Despite the Marlins' coaching staff and front office making it known that the wrong call was made at the plate in the eighth inning of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Reds, Major League Baseball issued a statement on Friday afternoon, supporting the overturned ruling.
In the eighth inning Friday, Bryan Morris was pitching with the bases loaded and one out, and got Todd Frazier to hit a fly ball to right field.Giancarlo Stanton's throw took Jeff Mathis a bit towards the third base line, and while initially Zack Cozart was called out by a bunch at the plate, a crew-chief challenge overturned the call on the field.
MLB's statement regarding the eighth-inning play and replay judgment from the Reds-Marlins game last night: pic.twitter.com/PHllfeal3i— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) August 1, 2014
The rule leaves a significant amount of room for interpreation, and Manager Mike Redmond and Miami's front office remain convinced the incorrect call was made. Many reporters and baseball executives were also convinced the incorrect call was made.
In terms of the response, replays of the play don't support all of Major League Baseball's response. The note says "the catcher did not provide a lane to the runner," however Mathis moved simply to field the throw from Stanton that took him towards the third base side of home plate.
Fox Sports Florida's Play-by-Play announcer Rich Waltz cited a discussion he had with Joe Torre on last night's broadcast, during which Torre reportedly said the rule of a catcher blocking the plate without the ball does not come into play if the catcher has to move to field a throw.
Waltz also noted via Twitter that a similar call by the same umpiring crew was made on Wednesday night, however the call on that play was upheld. Mike Winters, the home plate umpire, was seen during the broadcast saying to Morris "I agree with you."
From a Wed game...same crew made same call on this play...and NY upheld. Not last night. http://t.co/W3AqGj0pZO— Rich Waltz (@RichWaltz) August 1, 2014
Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun-Sentinel put together a piece with reactions from several Marlins, which can be found here.
Whether MLB's response to the review was adequate is questionable, but regardless, there may be yet another rule change coming in the offseason.