On TV and movies “breaking the 4th wall” is when characters speak to the camera. Think House of Cards, Ferris Bueller or Zach Morris. Basically they are going to a place that is not usually allowed.
Alex Gordan is the clubhouse leader for catch of the year after this grab where he went where he is not usually allowed.
First of all, what a catch. But, was the catch on the up and up from a rules standpoint?
Here is where the rule book makes this a bit difficult. The ruling is not located in the section on making a catch. It is in the section on the batter. Rule 6.05(a)
6.05 A batter is out when—
(a) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;
Rule 6.05(a) Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch,and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of runners shall be as described in Rule 7.04(c) Comment.
In English, the fielder has to have at least one foot on or over the playing surface and no feet completely on the ground outside the field of play. Gordon certainly did not have a foot out of play. Good catch and good call on the field.
By the way, this is another rule that is different in high school baseball for no earthly reason. In high school, a fielder can have one foot in play and one foot out of play and still make a legal catch.
Back to this play, what happens if the player steps out of play before making the catch? It is just a foul ball.
The rule above also discusses what happens if the player falls into a dugout or out of play after making the catch. Gordon did fall, so what else could happen?
7.04 Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when—
(c) A fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes
into a crowd when spectators are on the field;
It did not matter on this play as no runners were on base. But imagine this, bases loaded with 1 out in the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series. Gordon makes this catch. The umpires then kill the ball and correctly award the game and the series to the opponents because he fell out of play. How crazy would that be?
In high school, the ball is dead if a fielder carries a ball out of play. He does not have to fall. I have actually called this before as some high school fields only have lines marking in play from out of play. The players look like football wide receivers dragging feet to make a legal catch.
in the short season, this might be the major league catch of the season. This college player might have done him one better.
2 things on this: 1) I am a Evansville alum, so awesome job on the catch young Ace. 2) the umpire on this did a great job. He hustled down the line to gain as much ground as possible. Then he clearly stops and gets set to make a call. After seeing the play he hustles to ensure the ball is caught. Good work all the way around.
RuleGraphics breaks this down on page 28 of the book.