Astros Analyst: "I've Always Hated That Rule"

The controversial base-running rule that defined Game 6 is a bad one, Steve Sparks says, and it must change

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
October 30, 2019 - 9:43 am
Dave Martinez Nationals World Series ejection

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Perhaps Game 6 of the 2019 World Series will be remember for Stephen Strasburg’s dominance of the Houston Astros. The 31-year-old ace gave up two runs in 8 and 1/3 innings in a 104-pitch effort that saved the Nationals’ season Tuesday.

On the other hand, the game might be remembered first and foremost for a base-running controversy involving Trea Turner that led to a nearly-five-minute delay, as well as an ejection.

“I’ve always felt like that play always penalizes the right-handed batter,” former MLB pitcher and current Astros radio analyst Steve Sparks said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “From where he starts as a right-handed batter, to run a straight line to first base, he’s going to be inside that line most of the way to the bag. So it’s almost a no-win situation. Someway that’s got to change, whether it’s a double bag where you keep part of the bag in foul territory or whatever. But I think that’s got to change. Maybe happening on the biggest stage of baseball, they’ll finally do something about it. But I’ve always hated that rule. It was a catchable throw.”

Nevertheless, the play led to a lengthy stoppage, even though the call was never in question.

“That’s not a reviewable play,” Sparks said. “It was a rules consultation. That’s why they spent four-and-a-half minutes on the headset back to New York, just making sure everybody was right about that. I think it’s a ticky-tack play. I don’t like it. The fact that Gurriel’s glove flew off, I think, made the play go in the Astros’ direction.”

Fortunately, the call did not influence the outcome of the game. Anthony Rendon made sure of that, as his two-run home run gave the Nationals a late-inning cushion in their 7-2 win.

“As a not-so-impartial observer, I hated to see something controversial happen at that point,” Sparks said. “You see the two-run homer right after that and you’re thinking, ‘Well maybe that’s the way it should have happened.’ But there’s a soft landing for the Astros. You get Game 7 and you get another crack at it at Minute Maid park, where they won 65 times this year when you include the playoffs. They’ll take that any day.”