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CBD Editorial: The Mike Papi Incident at the CWS

In the 9th inning on Tuesday night, Mike Papi of Virginia was caught in a run down between third base and home. Papi retreated to third base where he barreled into a Vanderbilt Tyler Campbell clearly lowering his shoulder. The video is included below.

The rule stated in the NCAA Rule Book is the following:

When there is a collision between a runner and a fielder who clearly is in possession of the ball, the umpire shall judge:

If the defensive player blocks the base (plate) or base line with clear possession of the ball, the runner may make contact, slide into or make contact with a fielder as long as the runner is making a legitimate attempt to reach the base (plate). Contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate.

(1) The runner must make an actual attempt to reach the base (plate).

PENALTY—If the runner attempts to dislodge the ball or initiates an avoidable collision, the runner shall be declared out, even if the fielder loses possession of the ball. The ball is dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.

(2) The runner may not attempt to dislodge the ball from the fielder. Contact above the waist shall be judged by the umpire as an attempt by the runner to dislodge the ball.

PENALTY—If the contact is flagrant or malicious before the runner touches the plate, the runner shall be declared out and also ejected from the contest. The ball is immediately dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.

(3) The runner must attempt to avoid a collision if he can reach the base without colliding.

PENALTY—If the contact is flagrant or malicious after the runner touches the base (plate), the runner is safe, but is ejected from the contest. The ball is immediately dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference. If this occurs at any base other than home, the offending team may replace the runner.

If the contact occurs after a preceding runner touches home plate, the preceding runner is safe. The ball is immediately dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the contact.

(4) If the runner’s path to the base is blocked and (1), (2) and (3) are fulfilled, it is considered unavoidable contact (see Rule 2-54, Obstruction).

The umpires on the field decided that the play wasn’t malicious enough for an ejection but we have seen this postseason players thrown out for dropping a ball at a runner’s feet between Miami (FL) and Texas Tech.

This violation by Papi warranted (IN MY OPINION) an immediate ejection from the game and a review by the committee for a suspension to play in Game 3 of the Championship Series.

Several coaches around the country have checked in with their opinion that if their player pulled off a similar play in a midweek game or on a conference weekend that they would be automatically ejected.

One coach commented, “If someone had rolled over the catcher in similar fashion, he would have been tossed.”

Shouldn’t we really be protecting the third baseman who has less protection than a catcher who has equipment on?

The other issue here is the great old fact that games are being officiated differently in Omaha when compared to the rest of the regular season. If you are going to eject, a student-athlete in an NCAA Regional for dropping a ball at a player’s feet and an ensuing altercation.

So do you believe Papi should have been ejected from the game or not? Should the umps call the games differently in Omaha when compared to Regular Season?

Leave your opinions below.

  • The dread pirate roberts

    It was an unfortunate incident but to eject a player because he pushed into another player who was on the baseline is insane. It is baseball, not ballet. It wasn’t malicious. The third baseman has a bump on his lip. What a bunch of pansies. Seems to me that the media is directing the attention to this incident instead of where the focus should be. That Virginia is the best baseball team in the country. The SEC can’t win it every year and for the exception of one horrible inning, has been dominated by the Hoos.

    • Player lowered his shoulder…it is the baserunner’s responsibility to avoid the fielder. If this happened at home plate, Papi would have been tossed within 5 seconds.

      • James

        Actually the bacerunner has a right to the basepath, the fielder does not.

        • Kslab

          When the fielder has the ball he has the right to the basepath, or anywhere else he may choose to stand for that matter….

      • He made a clear attempt to dislodge the ball, which is an automatic out according to the rules–even if successful. But it needs to be “malicious” to eject him per the rule [and even then it still doesn’t mean suspending him tomorrow]. IMO there’s no way you look at that play and decide he wanted to injure the 3B. He just tried to dislodge the ball.

  • Art

    I agree: we have to protect the Vanderbilt players. They’re Vandy-soft. After Papi busted his lip, you could see the tears welling up in Campbell’s eyes.

    For tomorrow night’s game, all Vandy players should be wrapped in Charmin so they don’t get any boo-boos.

    • My problem is more with the umpires calling the game different at the CWS than the regular season…

      • James

        Have you considered that perhaps they were too quick to throw someone out earlier? The rulebook states that a collision must be deemed malicious to warrant ejecting someone in that situation. The officials had a long discussion and (correctly) determined it to not be malicious in nature. He didn’t even see the third baseman (standing in the basepath) until he was going to be unable to stop any momentum and just made a split second decision to brace for contact. The fact that Papi outweighed him by like 50 pounds made it look a lot worse. Its like the umpires said “it was just a hard play, nothing malicious”.

    • Ted

      Typical UVA classless response.

