Major league umpires have changed the way the “transfer rule” is interpreted this season. We’ve seen it a few times already so far, but the upshot is that even if you catch a ball and have it in your glove for a long time, if you drop it when trying to transfer it to your throwing hand, you aren’t credited with the catch.
No, I am not exaggerating. Because this play happened in today’s Indians-Padres game, and even after Indians manager Terry Francona challenged it, it was upheld as a no-catch:
That seems rather silly to me. Elliot Johnson clearly had the ball for several steps after his catch. He could have run the ball in from right field personally while not taking it out of his glove and it never would have hit the ground. Only after trying to transfer it did it come loose. Why this is not a catch is utterly baffling to me.
This is not the first time this new interpretation has come into play — Josh Hamilton was a victim of it recently was well — but it’s certainly a perplexing one.