HOUSTON — Here’s how the play transpired from Trea Turner‘s point of view: he swung, the ball was in play, he ran to first, the ball hit him…and…he’s out?
Major League Baseball ended up with a toned-down controversy during and after Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday because Anthony Rendon‘s five RBIs and Stephen Strasburg‘s pitching made a seventh-inning interference call against Turner moot — for the most part.
The call was the baseline for Davey Martinez’s anger, which led to him being ejected. It prompted the Nationals dugout to scream at the umpiring crew so often, third base umpire and crew chief Gary Cederstrom approach the Nationals dugout between innings to tell Martinez to calm his colleagues, according to multiple Nationals players. Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, had to explain in a press conference afterward why Turner was out live on the field, then remained so following a crew chief review of the play when Washington held a precarious 3-2 lead.
“The ruling was that Trea Turner interfered, basically — not basically, he interfered with the first baseman trying to make a play. In fact, [Yuli] Gurriel’s glove even came off at that point in time. He did run to the fair side of those 45-foot line, but really the violation was when he kept Gurriel from being able to catch the ball at first base.”
Torre went on to explain it’s a judgment call for the umpire. In this case, it was made by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Martinez said he wanted to protest. He was informed by Cederstrom he cannot protest a judgment call, according to Torre.
Torre was asked where Turner should go in that instance when trying to cross first base.
“If you notice, he was running inside the line toward fair territory, toward the grass. And he was coming from that angle. If had been running in the 45-foot line, he’d have been coming from a different angle and the first baseman may have had an easier chance catching the ball.
“But as you know — as you saw, the glove came off Gurriel’s hand and he wasn’t doing anything but trying to catch the ball. And my view, if he catches the ball, Turner, he’s fast, but he hadn’t gotten to first base yet.”
Turner, unsurprisingly, did not agree.
“I don’t understand it,” Turner said. “I can understand if I veered one way or another. I didn’t. I don’t know.”
Martinez carries a standard stance when asked about the umpires in the regular season, postseason, pregame or postgame: he doesn’t want to talk about them. He held to that idea Tuesday in Houston.
“You know, I really — look, I don’t want to sit here and talk about me or the umpires,” Martinez said. “This is not about me or the umpires. This is about the Washington Nationals and those guys in the clubhouse coming to Game 6 and playing lights out, knowing that this could be it. And I’m super proud of them.
“I mean — and in the heat of the moment things get blown out of hand. I saw things differently. But I’m not going to — like I said, I’m never going to criticize any umpires or anything, because they’re a big part of the game.
“I’m just really proud of the boys and the way they came out and played today. That’s all I want to say about that. We’ve got another game [Wednesday]. Let’s come back [Wednesday] and win again.”
There is a tomorrow — in this case, the last of the season — because of what happened after Turner was told he had to come off the field. Most are thankful for that because of a simple premise: The players should decide the game.
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