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Ben Revere Did Not Execute ‘Voluntary Release’ of Fly Ball

Jun 24, 2013, 3:33 PM EDT


What are the odds that another outfielder was having his “catch” ruled a live ball for the exact same reason on the exact same day as the controversial Ben Revere play? Probably astronomical, but it also happened to the Red Sox in Detroit on Sunday.

Here’s the video. Daniel Nava makes a basket catch at the warning track in right field, but as he reaches into his glove to pull the ball out, it rolls down his wrist and falls to the ground. The batter is ruled safe, and an argument ensues.

Two different umpires. Two different ballparks. Same day. Same call. And both of them are wrong?

In the Boston case, we actually have an explanation – one that fits the Revere play as well. Here is crew chief Ted Barrett defending Mike DiMuro’s ruling:

“To have a catch, you have to have complete control and voluntary release,” said crew chief Ted Barrett, the third base umpire. “(DiMuro) had him with control, but did not have the voluntary release. When he flipped the ball out of his glove, he never got it into his hand. That’s not voluntary release.”

Revere’s release is not considered voluntary because it was never in his hand before it landed on the ground. Oh, he voluntarily dropped it out of his glove. He did not voluntarily or intentionally drop it on to the ground though. That is an important distinction, presumably because voluntary/intentional actions demonstrate control, which is ultimately what the fielder must prove.

(To answer the question, “Didn’t Revere control the ball long enough before the release?” – roughly one second elapsed between the ball landing in his glove to when it hit the ground, so the answer would be no.)

Those are the rules. Revere may have caught the ball from Merriam Webster’s point of view, but as far as Major League Baseball is concerned this was not a catch.

>> Daniel Nava catch or drop? [HuffPo]
Previously: No, Ben Revere, This Is Not a Catch

  1. Wrong. - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Welp. You’re obviously a hack. Guess you can write on baseball without knowing anything about it. If he can change the direction of the ball, turn it across his body and release it, he has control over it. It’s not about whether or not he’s clumsy, it’s about control. The rule that you quoted is that he needs to have complete control -> Pulling the ball down and in with a closed glove is pretty good control. AND That the release is voluntary and intentional. -> He intentionally and voluntarily released the ball from the glove. Not release the ball to the ground, not release the ball to another player, release it from his glove. He caught it, moved it, opened up and released it. He messed up, but that was a blown call.

    But, you messed up too, so I guess you guys are even.

  2. Von9 - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    I’d like to give Ben his “voluntary release” from red pinstripes. Go back to the minors. Or get on your damn horse and ride to warn the colonists. Just don’t come back.

  3. BenE. - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Sorry dude but this reeks of smugness (coming from me, I know I know). Another “follow up story” that piggybacks on a previous post where many people disagreed with you. I thought that was a tactic reserved for Eagles topics. Anyway you could have saved yourself a few keystrokes and just posted the Nava video with the headline “I Told You So.”

    And yes, both umpires are wrong. It happens. I wish I could remember who it was that dropped a transfer after a pop up last month and the umpire called it out. It might have been Gerardo Parra of the Dbacks. He clearly dropped the ball and it was even quicker after the catch than Revere’s transfer. The ump’s ruling? Parra(?) caught the ball but simply dropped the transfer.

  4. BAPS - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    There’s entirely too much being made over this single call in yesterday’s game. The Phillies were still shut out, regardless of the fact that Ben Revere is an idiot. The staff gave up 8 runs (even if not all of them were earned). And it all added up to another one in the L column.

    Fact of the matter is, I don’t believe there’s a finite definition of what is constituted as control. It VERY EASILY could’ve been a mishandled ball on the fly as opposed to the mishandling being on the transfer.

    Everyone’s overlooking the bigger picture here in order to jump on the blue crucifiction ban wagon. While I agree that a lot of play calling is getting ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RIDICULOUS, and umpires need to be held accountable for blown calls, I also feel that this call wasn’t necessarily blown. It falls along the same lines of that idiotic play at second that Kendrick got picked off during a few weeks ago…

    Not necessarily the right call, but not the umpire’s fault, and could have EASILY been avoided by the Phillie in question by simply playing the game correctly.

    On a side note, if this were Dommie Bear last year, the whole of Philadelphia, myself included, would be calling for his head right now.

    I have heard absolutely NO ONE else call on the fact that Revere fucked up showboating.

