MLB rule 7.09(h): A runner shall be called out when “in the judgment of the umpire the base coach at third base or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.”
This is only one photo frame depicting the interaction between Giants third base coach Roberto Kelly and runner Gregor Blanco in the ninth inning, but it sure looks like 7.09(h) applies here. Doesn’t it?
you had one job pic.twitter.com/GIjHaTtoZ6
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) April 23, 2015
Don Mattingly sure thought it did. The Dodgers manager popped out of the dugout immediately after the play. If Blanco is out, the Giants have runners on first and second base and two outs, not the bases loaded with one out. Maybe the game is still going. Here’s what Mattingly saw:
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) April 23, 2015
But — you knew a “but” was coming — here’s how third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth recalled his conversation with Mattingly, as transcribed by a pool reporter:
“Don came out and asked me did I see him grab him. I told him no, I did not see him grab him. There ends up being contact but the rule is pretty specific in the fact that he had to touch and physically grab him and assist him in returning to the base. That did not happen. If he doesn’t physically assist him in returning to the base then there’s no interference.”