I and my girl have watched this, and she being a recent, but rabid baseball fan/convert by osmosis, was quite tickled by this one. My gut reaction when I saw the replay,(and after realizing it wasn't Japanese ball) was "cool, but likely against the rules" ........apparently not, at least in that league, as it technically is not addressed as "running out of the baseline", I don't think, anyway. I suspect there will be a base running altitude ceiling considered by rule makers at some point as a result of this one. This could in fact, revolutionize the approach major league scouts take to their jobs. You might see a few scouts taking in some high school and NCAA track and field events in the not too distant future. In defense of the runner taking flight as opposed to tunneling in at home, the catcher had every opportunity to slap a tag on him on his final approach before landing. The runner just got the drop on him.
This all makes me reflect back on one night at a Little League game I played in Port O'Connor back in about '62. I was playing catcher, for our team, my dad being the manager. I guess to really make this a clearer picture for you, I need to remind you all that at age 11-13, there is a rather wide range in the sizes of bayrat ballplayers. Some being runts, just barely pushing 90-100lbs and not yet tall enough to go on certain rides at the carnival, while some others are pushing six feet and 175-180lbs, sporting some chin whiskers and a birds nest in their full cup, and looking big enough to take the helm of a dump truck without anyone giving them a second glance.
That said, in this particular game, yours truly was the diminutive catcher, awaiting, ball clamped firmly in mitt, the runner bearing down on him trying to score from third. For those unschooled here(please, the rest of you experts, bear with me), I will toss in some rules of baseball. You see, a base runner may when running to first base, slide(not advised-adds time to the equation), turn and round the base, or just blast through the base, turning out of the baseline into foul territory, optimizing his speed, and generally the preferred method on a close play. At second and third, depending on the situation, generally, the runner will either keep running, go in standing, or slide to avoid a tag, the notable exception, being the old "hard" slide to break up a double play at second base, which occasionally, results in some questionable "slides", and less frequently, fisticuffs, over a less than legal "slide".........which brings us back to home plate, and the real subject of this story. You see, at home, they added one more method of reaching that final, run scoring pay station. That being the mano a mano, runaway train, collision at the dish, with the intention of this little rule they apparently stole from schoolboy dodge ball, being to allow the runner to by sheer impact and brute force, take his best shot at separating the catcher from the baseball clamped in his mitt, whereby he will if successful, have scored a run......... Okay, we just hit 88mph again, and the flux capacitor has done its magic, and we are back in 1962.......little pilot the catcher, clutching the ball looking at one Dennis Raby, looking for all the world, like a prize brangus from hell, snorting fire, bearing down on me from third base, as I dug in and squeezed the ball tighter.
They tell me I hung on to the ball almost until I hit the backstop.......... Next thing I remember, was opening my eyes while making those croaking sounds one makes after having the wind knocked out of them, looking up at Rocky, Jackie, Donald, and I swear, Alfred Hitchcock, and Dale Evans, with Lassie licking me in the face. In retrospect, I wish now that Dennis had high hurdled me, but probably so do a lot of other folks who get to hear this story every time they are watching a game on TV with me, and there is a collision at the plate...........
Born on the bayou where Texas and Louisiana meet on the Gulf Coast. A kid in the '50s, so my heroes were Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. Raised in a fishing village, ...Adrift, I grew up on boats and made my money as a kid the way kids in the '50s and '60s did - cutting lawns, throwing a paper and bagging groceries until I was big enough to work on a shrimpboat. Best job I ever had was piloting a ten ton crew boat, worst was probably chopping cotton. I have stood atop Mayan pyramids deep in the Yucatan jungles, and on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I am equally at home at a musical on Broadway, or a honky tonk full of shrimpers and tug boat hands. The best ten years of my life were spent in the '70s in Austin, Texas. The last thirty have been spent in the far western 'burbs of Houston working as a petro gypsy in the engineering business. I have had my share of adventures, several of which I probably shouldn't have survived. I am at age 58, the proud father of twelve and fourteen year old sons, so... Onward through the fog!