Tigers botch routine fly ball leading to Rays inside-the-park home run in wild spring training scene

Many players use spring training to not just get in baseball shape again, but more importantly, work out the kinks before the numbers start to matter on the scoreboard. 

Well, the Detroit Tigers are hoping what transpired on Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays is completely out of their system and never happens again. 

Nobody wants a routine fly ball to result in an inside-the-park home run, but that was exactly what happened – at least in the box score. 


Even the official scorer needs some work before the regular season. 

Rays outfielder Kameron Misner, a career minor leaguer in all but 30 games, was at the dish when he popped a ball sky-high to the shallow part of center field. Four Tigers defenders were converging on the ball. 

However, shortstop Andrew Navigato looked around at his teammates and noticed no one was standing under the ball. So, he tried sprinting to make a diving play to save the out, but it only got worse from there. 


Not only did Navigato miss the ball, but after hitting the grass, his foot kicked the ball away from everyone toward right field. 

Meanwhile, Misner had been running well around the bases, and by the time the ball was picked up in the outfield, he was about to round third base. The Tigers tried getting the ball home to save face, but Misner was already in to score. 

The official scorer ruled this an inside-the-park home run, but it was clear to see that the kick should be considered an error. With Misner already at second base when the ball landed in the outfield, it likely should have been ruled a double and a score on an error by Navigato. 

“A fielder is given an error if, in the judgment of the official scorer, he fails to convert an out on a play that an average fielder should have made,” the MLB rule book states on what constitutes an error in the field. “Fielders can also be given errors if they make a poor play that allows one or more runners to advance on the bases.”

Many times have fly balls that should have been caught went untouched for a hit in the books, but that last part in the rules is what happened with Navigato. 

Alas, this is what spring training is for, making sure decisions both on the field, and off it, are buttoned up by the time games start to count. 

For this game, the home run was a part of a Rays rally, as they were down 9-3 but ended up tying the game 9-9, which eventually became the final score. 

Misner, a first-round pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2019 MLB Draft, played 130 games with Triple-A Durham last year, hitting .226/.363/.458 with 21 homers and 58 RBI. 

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