Two HeyScan questions tonight: Ground rules at Chase, and Headley’s error.

Two questions:  Seems like the ground rules should cover strange construction at the Diamondbacks park to affect redirected balls like the one that was hit for the inthepark HR today. In that event should that not have been held to a ground rule doubleAppeared that the ball that Headley caught and was charged error on was clearly out of bounds yet neither 3rd base or home plate officials called it either way yet it stood as a fair ball. Your thoughts? – Brent

Hey Brent,

I understand your frustration in seeing Drew’s inside the park home run today.  I also personally feel that the idiosyncrasies of each park makes the game more interesting.  With each park being different it is easy to have different rules for each venue.  That is why the umpires meet with a representative from each team (coach/manager) before the game to discuss the ground rules being enforced at that particular venue.  The ball that was hit today was simply hit a strange angle on the wall which is totally legal.  It is up to the visiting outfielders to determine how a wall will play on any given day.

As for the ground ball down third, that is the home plate umpire’s call.  Whether or not that call was properly made by the umpires is irrelevant because the players should ALWAYS play a batted ball out and assume it’s fair until the umpires call it differently.  Both Chase and Adrian appeared more interested in the umpire’s call than finishing out the play.  No excuse for not playing it out, and it cost the Padres two runs today.

Thanks for the email, and for watching the show!


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  4. Bob Scanlan
    April 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm


    Thanks for posting response here for other viewers to enjoy and debate. I completely understand your concerns about the piping and other architectural obstructions that are present at Chase Field. These issues exist in many ballparks in the form of balconies, pipes, edges, odd corners, flag poles on hills (Houston…ridiculous), etc. It’s simply part of the game, and part of what creates the home field advantage so you know how to play those elements. Obviously you can’t know how the ball will carom off a pipe, but you can know that if I am unsure about making the catch, my better option is to play off the structure and give myself room to anticipate a weird rebound. Additionally the other outfielders better know to get over there to back up if there is a strange bounce or misplay. Generally the only ground rules that apply on the field are whether a ball hits above or below the home run line, and the rest is play ball. If you try to make too many rules governing structures on the field of play, I believe it simply create more room for controversy and confusion for umpires. Did it hit the pipe or the balcony edge? It hit the pipe, but it didn’t take a weird bounce and the batter got a long single, but should he still be awarded a ground rule double? Too much to govern in my opinion. Again I get back to players knowing how to play the park, and Gwynn probably made a questionable choice to pursue a ball that far over his head, and the play may have had a different outcome had he pulled up and anticipated having to play it that high off the wall.

    As for the other play down the third base line, it is the home plate umpires call all the way, and even though I agree with you that from our angles it appeared to be foul, the play still could have been made and the out recorded had either of the two player involved been worrying more about making the play than playing umpire. Yes these two plays were important in the outcome, but in neither case can I say that the Padres players did everything they could to execute properly, and simply got screwed. Play the game properly and usually by the end of the year you will find more breaks going your way than against.

  5. bstewart
    April 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Re: the ground rules. That extension balcony at Chase Field high on the outfield fence that extends out and has quite a bit of piping and structure around it seems like it should have some associated ground rules given the opportunities for it to interfere with and redirect fly balls. So just wondering if there are ground rules to cover it and if so why they didn’t apply (I do understand that the pre-game conference between umps and managers is intended to announce and discuss those). If no rules yet, seems like a perfect example of why some might be appropriate and necessary. That in-the-park home run is really hard to justify as a legitimate home run outside of the interference by the structure.

    Understood re: needing to complete the play (both Headley and Gonzalez) but still seems a bit shocking that the ball was considered to be a fair ball by both 3rd base and home plate officials. Maybe just missed something on the original play and the replays that I saw.

    Those two plays wound up being a big potential difference in outcome of game.