I'M out of order?!? YOU'RE out of order! The whole damn courtroom is out of order! Mach II
by Mike Carminati
You may have caught the odd ending to the Yankees-O's game Saturday with Jack Cust awkwardly stumbling toward home before being tagged for the final out. That was an appropriately odd end to an odd game.
What you may have missed if you did not see the full play was that Cust actually helped the Yankees out of a failed rundown play. After a couple of tosses, the Chinese Fire Drill that is a rundown fell apart for the Yankees and Cust had a clear path to home, until his pratfall.
Earlier in the game, the Orioles batted out of turn, not once but twice, in the first inning. It seems that the scoreboard order had Gibbons fifth and Batista fourth, but the official order was Gibbons fourth and Batista fifth. This was the order reportedly posted in the Yankee dugout as well.
In the first inning the fourth spot in the lineup came up with men at second and third and one out. Batista batted in the spot and sacrificed Deivi Cruz from third for the first run of the ballgame. That was the first batter out of order.
Gibbons then batted fifth and grounded out to end the inning. That makes two batters out of turn. Actually, the fact that Batista did not lead off the second inning was a third miscue since he technically followed Gibbons in the order.
Last year, the Tigers batted out of order against the Angels and Mike Scioscia caught the mistake, lost his appeal, and protested the game (which became moot when the Angel won). I thought it funny that the umps had to coach then-Detroit manager Luis Pujols as to who to send up next (leading to a second Scioscia protest), but this time neither manager apparently caught the mistake.
Torre could have gotten a free out AND taken a run of the board if he called the umps' attention to the mistake before the next batter. Hargrove allowed the O's to bat out of order two more times.
For the record, here's the rule in its entirety (with approved rulings):
BATTING OUT OF TURN.
(a) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place.
1) The proper batter may take his place in the batter's box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter's time at bat.
(b) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first pitch to the next batter of either team, or before any play or attempted play, the umpire shall
(1) declare the proper batter out; and
(2) nullify any advance or score made because of a ball batted by the improper batter or because of the improper batter's advance to first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise. NOTE: If a runner advances, while the improper batter is at bat, on a stolen base, balk, wild pitch or passed ball, such advance is legal.
(c) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and a pitch is made to the next batter of either team before an appeal is made, the improper batter thereby becomes the proper batter, and the results of his time at bat become legal.
(d) (1) When the proper batter is called out because he has failed to bat in turn, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of the proper batter thus called out;
(2) When an improper batter becomes a proper batter because no appeal is made before the next pitch, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of such legalized improper batter. The instant an improper batter's actions are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the legalized improper batter. The umpire shall not direct the attention of any person to the presence in the batter's box of an improper batter. This rule is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams. There are two fundamentals to keep in mind: When a player bats out of turn, the proper batter is the player called out. If an improper batter bats and reaches base or is out and no appeal is made before a pitch to the next batter, or before any play or attempted play, that improper batter is considered to have batted in proper turn and establishes the order that is to follow.
APPROVED RULING To illustrate various situations arising from batting out of turn, assume a first inning batting order as follows: Abel Baker Charles Daniel Edward Frank George Hooker Irwin.
PLAY (1). Baker bats. With the count 2 balls and 1 strike, (a) the offensive team discovers the error or (b) the defensive team appeals. RULING: In either case, Abel replaces Baker, with the count on him 2 balls and 1 strike.
PLAY (2). Baker bats and doubles. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately or (b) after a pitch to Charles. RULING: (a) Abel is called out and Baker is the proper batter; (b) Baker stays on second and Charles is the proper batter.
PLAY (3). Abel walks. Baker walks. Charles forces Baker. Edward bats in Daniel's turn. While Edward is at bat, Abel scores and Charles goes to second on a wild pitch. Edward grounds out, sending Charles to third. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately or (b) after a pitch to Daniel. RULING: (a) Abel's run counts and Charles is entitled to second base since these advances were not made because of the improper batter batting a ball or advancing to first base. Charles must return to second base because his advance to third resulted from the improper batter batting a ball. Daniel is called out, and Edward is the proper batter; (b) Abel's run counts and Charles stays on third. The proper batter is Frank.
PLAY (4). With the bases full and two out. Hooker bats in Frank's turn, and triples, scoring three runs. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately, or (b) after a pitch to George. RULING: (a) Frank is called out and no runs score. George is the proper batter to lead off the second inning; (b) Hooker stays on third and three runs score. Irwin is the proper batter.
PLAY (5). After Play (4) (b) above, George continues at bat. (a) Hooker is picked off third base for the third out, or (b) George flies out, and no appeal is made. Who is the proper leadoff batter in the second inning? RULING: (a) Irwin. He became the proper batter as soon as the first pitch to George legalized Hooker's triple; (b) Hooker. When no appeal was made, the first pitch to the leadoff batter of the opposing team legalized George's time at bat.
PLAY (6). Daniel walks and Abel comes to bat. Daniel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Abel, Abel is out, Daniel is removed from base, and Baker is the proper batter. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Abel. Daniel's walk is now legalized, and Edward thereby becomes the proper batter. Edward can replace Abel at any time before Abel is put out or becomes a runner. He does not do so. Abel flies out, and Baker comes to bat. Abel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Baker, Edward is out, and the proper batter is Frank. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Baker. Abel's out is now legalized, and the proper batter is Baker. Baker walks. Charles is the proper batter. Charles flies out. Now Daniel is the proper batter, but he is on second base. Who is the proper batter? RULING: The proper batter is Edward. When the proper batter is on base, he is passed over, and the following batter becomes the proper batter [text formatting mine]
So if the Yankees appealed before a pitch was thrown to Gibbons, Gibbons would have been out, the run would not have counted, the runners would have been sent back to second and third, and Batista would have been up. Since the Yankees did not appeal before the first pitch to Gibbons, the run counts and the play is legalized.
Fordyce should have followed Batista, but Gibbons stepped in. Now, if the Yankees had discovered the error before Gibbons' at-bat was over, his turn would have been skipped and the number six batter, Fordyce, would have hit since he followed Batista. The Yankees did not discover the error before Gibbons grounded out, however.
To lead off the second, the batter who followed Gibbons (Batista) should have batted, but Fordyce entered the batter's box. Fordyce popped out, so an appeal was academic. If the Yankees had appealed before the next batter, Batista would have been out and Fordyce would have been required to bat again. Once a pitch was thrown to Jose Leon, the number 7 hitter, the third and final infraction was legalized.
I guess if Batista had lead off the second, even the Yankees would have been able to detect that something was afoot. If they had appealed before the first pitch to Batista, then Fordyce would have been out instead of Gibbons to end the first, and Leon at number 7 would have been up. Maybe Hargrove caught on between innings and wanted to at least get an at-bat out of his number six man. Then again, if Hargrove discovered the error, he would have been wise to pull Fordyce after the first pitch, thereby legalizing all previous batters and put Batista in, the legal batter as well as a better hitter, to complete the at-bat. So clearly neither manager had a clue about the batting order.
From that point on the Orioles batted in order and the only irregularity was Cust's mad dash for home that fell just short. It's too bad Mike Mussina dominated so completely on Sunday putting a stop to all these shenanigans.