Rules Quiz

Here’s a little fun for you rules guys. Here’s the scenario: Runner on second with two out. Batter hits a grounder to the left side, 3rd baseman moves up and to his left to make an attempt at the ball but misses, the runner on second was already heading to third seeing the 3rd baseman charging the ball and gets hit in the leg by the ball. Ump calls runner out - end of inning. Was this the correct call?

If the fielder did not touch the ball the runner is out, if the 3rd baseman touched it it is not.

JD - that is the common answer, read a little closer though. The runner was running behind the 3rd baseman, still in the base path - no obstruction or interference was in play. The 3rd baseman made an attempt at the ball, without touching it and then it hit the runner. Still wanna stick with that answer?


OK since I don’t appear to have any other takers -

Rule 7.08 (MLB Official Rules)
Any runner is out when

(f) He is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder…(the rest doesn’t apply)

We had this happen during a league game this past week. I tried to argue that the runner was not out since it did indeed pass an infielder (the 3rd baseman) prior to hitting our runner. Everyone in the park including the 3 umps, opposing coaches and my own head coach told me I was wrong so I didn’t press the issue. Next time I should at least have my HC on my side :smiley:

Imagine me taking actual money to ump :lol:

I suppose I just chalk it up to the rarity this actually happens, so it’s not surprising that the rule is so universally misconstrued.

It is awfully embarrassing, not to mention intimidating, to be the only one in the park arguing a call though. :oops:

Despite not being a rules guy, I actually knew that one.

Here’s a real beauty for ya…

The count is full, but the plate umpire loses count. The next pitch is outside, but the batter remains in the box. The official scorekeeper takes a wee-wee break and asks the guy who puts up the advertising on the animation screen to “watch this for me.”

The next pitch is nailed over the boards and the batter trots home. Neither bench is really paying attention – all except a group of youngsters who attended the game on invitation tickets (promo’s), and they were from a local CYO league.

Now don’t some of the kids start chartering with one of the dugout coaches of the fielding unit.

Time is called and all those who were in charge of whatever, meet at home plate and hash things out.

This was back in 1981, no instant replay and little in the way of computerized “stats” as it happened. I can still see the powers that were - owners of the park and the leagues commissioner, arms folded in their air conditioned box, shaking their heads with an expression … “let it be…. let it be…”

That was my early introduction to …” doesn’t mean squat what the rules say … owners always have the last word… they are the rules.”

Being an ump-- the play at 3rd is not as simple as passing an infielder. It needs to pass an infielder other than the pitcher and there needs to be no other infielder with a chance to make a play on the ball in order for the interference to be ignored. If the SS was moving into a position behind the ball there would still be a possible interference call.

Paul - nothing in the rule that I can see states anything about someone else having a play on the ball after it passes the first infielder (non-pitcher) who did have a chance at the play. Now, if he umpire decides that the 3rd baseman had to make a heroic play on the ball to have gotten it but would have been easily fielded by the SS, then yes, I see some leeway in the rule there. However, in this case 3rd baseman actually had an easier play on the ball than the SS (playing up-the-middle). Is there an official interpretation of that rule somewhere that I can look up that makes it clearer?

If you read 5.09 (f) completely you see that the ball is killed if another fielder has a play on the ball. The interference is not called if the runner is hit and no one else has a play, but it is called if someone else has a play–even if it has already passed one infielder other than the pitcher.
“In making such decision the umpire must be convinced that the ball passed through or by the infielder and that no other infielder had the chance to make a play on the ball…”

Does that clarify?

Also, 7.08 gives situations where the runner is out. In this situation, the runner is definitely not out and the ball remains in play, so you are looking at the wrong rule for your point of reference.

In your situation it sounds like the SS would not be in position to make a play. I would not have called interference on the runner in that situation.

Either way, it’s tough to win the argument because it’s a judgment call and not an interpretation of a rule.

5.09(f) along with 7.08(b) would lend me to believe the runner would be out IF the SS had a play on the ball. However in our case the SS would have had to make a pretty impressive play to get to the ball so no play could be assumed. According to 5.09(f) the ball should have stayed in play with no out called on the runner if I am putting all these pieces together correctly.

Precisely. You were correct, and now you know why :wink: