Reaction to the implementation of instant replay into Major League Baseball has been a mixed bag of sorts. But one thing is certain: there is indisputable evidence that the Rangers are not advocates for the “transfer rule.”
The Rangers fell victim to the new interpretation of that rule in Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Relief pitcher Pedro Figueroa fielded a ball hit back to the mound with the bases loaded and threw home for a force out. Texas catcher J.P. Arencibia bobbled the ball during a transfer after the catch at home plate. The play was initially ruled an out by home plate umpire Paul Schrieber, but was overturned after a three minute and thirty second replay review.
An explanation from the Major League Baseball headquarters was given to those at Globe Life Park shortly thereafter. The play was overturned because “the fielder did not have control of the ball in his throwing hand” before bobbling it.
Manager Ron Washington was ejected for arguing the overturned call. After the three-and-a-half minute review, it took only a few seconds for him to be tossed by second base umpire Ted Barrett. Managers are automatically ejected if they argue a call after a replay review.
Washington said he knew the rule before going out to dispute it.
“It’s the same as it was in Boston,” he said, referencing a similar play from the first inning of a game against the Red Sox on April 7. “The guy on the base was out. I understand what the rule is saying, I just don’t agree with it. We’ve got to do something about it.”
Washington said that, even after the interpretation of the transfer rule on that Elvis Andrus play at Fenway park a week ago, he didn’t expect Monday’s call to be reversed.
“J.P. bobbled the ball when he was getting ready to make the throw. When he caught the ball, the runner on the base was nowhere near being safe. To me, the out was recorded, but I know what the rule says,” Wash said.
Arencibia said he also understands the rule, but doesn’t think it makes sense.
“I understand the rule, it’s just not baseball,” he said. “It’s jeopardizing the game. It’s giving guys extra outs. When the game has been played the same way for however many years, I think it’s ridiculous what’s going on.”
There have been several controversial “transfer rule” review across the league this season. Neither of the calls that went against the Rangers have proven costly. But we are, after all, only 12 games into a 162-game season.