At a crucial stage of Tuesday night's Game 3 matchup at Wrigley Field, Wilmer Flores lined a double past the diving Jorge Soler on a hit-and-run. Seemingly just as TBS broadcaster Ernie Johnson declared "Conforto's going to score easily!", the ball skipped under the outfield wall and into the ivy, Dexter Fowler raised his hands to signify a dead ball, and runners were placed on second and third base. Incredulous that their team was denied a run from Soler's defensive blunder, Mets fans voiced disapproval of the call.
Unfortunately, despite Terry Collins's pleas to home plate umpire Ted Barrett, the call was not up for discretion. As stated in Wrigley Field's ground rules, a fair ball lodging "in vines on bleacher wall" results in each runner automatically advancing two bases. As WOR's Wayne Randazzo pointed out, the call had cost the Mets at least one run, and while the umpires weren't at fault, the unusual ground-rule double would have played out differently at any other ballpark.
Earlier this season, the Cubs broadcast team gave their take on criticism to Wrigley Field's ground rules after Dexter Fowler fell victim to the vine rule.
The only point of contention relating to this rule seems to determining whether the outfielder reaches in the ivy to keep the ball in play. Tuesday's TBS broadcast showed Mets first base coach Tom Goodwin instructing Michael Conforto to raise his hands if the ball enters the outfield ivy. When (then) Cubs shortstop Darwin Barney lined a ground-rule double into the ivy last season, Cubs broadcasters were only concerned with whether Ryan Ludwick made a formal attempt at reaching for the ball before raising his hands.
Manager Terry Collins summed up the general consensus of the fanbase following the game: "I know the rule, it just sucks when it happens to you."