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Protest: Uncaught Third Strike; umpire killed play

Guest Malu


Guest Malu

What is the best solution for this protest? Is the protest valid? If protest succeeds, does game continue from that point? 


Plate Umpire, after discussion with crew and coaches, decided to reverse an uncaught third strike situation that was killed by base Umpire calling time (0-3 count; possibly 3rd out). Plate Umpire did not clearly or definitively call Ball/Strike/Ball-on-the-ground/Safe/Out.  Reversal resulted in a re-do (basically, no pitch) because umpire says neither battery nor batter actioned a play before base umpire killed the play by calling time before next pitch. Plate Umpire continued at-bat as a re-do back to 0-2 count with 2 outs. 

PROTEST (Visitor):

After decision, visiting team immediately protested that batter should've been out (3rd out) on the uncaught third strike because he made no attempt to try for first base before base umpire called time. He believes batter-runner lost his  entitled "window" to first, and therefore should be out on strikes. (Note: Batter stayed by batter's box the entire time; defense never initiated a proper live or dead ball appeal).  


Home team asserts that plate umpire did not make a call and continued as if it was called a "ball" thus making them think it was a "ball" (1-2 count), until base umpire called "time" to rectify the situation, and only then did the plate umpire decide the batter unintentionally swung on 0-2 pitch, and changing her call to strike 3 dropped. Home team agreed with plate umpire's decision to "re-do" (no-pitch) as the most fair course of action. 

Note:Two runs scored right after that decision, costing visiting team the game. 

Situation: Bottom of the third, home team is ahead 3 to 1 with 2 outs. Runner on second and third. 0-2 pitch is low-inside (off the plate) and the righty batter dodges backwards, turning to his left along with the bat down by his legs. The bat passes home plate. Ball is dropped. Neither catcher/pitcher nor batter actions a play. 

Plate Umpire does not a make call and players assume it's a "ball" (later claiming to have pointed to the batter but didn't make a more clear call). 

Catcher reluctantly throws back to pitcher as usual (battery and batter confused). Still no count given yet. As pitcher prepares for the next pitch, Base Umpire near first yells and signals time to discuss with Plate umpire. Plate umpire returns to plate and makes a clear call of "batter went, strike 3 dropped." Because the base umpire killed the play, the plate umpire is uncertain about how to best proceed and consults scorekeepers and other officials in the booth about best courses of action. 

Ultimately, because the plate umpire failed to make a clear call, the base umpire killed the play, and no one from either team actioned a play, the final ruling by the plate umpire was a re-do/no pitch. 

Play resumed bottom of the third, 2 outs,  R3, R2, and B5 with an 0-2 count. Blown call ended up bringing in two runs. 

Final: 6-5 to the home team. 

What should we do, please? 

Thank you. 

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Protest, even if it's just to get the right answer and educate the coaches and umpires. Not sure what the outcome would be - need more info -  even though the ump was wrong in his application of

"unintentionally swung" while getting out of the way of a pitch, with bat at his legs?  HTBT but that sounds like a ball to me...

Why is the non-protesting team having any input? A protest has three things: the facts as the umpire adjudged them, the rules as applied, and the protesting team's argument as to why the rules we

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11 hours ago, Jimurray said:

Philosophy observation. MLB changed an interp a few years ago about a batter interfering with a catcher on an uncaught third strike. The take away, for me, would be that an out would be normally achieved and that might be why they changed their interp. 

I think it was done simply for the sake of clear communication.

The batter is inherently at a disadvantage on a check swing with two strikes because he is not allowed to appeal...so the defense could just wait until they throw the ball to first base before they appeal the check swing.   Although, as I said above, the batter can run to first each time...especially on balls that get far away from the catcher...I'm not sure we really want that to become a habit for two reasons:

1. it's a time waster

2. it may lead umpires to make an incorrect interpretation of the batter's actions - ie...oh, if he's running he must believe he swung

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Good thread and information. Reinforces my need to ALWAYS come up quick with a "Did he go?" whenever there's a possible check swing with 2 strikes and an uncaught pitch (as well as to make sure I pregame that with my partner). I do that pretty religiously, but it warrants some self-reiteration and to incorporate it into my pre-pitch routine. I've never had the s#$% storm of the OP. Don't ever want to have it:  "Then that's STRIKE 3, PLAY IT!!"

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