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The transfer rule strikes again

Apr 14, 2014, 10:55 PM EDT

transfer play

We touched on the changes to the “transfer rule” last week and it reared its head again during the sixth inning of tonight’s game between the Mariners and Rangers.

Mariners shortstop Brad Miller hit a comebacker to Rangers left-hander Pedro Figueroa, who threw to catcher J.P. Arencibia for a force out at home plate. Arencibia dropped the ball on the transfer and was unable to make a throw to first base to double up Miller, so Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon emerged from the dugout to challenge the call of the force out at home plate. The call was ultimately reversed and the Mariners were awarded another run.

Check out the play below:

Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to argue after the umpires reversed the call, which is an automatic ejection. Many have said that the new replay system will result in fewer manager ejections. And that’s probably true. Still, the new interpretation of the transfer rule will continue to provide plenty of controversy and frustration as the season moves along.

  1. holleywood9 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    I feel like I don’t know anything anymore. This rule makes me hate baseball a little bit

    • gabrielthursday - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      Just a brutal rule interpretation. If you want to restrict it to the double-play transfer, fine, but it’s clearly causing a hell of a lot more trouble now than the old rule interpretation ever did.

      • thebadguyswon - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:41 AM

        MLB does a fantastic job of hurting their sport through bad publicity and ridiculous rules and scoring decisions. They really are something else.

  2. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    He was clearly out. The catcher caught the ball & his foot dragged across the plate. He just couldn’t get a grip on the ball to throw it to first. I’d be angry too if I was Ron Washington.

    • madhatternalice - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      they can be angry, but the rule is pretty clear. they should be angry that the whole rule change happened in the first place, but the ump here is just following the rules.

      • stex52 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Washington is getting attention paid to a really idiotic rule interpretation by getting thrown out of a game they will lose anyway. It seems pretty good to me. The stupidity needs to be protested.

      • 1981titan - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Well The Rule change is STUPID. Just like the third to first balk rule change last year. These clowns on the rules committee have gotten like a lame duck president. It’s all about their legacy. Screw the game as it’s been played for over a hundred years.

  3. calmincali - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    I couldn’t finish watching the video. Hearing those dolts justify overturning that call as soon as the play finished was too much to take.

    • offthelows - Apr 15, 2014 at 5:07 AM

      nobody explaining the situation correctly is a dolt, nor in explaining it are they justifying the rule. You’ll hear a lot more of that explanation if the rule isn’t changed, and the people doing the explaining most likely won’t agree with the rule they are explaining.

      Yeah, the rule results in mass confusion for baserunners and fielders and results in a lot of sloppy baseball. I hope they change the rule to simply control in the glove

  4. seanwasamarine - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Even with replay, umpires are still a joke.

  5. sophiethegreatdane - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    This rule is out of control. That’s clearly an out and has been forever.

  6. yankees218 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    How can you have a certain rule all hear years and then just decide to change it? That has ALWAYS been an out. This really pisses me off.

  7. pappageorgio - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    What is this the NFL? Are umps going to start talking about the process of the catch?

    Replay was supposed to clear things up, not give umps an excuse to muddy the water and insert themselves into the game. The next step, if they follow the NFL model, is to start writing really vague rules that have to be “interpreted” instead of making calls.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      This isn’t a replay issue, it’s a dumb-ass rule change issue.

      • pappageorgio - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        True…but the “process” garbage didn’t come about until you had a ref who had entirely too much time to look over catches. It is or it isn’t. Left unchecked….it will ultimately turn into the NFL where your big markets get every advantage and calls are skewed to keep excitement going in races that should be over.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        Yes, it came about at the same time as instant replay… which is a little foolish, considering instant replay makes it easier to determine if the catch was completed before the ball was lost on the transfer. MLB could quite easily go back to the old rule without affecting IR at all.

      • spudchukar - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        What puzzles me is why the need for the change. Was there some outcry somewhere that I am unaware of? I sure don’t recall any demand for the rules to be altered. Perhaps it is a result of the replay and an obviation of the double play transfer, but now confusion reigns. MLB wizards over thought this one. Please let us return to days of yore.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        I suspect the outcry came from the Balls. “We demand to be transferred and not dropped in the process of being thrown! it’s only polite you know!”.

  8. kingscourt25 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    The title should be: J.P. Arencibia strikes again

    • stex52 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Arenciba is pretty bad. But he’s not the problem here. Ridiculous rule.

