The next batter,
Kevin Millar, also drives a double into the same gap. The ball rolls to a stop
at the bottom of the fence and is returned to the infield by centerfielder Wily
Mo Pe�a. That play will prompt Drew, after the inning ends, to stop next to me
on his way to the dugout.
Drew lifts his
arms out to his sides and says to me, "Hey, what's the rule on the ball
that wedges under the fence?"
I can tell he's
very serious and mistakes me for an actual umpire. This is not good.
"Uh, did it go
under the fence at all?" I ask in an attempt to avoid his question.
"Because if it goes under the fence it's a dead ball even if he fishes it
says, more impassioned this time. "The ball got stuck between the bottom of
the fence and the ground. What's the ruling?"
"The ball's in
play unless it goes completely under the fence," I reply, in full
filibuster mode as I return to the under-the-fence diversion.
"No, not under
the fence," Drew says again, more confused than annoyed about not getting a
direct answer from an umpire. "What's the ground rule here on a ball stuck
under the fence?"
long enough for Culbreth to rescue me as he joins us from his station at first
base. I haven't been this happy to see an umpire since Leslie Nielsen in The
Naked Gun. Culbreth explains that the ball's in play as long as Pe�a chooses to
play it; if the ball's wedged, Pe�a can raise his hand to signal a stuck ball.
Then the ruling is an automatic double and two bases to any base runner.
say to Drew, suddenly summoning an authoritative tone with a straight face.
"Tell him next time to just raise his hand and we'll stop the
I made sure to
find Drew the next morning at a Red Sox workout.