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MLB approves Rays' ground-rule changes

MLB approves Rays' ground-rule changes

ST. PETERSBURG -- After holding discussions with Major League Baseball, the Rays have received approval to change Tropicana Field's ground rules for the postseason.

The rules changes deal with the highly controversial catwalks at Tropicana Field. Four such catwalks circle the perimeter of the Rays' enclosed stadium at different levels. They are designated as the A, B, C, and D rings.

Under the amended ground rules, any ball that hits the A or B ring would be ruled a dead ball rather than being a live ball if it landed in fair territory, and the pitch would not count. Earlier this season, the Rays lost a game to the Twins, due to a ball hitting a catwalk and ricocheting to another side of the infield where no fielders stood.

"It makes sense to me," Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Monday. "It eliminates the ball hitting the roof and everybody chasing it around. It was unique to this ballpark to begin with. It affects both teams the same anyway."

Rules dealing with balls hitting the C and D rings -- the lowest rings -- will remain the same. Any ball that hits either of those rings in fair territory will continue to be ruled a home run.

In reference to the Jason Kubel pop-up on Aug. 5, Rays Manager Joe Maddon said, "I was upset with the Trop when it happened and apologized later. The people upstairs talked about it and decided it would be a do-over now. It's a good thing."

The exact wording of the current ruling is below, and the most recent change appears in italics:

• Batted ball that strikes either of the lower two catwalks (known as the "C-ring" and the "D-ring"), including any lights or suspended objects attached to either of those rings and including the masts that support each of those catwalks as well as any angled support rods that connect the "C-ring" to the masts that support the "D-ring," in fair territory: Home Run.

Batted ball that strikes either of the upper catwalks (known as the "A-ring" and the "B-ring"), including any lights or suspended objects attached to either of those rings and including the masts that support each of those catwalks as well as any angled support rods that connect the "B-ring" to the masts that support the "C-ring," in fair territory: DEAD BALL and foul ball and the pitch does not count. Any declaration of an Infield Fly after the hit shall be nullified.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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