That John Mooney catch

Great catch John Mooney, or was it? I’m of the opinion that it was a fair catch but I’ve seen so many counter arguments that I am doubting my own judgement. The accompanying vine is the best I could find at the time of writing. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it was a fair catch or not.

My problem isn’t so much the fairness of the catch as the labeling of John Mooney as a cheat. I couldn’t believe how many tweeters were prepared to label Mooney as slightly less than honest. Based on what? Silly assumptions as far as I’m concerned. I can’t see the boundary marker moving at all. Some claim that from a different angle you can see a slight up and down movement of the boundary marker. I’ve seen a variety of replays and I’m still to see the movement, either left/right or up/down.

For the accusation of cheating to have any substance Mooney would a) have had to have touched the boundary marker while taking the catch and b) also have been aware of doing so. If you view the vine you’ll notice that Mooney is watching the ball, as all good fielders should, until the catch is taken. After completing the catch he looks down at his feet and then claims a fair catch. Now, let’s assume for the moment that he did touch the boundary marker while he was taking the catch. If there was a touch it was so slight that millions watching couldn’t agree on whether he actually did touch it or not. Those who are branding Mooney a cheat are making the assumption that either a) his foot was still touching the boundary marker when he looked down or b) that he must have been aware of prior contact with the boundary marker.

I don’t think that either assumption is fair. Isn’t it as likely that the movement some claim they saw would have created a bit of space between his foot and the boundary marker? If so he would not have been touching the boundary marker when he looked down. Furthermore, if so many people couldn’t see the boundary marker moving, the touch must have been very slight. Is it reasonable to expect that he had to have ‘felt’ the touch if it was that slight? I think not. It’s also possible, I can’t be exact on this as I couldn’t see the movement, that he touched it while his foot was off the ground. In that case both factors mentioned above come into play. Will his foot still have been touching when he looked down and could he have felt the touch? There as absolutely no way that we can know the answers to this.

Did Mooney take a clean catch? Undetermined. Should he have known that he touched the boundary marker? Undetermined. Mooney a cheat? Definitely not!