Umps get it right; “Hal McRae Rule” Appears in NLCS

In the seventh inning of game 1 of the NLCS in the desert, Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Francis gave up a leadoff double then hit Justin Upton with a pitch. When Augie Ojeda grounded to third baseman Garrett Atkins, Upton was forced at second and went into a roll block with an arm bar that prevented second baseman Kazuo Matsui from making a throw.

Second base umpire Larry Vanover called interference on Upton and Ojeda was out. Major League Baseball banned this in 1978 after Kansas City Royals designated hitter Hal McRae used the tactic on New York Yankees second baseman Willie Randolph in the 1977 American League Championship Series.

This time the umps got it right. Even if discouraged Arizona fans strongly disagreed and pelted the field with debris causing a temporary desertion of the field by Colorado players at the behest of manager Clint Hurdle.

They were right! CO beat AZ, 5-1. And we get to mention an obscure rule. Now that’s good baseball.


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