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.