Let’s go over what does and does not constitute a major league playing field. The basepaths? Yes. Foul territory? Yes. Angel Hernandez? Yes.
Umpires, like bases or AstroTurf, are technically considered part of the field according to the official MLB rulebook, something Billy Hamilton learned the hard way when he plowed into Hernandez during the seventh inning of Saturday’s Reds-Cardinals game.
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Reliever Miguel Socolovich missed the tag at first base, and Hamilton attempted to stretch his single into a double when the collision occurred. Since the rules also stipulate that contact with an umpire automatically awards the runner a base, Hamilton was ruled safe at first after scrambling back to the bag. To his credit, Angel Hernandez appeared to make a good faith effort to get out of the way, but, like the rest of us, wasn’t nearly as fast as the Reds’ star baserunner.
In the end, the play had no adverse effect on Cincinnati’s chances of winning: Hamilton stole second during Zack Cozart’s at-bat and the Reds went on to clinch the game 9-1 after a five-run eighth inning.