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October 10, 2021

Sam Holbrook

Charlie Reliford

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Postgame 3 Press Conference

Q. Sam, looking at that rule, there's no discretion in terms of moving the runners?

SAM HOLBROOK: Correct. It's in the rule book. It's a ground-rule double. There's no discretion that the umpires have. First of all, thank you all. I really appreciate you letting us come in here and explain the rule. A lot of times that doesn't happen and things get messed up, but I really appreciate it.

If you don't mind, what I'd like to do, this is our umpire manual, and what I'd like to do it just quote from the manual. It's item 20 in the manual, which is, balls deflected out of play, which is in reference to official baseball Rule 5.06(b)(4)(H). It says, if a fair ball not in flight is deflected by a fielder and goes out of play, the award is two bases from the time of the pitch.

So in this play right here, the ball was no longer in flight because it hit the front part of the wall. So you cannot catch the ball off the wall. The wall is basically an extension of the playing field, the front part of the wall is. So once that ball hit the wall, it was no longer in flight. Now the ball bounces off the wall and is deflected out of play off of a fielder, that's just a ground-rule double.

There's no, he would have done this, would have done that, it's just flat out in the rule book, it's a ground-rule double.

Q. Sam, if you could explain the role of the replay there, where you went to look at it. Was that a crew chief request? Was that something that Tampa asked for? What were you looking to see there?

SAM HOLBROOK: Tampa asked. He actually had to challenge that play right there. We got together as a crew and discussed it, and that's what everybody on the crew said that they saw, that it was a ball off the wall deflected, out of play, two bases right there.

So when I went over to talk to Kevin, he said, well, is there anything that I can do? I said, well, if you want us to take a look at it, we'd be glad to take a look at it. Obviously, it's a high-priority game, high-priority situation, and we want to make sure that we get everything right. So that's what we went to replay just to make sure that, one, nothing was done intentional by the fielder. If that were the case, that's a different aspect of that rule. If it was intentionally kicked out, then it would have been from the time that the deflection, the intentional deflection happened, two bases from that time.

So we went and looked at it, and they confirmed that it was just a ball off the wall, hit the fielder, and deflected out of play. Very simple. From an umpire's standpoint, very simple textbook in the rule.

Q. You said it right there. Do you believe that maybe it needs some revision or some clarification or this is how it is and it's very, very clear?

SAM HOLBROOK: I like it. It's cut and dried from an umpire's standpoint. It's been that way ever since I came in the game. I don't see any need to change it.

Q. Just curious, Sam and Charlie, you guys both umpired at this level a long time. Have either one of you seen that specific play before or just can you give an idea of how rare what we saw tonight was?

SAM HOLBROOK: You see balls deflected out of play quite often, but usually it's a fielder coming over to try to field the ball, and then it kicks off their foot or something like that and goes out of play.

I can't remember right offhand seeing one come off the wall and then get deflected out of play. Nothing that I can recall.

CHARLIE RELIFORD: I've seen it a couple times. I think it was one of the first years in the new stadium with the Mets. It was deflected off the third baseman. When he went down to pick it up, he kicked it behind the tarp. So it's not super rare. It's not super common either.

In Tampa a couple years ago, we had a throw that was subsequently kicked into the dugout. Yes, I've seen it. Yes, I was familiar. But I get it that it doesn't happen very often.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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