Sunday’s Shenanigans: Opening Day for Baserunners

Sunday’s Shenanigans: Opening Day for Baserunners

by April 4, 2021 0 comments

Welcome to the very first installment of Sunday’s Shenanigans, a weekly article detailing the most chaotic moment in Major League Baseball over the past seven days.

For a week that started on Thursday, it may have been hard to find something worthy of this title, but the reigning World Series champions have us covered. Not only that, but they also had some help from a club that figures to be in this series quite often.

The Setup

The Opening Day schedule featured the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Colorado Rockies, the latter having recently pawned their franchise icon in Nolan Arenado. The Dodgers won their first World Series in over 30 years in 2020 and then signed reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. There was likely a better chance that Los Angeles sweeps the season series, rather than the two splitting it. The Rockies took the game by a score of 8-5, which seems like a Sunday’s Shenanigans-worthy story alone.

As 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger stepped out for his second plate appearance of the season against Rockies ace German Marquez, third baseman Justin Turner was already on first base with one out in the third inning of play. Potentially aided by the Coors Field atmosphere, Bellinger hit a deep fly ball to left field, towards outfielder Raimel Tapia. Tapia leaped and caught the ball on the warning track, but it quickly fell out of the top of his glove and over the wall for a home run, in a move that would make Jose Canseco and Jo Adell proud.

But that is not where the story ends.

The Gaffe

Turner thought that Tapia caught the ball, because he did initially. As he was rounding second base when this all happened, Turner put his head down and ran back to first to avoid what he thought was going to be a double play. Bellinger, halfway between first and second, knew it was a home run, and hopelessly watched as his teammate ran past him. That is known as a runner passing a runner ahead of him in the MLB rulebook, and you cannot do that.

Since Bellinger “passed” Turner on the basepaths, he was ruled out. Instead of a home run, it was scored as him being thrown out after the last base he touched, which was first. Meanwhile, Turner has to go home, as it was a home run. He scores and Bellinger is out after touching first base. Instead of a two-run homer, Bellinger hit an RBI single.

The Rockies won this game by three runs, so the total impact on the game was not monumental. However, this is how the first home run of Bellinger’s season was reversed, and how the first two runs of the Dodgers’ season were reduced to one. Shenanigans.

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