As of this morning, Major League Baseball has apparently fixed the controversial transfer rule that has been a problem with the newly implemented instant replay system.
The rule has affected the Rangers twice this season. The first time was in Boston when, on a potential double play attempt, Elvis Andrus dropped the ball after catching it when he attempted to get the ball out of his glove and throw it to 1st base. The second time was against Seattle when, on a force out at home, J.P. Arencibia caught the ball with his foot on the plate. After stepping off and reaching for the ball to throw to 1st, he bobbled it momentarily. In both cases, the replay crew in New York ruled against the Rangers, saying that they did not control the catch.
In case you're the type that wants to read the specifics, the MLB.com press release reads as follows:
Major League Baseball announced Friday that the Playing Rules Committee has provided its official view of how umpires should apply the official playing rules when a fielder loses possession of a ball when attempting to transfer it to his throwing hand.
The committee's interpretation of the rule was discussed and agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association. Beginning with games played tonight, umpires will enforce the rule according to the standards below.
The committee has determined that a legal catch has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, "Catch"), or a valid forceout or tag has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, "Tag"), if the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand. There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer.
With that, hopefully the biggest controversy related to instant replay is officially resovled. Now, if we could only get some clarification on the catcher obstruction...