And from section 7.08(b):
In last night’s game against the Royals, the umpires followed the letter of the rulebook and called the play accordingly. The rules make no provision for whether or not there would be a play at first base. It’s pretty cut and dry, no wiggle room at all. It appeared that Guillen intentionally tried to break up the double play. However, players intentionally try to break up double plays all the time by barreling into second base. If you are going to hold to the letter of the rule book, shouldn’t all these cases be automatic double plays? Then again, shouldn’t a letter high fastball down the middle be a strike?
So why isn’t this play called on at least half the the ground ball double plays? Because often times it ends up being inconsequential. Either the runner at first ends up being out easily, or there isn’t really a play on the runner at first in the first place. Essentially, the umpire uses judgement to determine if the interference will have an impact on the end result, and this is what happened last night
So now let’s apply this to last nights game:
1. Did Guillen attempt to interfere with the double play? Yes
2. Did Guillen actually interfere, or hinder Relaford’s ability to throw to first? It didn’t look like it
3. Would Pudge have been out if Guillen hadn’t attempted to interfere with the throw? No. Relaford was even quoted as saying so.
Now being a Tiger fan, I’m certainly biased. I wanted the win, and the loss left a sour taste. I’ll just be curious the next time a player makes a hard slide into second, with the intent of breaking up the double play, so see if the batter is called out.