Here we go again with another Major League Baseball player appealing to have an error changed to a hit. On Saturday, May 31, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reported that San Diego Padres first baseman Tommy Medica will have his agent, Beverly Hills Sports Council, file an appeal to have the ruling of Medica’s May 28 second-inning ground ball changed from an error to a hit. It is the second such appeal — at least made widely known — this season. Recall that on May 14, Boston’s David Ortiz successfully appealed the ruling of an error in the Yu-Darvish near no-hitter on May 9 and had it changed into a hit.
Medica’s situation is just as unique as was Ortiz’s. In the Red Sox/Rangers game, Darvish had a no-hitter going in the seventh inning when Ortiz lofted his error-turned-hit pop fly. In the Padres/Diamondbacks game, Medica followed that second-inning ground ball with three-fourths of the cycle: triple, double, and home run. If the official scorer had ruled that ground ball a hit, then Medica would have had the cycle — the first ever in Padres history.
See the video from MLB.com to make a decision. The full-speed play does not show the ball and Diamondbacks third baseman, Martin Prado, long enough to get a very good look. However, at the 28-second mark, the super-slow-motion replay shows a very catchable ball. Even the announcer says, “It’s a very makeable play… it’s a Big-League third baseman there… no question — E-5.” Now, with the pending appeal, that cycle could very well end up happening at least three days after the game has ended.
I saw this coming the moment that Ortiz won his appeal; I just did not predict what situation. The May 14 scoring change was wrong, and so is this new one if Medica wins his appeal. Regardless of personal opinion about the play itself, the official scorer has the job of calling the play a hit or an error. In the second inning, the scorer has no idea that the hitter will get the other three hits needed for the cycle later in the game — just as the scorer has no idea whether or not the pitcher will throw a no-hitter. In either case, though, the scorer must remain objective in those regards and score the play as he sees fit. Major League Baseball needs to keep the integrity of the scorer’s decision intact.
I love seeing players accomplish major feats such as no-hitters or cycles, and I wish Medica had gotten that single. However, I also believe in the official scorers doing the job they are paid to do, and they should have their decisions upheld, especially this long after the game has ended. Besides, the 24-hour window for the scorer to make such a change begins as soon as the game ends. This is not an immediate challenge that could have an effect on the outcome of the game such as in the case of a replay challenge. It is merely for statistical purposes only — three days after the game ended.
Major League Baseball would set a very difficult precedent if they allow Medica to have this call changed so he can have his personal feat and set team history. If they allow the appeal to succeed, then watch for many, many more appeals from the players to get the results they want. Pitchers may then start to appeal to have hits changed to errors to protect their ERA’s or possibly to preserve a no-hitter. Where would it end? It would not.
PHOTO CREDIT: (AP PHOTO/Matt York)