The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a game in extra innings yesterday when a double play was broken up when Nick Ahmed threw up his arm and deflected a throw that might have been an inning ending double play. In the judgement of the umpires, the runner did not intentionally interfere with the play. I find that ruling a bit spurious.
Here is the play:
Ahmed certainly threw his arm up and it wasn’t just a natural part of his slide. That’s my humble opinion anyway. And if you look at the Interference Rules as listed on Page 17 of the official MLB rule book, intentionally interfering with the act of fielding the ball is interference.
Many old timers like me can remember a similar play in the post-season past when Reggie Jackson did the same thing and got away with it too. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.
I would be okay if Nick Ahmed had slid in a normal motion and got hit with the ball. No harm, no foul there. But Ahmed’s arm went up in a not natural motion and was clearly trying to block the baseball.
I think the umpires got it wrong here and the play was not reviewable (which is not really a word but has become one in baseball parlance).
One thing I got a kick out of was MLB.com’s spin on the play. The headline and writing go a long way out of the way to back up the umpire’s call and not give any inkling of a doubt that perhaps there is a problem here.
The bottom line is that the Pirates are in the middle of a battle for the division and the wild card and a judgement call cost them a game.