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In last night's game the umpires made a very controversial call.
With the bases loaded and no out out, Mike Pelfrey threw a pitch to Scott Rolen, which was called a foul tip caught by catcher Rod Barajas. It would have been strike three, which would have been a huge out for Pelfrey. Rolen said that the pitch hit him, and he started to walk down to third base.
For some reason, the umpires met to discuss the play.
This was the only one part of this ridiculous call. If Rolen foul tipped the ball, or if it hit him, the only person with the most clear call would have been home plate umpire Jerry Meals. He had the best view of the play, and he let Rolen and Reds manager Dusty Baker change his call. He needs to be confident in his original call, and can't let others change it. He was right behind the play and let an umpire 100 feet away to make the call.
Whether or not the ball hit Rolen is up for debate. There is no clear video that shows that the ball hit him. However, what is clear is that Rolen started to swing and made no attempt to get out of the way of the ball. He moved his arm into the ball and said it hit him, which you can't do. The rule is:
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 – 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.
Clearly, and this is not up for debate, Rolen did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the ball. In fact, he put himself in more of a position to get hit by the ball.
Here are the only situations that should have occurred after this play:
- Foul tip, caught by the catcher for strike three. It might not have been the right call, but it could have happened.
- The ball didn't hit Rolen in any way, making it ball three and a 3-2 count.
- The ball did hit Rolen, but he made no attempt to get out of the way of the pitch. The pitch is a ball, and the count is 3-2.
No matter how you cut it, Rolen should not have been awarded first base. That was the worst call the umpires could have possibly made. If Rolen didn't begin to swing, he wouldn't have been hit by the pitch.
The worst part about the play was that Meals lets the opinion of another umpire affect his call, even though he has the best view of the play. The umpires did a very poor job on this play and they made the wrong call.