June 2, 2023

The Blue Jays defeated the Twins 3-2 in 10 innings on Sunday. The drama that ended up being Cavan Biggio’s game-winning RBI — scoring newly acquired Blue Jay Whit Merrifield — was extremely controversial, leading to the Twins There are plenty of choice words in the dugout, especially manager Rocco Baldelli.

First, match-by-play does not guarantee fair play. It now just reads, “Biggio hits sacrifice to fly left, Merrifield scores.” Much more than that.

In fact, the verdict on the field was initially an inning-ending double. Third place is Merrifield. Biggio flew out and Merrifield was ruled out in the home run game after tagging. It was close enough to get a review that the league reversed that decision, ruling that Twins wide receiver Gary Sanchez illegally interfered with Merrifield’s scoring chances.

Here are the best views:

The overhead view very clearly shows Sanchez applying the tag to Merrifield just before the home run. We should all agree on this.

However, the phone was overturned according to the bezel rules. Remember, the umpires here at Target Field are simply following the rulings of the New York League Office Replay Center. This is how it works.

Here is the relevant part of the rule:

The catcher must not block the runner’s path to the board unless he has possession of the ball, but blocking the runner’s path during a legal attempt to catch the ball is not considered a violation. If the referee determines that the catcher has violated this rule, the runner may be deemed safe. But according to a September 2014 rules memo, a runner could still be called out if he is clearly beaten by a pitch. Backstops are not subject to this force competition rule.

When catching the ball, catchers often provide runners with a slide into the plate to reduce the likelihood that they will be fouled for a rule violation.

MLB explained the specific call on Sunday after the game:

The receiver’s move into the foul zone has nothing to do with the pitch, he doesn’t have to be in that position to catch the ball.

The catcher’s movement when not in possession of the ball hinders and hinders the runner.

Baldelli immediately challenged the referee on the field, and frankly, his money paid off when he was ejected. He’s not done yet. After the game, he had some harsh words on the phone (via Bally Sports North).

“The game hasn’t been called a few times since the replay began. In all baseball games, thousands of games and home games, the catcher actually does block the plate — over and over again. — the play is almost never called,” Baldley said. “In that situation, someone stepped in and ended up making the decision to block the home plate, which was very embarrassing for our game, for all the players on both sides of the field, they were giving their all, for the whole Games are totally unacceptable.

“I can’t even believe I’m sitting here talking to you guys about this right now. It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve ever seen in a baseball game I’ve ever been in. I think it’s sad, just What happened. I can go ahead and talk about this. The umpires on the field have nothing to do with this. They had a game on the field and it was the right decision and everyone in all baseball games, including the umpires, knew it was right decision that someone in New York thinks deserves to be overturned on the court.”

The loss puts the Twins to a 57-51 record on the season, which is still good enough for a No. 1 spot in the AL Central. Both the Guardians and the White Sox won on Sunday, though, meaning the Twins’ lead fell to one game for the Guardians, with the White Sox just two games behind.

The Blue Jays’ win gave them a 60-48 lead, which put them at the top of the AL wild-card standings. They are also single digits behind the Yankees in the AL East, now 9 1/2 games behind.

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