Brewers Robbed of Game-Tying Run By Umpire Who Probably Made the Correct Call

Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy got thrown out for arguing the wrong rule.
Apr 29, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Milwaukee Brewers manager Pat Murphy (21) argues a call
Apr 29, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers manager Pat Murphy (21) argues a call / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 1-0, on Monday night. The Brewers briefly thought they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when Sal Frelick scored on a wild pitch, but home plate umpire quickly Ryan Additon called Jake Bauers for interference and sent the runners back. Bauers had hit catcher Rene Pinto in the helmet on his backswing and the play was ruled dead immediately.

Brewers manager Pat Murphy then came out to argue the call. After a healthy, respectful debate Murphy was thrown out of the game. It was his sixth career ejection and first in Milwaukee. And even waking up this morning he may not know if he was actually right or not.

Murphy continued to argue his case in his postgame press conference while flanked by three grandchildren, which seems like the perfect way to keep yourself from saying something that might get you fined. You can't go on a expletive-filled rant in front of children when you're trying to instill virtues in the youth like knowing the rulebook.

The question remains: was Murphy's interpretation of the call correct? The announcers seemed to side with the home team, but were they also confused? According to crew chief Chris Guccione who was working first base during the game, Additon's call was correct. Via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

“In this situation, it was swinging strike 3,” Guccione said from the umpire's room following the game. “The ball got away from the catcher, but on the batter’s backswing, hit the catcher in the helmet. At that point, once the play is over, the ball is then dead. Because in that case, the catcher still has an opportunity to make a play on the ball if the guy was stealing or if he had been there and gotten the guy out at the plate. So we leave the ball in play until everything is done. And then at that point, you have to enforce the backswing interference.

"So in this case, it was a third strike to Bauers and all runners go back to the original base at the time of the pitch. That’s the rule. In the official baseball rules, it’s 6.03a(3) and (4).”

Meanwhile, Murphy was arguing his batter was not in violation of Rule 6.01(a)(1), which is when a batter “clearly hinders the catcher in his attempt to field the ball.” 

The lesson, as always, is that baseball is a children's game with two extremely complicated sets of rules. One set with thousands of special cases broken down into sections and subsections that are still somehow left up to the interpretation and another that is completely unwritten. Both are subject to the whims and emotions of dozens of human beings on a moment-by-moment basis.

And yet it's all so perfectly summed up with two words: play ball.


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Stephen Douglas

STEPHEN DOUGLAS

Stephen Douglas is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in journalism and media since 2008, and now casts a wide net with coverage across all sports. Stephen spent more than a decade with The Big Lead and has previously written for Uproxx and The Sporting News. He has three children, two degrees and one now unverified Twitter account.