, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    MLB changed this but couldn’t see fit to give Armando Galarraga his perfect game that he freaking earned and that every human being with a set of eyeballs knows he got. If you can’t fix the no-brainers, then don’t bother dicking around with the borderline calls.

    • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:28 PM


    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      If Galaraga was David Ortiz you bet there would have been a change.

  7. psunick - May 14, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    There’s already an “instruction from MLB to its scorers,” Craig – in the rulebook.

    10.12(a)(1): The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgement, an outfielder in that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball.

    Doesn’t that sound like what the scorer from Texas based his decision upon?

    • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      It was. Again, he also consulted Elias with it. MLB is basically saying “We don’t care what Elias says! They’re wrong!”

      You can argue “Oh but it’s been called a hit for 100 years!” and you’d be right. But you can’t say the scorer didn’t used proper judgement and proper rule applications in the decision. Upon context of the rules, the decision made sense. And honestly, what makes this more infuriating to me is that MLB would likely not have changed it had it been a no-hitter. Why risk the P.R. disaster?

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 14, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      And I guarantee you that the same scorer has called that a hit a zillion more times.

      But it’s not my point that he got it wrong. He actually did get it right. My point is that if we’re going to start enforcing the scoring rule in that instance we need to start enforcing it elsewhere, and there is no suggestion whatsoever that either MLB or its scorers are inclined to do that. Indeed, with this reversal, it’s quite the opposite.

    • gibbyfan - May 14, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      My thoughts exactly –the rules is crystal clear so I just don’t get the problem. It’s like MLB needs to create problems where they don’t exist –Bizzare

  8. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - May 14, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    I can’t help but think this happened because MLB Network’s own personal in-house jack-a**, Harold Reynolds, decided to rant about the call saying it was “the worst ruling in Major League Baseball history.” If he hadn’t made a spectacle of it (and an a** of himself), I don’t think MLB would have lifted a finger. Of course, if Reynolds hadn’t made an a** of himself by hitting on interns at ESPN so many years ago, he probably wouldn’t be working for MLB Network either.

    • flamethrower101 - May 14, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      For MLB officials to acknowledge watching MLB Network, they would have to acknowledge there are people out there who know more about how the game works than those in MLB Headquarters…even if one of them is Harold Reynolds.

  9. tysonpunchinguterus - May 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    This happened Friday night and it took MLB until Wednesday to change it? With that sort of response time for a play like that, it’s no wonder the study on moving the A’s to San Jose hasn’t been finished yet.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      Really long huddle?

  10. musketmaniac - May 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    can you imagine how many home team rulings have padded the stats of the players before television or replay. My money says Things like Ty Cobbs .400 season would have never happened with out a little help. We can not trust any stat that can not be proved by tape.

    • 18thstreet - May 14, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Daniel was a baseball writer who had covered the Yankees for a long time, was a personal friend of many of the players, traveled with the team and submitted his expenses to it. He was also the official home-game scorer for the Yankees. He decided, among other things, whether any at-bat should be adjudged a hit by the batter or an error by the fielder, yet he was, in Robbeson’s words, “as much a PR man as a reporter.”

      Specifically, Robbeson cites two games in the middle of the streak, the 30th and 31st, when DiMaggio managed just one hit. In each of these games, the hit was suspect and could well have, and perhaps should have, been deemed an error.

  11. grumpyoleman - May 14, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    We need challenges to make sure we get every scoring decision correct.

  12. johnnysoda - May 14, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    That’s a shame.

    I don’t care if the fielder didn’t touch the ball, it was an error then, an error now, and will be an error a thousand years from now.

  13. 18thstreet - May 14, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    This is the smallest outrage in history.

  14. nothanksimdriving123 - May 14, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Even worse than this change supporting the “unwritten” rules over the real ones is that Harold Reynolds will be gloatingly vindicated for his rant last week that this was the worst call in baseball history. Ugh.

  15. broncosbrowns - May 15, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Odds are somewhere close to zero that they change the official scoring if Ortiz doesn’t break up the no hitter in the 9th.

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