- Jul 18, 2005
The bolded: runner on 1st....hot smash 3-hopper down the 1st base line. The Sox 1Bman attempts to field it, but the ball deflects off his glove (Dalbec) or head (Schwarber) into the stands. The runner probably would have made 3rd, but if the grounder hits the short jutting-out wall, the batter wont get second...but now he does. Or, more realistically, many bloops and hard hit balls down the lines at Fenway that go over the short wall where the ball attendant sits end up with suspect baserunner placements. Especially down the 3rd base line/into LF, where getting to 3rd base is no gimme.The automatic double sometimes grants to runners bases that they would not otherwise obtain. In other cases, like in the 2004 ALCS and again last night, it's a gift for the defense. But these things even out over time; no one team is advantaged for disadvantaged, so I disagree that the current rule is "unfair". And it's not at all obvious a fielder could realistically ever take deliberate advantage of the rule to limit the advance of the runners. Having to stop the game each time there is a ball leaving the field of play will make the game take even longer.