Why did Major League Baseball add expanded instant replay? I thought it was to make the game more accurate, to overturn blatantly incorrect calls.

Along the way, baseball complicated some of the game’s most basic elements. Like say for example, the catch. What is a catch? Is it when the ball enters the leather of the glove? Or when the fielder has secured it in glove’s webbing? Well, here’s how it’s defined in rule book:

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.

On Sunday night, Grady Sizemore came to bat with a runner on second and one out. Sizemore hit a ground ball to the pitcher, Zach Britton, who tossed to Ryan Flaherty at second. Flash caught the ball and tagged the base, then while attempting to throw out Sizemore at first he dropped the ball.

Ryan  Flaherty drops ball on exchange - Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

Since the ball wasn’t secure in the possession of has hand, the umpire correctly called the runner safe — correctly, according to the rules. But how is this not a catch?

Orioles second baseman Ryan  Flaherty drops ball on exchange - Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox would go on to score two runs in the seventh the tie the game at five. And, well, you know how it ended.

About The Author

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

4 Comments

  1. Replay sucks. I know the Orioles had a call in their favor this weekend – their only challenge of the year – but replay has now changed the rules of the game. Hell, this was even a catch if the game was played back in Pittsfield back in 1791. Stupid!

  2. Can I ask a stupid question? They decide to use replay, why did they tamper with things like this catch? One does not mean they have to change the other.

  3. […] For example: In a key play from the seventh inning of Sunday night’s Red Sox-Orioles game, Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty took a feed from pitcher Zach Britton and stepped on second base to force out Boston’s Brock Holt; when he dropped the ball while making the transfer in an attempt to complete the double play, Holt was ruled safe and Flaherty charged with an error. Two batters later, Holt came around to score on David Ortiz’s single, the first of two runs the Sox scored to tie a game that they went on to win in the bottom of the ninth. Here’s a GIF of the Flaherty play via Baltimore Sports Report: […]

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