      • kingscourt25 - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        Nah, most compentent catchers are able to turn that double play

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Sure but you gotta admit it’s a clever title, and it’s technically correct. Why let it go to waste?

  9. aresachaela - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:50 PM


  10. dhar77 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    How many F bombs do you think wash dropped 15, 20?

  11. randygnyc - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    1981titan- I suppose now we all know how cliven Bundy feels.

  12. bronx77 - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    He never dropped the ball so I don’t see how it isn’t an out. He completed the action of stepping on the base for the out. He then turns his attention to first and juggles the ball on the exchange. It make no sense why that isn’t an out. He wasn’t even on home anymore.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 15, 2014 at 1:43 AM

      They changed the rule. If y’all have time, you should really read this article from Dave Cameron on fangraphs. There are way too many ways OF can screw over the batting team with this new rule:

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        A secondary explanation for further reading. If one was so interested.

  13. moogro - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    No one asked for, or likes this rule change. And with replay video for bobbled balls, it’s doubly not needed.

  14. paperlions - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    What if the catcher had caught the ball, took his foot off the plate, and bobbled the transfer but didn’t drop it? Did he remove his foot from the plate before it was a catch? Is the runner still out or not? Was it not a catch until he stopped bobbling it and therefore the runner is safe?

    This rule interpretation is 12 kinds of stupid. We give the umps enough crap and their job is hard enough….making them enforce really stupid rules isn’t doing anyone a favor.

    • cur'68 - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      What if the catcher had caught the ball, took his foot off the plate, and bobbled the transfer but didn’t drop it?

      That’s exactly what happened. The ball never hit the ground. It did rattle between JPA’s hand and chest protector, but never hit the ground. So, a clean catch, and two or three steps AFTER swiping his foot across the plate, THEN the bobble. And yeah, it was NOT an out. This rule is completely against common sense.

      Can you picture this: in the not unlikely scenario of a fly ball out ending the game, the fielder keeps the ball in his glove. Now lets say the fielder is being cheeky. He hates the “transfer” rule and wants to mess with Selig et al. So he never transfers the ball. Instead lets some kid take it from his glove or just keeps it in the glove as he celebrates the win and walks off the field. What then? The game isn’t over? The ball is a foul out because 5 minutes after the “catch” some kid has it in the stands? The umpires stand around waiting for a bare hand to touch the ball? Shoot man, if I was that player that ball stays in the glove and I leave the park with it just like that. What are they gonna do? Follow me home?

      • paperlions - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:19 AM

        Well, that is just freaking stupid. I really don’t see how MLB can leave this new rule intact all year, there will be 100s of dumb calls as a result.

        What I want to know is who’s dumb idea was this?

      • paperlions - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        I just saw these yesterday and though you would appreciate the humor….sadly, there will be no chance to post them in an apropos fashion:

      • cur'68 - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        Dang those things. Dang them to heck
        /hat tip

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Agreed on all counts. However, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to change the rules in the middle of a season…

  15. mdock88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    I w

  16. mdock88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    I was at the orioles game last night. At the end of an inning Adam jones made a catch, ran with the ball all the way to the infield. Only when he got to the infield did an umpire signal an out had occurred. Clearly he was waiting for him to make a clean transfer, which he never did. It’s a joke and I bet the umpires know it.

    • clydeserra - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      that seemed to be the gist of what the umpire was saying to Washington.

  17. savocabol1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Is there a time rule of when a catch is officially called a catch? The player fields a pop fly and 10 seconds later the transfer rule is still in play?

  18. hateonlyhatred - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I used to say if the NFL is such a great game why do they change the rules every year? And now baseball is doing it………………..ughhhhhhh!!!!!

  19. clydeserra - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    This needs to be changed. Now. Do not wait till the end of the season.

  20. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    What about glove flips? We see several outs made on glove flips every year. If a 2B catches the ball in his glove then flips it to the 1B directly from his own glove to double off a baserunner, does the catch not count?

    Why do I get the feeling AJ Pierzynski is going to steal a hit on this rule when some infielder catches a pop up then flips the ball to the mound as he runs off the field? With ARod gone, AJ is the only evil genius left in the sport.

  21. westerly75 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    “double play” means TWO PLAYS.

    this rule should not require the changing of the results of Play One (catching the ball) if a ball is dropped while attempting to make Play Two (throwing the ball).

    these are just two separate & different plays that just happen to take place within a very close proximity of time.

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