Another Unusual Play
This has been a very unusual baseball season. I’ve already mentioned the 4 (unassisted) putout at first base, the 1-2-3 putout at first base, and the 9-6 forceout of a runner originally at second base. Friday night’s game between the Tides and the Gwinnett Braves featured yet another play I’d never seen before. In the ninth inning, with a runner on first base, the Braves pitcher bounced a ball in the dirt. Gwinnett catcher Wilkin Castillo blocked it and fumbled with it, finally reaching down and corralling the ball with his catcher’s mask. Suddenly, the first-base umpire rushed in, signaled time, and pointed the runner on first base to take second. We were dumbfounded for a few seconds, then realized that Castillo must have violated a rule when he touched a live ball with his mask. Sure enough, it’s spelled out in Rule 7.04(e) – “[Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when—] A fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.” It’s a little more specific than I thought, but I’m pleased that I could figure out what happened.