MLB admits passed ball in Cubs-Nats NLDS Game 5 should've been ruled differently

It has been a couple weeks since the Chicago Cubs defeated the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

But those with functional memories undoubtedly remember the controversy surrounding a passed ball late in the game. For those without functional memories, here's the play in its entirety:

The kerfuffle resides in whether the ball should have been called dead as soon as Javier Baez's bat connected with Matt Wieters' mask, or if the play should've continued, given the ball was past Wieters before contact was made. As it turns out, the play should've been called dead, per MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre during his appearance on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio (hat tip to the Washington Post):

"You know, the whole rule interpretation — there's rules, and then there's instructions to the umpires," Torre began. "There's separate books. And what Jerry's feeling was, that the interference didn't take precedent over the fact that the ball was already past [Wieters] when the contact took place.

"However, the rule states — and you probably have read the rule — that when contact is made — in other words, when the bat came around and hit the catcher's mask — it's a dead ball," Torre went on. "It's a dead ball. And that's the one thing that should have taken precedence."

Torre noted that then-Nationals manager Dusty Baker could've had the umpires do a "rule check," using the replay center. Whether that would've changed the call on the field, who knows. Baker apparently didn't ask for the rules check, though, and we all know how things played out -- action continued, Wieters threw the ball away, allowing a run to score, the Nats lost, and so on.

We would write that at least Nationals fan can take solace in knowing MLB admitted it was wrong with the call. But c'mon -- who cares about an after-the-fact admission when the mistake may have cost them a chance to advance to the championship series?

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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