    • Tyler

      Wow you’re a fag. I’m sure if you got laid out like that you’d lay on the ground for 10 minutes crying your ass off. You’re probably some UVA or Tennessee fat ass eating twinkies and cheese nips and decided to comment cause you’re a dumb troll

      • Vandy-Cry

        The butt-hurt is strong with this one.

        • Tyler

          You’re a fat ass fag twinkie eater fag fag Virginia fag troll ass crying off fag cheese nipper.

          Vanderbilt is class all the way like me.

          • LeButtHurt

            Are all Vanderbilt fans this whiny?

    • Mac0014

      You are an idiot. None of the vandy players did anything but show class. If you saw the play you would have seen that Campbell got right up after being hit by someone who outweighed him by 50lbs. People like you should just shut up

    • Bigguy4u

      Who won the next game?

  • James

    Absolutely should not have been ejected. Watch the play. He doesn’t turn around and locate the third baseman until he is 5 feet away running at full speed. At that point all he can do is brace himself for impact with the third baseman (who was standing in the basepath). He clearly didn’t raise elbows to the face or anything. It was not malicious at all. Would I have liked to see Papi check to make sure the 3BM was okay? Yes I would have and I think he should have, but it was in no way malicious.

    • Climbin’ Hillbillys

      Totally agree with you except Papi doesn’t need to check on him until after the game.

  • MarineHoo

    I`m sure in the heat of the moment it wasn`t Mike`s best decision and he probably feels bad about it. He`s a good kid I bet he seeks out Campbell to say he`s sorry…it`s baseball.

  • James

    Let’s put it this way, if TCU’s Cron didn’t get ejected for a punch tag to Kenny Town’s face then Papi shouldn’t be ejected for an unavoidable collision.

    • I didn’t see that play but a punch should have been an ejection too…and an automatic suspension.

      • Mark

        So you write for a blog named College Baseball Daily but you missed that play in a 15 inning CWS game? That’s pretty embarrassing. I mean what else could you have possibly been doing?

        • I had a writer at the series so I wasn’t on coverage….

          Brian Foley
          Sent from my iPad

          • Weak Sauce

            So you’re qualified to comment on whether or not the umps are calling games differently in the CWS even though you’re not watching the CWS?


      • Wait, I did see that play…more of a hard tag if you are talking about the play at the plate…

  • If tomorrow night, the first curveball accidentally slips out of the Vanderbilt pitcher’s hand with Papi up to bat, there is no intent in that…right? Just a good hard play!

    • Straight Talk Express

      You’re a moron … no malicious intent in that, just truth.

    • James

      You can’t compare the two and to do so is pure ignorance. That’s planned 20 hours in advance. Papi’s was a split second decision that you cannot say with 100% certainty was intentional. Seriously go watch the play before you keep spewing nonsense. Papi did not see the third baseman until it was too late. He was looking back down the line. By the time he saw the third baseman there was NO WAY he was going to be able to stop his momentum and avoid a collision. The ejection is for avoidable collisions. To anyone who rationally looks at the situation with any knowledge of physics and momentum as well as the limitations of the human body it is clear that Papi COULD NOT have avoided the collision.

    • Oldflyer

      You are just trying to stir the pot, because you need controversy. But, you are making yourself into a fool. Oh wait. It may be too late for that.

      As for the play tonight. If you don’t want to get run over, don’t block the base path.

      But, as far as your chicken bleep scenario, I expect Papi would take first base without a word or look.

    • VBHoo24

      I guess you missed all those high and tight pitches from the Vandy pitchers when the UVA batter was trying to bunt a little earlier in the game (actually you probably did miss it. We should ask whoever you sent to cover the game). There were at least 3 different pitches that almost found an earhole. I understand not wanting to let the guy get the bunt down, but that seemed pretty “malicious” to me. And, if the only repercussion that Vandy was going to get was Papi putting the 3rd baseman on his butt, then so be it. I like Vandy as a school and most of their teams, and didn’t see anything wrong with their pitcher getting our bunter off of the plate. But, if the ump doesn’t warn the pitcher on his repeated offenses, he sure as hell wasn’t going to eject Papi. Baseball is different than any other sport, with their unwritten rules. But this is the GD College World Series. The best of the best. Let them play the damn game, and let the players decide the outcome.

  • College Baseball Fan

    Papi looked like a linebacker going for a block. He made no attempt to avoid collision. Clearly he tried to mow down Campbell. Papi should have been ejected.

    • Lawhoo

      If Papi had tried to “mow down Campbell,” Campbell would have had a lot more than a fat lip.

  • GoVandy

    Let me start by saying that i am Vandy Alum and huge fan. I have to say that your assertion that Papi should have been ejected and possibly suspended reads as a very thinly veiled attempt to take yet another cheap shot at a team you have never failed to find a reason to disparage. The simple fact that you have chosen to repeatedly attack what is the most talented team in CBB speaks volumes about either your actual knowledge level about baseball, a need to create interest in your site by creating controversy, or an inability to separate personal likes and dislikes in your “profession.” James provides a much more accurate description of what truly happened. I find it interesting that you believe your opinion is correct when the top umpires in the college game discussed the play and came to a different decision. Perhaps you are in the wrong job and should be umpiring the CWS.

