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Guest Bill S

Base Running Appeal

Question

Guest Bill S
Situation:  Runners on !st and 3rd.  Zero or one out.  As pitcher comes to set position, runner at first takes off for second on steal.  Pitcher ignores him and delivers a pitch to the batter.  The batter hits a fly ball that is caught.  The runner, however, reaches second AFTER the time-of-the-pitch BEFORE the batter hits the pitch.  Is the runner safe to stay at second or does he need to return to first to retouch?  This actually happened.  The umpire ruled the runner had already stolen and acquired 2nd base before the ball was hit, and according to 7.01, he had acquired the right to the unoccupied base.  I agree with that ruling.  The defensive manager was not happy, of course.  If the runner had not yet touched 2nd before the batter hit the ball, then he would have to return to retouch first after the catch.  What are applicable rule(s)?

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TOP as noumpire said, and this is determined whenever the pitcher started his motion to commit to pitch. (usually moving the free foot)

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Depending on the rule set, I would have 1 word for the defensive manager to learn....................PROTEST

 

I teach my umpires NOT to take a protest personally.  SOMEONE is bound to learn something from it.  Either the umpire will learn why he kicked the call, or the coach will learn the rule.

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44 minutes ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

Either the umpire will learn why he kicked the call, or the coach will learn the rule.

This is an OOO.

[Overly optimistic option]

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To our guest, Bill S, the umpire in your game made the wrong call and used the old rule numbering system as well. Official Baseball Rule 7.01 is the applicable rule but it is now rule 5.06(a)(1).

Unfortunately, that rule doesn’t specifically answer your question--to do that we need an official interpretation. From the 2014 PBUC manual (section 6.7, p. 58):

“A runner who advances while the pitcher is in contact with the rubber is considered to occupy the base last touched at the time the pitcher initiates his actual pitching motion to the batter. The pitching motion is defined as any movement which commits the pitcher to deliver the ball to the batter.

“As long as the pitcher is not committed to pitch, a runner may advance and is considered to occupy the last base touched at the time the pitcher initiates his actual delivery to the batter.

“The preliminary motion known as the ‘stretch’ is not considered the start of the pitching motion.”

And here is a case play from the 2016 BRD (section 431, p. 288)

R1, R3. As the pitcher begins his preliminary stretch in the set position, R1 breaks for second. F1, fearing either a balk or a score, makes no attempt to play on R1. Instead, he comes to his complete stop. Before he begins his motion to deliver, R1 touches second. B1 fouls off the pitch. Ruling:  R1 may keep second, for he had touched the base before TOP.

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