A routine pop fly to shallow center field quickly devolved into a combination of our two favorite sports things -- questionable rules and instant replay review -- during the sixth inning of Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The result was Philadelphia being awarded a run when umpires determined Ryan Howard's path towards home plate was obstructed by catcher Miguel Montero. Howard never touched home plate, but the new rules in place this year state that a catcher cannot block a runner's path towards the plate.
This all began with a play that should've ended the inning, when Arizona second baseman Didi Gregious misplayed the shallow pop-up by Marlon Byrd. Center fielder Ender Inciarte corralled the ball and made a strong throw to the plate, and Montero easily applied the tag to Howard, who was called out.
Inning over, right?
Not at all, as Howard and Darin Ruf -- who was in the on deck circle -- quickly started arguing to home plate ump Dale Scott that Montero had blocked the plate. The umpires convened and decided to check on instant replay, where video pretty clearly showed that Howard had little choice but to try and sidestep Montero, which led to the easy tag.
The umps reversed the call, and awarded Philadelphia with a 3-2 lead. Obviously D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson wasn't too happy about the development, and he received an automatic ejection for leaving the dugout to argue the overturned call.
The team's Twitter account was similarly dismayed:
Wait, what? Ryan Howard is thrown out at home, never touches the plate and is still awarded a run. #Dbacks trail 3-2 after 6.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 27, 2014
You might've thought that the NFL had the sports world cornered on weird rules and instant replay reviews that sorta work, but clearly MLB is stepping up its game.