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Rise and Phight: 5/2/2021

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In non-Euclidean space, basepaths never intersect

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
Andrew McCutchen, CSI
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

How do you bend a straight line? Ask Jose Navas to look at it.

The evening after I offered a limited defense of Marty Foster’s awful baserunning call this week, Jose Navas shoved his thumb in our collective eyes when he called Andrew McCutchen out for... running in a straight line from first to second. It was a much worse call than Foster’s because none of the elements of the play fit the rule cited. But it is in the same category of bad call: enforcing a seldom applied rule at the slightest indication it might apply. In my head I call this interventionist umping and it drives me crazy. Navas saw that Francisco Lindor thought he could tag McCutchen and then found he couldn’t. Then Navas inferred that McCutchen must have left the basepath because otherwise Lindor would have been able to tag him. That’s a terrible way to referee a sport. Umps should call what they actually see, and they should be extra sure of what they saw when they think a rule of rare use might have been violated. Sometimes it pays to be less decisive. Hesitancy is next to accuracy.

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Dust to dust, Vesuvian ashes to ashes.