This year’s MLB playoffs have seen several plays that were called according to the rulebook, but that prompted later discussion on if the rule should be revisited. One was the ball that bounced over the wall in the ALDS between the Rays and Red Sox Sunday; that hit from Kevin Kiermayer deflected off the wall, off right fielder Hunter Renfroe, and over the wall, and was ruled an automatic double that held runner Yandy Diaz at third (although it seemed like he would have scored despite any sort of play from Renfroe). Another along those lines was what happened with a catch from the Brewers’ Luis Urias on the Braves’ Adam Duvall (after it was deflected by Milwaukee catcher Omar Narvaez) in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Brewers’ NLDS matchup with Atlanta Tuesday. That ball looked like it might have hit the ground first, but was deemed non-reviewable thanks to being in the infield.
This was ruled a catch and is not reviewable, for some reason. pic.twitter.com/SmYePmKMdi
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 12, 2021
MLB’s own website does state that “fly balls or line drives fielded by a defensive player in the infield is not eligible for review.” So this isn’t a question of a wrong rule application. But it does bring up the discussion of if these plays should be reviewable going forward. And yes, there are perils to expanding review, especially in a sport so concerned about how long its games take. But it does seem curious that a play like this that might have been reversed on replay if it happened in the outfield wasn’t allowed to get to that point thanks to an outfield-catch-plays-only review rule.
At any rate, this isn’t necessarily a decisive ruling at the moment. But it is a notable example of another seemingly common-sense thing that the current MLB rulebook has opted against. And it may well be reviewed in the offseason.