What are the odds that another outfielder was having his “catch” ruled a live ball for the exact same reason on the exact same day as the controversial Ben Revere play? Probably astronomical, but it also happened to the Red Sox in Detroit on Sunday.
Here’s the video. Daniel Nava makes a basket catch at the warning track in right field, but as he reaches into his glove to pull the ball out, it rolls down his wrist and falls to the ground. The batter is ruled safe, and an argument ensues.
Two different umpires. Two different ballparks. Same day. Same call. And both of them are wrong?
In the Boston case, we actually have an explanation – one that fits the Revere play as well. Here is crew chief Ted Barrett defending Mike DiMuro’s ruling:
"To have a catch, you have to have complete control and voluntary release," said crew chief Ted Barrett, the third base umpire. "(DiMuro) had him with control, but did not have the voluntary release. When he flipped the ball out of his glove, he never got it into his hand. That's not voluntary release."
Revere’s release is not considered voluntary because it was never in his hand before it landed on the ground. Oh, he voluntarily dropped it out of his glove. He did not voluntarily or intentionally drop it on to the ground though. That is an important distinction, presumably because voluntary/intentional actions demonstrate control, which is ultimately what the fielder must prove.
(To answer the question, "Didn't Revere control the ball long enough before the release?" – roughly one second elapsed between the ball landing in his glove to when it hit the ground, so the answer would be no.)
Those are the rules. Revere may have caught the ball from Merriam Webster’s point of view, but as far as Major League Baseball is concerned this was not a catch.