As if we haven’t had enough conversation surrounding Padres third baseman Manny Machado and umpires lately, a controversial ruling occurred in the bottom of the second inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Brewers at Petco Park. Ahead 2-1 with one out, the Padres had runners on the corners with Machado at the plate facing Kyle Davies. Machado swatted a 2-2 fastball to left-center field, appearing to be a three-run home run. The ball, however, struck the top of the fence and bounced back into the field of play. Lorenzo Cain got the ball back to the infield quickly and Eric Hosmer, who thought Machado had hit a home run and was jogging accordingly, was tagged out near third base.
The ruling on the field was that Machado hit a home run. After a replay review, the ruling was overturned. Machado was credited with an RBI single (advancing to second on the play) and Hosmer was ruled out.
The Petco Park ground rules don’t specifically address this situation, but since the top of the fence doesn’t have any yellow markings on it, the top is considered in play just as it has been in other parks. The umpires got this one right. Machado did not argue.
Hosmer drew some criticism for the way he ran the bases, but it’s forgivable since the initial ruling was that Machado hit a home run and the stadium played its home run sounds (a horn) for the fans. Ideally, players run the bases in a risk-free way, but most base runners would have circled the bases in the same casual way.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.
If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.
Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.