The Phillies have Ben Revere on second base and no outs when Michael Young hits a shot to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who is playing at normal depth. On the pitch, Revere attempts to steal third and is hit by the batted ball while sliding into the base. Even though Revere was on third base when struck by the batted ball, he should be called out because he interfered with Frazier and kept him from making a play. True or false?
There is a seven in ten chance Michael Young did not know the answer to this hypothetical question.
Young was one of the low scorers on Jayson Stark’s MLB rules quiz, a social experiment of sorts. How well do Major League players, managers, and coaches know the rules really?
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill situations, either. The quiz, presented to 20 players and five managers/coaches, presents 10 true-false questions involving unusual and in some cases practically unimaginable scenarios. The example above is probably among the most likely to occur, and when’s the last time you’ve seen that?
Jimmy Rollins scored a 4. Young scored a 3, tied for worst among players with Tampa Bay’s Sam Fuld. To put that in perspective, Chad Durbin did better than both of them with a 5. Afterwards, the Phillies third baseman tried to explain his ineptitude:
"I used to think I knew the rules," Young said. "But over time, I began to learn I didn't know them as well as I thought. One time in a game, they called the infield fly rule, and I wasn't sure why. So afterward, I went over to the ump and said, 'Don't ever tell anybody I said this, but what's that rule again?'"
To be fair, the quiz stumped a lot of folks. Only one person aced it, Arizona’s Brad Ziegler. A handful of guys got 8 or 9, but overwhelmingly the scores were 6 or worse.
Think you can do better? ESPN.com has the quiz online here, and it’s an enjoyable way to waste a few minutes and prove how smart you are/little you know. Stark’s thesis paper column is also worth a read. Very original, fun piece.