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Guest Defensive Coach

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Guest Defensive Coach

This past weekend at a 13U travel ball tournament I seen a play I've never seen.  What would umpires call or do here. NFHS rulebook.  Runners at 2nd and 3rd, the pitch was delivered and R2 is stealing 3rd but R3 didn't move, he just went back to the base.  Now R2 and R3 are on 3rd base.  The pitcher gets the ball back and gets on the rubber ready to pitch.  At this moment with 2 runners on 3rd and pitcher ready to pitch what should be called?  

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31 minutes ago, Guest Defensive Coach said:

This past weekend at a 13U travel ball tournament I seen a play I've never seen.  What would umpires call or do here. NFHS rulebook.  Runners at 2nd and 3rd, the pitch was delivered and R2 is stealing 3rd but R3 didn't move, he just went back to the base.  Now R2 and R3 are on 3rd base.  The pitcher gets the ball back and gets on the rubber ready to pitch.  At this moment with 2 runners on 3rd and pitcher ready to pitch what should be called?  

There is absolutely no call to make here. It is essentially, as @johnpatrick stated, a very big lead off. For all intents and purposes, the trail runner's time of pitch base would be 2nd base. 

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2 hours ago, Guest Defensive Coach said:

This past weekend at a 13U travel ball tournament I seen a play I've never seen.  What would umpires call or do here. NFHS rulebook.  Runners at 2nd and 3rd, the pitch was delivered and R2 is stealing 3rd but R3 didn't move, he just went back to the base.  Now R2 and R3 are on 3rd base.  The pitcher gets the ball back and gets on the rubber ready to pitch.  At this moment with 2 runners on 3rd and pitcher ready to pitch what should be called?  

a pick off throw to 3rd base

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Different is not always illegal. Looks like the defensive team got what they wanted... they got you and your team to wonder what the heck. They were most likely hoping you would make a bad throw, or more likely get F1 to commit to run towards the base.... then R2 would retreat and try and drag F1 with him, thus allowing R3 a better chance at scoring.

Or being 13, the kids could just be kids and could be doing something dumb...

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The question posed in the OP is, “At this moment with 2 runners on 3rd and pitcher ready to pitch what should be called? You all said that the answer is that there is no call to be made—that it is just to be considered an extremely large lead for R2.

Gents, please clarify something for me. Does that mean that you would assume your position behind the catcher and allow the pitcher to pitch the ball? And if the result of the pitch is a batted ball you would allow that as well?

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

The question posed in the OP is, “At this moment with 2 runners on 3rd and pitcher ready to pitch what should be called? You all said that the answer is that there is no call to be made—that it is just to be considered an extremely large lead for R2.

Gents, please clarify something for me. Does that mean that you would assume your position behind the catcher and allow the pitcher to pitch the ball? And if the result of the pitch is a batted ball you would allow that as well?

Assuming NFHS baseball, I don't see why not.   It's just a matter if that would cause more confusion.  Hopefully F1 would be savvy enough to do a pickoff, or just step off the rubber and run to third and tag them both.  Now, if the result of the pitch was a batted foul ball, or a HBP, then R2 would have to return to second (or close to it).  And if the batted ball was a caught fly ball, R2 would be in jeopardy if he didn't return to second.  If a wild pitch went into the dugout only R3 would score.  And so on.   

The question would be whether or not to grant time if either team requested it, because, I speculate, that is the most likely scenario to develop here, either just before or after the ump assumes his position and gets ready for a pitch.

 

If this was NFHS softball it's a much different answer.  R2 is out on the pitch, and there might even be an argument for the umpire to call R2 out before the pitch.

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You’re right, Mr. beerguy55. The answer for FED softball would be much different. Here is a case play from the 2011 NFHS softball case book (sorry don’t have a more recent one and do not know if this play is still in the book)--

2011 NFHS Softball Case Book Play 8.3.3 SITUATION B: With R3 on third, R2 on second and R1 on first, R1 legally steals second but R2 does not advance. The pitcher receives the ball in the circle from the catcher and makes no play on any runner. May both runners remain at second? RULING: No. The umpire, after permitting a reasonable amount of time for a play to be made, shall declare the ball dead and call R1 out.

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59 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

The question would be whether or not to grant time if either team requested it, because, I speculate, that is the most likely scenario to develop here, either just before or after the ump assumes his position and gets ready for a pitch.

There's no question here at all. There's a runner in jeopardy. If you grant time, you are benefiting someone (depending on the situation at the moment.)

If time is mistakenly granted, the only solution is for R2 to return before putting the ball back in play.

