FanDuel - WFBC

August 03, 2013

J.B. Shuck Makes Home Run-Stealing Catch: Los Angeles Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck made one of the plays of the year Friday night, going into the left field stands to rob Toronto Blue Jays player Jose Bautista of a two-run homer. The Angels won 7-5.

posted by rcade to baseball at 12:07 PM - 6 comments

I've always felt if the player ends up in the stands with the ball it should be a home run. In those instances the ball isn't kept in the park!

That said, it was a fantastic catch.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:03 PM on August 03

My feeling is that if you catch the ball AFTER touching ANY part of the stands that is not in the field of play (a seat, a fan), it should be a home run.

Otherwise, what's to stop a player from leaping into those low-walled outfields (like Anaheim, or Boston) and running up a few steps in the aisle to catch some towering home run?

In this case, the right call was made (he caught it before landing in the stands) and the player on first advanced to second.

posted by grum@work at 01:09 AM on August 04

I believe the rule states the fielder must touch the ball while some part of your body is over (meaning in the vertical plane of) the field, so as long as Shuck had at least one pinkie back inside the wall, he was good.

Grum, I think the flip of what you propose would be players could not lean into foul ground and touch a fan or seat without forfeiting their right to the ball.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:28 AM on August 04

Ying Yang Mafia: I've always felt if the player ends up in the stands with the ball it should be a home run. In those instances the ball isn't kept in the park!

Otherwise, what's to stop a player from leaping into those low-walled outfields (like Anaheim, or Boston) and running up a few steps in the aisle to catch some towering home run?

Then by that logic, diving into the stands to catch a foul ball would be illegitimate. I can see your reasoning behind that- after all, if I as a fielder jump up to catch the ball, and it hits my head and bounces into the stands because of that- it's ruled a homerun. However, what is the difference between a really tall fielder who stands and catches it flat-footed with his glove above the homerun line, and one who jumps to catch it? And if you allow jumping to catch a ball that would have been in the stands, shouldn't it follow that if you jump up, catch it, and then land in the stands... the latter part doesn't really matter?

wfrazerjr has the right of it: it's kind of like the traveling rule (if it were enforced) or a football receiver going out of and back into bounds before making a catch. The player must be in the field of play, or have left the ground of without yet entering the stands (i.e., this kind of leaping catch in fair or foul ground), when catching the ball. Once you clamber into the stands/land there without the ball, you can't then catch it- it'd be ruled foul/homerun as appropriate. However, if you make the catch before then, even if while jumping, then the play is ruled an out before you land in the seats. That you then land in the seats is irrelevant as of .2 seconds earlier. You can imagine the confusion if umpires had to rule on whether the player was "breaking the plane" of the virtual fence when making the catch, whereas it'd be pretty obvious is someone climbed into the stands and then waited there.

Separate from that, if a player goes out of the field of play while successfully making an out (such as jumping into the dugout) the runners are not allowed to run freely until he returns (similar to ground-rule doubles), but are allowed one base of advancement, and the play is ruled dead.

posted by hincandenza at 11:01 PM on August 04

However, what is the difference between a really tall fielder who stands and catches it flat-footed with his glove above the homerun line, and one who jumps to catch it?

You have conjured up quite the straw man to argue against. I said nothing about breaking the plane of the fence. I think that if a player jumps to catch a ball and then tumbles over the fence it should be a home run. Or a foul ball. I think major league umpires could handle looking at a player's feet, football refs do it all the time.

So to answer your question, the short player that jumps to catch the ball and tumbles over the fence tis different because in that instance the ball ends up over the fence. The tall fielder stays in the field of play.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:37 AM on August 05

The old concept that I once heard was, "You are where you are until you get to where you are going." In other words, as hincandenza explained, you are still in the field of play until you land in the stands, and even if you are draped awkwardly over a railing, you are still in the field of play. See rule 5.10(f), and for the rule on runners, 7.04(c).

posted by Howard_T at 03:25 PM on August 05

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