There are roughly 150 pages of regulations in the Major League Baseball rulebook, but some are rarely, if ever, applied during a season.
Umpires, however, have invoked a pair of seldom-seen rules in a pair of Royals games this year.
During the Royals’ 6-4 loss to the Mariners last month at Kauffman Stadium, umpires ruled Seattle’s Dylan Moore out after “abandoned” first base. That’s Rule 5.09(b)(2).
On Sunday, the umpires cited Rule 5.06(b)(4)(E), which states: “Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance two bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a thrown ball.”
It’s rare to see a player throw his glove at a ball, but that’s what Houston first baseman José Abreu did. It came after pitcher Framber Valdez fielded a nubber off the bat of Royals catcher Logan Porter, and made an ill-advised throw to Abreu.
The umpires got the rule right, but they should have allowed Nick Loftin to score. He had been at second when Abreu’s glove hit the thrown ball.
Royals manager Matt Quatraro made that point to the umpires but they thought Loftin hadn’t reached second when Abreu tossed his glove.
“If you make contact with the ball, if it’s a thrown ball, it’s two bases. If it’s a batted ball, it’s three bases,” Quatraro told reporters after the game. “What the explanation was was it was not reviewable as to the placement of the runners.”
Here is a nice recap of the weird play and what the umpires got right and wrong from Close Call Sports. And you can hear Bally Sports Kansas City broadcaster/former Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie say he’d never seen a thrown glove in a game.
Fortunately for the Royals, the next batter hit a sacrifice fly and Loftin scored so the mistake by the umpires didn’t cost KC.