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Video: The Dbacks win in a controversial walkoff

Aug 4, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT

Watch how the Diamondbacks beat the Pirates yesterday afternoon. Specifically, watch Nick Ahmed‘s left arm reach up to block the relay throw that would’ve likely completed an inning-ending double play rather than allow the winning run to score:

Rule 7.09 controls here. Subsection (f) says:

If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall also call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home plate regardless where the double play might have been possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such interference.

I realize a lot of runners put their hands up when they slide, but (a) it’s usually both hands and it’s usually in a manner which is to balance them in the air, not a one-armed grab like Ahmed’s here; and (b) combined with the way in which he clearly moved off the baseline and toward the fielder, it was pretty clear that he was trying to break up the double play. But it is a judgment call, so it’s not like it was reviewable.

Here’s Umpire: Ron Kulpa’s explanation of the judgment made:

It has to have been willful and deliberate with obvious intent to break up a double play. The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up that double play. Guys slide into second base all the time with their hands up.”

Tip your cap to Ahmed for selling it. And ask yourself whether Kirk Gibson and the Dbacks would’ve thought it was a swell play if the situation was reversed. Or, alternatively, whether they would’ve talked about it being bush league and maybe thrown at someone the next time they met.


  1. fordman84 - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Any news on if that broke his arm? He sure wasn’t moving it or giving high-fives. Didn’t watch the interview with him after either, but quite often when the throw hits one side of the arm like that you walk away with a fracture.

    • larrymahnken - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      If it did break his arm, Gibson will probably throw at Nix next time the Diamondbacks see him.

  2. kmneilso - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    I’ve seen this before. Lenny Dykstra made that exact move 20+ years ago in a game against the Cubs. He did a better job of making it look like an accident. He also got away with it. At a glance, I cannot find a reference to the game. Kerry

    • clydeserra - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      you also may want to look at the 1978 world series and the reggie jackson hip check

      • 78mu - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Jackson’s the one I thought of. At least Ahmed was sliding.

  3. dan1111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Even after watching the replay a bunch of times, it is not clear to me that he intended to block the ball. The arm movement could be seen as a natural part of his slide. I think the umps made the right (non-)call. Unless something is really blatant, we don’t want them to insert their judgment into the game in plays like this.

    This is just talking about the arm movement. Ahmed was pretty obviously making a take-out slide, which is also technically illegal under the rule. But that sort of thing is routinely allowed.

  4. saints97 - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Isn’t it weird that guys arms don’t go in the air like that when there is not a throw to be made? Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

    • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Have you ever slid during a game? I was taught in Little League that every time you slide, you throw your arms in the air. It’s not intentional interference, especially if the ball is coming from behind you.

      If the ball hits you, it hits you. Even though you have a better chance of getting hit in the body.

      lt isn’t intentional interference, but it’s no different than trying to break up a double play with a hard slide.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        LOL WUT? “Taught to throw your hands in the air”

        Like you just don’t care?

        I was taught to slide, never was there any mention of throwing hands up in the air.

      • saints97 - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        I teach kids. You don’t slide by throwing your hands in the air. Whoever taugh you that was either a fool or made up. I’m guessing the latter.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Well, you should go back and watch some old video and look at some older pictures.

        It was a common practice to teach, and to do, exactly as I said. There was baseball before 1995.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        I’m not sure why people insist on ignoring reality.

        If your head/torso are left to fall (as they are in sliding feet first, jumping off a cliff, whatever), it is a normal action for your hands/arms to go above your head….in part for balance, but the action also allows for a softer landing by preventing all of your mass from hitting the ground at the same time.

        Good luck to these people finding videos of guys sliding that don’t wind up with their hands above their head as they slide.

        In this instance, it isn’t like the guy jumped, his arms were about 4′ off the ground when the ball hit him….I suppose he was clairvoyant and knew the 2B was going to sling the ball side-armed….because a throw to 1st base is rarely less than 4′ off the ground a few feet from 2B.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Thank you Paper. I just thought it was common knowledge, and didn’t need to be explained.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Eh, in my experience people will twist themselves in knots to deny the truth if they prefer an alternative explanation.

      • seeinred87 - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:31 PM (arms go out, not up)

        These are double plays just going back the past couple days. The VAST majority involve the guy going to second with his hands either down or out, very rarely up. And when guys do throw an arm up, they bring it right back down.

        It seems like especially on really hard takeout slides like Ahmed’s, guys’ hands are typically down.

        I don’t think he willfully and deliberately knocked the ball down, but it seems like keeping the hands down or out is way, way more common than throwing them straight up like that.

      • spudchukar - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        @thatsnuckinfuts, then you had a poor teacher, and yes everytime you slide you should throw your hands in the air, slide on your butt, not on the side of your slide, like you see so much today, in order that you can pop up and advance to the next base. It also allows you to slide later, and propel yourself faster into the base. Get a clue.

