In the seventh inning, Jason Bay hit a not-quite-home run that deflected off Kansas City center fielder Mitch Maier's glove, rolled a good ten feet or so along the wall and was then gathered up again by left fielder Ross Gload, ruled to be in play, and thrown back in.
It's a freakish circumstance, even though it's happened twice now this season, so maybe it's too obscure a thing to have its own ground rule. But my dad, who's out in Kansas City taking in the game in person, called to ask, as he had about the Youkilis-Damon wall-ball situation, "why is a ball that sits on the top of the wall not a home run?"
"It breaks the plane of the field, doesn't it?" he went on. "Why is it still in play?"
This struck me as a very football-centric way to look at it. With instant replay, and coaches' ability to challenge officials' calls, football is very much a sport concerned with breaking invisible planes, such as the first-down mark or the goal line. Much time and vociferous debate is spent parsing the atoms between the nose of a football and theoretical panes of glass. And they say football isn't a cerebral sport.
But I digress. My theory about why the Youkilis-Damon-ball and, now, the Bay-Gathright-Gload-ball were not home runs is that they touched a fielder's glove, and then fell back into the field of play rather than rolling or falling into clear home run territory, out of the park. Obviously a defensive player that leaps and reaches over the wall should be able to make a homer-robbing catch for an out.
But the terrain in that particular area in Kansas City would make it more complicated had Gathright not gotten a glove on it - rather than just a wall in front of empty space, as there is at Yankee stadium, there's a ledge perpendicular to the wall with grass on it - the ball wouldn't fall over the wall but would have to roll back across some imaginary line or another, I suppose, or hit the top of the wall and bounce onto that ledge of grass, to be a home run. I think.
I guess this all gets back to Manny's "single" during last year's ALCS in Cleveland. The same questions were raised then, and I'm not sure if they were resolved to anyone's satisfaction.
Me, I'm stumped.
A couple of other quick notes:
- Josh seemed to have gotten his groove back tonight, as did Jacoby, despite being cut down at the plate - it was nice to see him steal a base again. And reassuring to have Commander Kickass back in the saddle and laying down the law.
- Jason Bay also went 4 for 5 tonight, which is great, because he'll be fine as long as he keeps hitting. If not, to quote a coworker of mine, "he'll just wish he was never born."
- Empyreal Environs noted an interesting theory for the road listlessness in the big leagues this year--if true, I'm not sure what can be done about it or whether it will change.
- Big Papi just makes me so happy about life, damn it.