This needed to happen.
Major League Baseball released a statement that the Playing Rules Committee provided an official view of how umpires and should handle a situation when a fielder loses possession of a ball when attempting to transfer it to his throwing hand. If you don’t know what this is referring to, you just haven’t been watching baseball this season.
Instant replay reviews of plays like this – and strange reversals – have been prevalent in games, including several Mariners games. It left players, managers and fans frustrated at rulings that seemed to defy typical baseball logic.
The committee’s new interpretation was discussed and agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association.
Beginning tonight, umpires will rule it this way.
The Committee has determined that a legal catch has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Catch”), or a valid force out or tag has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Tag”), if the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand. There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the Umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The Umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer.
This is pretty logical. It basically clarifies that a catch and the transfer are two separate actions. It’s vastly different than this:
“Umpires and/or replay officials must consider whether the fielder had secured possession of the ball but dropped it during the act of the catch. An example of a catch that would not count is if a fielder loses possession of the ball during the transfer before the ball was secured by his throwing hand.”
So now it’s fixed. Yes, baseball should have never gotten to this point, but credit to all involved that they fixed it as soon as possible.
For reference … The Official Playing Rules Committee consists of the General Manager of the New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, who serves as Chair of the Committee; Sam Bernabe, the Chairman of the Pacific Coast League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, a 19-year Major League veteran; Umpire Brian Gorman, a Crew Chief with over 22 years of experience at the Major League level; John McHale, Jr., MLB’s Executive Vice President of Administration and Chief Information Officer; Terry Ryan, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota Twins; John Schuerholz, the President of the Atlanta Braves; Bill Stoneman, former Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Joe Torre, MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.