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2 hours ago, Matt said:

There's no question here at all. There's a runner in jeopardy. If you grant time, you are benefiting someone (depending on the situation at the moment.)

If time is mistakenly granted, the only solution is for R2 to return before putting the ball back in play.

Yep. Assuming you and your partner are observant, neither of you should grant time here by any team.

F1/R3: "Time"

Me: "Nope"

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On 1/25/2019 at 4:45 PM, Matt said:

There's no question here at all. There's a runner in jeopardy. If you grant time, you are benefiting someone (depending on the situation at the moment.)

If time is mistakenly granted, the only solution is for R2 to return before putting the ball back in play.

 

On 1/25/2019 at 7:40 PM, yawetag said:

Yep. Assuming you and your partner are observant, neither of you should grant time here by any team.

F1/R3: "Time"

Me: "Nope"

Agree 100%.  The funny thing here, I think, is the more likely coach to request "time" is the defensive one, the one who is most likely disadvantaged if time is granted.  R2 is a sitting duck.   If he's not savvy enough to realize that then his first concern is going to be the injustice of it all:

"wtf, they have two runners on third, they can't do that, 'Blue', TIME!" 

 "No" 

 "Blue, Time, come on!"

"The ball is live...play"

"What the Hell are you doing??!?!  There are two runners on third base!!!!" 

 "*sigh*...fine, 'time', you, back to second base.  Coach, congratulations, you just gave them an extra out, and you're ejected"

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29 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

 "*sigh*...fine, 'time', you, back to second base.  Coach, congratulations, you just gave them an extra out, and you're ejected"

Instead I'd respond with "You're right. Get back in the dugout, the ball is still live."

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On 1/25/2019 at 5:53 PM, Senor Azul said:

You’re right, Mr. beerguy55. The answer for FED softball would be much different. Here is a case play from the 2011 NFHS softball case book (sorry don’t have a more recent one and do not know if this play is still in the book)--

2011 NFHS Softball Case Book Play 8.3.3 SITUATION B: With R3 on third, R2 on second and R1 on first, R1 legally steals second but R2 does not advance. The pitcher receives the ball in the circle from the catcher and makes no play on any runner. May both runners remain at second? RULING: No. The umpire, after permitting a reasonable amount of time for a play to be made, shall declare the ball dead and call R1 out.

I believe this is true because of the look back rule. Leads are not allowed in NFHS softball.

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11 minutes ago, LMSANS said:

I believe this is true because of the look back rule. Leads are not allowed in NFHS softball.

They're not allowed in any softball rule set that I know of.   Even LL softball calls the runner out for leading off/leaving early (different from LL baseball).  To me it's a clarification on the look back rule, because most rules instruct that the runner must make a decision, almost immediately, to advance or return when "between bases", when the pitcher, with the ball in the circle, is showing no aggression or action towards the runner.   I can see people being confused in this scenario where the runner is standing on the next base (though he/she is not entitled to it) - ie "well, he's not between the bases".   So, yes, call R2 out if he doesn't return.  Or, worst case, when the pitcher starts the windup call the runner out for leading off.   Same result.

I agree with not waiting for that formality.   In essence, the case play is instructing to treat the runner on the next (but wrong) base no differently than one standing between the bases.

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Here’s the rule I think is relevant to the softball case book play:

2015 NFHS Softball rule 8-3

ART. 7 . . . Two runners may not legally occupy the same base simultaneously.

EFFECT: The runner who first legally occupied the base shall be entitled to it, unless forced to advance. The other runner may be put out by being touched with the ball.

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If this situation took place in a game played under OBR, there would be no question what to do. OBR 5.06(a)(2) specifically states that, “Two runners may not occupy a base.” Even though the relevant NFHS baseball rule (8-2-8a) does not use that specific text, I think it can be deduced from the rule and thus we arrive at the same answer--two runners may not occupy a base!

Even if neither team reacts immediately the umpires must not allow anything else to happen in the game before that situation is resolved. Umpires are there to insure the game is played by the rules. In the Foreword to the 2018 MiLBUM, the president and CEO of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner says the following about umpires—

“The integrity of baseball is embodied in the Umpire upon whom the trust is placed to insure the game is played by the rules guaranteeing fairness for those involved. During the course of performing these prescribed duties, the Umpire must at times interpret and clarify rules as they are written…”

This principle is illustrated in the following case play--

2018 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 15: The batter’s hit deflects off home plate and the catcher stands up and catches the ball in midair. The plate umpire points fair and expects the catcher to throw to first base, but instead, the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher who immediately assumes his pitching position on the pitching plate. No one on either team realizes the ball was declared to be fair, so neither the batter nor the defense takes any resulting action. What should the plate umpire do? RULING: The umpire should continue to signal a fair ball. Regardless of how much time has elapsed or how the two teams have reacted, the umpire must continue with the call as he sees it. (10-2-1)

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I don't see why OBR is any different. "Two runners may not occupy a base" just means one is entitled to it and the other is not. I don't see anything that precludes the pitcher from pitching anymore so than NFHS. The interpretation quoted has to do with a fair batted ball. That is very different IMO. The batter is now a batter-runner and can't bat anymore. 

