Baseball

Floor-Rule Doubles, Automated Ones and a Wild Second at Fenway

As folks debated if Kevin Kiermaier’s double within the thirteenth inning of Sunday’s division series game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park was known as accurately by the umpires (it was), a second debate emerged about what to name such successful.

Was it a ground-rule double, as an umpire referred to it after the sport? Or an automated double, as many individuals on social media referred to it?

The reply is nearer to the latter, by the definition of the time period “floor rule.” However in colloquial utilization, the phrases have turn into considerably interchangeable.

Not like sports activities with uniform specs for his or her fields, baseball has all the time allowed for not less than some variance. In consequence, parks have developed units of floor guidelines, separate from the usual guidelines of the sport, to account for quirks brought on by the park’s design and site.

Whereas many floor guidelines are easy, like a ball being lodged within the vines on the wall at Wrigley Area being known as a double, others through the years have offered their share of snickers. One of many oddest got here within the 1903 World Collection when greater than 25,000 folks tried to cram into Exhibition Park to see the Pittsburgh Pirates tackle the Boston People for the primary championship between the Nationwide League and the American League. So many spectators have been on the sphere that they put a rope between the outfielders and the overflowing crowd. A spur-of-the-moment floor rule was created during which a ball that rolled into the gang past the rope can be declared a ground-rule triple. In line with MLB.com, 17 ground-rule triples have been hit within the nine-game sequence.

The Rays are among the many groups most properly versed in floor guidelines because of their dwelling video games being performed at Tropicana Area. The catwalks and different obstructions within the roof of their dome require a sequence of floor guidelines that umpires should implement of their video games primarily based on the place the ball is hit:

  • Batted ball that strikes both of the decrease two catwalks (referred to as the “C-Ring” and the “D-Ring”), together with any lights or suspended objects connected to both of these catwalks in addition to any angled help rods that join the “C-Ring” to the masts that help the “D-Ring” in truthful territory: dwelling run.

  • Batted ball that strikes both of the higher catwalks (referred to as the “A-Ring” and the “B-Ring”), together with the masts that help every of these catwalks in addition to any angled help rods that join the “B-Ring” to the masts that help the “C-Ring” in truthful territory: in play. If caught by fielder, batter is out and runners advance at personal danger.

  • Batted ball that’s not judged a house run and stays on a catwalk, mild or suspended object: two bases.

  • Batted ball strikes catwalk, mild or suspended object over foul territory: useless ball.

In Kiermaier’s case, there was no floor rule concerned. The ball landed within the subject of play, ricocheted off Boston’s Hunter Renfroe, and landed on the opposite aspect of the fence. As Renfroe by no means had possession of the ball, Rule 5.06(b)(4)(H) clearly states that the batter and any runners are given two bases from the time of the pitch. It’s a uniform ruling that will be known as in any park, and due to this fact would extra precisely be known as an automated double.

However anybody being confused by the terminology may be forgiven. Sam Holbrook, the crew chief who accurately enforced the ruling on the sphere, used the time period “ground-rule double” not less than thrice in his postgame feedback.

“There’s no, he would have achieved this, would have achieved that,” Holbrook stated. “It’s simply flat out within the rule e-book, it’s a ground-rule double.”

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