      • 78mu - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        Let’s look at the Tom Emanski how to slide video. Do back to back to back AAU champions slide with their hands in the air?

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        I don’t know. I know the Yankees won 5 World Series iin a row (twice) with players who slide with their hands in the air.

        I’m sorry, were you trying to make some kind of point?

  5. jm91rs - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I don’t think he tried to knock the ball down as much as he just tried what everyone does, stay up as tall as possible until the last second and then try to break the knees of the guy throwing the ball. The simple fact that he slid 1 foot to the right of the bag in order to destroy the 2nd baseman is what bothers me here. Why is it that so many people care about the catcher and home plate collisions yet no one cares that the sole objective of a guy going into second on a potential double play is to take out the thrower? This is not a baseball play in my opinion.

    • dsaverno - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      I must be in the minority here. I have no horses in this race, and I see a blatant attempt to deflect/distract/dismember the thrower. If the ball doesn’t hit his arm, nobody says anything, but it did. I don’t think the run should have counted.

      And as far as sliding right into the pivot man goes, baseball already has bent the rules; we call it the
      ‘neighborhood play.’

      Plus, I wanted to see Kirk Gibson’s stubble spontaneously combust.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        How is that thee neighborhood play?

        Please explain?

      • Bryz - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        dsaverno meant the neighborhood play is baseball’s way of eliminating/reducing contact at second base. We do care about these plays, it’s just that the runner usually slides into the fielder, whereas at home plate runners were throwing their shoulders into the catchers.

        In this case, the second baseman could have executed the neighborhood play by stepping off the base early to avoid getting trucked by Ahmed. By the way, yeah Ahmed went out of his way to hit the fielder, but the rule is that the runner is allowed to do this as long as he can still make a reasonable attempt to touch 2nd base. He didn’t make much of an attempt to hit the bag, but on the replay it sure looks like he could have hit it with his left hand if he had tried.

      • borgmon - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        Of course in order to touch second with his left hand he would have had to have his left arm down on the ground!

  6. tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    To make things even worse for the Pirates, they have to be prepared for the next time they meet. The DBags’ 2nd baseman is going to intentionally throw at a runner.

    • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Why not? The Pirates second baseman threw at the Diamondback runner. Or did you miss the part where he dropped down and threw sidearm instead of over the top? When the ball hit the runner, he was about 5 feet from the fielder, and the ball hit his arm a foot away from his face. If the runner had rolled even slightly, he would have got in the nose.

      You know why that happens? Because fielders are taught to do that, to make the runner get down and slide. In other words, the Pirates fielder ‘played the game the right way’, and made a ‘gritty’ play.

      A thrown ball to the face is much more dangerous than a slide. Where’s your condemnation of that? Or does it blow your narrative that Gibson and the Diamondbacks are the only ones ruining the game of baseball and western civilization as we know it.

      Go back and watch the video again. The reason it was missed is becasue 90% of you posing here don’t know anything about the game at all, as you prove every day. 9% of you know, but can’t give up on your irrational hatred of Kirk Gibson long enough to recognize the truth.

      The 1% who know the game and still haven’t given in to the mob mentality are tired of explaining the game to the rest of you.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        I have tickets to a comedy festival this weekend.

        Please don’t be in the audience.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Wow, that’s the best come back you could think of?

        And it’s not even about baseball. Imagine that.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        I just don’t want Louis CK or Hannibal Buress to have to stop after every joke to explain it to someone who takes everything literally.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Let’s see. I correctly interpret the play. You make fun of the game because you don’t anything about it.

        You’re my new hero.

  7. ripdipbob - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Again bad officiating keeps creeping up…baseball needs to clean house with these guys. Angel Hernandez your in the hole

  8. moogro - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Pirates blew it in the 7th,8th and 10th innings. Doom was lurking.

  9. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    According to the Diamondbacks own unwritten rules, the Pirates have to retaliate by kneecapping him in the parking lot. It’s the only way to stay gritty.

    • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      Please explain how this was an example of unwritten rules?

      Everything that happened was covered in, and ruled on from, the rule book. Which is in writing.

      I’m really curious how this situation applies to the silly little game of attributing anything most of you don’t like to unwritten rules?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        Someone apparently doesn’t understand sarcasm. It would appear that I need to explain the joke to you. It’s a joke based off how the Diamondbacks have self imposed themselves as enforcers of ridiculous excuses for unwritten rules. (In orther words, they are so self-righteous they feel they solely are the ones allowed to cause physical harm to other players and are somehow exempt from retribution themselves.) Now the Diamondbacks have done something kind of shady in potentially intentionally interfering with a play in progress. If they are going to get on a moral high-ground, they should be judged twice as harshly.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        So it was really an unwritten rule? You just felt the need to make that up in order to have a reason to complain about the Diamondbacks without really having anything to complain about?

