Thursday, March 6th, 2014, at approximately 12:30 in the afternoon, Mike Trout may have changed the game of baseball for the better with a not so simple play. The stats didn't matter, due to it being a Spring Training exhibition game between the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers that ended in a four to four tie after ten innings. However, in the first inning, Mike Trout may have made baseball history.
On a 2-0 count, Mike Trout hit a ball to center field past the diving glove of Yasiel Puig. The ball trickled to the center field wall and Trout rounded the bases in a hurry. Puig hit the cutoff man (Hanley Ramirez) and a play at the plate occured with Mike Trout being called out by third-base umpire, Patrick Hoberg, on a tag by A.J. Ellis.
Angels manager, Mike Scioscia, hustled to the plate immediately and began to talk with both Hoberg, and crew chief umpire, Gerry Davis. At the time, we believed that Scioscia had asked for a challenge, something completely new to the baseball world. However, Scioscia was beginning to explain another new concept of the baseball world, the contact at the plate rule.
As established less than a month prior to the incident, Major League Baseball established a new rule, such being Rule 7.13 which states:
"Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of a runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe."
With this said, Scioscia believed that Ellis was blocking the plate without possession of the ball, not allowing Trout the proper given space to a pathway to home plate.
The umpires decided to review the play under their will and would not challenge Scioscia and the Angels with a challenge. After review, the call on the field was upheld and Trout was called out in an inside-the-park home run attempt.
The play brought attention to both new rules of 2014 established by Major League Baseball.
So, in thirty years, when you're arguing about what Mike Trout did for the game of baseball, positive or negative, this could be a defining moment in Trout's career, being the first to bring in to effect the "catcher in possession" rule and the new challenge system. Mike Trout easily could have changed the way baseball is played with an inside-the-park home run attempt, very few will ever remember.
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