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Guest Chuck

Force out rule

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Guest Chuck

Bases loaded with infield playing in. Ball gets hit back to pitcher. Pitcher throws home to catcher for force out. Catcher  tags home but then for some reason still tags runner, ball falls out. Runner doesn't youch home then starts walking towards dugout. Catcher picks up ball, retags home plate then throws ball back to pitcher. Coaches yell for runner to go tag home plate which runner does. What's the rule? Was he out on original receipt of the ball for the force out at home or is the force play negated because he dropped the ball after applying tag?

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He's out on the first catch if the catcher had firm and secure possession of ghe baseball. Umpire judgement. If for some reason he didn't have firm and secure possession (maybe the ball rolling around the rim of the mitt,  catcher juggling the ball). Then perhaps we don't have an initial force out, but if r3 never touched the plate and headed to the bench ,  the catcher holding the ball and stepping on the plate would constitute a missed base appeal and R3 declared out. 

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Authoritative Opinion:  Jim Evans:  In establishing the validity of secure possession at the time of a tag, the umpire should determine that the player held the ball long enough and did not juggle the ball or momentarily lose possession before gaining full control and touching the runner. Unlike a catch, a legal tag is based on the status of the ball at the time the runner or base is touched and not on the final proof of possession. (JEA/ 2:40)

OBR only. Tag of a base. The batter hits a ground ball to the first baseman. He fields it to the covering pitcher. The pitcher has the ball securely in his glove and steps on the base as BR runs into his back, knocking him down. When he hits the ground, the ball pops out of his glove. Ruling:  Successful tag and BR is out. The tag of the base was proved the moment that it was touched and the momentum of the tagging action ended. BR caused the ball to be knocked out after the tag had already been proved.

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