phantom out

Know my biggest bugbear with baseball umpiring? The phantom out at second base. David Wright got called out for interference on a wide slide at second base in the game against the Braves today; on the merits it was a fair call, he was a couple of feet wide of the base making his takeout slide. Look at it more broadly, though, and pay attention to the replay - why did he have to slide that far out to try and spoil the double play? Because Furcal, who was covering second, came off the bag a good quarter second before catching the ball, and by the time the ball was in his glove, he was a foot or more off the bag. You can't make a fair takeout slide if the fielder's not in the same zipcode as the bag when he catches the ball. If you watch double plays closely it's amazing how many of them aren't proper outs at second base; yet this is almost never called. As long as the second baseman catches the ball and gets it to first cleanly it's almost always called out; it's as if the umpires don't even look at the bag. As you can tell from that play today, it can cause big problems.


jedikaos wrote on 2005-05-24 14:16:
Two things: a) No, it wasn't a fair call, it went against the Mets. Come on, Adam, you know this. :) b) One of the beautiful things about baseball is its human error, which most sports have attempted to eliminate. An umpire at each base. Irritating when the call goes against you, but I wouldn't have baseball umpiring any other way. (The other beautiful thing is the non-existence of timers. Three outs per inning, nine innings, twenty-seven total outs. A finite number of opportunities to create as many runs as possible. Again, beautiful.) You could also make a case in this manner about batters crowding the plate, too. In recent years it has become common to crowd the plate, but many batters stand outside of the batter's box, the clearly marked area to the left or right of the plate, depending on which side you hit from. This is illegal, and if a player stands outside of the box, should be called an out. Same as if a player steps outside of the outside lines of the box a la Ichiro drag-bunting. Yet these outs are never called, just as phantom tags are always called. I suppose it evens out, and while it's not technically "right," well, poop. :)
adamw wrote on 2005-05-25 01:17:
Sure, human error, I like it too - same as with cricket. However, there's a difference between human _error_ in genuinely trying to call a play and absolute _indifference_. It's not like (it seems) umpires carefully watch second base on double plays and occasionally miss a phantom touch. No. They just don't seem to care. Your example is the same. If umpires occasionally _miss_ someone stepping outside the batter's box, well fine. As it is, they just ignore it like you say, and I don't think they should. If everyone thinks the rules suck, then let's change the rules, but I don't think umpires should just kinda agree to ignore them.
jedikaos wrote on 2005-05-26 04:59:
I see more erroneous strike/ball calls than anything else. Sometimes those annoy me.