Boston Red Sox‘s outfielder Mookie Betts made his case for having made one of the most amazing catches of the year last night, although it would’ve helped if it was called an out, and not a homer.
Chicago White Sox‘s own outfielder Jose Abreu hit a ball the opposite way to right-center field that Betts ran down and caught, making a fantastic catch. The speed at which Betts was running caused him to jump over the short fence at Fenway Park in right and into the bullpen, losing control of the ball upon impact. Umpires initially ruled the play out, but manager Robin Ventura challenged the play the always helpful instant replay was implied.
The play was overturned and Abreu was credited with his 16th homer of the season, granting the White Sox the 7-2 lead and causing Wade Miley to be pulled from the game.
The rule used was 5.09 (a), which states the following:
…It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. … In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional…
Crew chief Bill Miller issued a statement after the game explaining the reasoning behind Abreu’s curious homer. (via MLB.com)
“[Betts] had the ball in his glove. He went up against the wall and it disappeared. In our estimation, that’s a catch, because we never saw the ball come out.
“We went to replay, Robin Ventura asked us to go to replay, and replay told us it was a home run.
“The wording we use is he has to have ‘control of his body.’ In this case, we couldn’t tell if the ball was on the ground on the other side of the fence or not, and so that’s why we went to replay. They determined he didn’t have control of his body when he hit the fence and the ball popped out.”
Betts, on his part, was helped up by his teammates in the bullpen. He then walked slowly to the Sox’s dugout and showed concussion symptoms, triggering MLB’s concussion testing protocol. He was taken out of the game and replaced by Rusney Castillo.