Melvin argues as Angels flop at first Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics of Oakland were beat by the Los Angeles Angels of Disneyland in a ten-inning, 4-3 game. Pitches were thrown, runs were scored and some other things happened in the game and that’s all I can remember because somewhere around the ninth inning I think I had a baseball induced stroke or a cell-phone flashlight induced seizure, I’m not sure which.
When I watch games on television, I like to follow along with my Twitter feed and see what the peeps are saying about the game. For the most part the big controversy was when Angels fans flashed their camera phones in an attempt to distract Oakland batters. This is a ridiculous tradition that the Angels have been encouraging since 1947 and tonight they employed the flicker by sending out a tweet when Vogt took the plate in a high leverage, bases loaded pinch hit.
I witnessed this earlier this summer when I visited the Big A and thought it was the dumbest thing I’d seen in a ballpark until I saw a Rally Monkey movie clip. If it was an organic fan thing, I think I’d be ok with it but since Angels fans don’t seem to do anything unless the scoreboard instructs them to, I think it’s tacky for a major league baseball team to encourage their fans to be an active distraction in the game. The best argument was made in this tweeet:
That particular controversy was quickly forgotten in the ninth inning when we saw some World Cup caliber flopping and had to dig out our Official Rules of Baseball books to confirm that the umpires made an idiotic call which caused Oakland to play the game under protest. In case you’ve been sheltered away from the game, post-game show, radio, and Twitter, Aybar had a little pop up that was fielded by Dan Otero, who actually caught it, and Brandon Moss who was backing up the play. Both of the fielders were inside the baseline. I’ll repeat that. Both of the A’s were inside the baseline. Within the baseline, it was clear that these two would collide so Aybar took a left turn, went three feet within the running path and plowed them down, fell to the ground and got first base.
He was rightfully awarded the base based on the rules of obstruction (obstruction is on defense, interference is on offense) but the
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argument I make is that they applied the wrong rule. In the event that two fielders are colliding on the base path, the guy that had no business being there is charged with obstruction and the runner gets the base. Originally, Otero was given the obstruction call despite having made the catch. The ruling eventually got switched to Moss. Here’s the kicker though, if Aybar would have stayed in the running path, there would be no collision and Otero would have thrown him out at first but Aybar didn’t stay in his path, he took an intentional turn in an attempt to get the obstruction call from an ump on the wrong side of the play. He should have been out for running out of the base path, plain and simple.
Luckily, that lame call didn’t end up costing the Athletics the game. The Angels took the game fair and square in the 10th inning after drawing a bases loaded single. Sonny Gray, with the exception of a sloppy second inning where he gave up three runs, had a strong outing with 7.0 innings pitched, 6 hits and 3 earned runs.
No matter what good signs we saw from the A’s tonight, this game will forever be shrouded in controversy since it is very unlikely that the protest will be upheld by MLB tomorrow. I wrote earlier that A’s fans need not worry about August slumps but every single game from here on out is a must-win game and if the season comes down to a tie or a one game miss of the division, this game will be the one everyone points to. All of that being said, I don’t know if Lester holds a grudge but if he does, I would suggest Aybar not hug the plate too closely tomorrow and if he doesn’t, I’ve got a buddy named Lester at the game that may want to have some words with him.