Rundown throw hits Calhoun’s head, Lovullo ejected after arguing odd play
Aug 24, 2020, 9:04 PM | Updated: 11:52 pm
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was ejected from Monday’s game against the Colorado Rockies after a play we’ll probably never see again.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with Kole Calhoun on first base and one out, Ketel Marte popped out to short left field.
Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia thought he had a beat on Calhoun, so he aggressively threw towards first after the catch. The throw was very short, two-hopping and making it difficult to handle for first baseman Daniel Murphy.
The ball went behind Murphy, and Calhoun naturally went for second base. But Colorado catcher Tony Wolters was in the right position covering behind Murphy in case of that type of throw occurred, so he fielded the ball and threw to second.
“Instincts tell you to go, and so as I’m running I look back to see what had happened behind me and wasn’t expecting Wolters to be there with the ball,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun noticed Wolters’ throw headed right in the path of his head. So, he decided to turn back forwards and have the ball just hit him in the helmet.
“Seemed like the natural thing to do,” Calhoun said with a laugh.
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 25, 2020
The ball bounced away from second base and Calhoun advanced but was ruled out, presumably for interfering with the path of the throw, albeit rather unconventionally with his noggin.
Calhoun said he’s not familiar with the specific rule, but added that he did not “deviate too much from his path.”
“The ball is literally coming right at my head,” he said.
“Was I trying to let it hit me? Yeah!”
Calhoun spoke about the play as if he had no other choice given that he was likely out if he ducked out of the way, also known as the natural reaction for nearly every human being put in a situation when a projectile is headed towards their cranium.
The play, though, speaks to the type of competitive mindset Calhoun plays with that has already been on display in right field all season.
“Everybody that I talked to prior to meeting him and having time with him told me this was the type of guy he is and it’s just playing out better and better for me each day,” Lovullo said after the game.
Lovullo came out to argue the call and was rather upset, quickly getting ejected. He said after the game he did not believe Calhoun had the intention to interfere with the play, referring to the decision by the umpires as a “judgment call.”
On further replay angles shown, especially down the first-base line that the umpires saw, it looked as if Calhoun did, in fact, break the rules by getting in the path of the ball by leaning into it. Even if, yes, as bizarre as it sounds that it was with his skull.
I have been on the floor laughing at this, my goodness pic.twitter.com/M2HRK1E4HU
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) August 25, 2020
That was the case made by the umpire.
Crew chief Bill Miller on the Kole Calhoun play: "Kole was running to second base. He saw the catcher having the ball. He saw the catcher release the ball. He clearly tilted his head into the throw to get hit intentionally by the ball.”
— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) August 25, 2020
Calhoun described his action as a “duck,” which, yeah that’s a pretty solid argument when you watch the replay above and see the way he moves his head.
Lovullo said that it’s probably the most frustrated he’s ever been about a call as the D-backs’ manager since 2017. Earlier in the game, a Rockies pitcher was called for a balk by the home plate umpire before a meeting of all the umpires ended up with them overruling the decision.
Lovullo said he’s never seen that happen before in a baseball game and noted that it did build up his frustration to the Calhoun call.
“I don’t know if it was right or wrong,” Calhoun said. “I just let it hit me and see what happens.”