Boston Red Sox centerfielder Mookie Betts did everything that you’d want a star outfielder to do, and it all went horribly for him.
In the sixth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, Betts ran down Jose Abreu’s hit in Fenway Park’s cavernous outfield before his momentum sent him tumbling over the wall and into the bullpen.
That's a helluva way to record an out. It was a gutsy play that looked classy on the eye -- the kind of thing the 22-year-old Betts has been doing all season for the hapless Red Sox.
Except it wasn't a catch. White Sox manager Robin Ventura challenged the call and after the umpires reviewed the play, the out was overturned into a HOME RUN. (Somewhere, Dez Bryant is shaking his damn head.) But how? Let's go to the official MLB rulebook:
A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.
Okay, so baseball's Catch Rule is way more clear than the NFL's. That's too bad for Betts -- there's no way that hit was a home run without his initial catch.
Instant replay not only shows his awesome catch, but also why it's a non-catch:
The ground caused two things to jar back and forth here: the ball and Betts' head.
"When they showed the replay, he goes over the wall, lands and hits the back of his head," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
"As he's coming in, he's starting to experience some light-headedness. He sat down, went through some field tests right there, and it was immediate to get him off the field and out of the game," he continued.
Farrell confirmed after the team's 9-4 loss that Betts has "symptoms consistent with a concussion," but could offer no further update.
It was an unusual play (how often do you see outfielders end up with home runs?), but at least it wasn't embarrassing as Jose Canseco's infamous headed home run.
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