Kyle Schwarber almost made the catch of the day in Major League Baseball. Almost — until the Wrigley Field ivy and the confusing rules about it got in the way.
Let’s set the scene: Schwarber was in left field for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday afternoon against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As you might remember, he’s not a true outfielder, but the Cubs have had to adapt him around the diamond to get that stellar bat into the lineup. Keep that in mind, because it makes Schwarber’s juggling moves even more impressive.
Enrique Hernandez blasted a ball to the left-field warning track. Schwarber gave chase, jumped, caught it briefly, dropped it, volleyed it with his barehand and caught it again with his glove. It was great — but just one thing, the Wrigley Field ivy seemed to help him keep the ball in the air.
The play went to replay review, as it should have. It took a while, but eventually, the ruling robbed Schwarber of a great catch. Instead, Hernandez ended up on second with a double.
Let’s consult the official Wrigley Field ground rules as they pertain to the Ivy.
Not completely clear there, huh? We wouldn’t blame you for being confused. It looked like a catch. But Wrigley Field is a funky place to play, so sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders.
The official ruling on this, via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, is that the “ball made contact with outfield wall prior to [Schwarber] demonstrating firm and secure possession.”
Consider this one of those instances where the rules might differ from what your eyes tell you. Or one of those callbacks to your wiffle ball days — you can’t use a bush or a tree to help catch a ball.
Too bad, Kyle Schwarber. Because that was a heck of an effort.
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