        And you think the ball players have silly unwritten rules?#

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        When you tell the same joke every day, in every situation, and it wasn’t funny to start with, it ceases to be a joke and just becomes petty whining.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 4, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        I have no clue what you are even talking about at this point. What joke have I told every day? Please, find another post of mine where I’ve made fun of the Diamondbacks for their embarrassing behavior in over-enforcing unwritten rules. If you want to see examples of petty wining, look no further than all of your posts in this thread.

  10. umrguy42 - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    (b) combined with the way in which he clearly moved off the baseline and toward the fielder, it was pretty clear that he was trying to break up the double play

    Yeah, I might be willing to give the arm thing a pass under “reasonable doubt”, but that curve at the end to target the second basement is definitely deliberate interference.

    • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      How did he interfere with the second base man after he had released the ball? Please, provide detail.

      • umrguy42 - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        Sorry for the delayed response – he angled *away* from the base (and his baseline) to slide at the second base man (who was on the outfield side, rather than the infield side). Definitely interference. If I’m not mistaken, technically *any* takeout slide is interference, but they’re usually given leeway (as with the hands thing) because the fielder is usually right next to / behind the bag towards the infield, and thus, right in the extension of the runner’s lane/slide path – hence, the neighborhood play so the fielder doesn’t get clobbered. But for this, he angled like he was trying to get around a catcher at the plate, almost.

      • blacksables - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        The fielder had already released the ball, and the play at second was over.

        Please, tell me how he interfered with the fielder after the play at second was over, well after the ball was released.

        And no, ‘takeout’ slides are not automatically interference.

        The fielder had already released the ball. By throwing it at the runner’s head. How is that not a problem to you?

  11. 6superbowls - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    MLB = WWF

  12. blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    The second baseman got the throw off cleanly. How did the runner interfere with him?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      He interfered with the throw. By, you know, hitting it. If he had taken off slowly from first base and was standing in the baseline and just caught the ball with his bare hands, that would be interference too.

      • blacksables - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        They didn’t say throw. They said the fielder. I know the difference, which is why I asked.

        How did he interfere with the fielder?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Here’s the thing though….almost everyone that slides feet first throws up at least one arm almost all the time…often the arm on the same side of the body of the foremost foot during the slide.

        I’m sure you enjoy this memory. Check out Sid Bream’s slide and the left arm going up and out as he slid:

        ….was he trying to knock down the throw? Of course not…it is a normal sliding motion. Feel free to take the kids outside and video them sliding, I’ll be shocked if the natural action doesn’t result in hands of their heads as they go to the ground.

      • clydeserra - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        but not if he bumped it with his hip, right?

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        @Paper Lions re: often the arm on the same side of the body of the foremost foot during the slide.

        In the video you provided, Bream lifts the same arm as his forefoot.

        In the original video posted above, Ahmed lifts his left arm and leads with his right foot.

      • spudchukar - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        And if he turned around and ran back to first and the infielder nailed him in the back with the throw would that be interference too. No of course not. It is intent that matters not whether you are struck by the ball or not. If you are in the baseline and the ball hits you it is tough luck unless it is confirmed that you purposefully interfered.

        You are all wet on this one Craig. To take it a step further, runners are taught to try and move toward the glove, intentionally trying to allow the ball to strike you when you are in a run down, or have been picked off. Your back is to the throw, but as a runner you can tell the direction the ball is taking by the fielders reaction to the throw. In a sense you are “intentionally” trying to get the ball to hit you, but as long as you stay within the baseline boundaries, you will never be called out because it isn’t possible to discern your motive.

        The umps got the play correctly. It sucked for the Pirates, and was a gut-wrenching way to end a game, but thus is life.

  13. imthedudedude - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    A tutorial about sliding feet first. Start at the one minutes mark and listen for a second. Cause none of you are very good at that obviously.

  14. sisisisisisisi - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    FIFA would have given him a yellow or red card

  15. ryanaammess - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Somebody should throw at Gibson while hes standing in the dugout.

  16. robocallsplz - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    He swatted at the ball. Watch the replays. That arm wasn’t up there for balance — it was a deliberate attempt to break up the double play.

  17. mlbfan8898 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    So whenever the DBacks do something you don’t like, you scream bloody murder, but if was some other team, you’d just brush it off…got it.

  18. Uncle Charlie - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:51 PM


  19. zico25 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    As a Pirates fan, kudos to Paper Lions for using the Sid Bream slide of all the choices for an example to show Pirates’ fans that arms sometimes go airborne during a slide.

  20. stlouis1baseball - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    I played baseball for years. I currently play competitive softball (i.e. NOT rec league).
    The only time I have ever slid and did NOT put my hands up was when sliding head first.
    Why? To distract the person throwing the baseball.

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