Big League Stew - MLB

Tropicana Field usually plays host to Tampa Bay Rays baseball games, but there's always a chance one of the goofiest features in the league can change any contest into a pinball run. 

Such was the case during Sunday's Rays-Yankee game when a pop fly from Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria(notes) sailed toward the top of the dome and hit ... the catwalk?

Yeah, the catwalk

As you might know, the domed Trop is made possible because of four reachable rings of catwalks that keep the stadium's roof aloft. Their presence calls for a special set of ground rules  and they gained wider notoriety during the 2008 ALCS when B.J. Upton(notes) was awarded a home run after hitting one of the lower two rings with a blast.

Longoria's fly, however, hit one of the higher rings that are ruled in play so long as the ball strikes it in fair territory. Mark Teixeira(notes) initially camped under the ball near the pitcher's mound for what would have been an easy third out, but Longoria was left with one of the more freakish singles of his career when it deflected off a speaker and landed near second base.

Watch the play here

Not surprisingly, the Yankees weren't very happy with the result, even though A.J. Burnett(notes) got out of the frame without giving a run and even though they ended up with a 7-3 victory.

From MLB.com:

Jorge Posada(notes): "It's not a baseball stadium. You can't have balls going all over the place. Really. That's sad."

Teixeira: "I know in (Cowboys) Stadium, the punters were screwing around in preseason hitting the scoreboard, but they said it was a dead ball and you re-punt it. It seems to me if a guy skies a ball and it ricochets (off the catwalk) ... I mean, what if that's the seventh game of the World Series? Really, that ball is an out 999 out of 1,000 times."

Oh, boo hoo. The Yankees' frustration might be understandable, but hitting the higher rings is rare enough of an occurrence that I have no problem with the catwalks remaining one of those quirky things about baseball. Plus, you know they wouldn't have been complaining if Robinson Cano(notes) had been in position to catch the carom and end the inning.

But if the Yankees really don't like the rule, then let them pay for the new Rays ballpark that St. Petersburg-area taxpayers don't seem interested in footing. 

Until then, they should enjoy the occasional opportunity to make a Right Said Fred reference, just like the rest of us do.

Follow 'Duk on Twitter for more baseball action — @bigleaguestew



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