New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is still a rookie. It might be hard to remember that, given that he’ll contend for the American League MVP award, but it’s true. On Tuesday, he proved that even the best first-year players are prone to rookie mistakes.
Judge turned in a blunder for the ages during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. With one out in the fourth inning, Judge got himself involved in an incredibly confusing base-running situation which led to one of the strangest replay stretches of baseball we’ve ever seen.
After leading off the inning with a walk, Judge stood on first base hoping to give the Yankees an early lead. With one out, Gary Sanchez lofted a shallow fly ball to right. Judge was running on the pitch, and had gone past second base as the ball was falling into Josh Reddick’s glove. Upon realizing the ball was going to be caught, Judge charged back toward first to try and beat the throw from Reddick. He was ruled out.
Except he wasn’t out at first. The Yankees asked for a review, and it was determined Judge reached the base before he was tagged. Take a look for yourself.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 17, 2017
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the review backfired. After multiple looks, it became evident that Judge never touched second base on his way back to first to beat the throw. He overran the base initially, and then just skipped it as he ran back to first. Once the review was over, all the Astros had to do was appeal to second base and Judge would be out.
Play resumed, and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers casually stepped off the mound and tossed the ball to second … as Judge furiously charged toward the base. Yeah, for whatever reason, Judge decided to try and run to second during the appeal. It was extremely confusing.
The Yankees knew Judge was going to be out because he didn't retouch second, so they told him to just go for it.
— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) October 17, 2017
What would have happened had Judge reached second base before the Astros touched it? We aren’t quite sure. A quick review of the appeal rule gives us some confusing language.
Appeals must be made before the next pitch or attempted play, or before the entire defensive team has left fair territory if the play in question resulted in the end of a half-inning. The appealing team must make clear their intention to appeal, either via verbal request or another act that unmistakably indicates its attempt to appeal.
So, if Judge had stolen the base safely, would that have counted as an attempted play? Would he have somehow made up for his gaffe and been ruled safe? Or since the Astros indicated they wanted to appeal, does that mean no attempted play could have happened until the appeal was resolved?
We would like to believe the latter, but the whole thing seems confusing. It will be interesting to see if anyone provides a full explanation of the play after the game.
Until then, we’re just going to believe this:
Lot of confusion here. The official rules: if Judge reaches second, he would be safe and out at the same time. Baseball would cease to exist
— Patrick Dubuque (@euqubud) October 17, 2017
Uh, sure. That seems just as likely as everything else we’ve seen from all the amateur umpires on Twitter.
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