    As to your assertion that the CWS is being officiated differently that the regular season. Of course it is, just as the NCAA basketball tournament, BCS Championship game, Superbowl, NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and MLB Playoffs are. The idea is, to the greatest extent possible, to allow the players and coaches determine who is the best team. I think that the umpires have done a tremendous job – yes there have been missed calls, there always will be missed calls – but the professionalism, demeanor, and game management have been outstanding.

    • Horchow

      Foley is a clown with an axe to grind. Appealing to him with logic and common sense won’t work. Try this instead: “Hey Foley, is someone from Virginia sleeping with your wife? If so, you should thank him — that dog is UGLY.”

    • Robert Haley

      I appreciate your reply GoVandy…you sir are as classy as your team/coaches. Go Hoos!

  • Climbin’ Hillbillys

    I am glad Foley wasn’t the umpire!! Those 6-7 umps made the right call– Papi makes a legitimate attempt at the base and encounters unavoidable collision.

  • Overunder

    Campbell, the player who got steamrolled by Papi, said, “I think it was just aggressive; I think I would have done the same
    thing. It was kind of a weird rundown and not your standard situation.”

    But I guess he’s just more of a man than Brian Foley.

  • lickylicky

    why were the runners moved back to 2nd and 1st? The runner from 2nd was standing on 3rd when the interference happened.

    • sjzVandyfan

      They were moved back because Papi was called out in a run down, and after he charged Campbell the ball was called a dead ball. That cancelled the other runner’s advance, because they were attempting a steal.

    • JRJ21

      Standing on third does not mean anything til Papi is out or scores,he is just off his rightful base,second,,, til that happens.This is why of two runners on the same base the following runner is out if both are tagged.He is considered just off his rightful base.second.

  • Ted

    Completely agree. It was uncalled for and Papi should be ejected. Bad form for any player, but especially for one of his caliber.

  • Nashville_Os_Fan

    Not only that but he was going into a base already occupied by another runner

    • JRJ21

      That makes no diff.The base belongs to him till he scores or is tagged out.The following runner is just off his attained base ,second even though he stands on third.

      • Nashville_Os_Fan

        It is rather odd that you would reply a year later. I know the rule, that wasn’t my point

        • JRJ21

          then what is your point? If you knew the rule then you would know that does not matter.

          • Nashville_Os_Fan

            I am not going to get into an argument about this a year later… Maybe you have nothing better to do but I do… Wake up, it is 2015 now and the NCAA tournament is coming again soon

          • JRJ21

            Sorry,did not realize the time limit on comments. I just love to talk baseball.I ump small college and love to talk.Nothing really better than talking the finer rules of BB.

  • cz

    Definitely avoidable. He lowered his shoulder 4-5 feet away from the bag with the runner behind him already standing on 3rd. He could not have been safe back at 3rd, so there was no point in him going back to the bag. He intentionally lowered his shoulder and tried to cause a collision since he knew he was going to be out either way. Terrible call by the ump.

  • Baseball Fan

    Seriously? Anyone who watches the replay can clearly see Papi sees Campbell well in advance of intentionally hitting him above the waist. The umpires made their decision and Vanderbilt moved forward. They are a classy team of both players and coaches … Art, you could learn a lesson from them yourself. May the best team win!

    • sjzVandyfan

      The best team did win, as a matter of fact! 😉


    I played division 1 baseball. We had a player in a conference series ejected for much less and was held out of the second game of a DH. Papi clearly see’s the defenseless third baseball who is not prepared to take a collision. Papi had no where to go as third was already occupied. He should have give himself up. I understand letting the guys play but it was completely unnecessary and had intent. I played middle infield and also was a conference starting pitcher. My grandad coached 27 years my dad coached for 26 years. Me and my dad both umpire. If the vandy player was hit on the lip Papi clearly went to high and with intent. The closest umpire said he thought there was intent. Other talked him out of it

    • JRJ21

      Again, a following runner on third does not mean it is his base,The base belongs to Papi til he scores or is out.The runner already there is just off his rightful base which is second,,til Papi is out or reaches home.

  • Sheed


  • Tennessee cowboy

    The rule says he is supposed to avoid a collision. Watch the replay. He lowers his shoulder. He pushes up and into the chest of the defensive player. He finishes the block like afoot all player. He grabs his head with remorse, knowing he screwed up. Contact might have been unavoidable. The intensity of the hit was plainly intentional. He should have been ejected. Let tge commissioner decide if he plays the next day.

  • Tennessee cowboy

    One more thing. In the post fame interview he said he was trying to dislodge the ball. Pretty much settles the intent question, doesn’t it?

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