According to Major League Baseball’s replay rules, neighborhood plays should not be reviewable. The umpires reviewed a neighborhood play on Monday night though, after Terry Collins argued that the neighborhood play shouldn’t apply to bunts.
Usually, a position player trying to turn a double play is considered to have recorded the out if he’s in the “neighborhood” of the bag.
In the 9th inning, with Eric Campbell on first base, Juan Lagares laid down a hard sacrifice bunt up the third base line. Atlanta’s third baseman Chris Johnson fielded and threw to second to try and get the lead runner. Andrelton Simmons, the Braves’ shortstop covering second, fielded the ball while stepping off the bag and turned to first to try and turn a double play. Lagares beat the throw to first and Campbell was called out on the force.
Collins came out from the Mets dugout and argued that the neighborhood play doesn’t apply to sacrifice bunts and challenged the call on the field, the manager said after the game. The umpires reviewed the play and called Campbell safe, saying that Simmons was off the bag when he received the throw from Johnson.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to argue and was eventually ejected from the game.
“It’s one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen,” Gonzalez said after the game (O’Brien, July 8).
After the game, MLB issued a statement on the review and call:
“The replay regulations allow umpires to determine if they considered a play to be a neighborhood play or not, based on a variety of factors. Some of the factors they consider are the throw and if the player receiving the ball is making the turn. Umpires might consider whether it was an errant throw or if a player receiving a throw who is not at risk of contact made an effort to touch the bag.”
The umpires also spoke about the play after the game.
“We reviewed the call because, in our judgment, we felt the throw took the fielder off the bag. We judged that the throw took him off the bag.”
“He’s trying to complete the double play quicker. He’s trying to gain an advantage.”
The ruling didn’t change the outcome of the game, as the Mets eventually loaded the bases but couldn’t plate a run, forcing the game to extras. They would eventually win it in the 11th inning.