Twins manager Rocco Baldelli on call who helped Blue Jays win: ‘I think it’s sad’

The Blue Jays defeated the Twins 3-2 in 10 innings on Sunday. The game that went on to become a game-winning RBI for Cavan Biggio — the scoring of newly acquired Blue Jay Whit Merrifield — was the source of considerable controversy, leading to many picks from the Twins’ dugout, most notably manager Rocco Baldelli. .

First, the play-by-play doesn’t do the game justice. It now simply reads: “Biggio hit sac-fly to the left, Merrifield scores.” It was much more than that.

In fact, the verdict on the field was initially an inning-ending double play. There was one out with Merrifield in third place. Biggio flew out and Merrifield was knocked out at home plate after a close play. It was close enough to get a review, and the league nullified the call, ruling that Twins catcher Gary Sanchez was unlawfully interfering with Merrifield’s chances of scoring.

This is the best view:

The overhead view very clearly shows Sanchez putting the tag on Merrifield before touching home plate. We should all agree on that.

However, the call was reversed based on the plate blocking rule. Keep in mind that the umpires here at Target Field were merely following the ruling given by the competition’s replay center in New York. That is how it works.

Here is the relevant part of the rule:

The catcher is not permitted to block the runner’s path to the plate unless he is in control of the ball, although blocking the runner’s path in a legitimate attempt to receive a throw will not be considered a violation. considered. The runner may be declared safe if the umpire determines that the catcher has broken this rule. But, according to a September 2014 memorandum accompanying the rule, the bishop can still be called out if it was clearly beaten by the throw. Backstops are not subject to this forced play rule.

When receiving a pitch, catchers will often provide a sliding lane into home plate for the runner to reduce the possibility of being sued for violating the rule.

Major League Baseball issued an explanation for this particular call after the game on Sunday:

The catcher’s movements in foul territory were not in response to the trajectory of the pitch and he did not need to be in that position to receive the ball.

The catcher’s actions while not in possession interfered and hindered the runner.

Baldelli immediately challenged the umpires on the field and frankly got his money’s worth on the throw. He wasn’t ready. After the game, he uttered some damning words about the call (via Bally Sports North).

“That game hasn’t been mentioned more than a few times since the start of the replay. In all the baseball, the thousands upon thousands of home games and games where the catcher actually blocks the plate — over and over and over — that piece has been virtually never mentioned. said Baldelli. “If someone intervenes in that situation and eventually makes the decision that that blocked the plate, it’s beyond embarrassing for our game, for all the players on both sides of the field who have been around the whole game, it’s completely unacceptable.

“I can’t believe I’m sitting here talking to you guys about this. It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen as an umpire in a game I’ve ever taken part in in baseball. I’m sorry, what just finished I could go on and on about this The umpires on the field have nothing to do with it They made a game on the field that was the right decision that everyone in all of baseball including the umpires , know it’s the right decision and someone in New York decided that was worth destroying on the field.”

The loss puts the Twins 57-51 on the season, which is still good enough for first place in the AL Central. However, both the Guardians and the White Sox won on Sunday, meaning that the Twins are one game ahead of the Guardians and the White Sox are only two games back.

The Blue Jays’ win takes them to 60-48, giving them the highest AL wildcard spot. They’ve also moved up several digits behind the Yankees in the AL East, now down 9 1/2 games.

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