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I'M out of order?!? YOU'RE
2002-08-15 16:06
by Mike Carminati

I'M out of order?!? YOU'RE out of order! The whole damn courtroom is out of order!

The batting order is at once something that is so simple and yet so sacrosanct that it seems incredible that a major-league team could manage to disobey it. Come on, regular folk do it in weekend softball games: "I'm 1, you're two, etc." But because of a mix-up between the official lineup card exchanged before the game and the one posted on the dugout wall, the Detroit Tigers figured out a way to bat out of order. And you thought they were just inept at hitting, pitching, and fielding.

The number eight hitter, Brandon Inge, missed his turn in the second inning. Instead #9 hitter Chris Truby struck out to end the inning. ESPN blamed the confusion on the two hitters' order being swapped fom the previous game, but Inge said that the posted lineup had them switched. Angel manager Mike Scioscia called the umpire crew's attention to the Detroit screw-up after the second inning and before the third and then protested the game. Lead-off hitter Hiram Bocachica struck out to lead off the third even though Inge was announced on the PA. Scioscia came out again after Bocachica batted and again protested the game.

The Angels won the game so the protest was moot, but let's check the rulebook to see what it says:


(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...

(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...[text formatting mine]

If I read this correctly, rulings (b) and (d) taken together indicate that when Scioscia appealed after the second inning if it was the end of the Detroit half, Inge should have been called out and Truby should have led off the third. Since the game was in Anaheim, the Angels batted second. Therefore, If the appeal came after the Angel's half of the second, then according to ruling (c) the Angels appeal would be too late. Also, according to ruling (d)(2) Boccachica would lead off the 3rd, just as he did.

Since ESPN said, rather awkwardly, that Scioscia protested after the second inning AND before the third, I am assuming that these are two separate events. Therefore, Scioscia did protest after the Detroit half and 1) Inge should have been out and 2) Truby should have led off the third even though he just struck out. I wonder how you would score that??? Does the pitcher lose the strikeout?

Here's what first base ump Gary Darling had to say about the incident:

"We were 100 percent right. 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.

"[Detroit manager Luis] Pujols knew that they had messed up. The lineup they had in the dugout was the wrong one, so Luis wanted to know then who was the proper hitter. He said to me, 'We batted out of order. Who's supposed to hit?'

"Mike was upset that we told him who to bat. That was his first protest -- that we told the Tigers who was supposed to come up. His protest was that we were coaching them, basically."

I think that it's kind of funny that Pujols had to consult the umpires to figure out the proper lineup. Didn't he make it up just a few hours before? I guess he was paying as much attention then as when the game was in progress. I don't blame him with such a dreadful team to watch night after night.

Kudos to Scioscia for a) realizing the mistake and b) being a hard-ass about the umps coaching Pujols on making up a lineup (tip one: there are always 9 batters). Here's what he said about it later (according to the LA Times):

"The umpires are not supposed to counsel [Pujols] on who to send up," Scioscia said. "All of a sudden Bocachica comes up, which I know wasn't right."

Scioscia seems to be the only person paying attention since the umps screwed up as well: They were not 100 percent right at all. Once Scioscia appealed the play, if no one has batted since the mix-up, Inge's out Truby's leads off the third. That's it. ESPN, CNN/SI, the N.Y. Times, and the L.A. Times all failed to recognize this. You have to read Mike's Baseball Rants to get the real scoop.

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