Spring Training doesn’t count for anything. It doesn’t. It is practice. Warm up for the long regular season. Training. Reherseal.
In the spirit of preparing for the regular season, here is third base umpire Bill Welke getting into mid-July “Ump Show” form. What might seem like a harmless move by Orioles catcher Luis Exposito, stopping a slow rolling baseball with his catching mask, is actually an INFRACTION OF THE RULES.
Welke catches this heinous act from his third base perch and immediately signals the runner on third base, Wil Myers, home; punishing Exposito for his indiscretions.
Rule 7.04 (3) clearly states:
Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when — A fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.
Which is precisely what Exposito did, I suppose. Orioles manager let his feelings be known, exhorting Welke to “relax.” Why? Because it’s Spring Training. The ball was barely moving, Myers wasn’t moving off third base.
But rules are rules. The Orioles broke them and it cost them a run, the go-ahead run in a Grapefruit League game. I’m sure they’re heartbroken. Poor Dylan Bundy, a loss on his resume. At least Bill Welke taught him a valuable lesson: Bill Welke would not be fun to hang out with at a party.