  5. DLo34 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    First, turning your glove to an angle to drop the ball into your barehand IS voluntary release. That is what Revere did. Second Nava’s play is quite different than Revere’s play. Nava was running back on the track, his momentum was going towards the wall, he made untypical basket catch, and his body swung around and the ball popped out. That situation is in complete contrast to a calm catch over the head, while Revere was slowing down to a near stationary position.

    The ball does not have to be secured by your barehand to be considered voluntary release, i.e. every turn you’ve seen at second base where the ball pops out of the second baseman’s glove on the exchange. The runner is out despite the fact the ball was not secured in the throwing hand of the second baseman.

    IF the ball had to be secured by the barehand to be considered an out, then under what is stated in this article, if an outfielder catches a ball for the third out, walks towards the outfield bleachers, flips it from his glove to a fan, that would be considered a homerun.

  6. willh888 - Jun 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I’ve never seen an outfielder voluntarily or intentionally drop a ball. I’ve only ever seen that from an infielder in other levels of baseball who are trying to stretch that humpback liner into a double play. I think that’s what the rule is trying to outline. We’ve seen lots of cases where the outfielder catches all non nonchalant-like, reaches into his glove to loaf it back into the infield and it hits the ground.

    Depending on the fan, I think some people get stuck in football-catch-mode. In baseball, i’ve seen that called a catch plenty of times. Maybe the umpires are the ones who aren’t on the same page. How would the concept of “on the transfer” even exist? He wasn’t trying to exchange the ball into his jockstrap.. he was rolling it into his hand. Isn’t that a transfer?

  7. nahroots - Jun 24, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Enough, Kulp. Now you’re being a tool.

  8. doc - Jun 24, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    About the Nava catch, you said, “Daniel Nava makes a basket catch at the warning track in right field, but as he reaches into his glove to pull the ball out, it rolls down his wrist and falls to the ground.”

    a. He didn’t reach into the glove. He flipped it back toward his throwing hand.
    b. It didn’t roll down his wrist (whatever that means). The flip was unsuccessful.

    This “voluntary release” rule is being misapplied. It’s obviously not enforced routinely. Players, especially outfielders, very often hold up their glove to show the umpire that they’ve caught the ball. The umpire then signals an out. It may be seconds before the player releases the ball. That is, release very commonly occurs well after the out is called. So release is not a necessary part of the catch in practice.

    The rule should be applied to instances where the ball pops out very soon after entering the glove upon a collision of any kind, such as with a body part, wall, railing, the ground, a fan, etc.

  9. lahoe819 - Jun 24, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Ok there are pretty major differences between the 2 plays. With Nava, the ball pretty much continues on its same course towards the outfield wall, he really only gets in the way of it. His “squeeze” isn’t that good as it rolls out the back. With Revere, he gets it in the glove and brings it down with a strong squeeze, the ball stops moving. In realtime I doubt the umps can tell this but upon review there is no movement of the ball in Revere’s glove while there is movement in Nava’s glove. I hate drawing comparisons across sports but in football, Revere having no movement is a catch. Also, he does not possess the ball in the glove as long as Revere. He only holds it maybe 3/4 of a second, which may not seem like much, but I think is substantial enough. IMO as a Phillie fan, Revere made the catch and a Boston fan could make an argument to me that Nava made the catch too, though Revere definitely more so. More over, if the umps want to start calling “voluntary release” must be into the hand, how about the several times when a player catches the ball and flips it immediately from the glove into the outfield. He voluntarily releases it but not into his hand, so that’s not a catch because the voluntarily release did not go into his hand? That instance probably happens more so than these 2 occurrences and is NEVER called. I can think of one off the top of my head, watching a nationally televised ESPN Sunday night game a year or 2 ago when an OF made the play I just described and tosses it into the first couple rows without ever transferring hands. The announcers joked oh the umps could call that an out, but they didn’t. If they’re going to call it, call it consistently. They did (incorrectly IMO) the other day but still. And I saw a comment from Kulp on the other article about this saying the Mets announcers said at the end of the video of Revere it wasn’t a catch, well of course they’re gonna say it’s not a catch, they’re the METS announcers….

  10. Hiccup - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    What made it look bad as said previously was when Revere scrambled to chase and pick up the ball when there was no more possible plays to be made making it look like he dropped the ball against his will.


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