Monday, August 24, 2009
“He was over the bleeping plate!”Posted by Mike Fast
Jered Weaver to Tim Welke tonight after Welke awarded first base to Ramon Santiago, who had just leaned into an 89-mph cut fastball from Weaver. Did Weaver have a point?
According to the PITCHf/x system at the Big A, the pitch was five inches from the middle of the plate, so Weaver was correct that Santiago was hanging his elbow over the plate when he was hit. However, the pitch was also up, four feet three inches off the ground, and thus out of the strike zone.
6.08 The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when—Since the umpire awarded the batter first base, he must have credited Santiago's torso turn as he was struck as an attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
Perhaps Rule 6.06 could come to Weaver's aid?
6.06 A batter is out for illegal action when—The rules state that the batter's box starts six inches from the edge of home plate:
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box.
Where in the world was Ramon Santiago? I made my best estimate from the video of where the edge of the batter's box should be (indicated by the red arrow). Of course, the actual chalk line has long since been erased by the fourth inning. It looks like Santiago is hanging his toe over the line, but with his heel firmly ensconced inside the batter's box, his stance was legal.
I'll admit that before tonight, I didn't know that the batter could legally lean out over the plate like that as long as he wasn't touched by a pitch inside the strike zone. It's a good thing Tim Welke is more educated on the rules than I was. I also can't blame Jered Weaver for wanting to own home plate. That's a pitcher's territory, and he has to be able to come inside every now and then. If he'd just gotten the pitch down a little bit, he likely would have missed Santiago's elbow and gotten a strike call.
Mike Fast is a Royals fan who enjoys investigating baseball questions using data of many sorts. He is a member of Complete Game Consulting. He welcomes comments via e-mail.