Seattle Mariners’ utility player Dylan Moore experienced one of the most unusual outs in baseball history on Thursday, when he was called out for abandonment after mistakenly thinking he had been caught out by Kansas City Royals’ left fielder MJ Melendez.
What is the Abandonment Rule?
According to the Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (b) (2), any runner is out when after touching first base, they leave the base path obviously abandoning their effort to touch the next base. The rule also states that if a runner leaves their base path and heads for their dugout or their position believing that there is no further play, they may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning their efforts to run the bases.
This rule is rarely invoked in MLB games, as most runners are aware of the situation and do not give up on their base running until they are sure of the outcome. However, Moore was caught off guard by Melendez’s sliding attempt to catch his sinking line drive into left field in the seventh inning of the game.
How Did Moore Get Out for Abandonment?
Moore hit a low fly ball to left field that looked like it might be caught by Melendez, who made a diving effort to get his glove on the ball. However, Melendez was unable to secure the catch and the ball bounced off his glove and rolled away from him. Moore, who had already touched first base, did not see the ball drop and assumed he had been caught out. He then turned around and jogged back to his dugout, passing by first base on his way.
Melendez’s teammates shouted at him to throw the ball to first base, as they realized Moore had abandoned his base running. Melendez quickly picked up the ball and threw it to first baseman Matt Duffy, who tagged Moore as he ran back towards home plate. First base umpire John Libka immediately called Moore out for abandonment, much to Moore’s surprise and dismay.
What Was the Impact of Moore’s Out?
Moore’s out was recorded as a single and then an out for abandonment, as he had legally reached first base before leaving the base path. The out ended the top of the seventh inning, with the Mariners trailing 4–2 at that point. The bizarre play could have cost the Mariners a chance to rally and tie or take the lead in the game.
However, the Mariners were able to overcome Moore’s baserunning blunder, as they scored four runs over the final two innings to earn a 6–4 win over the Royals. The win improved their record to 66–56, keeping them in contention for a wild card spot in the American League.
Moore’s out will be remembered as one of the strangest recorded outs of the entire 2023 season, and perhaps in MLB history. It was also a rare example of the abandonment rule being applied in a major league game.