Shortly after the ball hit the grass Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, the questions began.
Texas starter Yu Darvish had a perfect game with two outs in the seventh inning when Boston’s David Ortiz lifted a fly ball into short right field. Out went rookie second baseman Rougned Odor. In came right fielder Alex Rios. Each had a chance to catch the ball. Neither did.
Attention turned immediately to scorekeeper Steve Weller. Hit or error?
The Dallas Morning News reported that Weller has been scoring games for 20 years in Arlington, and he ruled it an error on Rios. Weller cited rule 10.12 (a) (1) that allows scorers to charge an outfielder with an error if the outfielder, “making ordinary effort” would have caught the fly ball.
“That’s the key thing is I want to get the play right,” Weller told the Morning News. “I know what it looks like, I know it looks like, ‘There’s the hometown official scorer taking care of the hometown pitcher, giving him a no-hitter.’ But that’s not how I felt. If that play had happened in the first inning, I’d have called it the same way. It’s just that’s the way I saw the play, and that’s what I truly believe. That was the right call to make.”
While the game continued in Arlington (and Darvish eventually lost the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth), the conversation raged.
“Generally, pop-ups that fall untouched — which should be errors — are usually called hits,” tweeted ESPN’s Buster Olney. “Not this time. Needs to be consistent, either way.”
Deadspin produced video of the Orioles’ David Lough getting a hit on a pop-up that fell between the Royals’ James Shields and Mike Moustakas.
Yahoo Sports baseball columnist Jeff Passan tweeted: “Anyone who believes that’s an error doesn’t watch baseball. It should be a team error ... but since those don’t exist, it’s called a hit.”
Two other Passan tweets:
“Everyone citing Rule 10.12: Of course it *should* apply. When balls drop between fielders and whom to charge it is in question, it doesn’t.
“There is a difference between should and is. It should be called an error because it’s a screw-up. It isn’t because team errors don’t exist.”
Others also lamented the lack of a team error in baseball. Perhaps it will become an official statistic one day. Major League Baseball has shown it can change, having expanded replay this season and updated the rules on home-plate collisions.
Naturally, others have a different idea.
Royals blogger and Grantland writer Rany Jazayerli tweeted: “Either get rid of errors completely or get rid of official scorers completely.”