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Bob Davidson's call costs the Marlins -- but how bad was it really?

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Umpire Bob Davidson may have joined Jim Joyce in contention for the worst call of the year -- at least if you believe Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez.

His Florida squad got the short end of a controversial call last night that eventually cost them a win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

With Hanley Ramirez on second base in the bottom of the 9th and the score knotted 4-4, Gaby Sanchez pulled a hard grounder toward the third-base bag. Davidson ruled it foul, negating what would have been a game-winning double.



To say those Marlins announcers were incredulous would be an understatement. The top Fish agreed.

"I've been in this game for 30 years, and I have the highest respect for the umpires," said Rodriguez, who pleaded his case hard. "That was the worst call I've ever seen in my 30 years in baseball. That ball was a fair ball by six inches. He was never even looking at the play."

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19 Comments

It was clearly not fair by 6 inches. If anything it was just over the left corner of the bag.

It's impossible where it is from the angle in the replay where the ball is as it passes over the bag -- and that's the only thing that counts.

I do know that the umpire is standing right there and that the Marlins announcers clearly don't know what the rule is regarding fair balls. Super!

If it passed over ANY of the bag it is fair....he should have asked for help...

But he is Balk A Day Bob

The problem with MLB umpires is that they can not be replaced or sent down.

They are the most out of shape officials in professional sports and it is hot in Florida...he just was tired.

tommy hutton used to play in majors. jeff conine(in after the game and couldn't believe the call( used to play in majors. dave winfield on sportscenter just said he blew the call. everyone except bob davidson said he blew the call. hutton is one of the marlins announcers. davidson is a bum

The question is: Is it possible for a hit baseball to hit fair before the bag and hit fair after the bag but be foul when going over the bag?

Re what Mike said, it's possible - I watched a replay several times and it was spinning oddly - but it's pretty unlikely. He should have asked the home plate ump for help, a right-down-the-line look may have helped.

That terrible call not only effected the Marlins but it also effected the Braves who could have been 3 games ahead of the Phillies instead of just 2. I am not happy with the call.

"Is it possible for a hit baseball to hit fair before the bag and hit fair after the bag but be foul when going over the bag?"

it doesn't seem very likely.

If it hit fair before it got to the bag, it was barely fair. It may have been foul and then spun from there to land behind the bag in fair territory, but it's where it is as it passes the bag. It may have actually been foul. I've never seen a ball come back like that before. I think it was fair, but it wasn't an awful call. It was just a very very close call and he probably got it wrong.

No, it's not possible. The ball hit the bat, bounced fair, then bounced fair again, then proceeded to move foul. The only way for that ball to go fair-foul-fair-foul would be for there to be substantial rotation placed on the ball along the horizontal access after the first bounce that reversed direction after the second bounce. That's physically impossible.

The only possible way that could have happened is if there was a massive change in wind current within the stadium during that time (i.e. a small tornado formed for a second directly over third base).

In short, Bob Davidson blew it, the Marlins should have won, and Davidson really needs to own up. I would produce a simulation showing that the "magic ball" could not have moved in the direct he proposed, but I don't think that would convince him of anything.

Ball hit first in front of batters box foul, then bounced again foul and THEN goes over the bag landing fair. This vid is bad, but other news sources show MLB's crisp video where you can se it strike the dirt a foot in front of the batter. That's where the ball is judged.

We couldn't get a good angle on it at home, it was an odd moving ball and it is an unclear rule... can we for once just go with the umps call? The Phillies didn't make this big of a stink after A-Roid hit the camera in the WS last year and it was ruled a homer, why are the Marlins jumping all over this now?

"should have asked the home plate ump for help"
That doesn't work in baseball. Once a ball is called foul, action stops. Even if the plate umpire saw it fair, you can't do a "rewind" and start that play over again and continue it live. Sure, the run would have "probably" scored, but you never know... he could have tripped, missed third base, etc.

Bake ....... Maybe the Marlins announcers don't know the rules....or maybe you just don't understand the laws of physics. Is it your contention that the ball landed fair...curved around the base...and then landed fair again? Huh? I played infield for many years and never saw a baseball act like a curveball once it had hit the ground. Are you Bob Davidson? Or a member of his family? Not only was the call indefensible...his arrogant attitube after reviewing the reply was very puzzling. Bob Davidson has made too many errors and made too many phantom balk calls. He is giving baseball a bad name and taking away from the enjoyment of the game. We need instant reply and we need to get people like Bob Davidson out of the game. Am I now going to have to check out who the umpires are for a game before I buy a ticket?

rule 2.00 states
A FOUL BALL is a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base,

It is not physically possible for a batted ball (no matter the spin) to take a straight path from the plate to first bounce fair on the home plate side of the bag, swerve into completely foul territory around the bag, and somehow manage to bounce fair on the outfield side of the bag, and then veer back into foul territory after that bounce. Physically impossible. Not improbable. Impossible.

The way I see the rule,the base only comes in play when the ball hits in fair territory and goes into Foul. From what I saw the ball never went Foul except in the air over the bag and then curved back into fair territory by 6 inches.....the ump never followed the ball,just watched the bag & assumed it would stay Foul............

Someone said Davidson should've asked for help from home-plate ump. No, that person is obviously not an umpire and doesn't understand baseball. It's a fair-or-foul call that must be made right away. The ball was fair only by an inch or two. The reverse-spin direction after the ball went over the bag doesn't matter. Bad call, but only bad by one to two inches, not six.

Davidson had is eyes in the right place. That much is for sure. It's all about where the ball passes the base. And, it is possible for the ball to start out fair, pass the base foul, come back fair in the outfield, and even go foul again. Maybe it hit a little pebble, or a gust of wind, or ball spin (just like a pitch) or a combination there of. The field isn't perfectly level, so the ball won't take perfect bounces. It's not probable, but it is possible. If Davidson did get the call right, it was one of the best calls in the history of the game!

The hit ball bounces in front of the plate then as some viewed it bounced again prior to third base. On that bounce it hit the line on the foul side it is a fair ball due to hitting the line). The rule states from home plate up to the corner bases front. Bob Davidson did it right, he watched the ball up to third base to see where it passed not where it landed. If the ball was in foul teritory when it passed the front of the bag, foul ball no matter where the ball ends up after it passes the bag

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on August 6, 2010 7:36 AM.

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