Bartlett: Pierzynski yelled "obstruction"

24

August

The biggest - and most controversial - play of the Rays 6-5 loss to the White Sox had plenty of people talking in post-game.

Here's what happened: White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski became the center of attention in the 10th, when, after getting caught in a rundown between second and third, he tripped, fell and was tagged by Rays SS Jason Bartlett. But second base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Rays 3B Willy Aybar interfered with Pierzynski, allowing the colorful catcher to advance to third. Pierzynski later scored on Alexei Ramirez's bases-loaded single.

Aybar said he tried to get out of Pierzynski's way, and only made contact after Pierzynski stuck his arm out. Bartlett said he heard Pierzynski yell, "Obstruction!" after he fell, and Pierzynski admitted afterward that he was thinking about trying to get an interference call.

"That was the first thing I thought of, to get somebody to get close enough to where I could touch them. People go, 'How do you think of that, that fast? Well, if you’re not fast, you have to think of a lot of things to try to get you out of bad baserunning."

Eddings wasn't available for comment, but third base umpire Ted Barrett defended the decision:

"As a runner, you're allowed to (make contact). What Doug ruled at second base was, even though A.J. did kind of stick his arm out to make contact, Aybar was still in his way, so A.J., if he would have turned, he wouldn't have been able to continue on to third. So after making the throw, Aybar is no longer in the act of fielding and he can't obstruct the runner, which is what Doug ruled happened. And in a rundown, even though A.J. was going back to second, the rule of obstruction during a rundown is he gets his next advanced base and that's why he was rewarded third base."

"If Aybar's got the ball, there's no obstruction, You protect the fielder when he's in the act of fielding. Once that ball's released and out of his hand, he has to vacate."

According to Bartlett: "I looked up at the umpire thinking he's going to say something like, 'Are you kidding me?' And he's like, 'Yep, yep, yep.' Right there I lost it. I was like, what?" Those are the breaks, I guess."

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:38am]

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