In the seventh inning of last night's game, Anthony Gose broke for second base with Ian Kinsler at the plate in a two-strike count. Kinsler flew out to center field, and Anthony Gose, having slid over the bag, re-touched second base and turned to the outfield to see Lorenzo Cain haul in the fly ball. At this point, things got weird...
Gose clearly touched second base again before returning to first. And yet it became clear that he'd been called out for failing to do so by first base umpire Dale Scott. Further review showed conclusively that his last motion after removing his foot from the bag, was to plant his left foot slightly on the third base side of second base. Obviously this was simply a move "in the process" of returning to first. According to the rulebook and Dale Scott's interpretation, he was out as he technically passed second base with that pivot step and didn't retouch the bag on his way to first.
The rule is simple, stating that the runner must re-touch the bases in order. The question is whether that pivot step should constituted "passing second base" again for the second time.
Brad Ausmus was sanguine about the situation after the game, stating, "There was no intent. By the letter of the law, he had to re-touch it again. They got the call right in that sense. But I think it's a flaw in the rule. He made no move to go to third base."
Obviously, Gose needed to be more careful with his footwork. And yet it's pretty difficult to my eyes to call that pivot step a move beyond second base to third. He was simply planting his foot to push off and head back to first. It's a bit unfortunate that the umpire in question interpreted that step as a move toward third base when Anthony had no intention of going in that direction. I've seen similar moves ignored before. And it's fortunate that it didn't end up costing the Tigers a chance at a run with Miguel Cabrera coming to the plate. As fans, we often complain that we'd like to see some common-sense applied, but of course fans tend to change their tune when it hurts their team. What do you think Tiger fans?