More Batting Order Disorder (Starring the Fat Boys)
Here's an interesting email that I received re. the batting order chaos the other day:
Got directed to you from Baseball Musings...where David
Pinto decided you were right and he was wrong about
Interesting take on the situation, but I think you're
"Mike noticed that they were batting out of order, so
he came out and told the home plate umpire. But Mike
didn't want to do anything about it yet."
The second sentence would indicate that Scioscia WASN'T
protesting the man batting out of turn, since he didn't
feel he'd be gaining anything by it -- simply
confirming that the umpire was aware of the fact. And
of course unless he protests, Truby becomes the proper
batter and Bocachica leads off the next inning.
What Scioscia wanted, I assume, was for Inge to lead
off the next inning batting out of turn -- that way if
Inge got on, he could get HIM called out, and if he
didn't get on, Bocachica would probably come up next
rather than Truby, so HE'D be batting out of turn and
Scioscia could get HIM called out if he reached base.
(And if neither of them got on, he could probably count
on Truby, Inge and Bocachica continuing to bat out of
turn for the rest of the game until one of them got on
base and he could then get THAT player called out.)
If that was indeed his plan, what he should have done
was keep a lower profile about it -- have his catcher
talk to the umpire and point out the problem, or simply
not say anything to anyone until he was ready to
protest the lineup error. Once Scioscia came out
himself (but said that he wasn't calling Detroit on
it), Detroit knew something was wrong and proceeded
Pujols rather sensibly asked the plate umpire who the
batter was supposed to be, and the ump, in the absence
of a batting-out-of-turn protest by Scioscia, gave him
the right answer. (And no, it wasn't a stupid question
on Pujols' part, since there were obviously at least
two different lineup cards floating around and he
needed to know what the one in the umpire's possession
As you noted, when Scioscia came back to complain about
Pujols getting help from the umpire a half-inning
later, it was too late for him to protest the man
batting out of turn and force Truby to bat again.
As you point out, the rule says that "The umpire shall
not direct the attention of any person to the presence
in the batter's box of an improper batter." But that's
not what was happening here; apparently nobody was in
the box yet, though Inge had (erroneously) been
announced over the P A. I can't see where the umpire
is under any obligation not to respond to the question.
Technically, I suppose, Pujols is supposed to ask the
official scorer who's up, and the scorer's supposed to
then ask the umpire, as per rule 9.04(a)(8), whether he
has the correct lineup. But asking the umpire is
certainly a more direct way of doing this, especially
if you're on the road and don't know the scorer -- or
if you have a road P A man who's announcing the wrong
hitter, leading you to believe that the lineup in the
press box isn't accurate.
So if I'm an MLB executive I uphold Darling and not
Scioscia if the Angels don't win.
Best, Eric Naftaly
Daly City CA
Thanks for the email.
You raise a good point. But we did not overlook this, but rather we, or at least I, couldn't make sense of it so I chose to ignore it. I had mentioned it to David in our running email dialogue we had to try to figure out the confusing mess. I said that I had read that Scioscia argued with the umps re. Truby but did not actually appeal. "I'm not sure what constitutes an appeal other than bringing the situation to umpire's attention, like a catcher's appeal to the first base ump on a check swing. Maybe he argued but did not officially appeal (whatever that means) because he figured that the mix-up resulted in an out anyway. I doubt it--I think Scioscia's a smart enough guy to realize that if he can get an extra AB out of the opponent's #9 hitter he will."
I didn't think that, as you suggested, Scoscia assumed that they would send Inge up to lead off the third and he would get an automatic out. Maybe you're right, but if so, as you also mentioned, Scioscia should have laid low until Inge batted. His arguing (and again I didn't see the game--I just read about it) over Truby blew his plan. And at that point he can't really argue anymore. That also explains why he was incensed by the umps coaching Pujols when the rules indicate that both managers should be vigilant.
