MMP Error Call Should Be Reversed

Yuli Gurriel
Robbed of a Double by the official scorer at MMP on Friday night.


In the Friday night big 7-run 8th inning for the Astros, Chicago right fielder Avisail Garcia was charged with an error when he allegedly misjudged a fly ball hit by Yuli Gurriel and it bounced behind him, just inside the line fair, and sailed into the near side lower right field stands. The bases were loaded at the time and two more Astros runs scored as a result. Even the Astros broadcast crew spoke what almost all our eyes first told us as we watched the tough play unfold – that Gurriel would be credited with a ground rule double and two runs batted in.

Not so, according to the official scorer, whomever that dubious authority may be. He or she ruled the play as an error on Garcia for misjudging the descent of the ball, taking away Gurriel’s double and 2 RBI, and earmarking the two runs as unearned.

The MLB office needs to both review the “E” call and also look into the MMP official scorer’s general readiness to carry out the charge that goes with this important scoring assignment. I can think of a lot of outfielders who could have made this play, but all of them are either Astros or players who are much more familiar with MMP than Avisail Garcia.

A larger point – anyone who has actually played the outfield, especially the two corner spots, would know that Garcia was not guilty of an error on that fluke play and that Gurriel has now been deprived of the ground rule double and other accolades that go with it. The call needs to be reversed and our local official scorer either needs a continuing education seminar or a replacement in this role. The integrity of the game deserves the best – and this call wasn’t even close.

Even if we don’t talk about it enough in these terms, those of us who’ve played enough outfield at any level understand this much about fly balls:

  1. The fly balls that reach us off the bat while we are positioned in the vertical cone path of ascent are the easiest to catch when they are coming at us 10 to 20 feet either side of where we stand. Of this total group, the line drives hit directly at us are the hardest to judge. On these, we have to rely heavily upon the sound the ball makes coming off the bat to tell us if a ball is going to be sinking to the ground before it reaches us – or still soaring in ascent to go over our head. “The Catch” by Willie Mays of the Vic Wertz blast in the 1954 World Series is my favorite memory of such a dangerous ball being captured. On these within the vertical cone blasts, a slight side vantage view within the cone is a big help on the depth question by the way it gives us a slant on the “coming down early” to “headed for deeper ground than me” question.
  2. The ball that “fooled” Garcia had a vertical cone path whose dead center proved to be one-foot fair down the right field line. From there, as we saw, the ball had the ability to take a high bounce foul into the stands, located only a few further feet away.
  3. Garcia was not in the vertical cone path of Gurriel’s batted ball in the 8th. He had a great bead on where it was coming down from his running view outside the cone, but he had a very long horizontal run just to get under it almost simultaneously when the ball hit the ground fair behind him and bounced – untouched by Garcia – into the stands.
  4. Even when they help us track where the ball is coming down, horizontal runs to a ball’s vertical cone path cause the head to bob as the fielder now tries to keep a closer eye on the ball’s descent from afar. At MMP, a fielder less familiar with the park may also be much more conscious at the same time of wanting to avoid an injury slam into the low-laying stands.
  5. My conclusion: Avisail Garcia did not misjudge or err in his play of the ball hit by Yuli Gurriel in the 8th inning of Houston’s 11-4 Friday night win over the White Sox. He simply could not make the play. And there is no basis for an error assignment. The error call should be reversed and a hit credit should be restored to Yuli Gurriel.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle




5 Responses to “MMP Error Call Should Be Reversed”

  1. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Balls hit to the opposite side from the batter’s position in the box generally have an elliptical cone path as well as a vertical. This is partially called by the esscessive amount of spin caused when the ball is struck. Gurriel’s ball had a tremendous amount of spin on it as evidenced by how it kicked almost straight right into the stands once it hit the ground. The ball was probably well into foul territory when Garcia started running to catch it, but looped back into fair territory In an elliptical pattern as he chased it. This is what made the catch more difficult and caused him to over run the ball.
    This being said, I agree with you that the difficulty of the path of the ball added a degree of difficulty to this play that the official scorer should have considered. I would have ruled it a hit, too. (Although, I think Springer or Marisnick would have made the catch).

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Yes, the elliptical aspects of a struck baseball just make the business of catching a flying one out of the zone from which you start in the midst of all the other factors even more the reason why a “catch” shall be a play you either make or miss in the course of pursuit, but “to miss” contact is simply one of the ways this action will result. – It will not be an error. It will simply be whatever hit results from the ball being put into play – even if the ball finds fair ground and qualifies as a creditable safety ultimately because of its romance-ride with ellipse emulation.

      Right handed batter Gurriel’s drive down the far opposite field line in right was a virtually perfect example of the elliptical flight. It had wobbled in the air close or over foul grounds on its way – close enough to suck right fielder Garcia across the line as it suddenly turned in and landed behind him, as we said earlier, about a foot fair. – Its landing followed the textbook rules about elliptical flight – touching down almost exactly where it would have landed, had it traveled in a straight line from home plate – instead of bending slightly foul before curving back to fair – and almost surely – had it been a straight-line struck ball – just being a tad easier for a fielder to chase and tag.

  2. Larry Dierker Says:

    I believe the ball started more fair and spun toward the line. Either way, by my normal criteria, I would call it an error because not only Springer, Marisnick and Reddick would have caught it, but the “average major league outfielder” would have caught it. Still I would have called that one a hit. The way Garcia reacted leads me to believe that the ball did something funny on the way down. If it had been in right center and two outfielders could have caught it but neither did, I would assign an error. This is usually a “I got it, I got it, I got it, You take it” situation.

    I would wait until after the game and find out which outfielder took the blame.

    It is a cop-out to call every ball that doesn’t touch leather a hit. If you’ve watched enough major league games, you should know what the average major league fielder can do. That is the easiest criteria.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Dierk – I don’t think we disagree. The absence of player contact with the ball here is not what made it a hit. What made it a hit was Garcia’s reaction to the ball as it descended. In that sense, he simply had been fooled by the flight pattern of a ball that landed fair. If it’s not an error in this instance, it’s a hit.

      I still don’t think the average big league outfielder gets that ball 100% of the time. And our guys (Marisnick, Springer, and Reddick) are not your average big league outfielders. They’re on another level and, yes, they probably get it most of the time, but the “holy three” still do not hook me on assigning an error to Garcia on this one. I don’t think many MLB outfielders survive the fate of Garcia on this one.

      As for other instances of non-contact error assignment, sure, there are plenty of them. If two guys do an “Alphonse-Gaston” and allow a ball to drop between them, or a guy dogs his rundown of the ball, or simply watches a ball drop to his feet, of course, somebody gets an “E” in each instance. – Garcia’s run was not such a play. The fair ball fall that fell in as the completion of an elliptical bend should’ve been ruled a hit – all things considered.

  3. Herb Whalley Says:

    I thought Garcia deserved the error, but it should have been considered a sacrifice fly which would have given Gurriel at least 1 RBI, and the error would have advanced the rest of the runners.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: