Rays manager Joe Maddon says baseball should give ”strong consideration” to changing ground rules at Tropicana Field if Tampa Bay reaches the playoffs.
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The Rays fell out of a first-place tie in the AL East on Thursday by losing 8-6 to Minnesota, a game decided when Jason Kubel’s two-out pop clanked off a catwalk and fell behind the pitcher’s mound for a go-ahead single in the ninth inning.
”Just say it was the seventh game of the ALCS and the game was impacted by that,” Maddon said before Friday’s game against the Blue Jays. ”Both sides would be yelling bloody murder.”
More than 100 balls have hit Tropicana Field’s four catwalks since the ballpark opened in 1998, but only once before had one struck the highest ”A” ring.
Maddon said he didn’t know how the rules should be changed. As it stands, fair balls that hit the lower two catwalks are home runs, while fair balls that hit the upper two are in play. A fair ball that rests on the top two catwalks is a ground rule double, while foul balls that strike any catwalk become dead balls.