One other excerpt from my email to David:
So the umps screwed up twice: 1) they made the wrong call on Truby after the appeal and 2) they helped Detroit get the right batter to start the third. I don't blame Scioscia for being mad. The rules says it "is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams." Why didn't the umps let Pujols figure it out for himself? I guess the game could become a farce with each batter being called out for batting out of order until the manager figured out the right order by his expert knowledge of combinatorics. But Pujols' Tigers should have been penalized in some way. Otherwise everyone will skip the players at the bottom of the order.
I think that the umps just screwed up in denying his appeal and were bailed out by an Angel win. After the appeal was denied, it's logical that the lead-off hitter lead off the third. That's the only scenario that makes sense to me. What do you think?
I do disagree that Pujols consulting the umps wasn't stupid since he had made up the official lineup ostensibly an hour or two before and should have had some rationale behind it. Actually, he should have caught the error in the dugout one. Sometimes a flunky coach makes an extra copy by hand and posts it in the dugout, but don't they have a copier in Pujol's office?
Anyway, that's all academic. The question is should the umps have bailed him out. The rules are vague and I guess it's OK if the umps were trying to avoid a sham of a game and were acting in the best interest of the game given the latitude they had.
As far as rule 9.04 (a) (8) [The umpire in chief['s] ...shall be to... Inform the official scorer of the official batting order, and any changes in the lineups and batting order, on request.] is concerned, I don't see how it applies other than the ump informing the official scorer of the lineup if he felt that the scorer had the wrong one as well. There is no prosvision in the rules for the manager to consult an ump, scorer, PA announcer, or peanut vendor for help with the batting order. Rule 10.03 (d) speaks of how the scorer should score a play in which the team batted out of order (which is interesting so I include it) but not if he can instruct the manager in error:
WHEN PLAYER BATS OUT OF TURN (d) When a player bats out of turn, and is put out, and the proper batter is called out before the ball is pitched to the next batter, charge the proper batter with a time at bat and score the putout and any assists the same as if the correct batting order had been followed. If an improper batter becomes a runner and the proper batter is called out for having missed his turn at bat, charge the proper batter with a time at bat, credit the putout to the catcher, and ignore everything entering into the improper batter's safe arrival on base. If more than one batter bats out of turn in succession score all plays just as they occur, skipping the turn at bat of the player or players who first missed batting in the proper order.
[So it would still have been scored strikeout, but it would have gone to Inge. Interesting.]
I am left with a few questions:
1) What constitutes an appeal in this matter? Is bringing it to an umpire's attention is sufficient like an appeal on a checked swing? I assumed so, and that's why I came to the conclusions that I did. Can you argue without making an appeal? The definition of an appeal in the rule book does not really apply: "An APPEAL is the act of a fielder in claiming violation of the rules by the offensive team." Which fielder? If we substitute "manager" for "fielder" basically Scioscia's claim of wrongdoing constitutes an appeal.
2) Did Scioscia indeed appeal? I assumed that he did and made my deductions accordingly. If he did not appeal, then he does not have a leg to stand on and has no one to blame but himself.
3) If Scioscia did in actuality appeal (by the definition in the rules) but claimed not to be appealing so that he could the first out in the third, is he allowed to do that? If what Scioscia did constituted an appeal, the umps should not allow him to rescind it? And if they did, he has no one to blame but himself.
4) Can the umps help the manager with the batting order? It does not specifically say in the rules that he can't (aside from the vague "vigilance" statement) and it does not say that he can. It certainly is not one of his duties. If the answer is no, than should the umpires be reprimanded or at least instructed on how to react in this matter? I believe that their actions were in the best interests of the game, but the rules should be more specific so that a manager cannot exploit a loophole to get his lead-off batter to bat first in the next inning even though the number 9 spot is up.
I made the assumption that Scioscia had appealed from the somewhat contradictory evidence that I could find. That assumption may have been wrong, but of that's the case, I would hate to be the baseball exec asked to figure out this mess. At the least, the rules should be changed (define specifically what constitutes an appeal in this matter, whether or not it can be rescinded, who can help the manager of the offending team if anyone, etc.) so that this doesn't happen again.
[By the way, what was the hockey team that used to play in Daly City? Was it the old Oakland Seals in the Cow Palace? Your town just jogged that memory.]