Brandon Moss never felt more at odds with an RBI single than Saturday when he became entangled in one of baseball’s new rules.
Batting in the third inning with men on first and third and one out, Moss hit a ball out to right on which the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley made a nice catch. But when Ackley came up to make the throw to try to prevent a run from scoring, he dropped the ball.
Under the latest interpretation of baseball runs, the decision was that Ackley hadn’t caught the ball at all. He needed to make a clean transfer to his throwing hand, and he hadn’t. Moss got credit for a single and an RBI.
“I should have been out. It should have just been a sacrifice fly,’’ Moss said of Ackley’s performance. “That was an incredible catch.’’
As it was, Moss was out anyway, because he ran to first, then turned to second base and passed Josh Donaldson, the runner at first base who had retreated on what he thought was a caught ball.
“It’s a case of danged if you do and danged if you don’t,’’ said Moss, who really does use words like “danged.’’ “When you see a catch like that, you just react like you always have. The new rules are really having an effect on us that way.
“You would think they can’t go on like this. It’s only been 10 or 11 games we’ve played, and we’ve already seen a lot of plays like that. Look, it worked out very good for me, but if I’m honest, he caught that ball. I should have a sacrifice fly, nothing else. ‘’
The rule was primarily instituted to deal with force plays making the double play turn at second base. Moving the requirement to hold onto the ball until a clean transfer to the throwing hand goes against decades of baseball history.
“I know the rule is meant to simplify the game, but it’s not. It’s making the game more confusing. They have taken away the umpire’s judgment, and their judgment has always been pretty good.
“I’m worried now at first base to take a second and make sure I made the transfer clean. It slows you down, but sometimes you will drop the ball. It happens. I know if I do (drop the ball now), the runner is safe, no matter if I caught the ball.’’