Blog Entry

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

Posted on: October 20, 2011 1:24 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:38 am

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre came to the plate in the ninth inning with one out and his Rangers trailing by one. He had already gathered two hits and scored one of the two Rangers' runs to that point. Even against rock-solid-of-late Cardinals closer Jason Motte, the Rangers were certainly not buried with Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli set to follow Beltre in the order.

And then Beltre grounded out to third. And he and manager Ron Washington argued. The reason? Beltre believed he fouled the ball off his foot. Replays showed it was entirely possible. Beltre could clearly be seen saying "it hit my shoe."

Via, here is the play -- including the thermal imaging video:

Now here is a good slow-motion of the shot, including again the imaging:

First of all, Beltre fell to the ground immediately. It's not like he saw it was a rather weak grounder and decided to play possum. He was down before that entire thought process could have taken place. Secondly, Fox evidently has some thermal imaging in their broadcast and used it to show that that ball did graze his foot. 

"(Beltre) said he did (foul it off his foot), and he has those Velcro-type shoes," Washington said after the game. "So (Beltre) asked (home plate umpire Jerry Layne) to check the ball; couldn't find anything on it. (Layne) said none of the umpires recognized it, so that's what it was about."

So did the umpires botch this? If you believe so, understand how utterly difficult it would be to see this in normal speed, with no help from slow-motion. And slow-mo doesn't even give anything definitive here. It looks like it may have hit Beltre's shoe. Thermal imaging? Maybe MLB needs to institute instant replay with thermal imaging. Then, instead of being behind the technological curve, MLB would be ahead of it.

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Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:02 am

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

Just wanted to add, that a ball would have to travel beyond first or third base in fair ground after striking the picthers mound and not being touched by player, umpire etc to be considerated a fair ball. Sorry I didn't add that earlier, as it does make a difference in fair or foul.

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:38 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

Wow.  I am not a Rangers fan and certainly no Beltre fan.  I was a bit bored today and thought I'd take a look to see what people were saying about the obvious missed call last night and see if MLB officially apologized for the mistake.

I never would have expected to see so many people say that the call was correct.  How on earth is there any controversy that the ball hit his foot?

- Beltre immediately hops and lifts the foot that was hit.
- In the overhead camera shot, you can see the ball initially being pulled sharply foul, only to be redirected off his toe into fair territory.
- In the thermal video, you see the tip of his foot light up where it was hit.
- And as much as I hate to bring Joe Buck into this, it's telling that his initial reaction was to call it foul.

I am 100% certain that the ball went off his foot.  And I'm not just throwing that 100 number out there lightly.  I mean 100%.  Zero doubt.  Zero, nada, zilch.  If there was a magical, all-knowing space umpire who had absolute knowledge of all things, and he offered me a bet:  My eternal soul in fiery damnation if I'm wrong about this, or 5 bucks if I'm right...I'd take my free 5 bucks and buy myself a taco.

So you can see that I'm a little surprised by this "controversy".

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 6:17 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

The definition of a fair ball is:

A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that settles on fair ground between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that is on or over fair territory when bounding to the outfield past first or third base, or that touches first, second or third base, or that first falls on fair territory on or beyond first base or third base, or that, while on or over fair territory touches the person of an umpire or player, or that, while over fair territory, passes out of the playing field in flight.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 6:11 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

because its where the ball landed...     without passing or reaching 1st or 3rd base in fair territory..

Another crazy one is fans would argue with me about a ball that was fouled off in foul territory and land fair. They would insist that it was a fould ball.. Finally this year several times during MLB games,  the batter fouled the ball into foul territory behind or near the plate and bounced in front of or on the plate. The batter would stand there thinking it was foul.   


Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:59 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

I beg to differ with you, but the pitchers mount is the same as home plate. It is in fair ground, and thus considered part of the playing field. Any batted ball that strikes it is a fair ball. Not sure where your getting your ruling.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:27 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

That is incorrect Slug,   A batted ball that hits the mound and rolls over into foul territory is a FOUL BALL...  Unless it was touched by a player..

Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:20 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

Any batted ball that strikes the pitching mound, is a fair ball reguardless of where it lands.

Since: Aug 24, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

They should have taken off his shoe and looked for a bruise. They need to give it at least five minutes to develop... and then... and only then should they say that it absolutely did not hit his foot.

I actually don't understand how the ump doesn't make the call instantly from the reaction of the batter wincing in pain... I mean, it really doesn't get more obvious than that. Sure... I suppose he could be faking it, but this is baseball... not soccer, and the way he reacted... in about 25 milliseconds tells me he fouled it off his foot.

Kinda the same exact way Pujols took off for 1st after getting hit by the ball in the dirt. There wasn't even a hesitation... he went directly to 1st without waiting for the ump to even make a call. Had he not taken off, I'll bet the ump wouldn't have awarded him 1st.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:30 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

It hit his foot, which was in the batters box which is considered foul territory.
Essentially true (well, assuming it did hit his foot, which it probably did), but should clarify that I don't think it really matters whether the foot was physically in or out of foul territory when the ball hit it; what matters is whether the foot was in the batter's box.  If it was, and the ball hit it, it's foul regardless of where it went after that.  The umps wouldn't dispute that part of it. 

Actually, if he steps out of the batter's box before the ball hits his foot in fair territory, then he's probably ruled out just for that, under another rule.

The ruling here, of course, was that the ball didn't hit his foot at all.  Therefore, since it never passed third base on the foul side and was fielded in fair territory, it was ruled fair.

Since: May 6, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:07 pm

Did umpires botch Adrian Beltre's last at-bat?

Sure it was a blown call, but we have the advantage of seeing it over and over. Ump had to make the call in real time. Now it's time to play game two. The Rangers need to take this one and go home tied. Go Rangers!!!!!

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