Justin Upton is safe, but even Justin Upton thinks Justin Upton is out

Here’s what Justin Upton thought about that call.
Here’s what Justin Upton thought about that call. (MLB.com screencap)

In the sixth inning of Thursday night's Dodgers-Padres game (GameTracker), it appeared that Jedd Gyrko hit into a 6-4-3 double play. However, second base ump Chris Conroy didn't grant the "neighborhood play" turned in by Chase Utley, and Justin Upton was ruled safe. Check it out ... 

You may, if you wish, make a schoolmarm-ish letter-of-the-law argument that Utley didn't have his left foot against the bag when he received the toss from Corey Seager, but it's impossible to tell. Still, that kind of pivot -- with the runner bearing down on the infielder -- is pretty much always deemed an out. Maybe Conroy was right in the most narrowly technical of senses, but such a call is not in keeping with the spirit of the rule. The neighborhood play exists to keep the middle infielder safe. If he's forced to linger and try to toe the bag while a takeout slide is being executed, then you'll have lot more shortstops and second basemen shredding their knees. That's why the Dodgers were upset.  

As for the decision to review the play, yes, MLB carved out an exception for the neighborhood play that exempted it from replay review. Here, though, is how the rule reads ... 

I parse this to mean that neighborhood play out calls aren't reviewable, but safe calls are. After all, without the phantom out call, there is no neighborhood play. The guess here is that the sequence was reviewable because, ipso facto, there must be an out call for the neighborhood play to be invoked. 

In any event, Mr. Upton, the base-runner in question, quite possibly found all of this to be a puzzling decision ... 

Yes, even Justin Upton thinks Justin Upton was out. As reward for this bit of spontaneous facial candor, Upton was later allowed to score.

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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