Friday night’s Olympic qualifier between Canada and the United States was a massive cluster…
In the eighth inning, with Team USA up 3-1, First baseman Triston Casas launched what appeared to be a two-run homer to double the lead. Instead, the ball landed and rested on top of the wall and right fielder Jesse Hodges jumped up to retrieve the ball to try and keep USA from scoring. After the play, all hell broke loose and it had an impact on the rest of the game.
Officials were certainly confused with how to rule this play. It’s not every day that a baseball lands and rests on top of the wall.
So what did the umpire crew come up with to try and solve this dilemma? They initially signaled a home run, but Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt wanted a review of the call. The ruling from the review was that, even though it wasn’t a ground-rule double, officials put Casas on second base while DH Logan Forsythe was able to score from first. Arguing that Forsythe should have only advanced two bases as the result of a dead-ball double and that he was actually on third when the ball was heading to the infield on the initial play, Whitt wound up submitting an official protest of the ruling and the game itself.
Whitt’s protest was denied and after 30 minutes, play resumed.
Baseball America did their best to explain how it got to this point. Essentially, because Hodges jumped up to grab the ball, it was ultimately deemed a live ball and where Casas and Forsythe ended up was at the discretion of the replay official. It would be like if Casas hit a ball that reached the wall. So the play wasn’t a ground-rule double or a dead-ball double but a regular live ball. Whether or not that decision was the right one is up for debate but that’s the decision that was made.
Canada unraveled after that and Team USA scored six more runs that inning to win 10-1. The win put the United States 2-0 and they are top of the group entering their final game against Venezuela. A win would clinch an Olympic berth for Team USA. Team Canada fell to 0-2 after losing to Team USA and after a 6-5 defeat by the Dominican Republic, Canada was eliminated from Olympic qualification.