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It’s time to play reductio ad absurdum with the assertion that it is OK to have two runners occupy the same base. We’ll pick up with the two runners at third base as in the OP.

Now, the plate umpire is in his normal position behind the catcher and allows the pitcher to deliver pitches. The pitcher walks the next two batters making the bases really juiced with two runners on third and a runner at second and a runner at first. The next batter hits a home run clearing the bases—a 5-run homer—the first in baseball history.

How do we refer to that 5-run shot? We can’t call it a grand slam—that’s already taken. We will have to coin a new term to describe such an awesome event. I would like to suggest we call it a penta-gone. Or, in a nod to the Latino contribution to our great game, we could call it, “Cinco de oh-mayo.” And what about a 6-run homer or even a 7-run homer? Not allowing two runners to occupy the same base is one of the base-ics of the game!

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That doesn't make sense. The second walk would force R3 home. They aren't both legally occupying third base. R3 is occupying third and R2 is just touching it. If a runner misses second and gets to third he is not legally occupying third but if the defense chooses not to appeal it then we leave him there. There's nothing that says the pitcher can't pitch with two runners touching third. Just that one of them is liable to be put out.

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15 minutes ago, mwest5575 said:

That doesn't make sense. The second walk would force R3 home. They aren't both legally occupying third base. R3 is occupying third and R2 is just touching it. If a runner misses second and gets to third he is not legally occupying third but if the defense chooses not to appeal it then we leave him there. There's nothing that says the pitcher can't pitch with two runners touching third. Just that one of them is liable to be put out.

You're missing the point (and incorrect by rule, BTW.) In that situation, the former R2 is who legally occupies 3B. R3 legally occupies...nothing. So, how can you pitch with a runner that has no base?

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23 minutes ago, Matt said:

You're missing the point (and incorrect by rule, BTW.) In that situation, the former R2 is who legally occupies 3B. R3 legally occupies...nothing. So, how can you pitch with a runner that has no base?

Missing what point and incorrect by what rule? The first walk would give R1, R2, and R3 (with R2 for whatever reason chilling at third but not legally occupying it) and then the next walk would force R3 home. You wouldn't allow the game to proceed until he did. What rule am I getting wrong?

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I don’t know that the language could be any plainer in the OBR—two runners may not occupy a base. Your assertion would go against the fundamental design of the game. I challenge you to show an interpretation or case play proving your assertion.

I have posted rules, an interpretation and two case plays (although one is from softball). You have given me nothing--saying the lack of the rule spelling it out should be sufficient. Have you ever seen a situation where two runners are allowed to remain at the same base? We have had baseball rules since the 1840s and this issue has not come up in all this time.

As for the case play, I specifically stated that I was using it to show a principle but thanks for letting me know it was about a batted ball. Your takeaway from it should have been the final sentence—“Regardless of how much time has elapsed or how the two teams have reacted, the umpire must continue with the call as he sees it.” I think it definitely applies to the situation in the original post. As an umpire you don’t let the participants rewrite the rules.

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Just now, mwest5575 said:

Missing what point and incorrect by what rule? The first walk would give R1, R2, and R3 (with R2 for whatever reason chilling at third but not legally occupying it) and then the next walk would force R3 home. You wouldn't allow the game to proceed until he did. What rule am I getting wrong?

Who gets to legally occupy a base.

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44 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

I don’t know that the language could be any plainer in the OBR—two runners may not occupy a base. Your assertion would go against the fundamental design of the game. I challenge you to show an interpretation or case play proving your assertion.

I have posted rules, an interpretation and two case plays (although one is from softball). You have given me nothing--saying the lack of the rule spelling it out should be sufficient. Have you ever seen a situation where two runners are allowed to remain at the same base? We have had baseball rules since the 1840s and this issue has not come up in all this time.

As for the case play, I specifically stated that I was using it to show a principle but thanks for letting me know it was about a batted ball. Your takeaway from it should have been the final sentence—“Regardless of how much time has elapsed or how the two teams have reacted, the umpire must continue with the call as he sees it.” I think it definitely applies to the situation in the original post. As an umpire you don’t let the participants rewrite the rules.

So the language is plain, two runners may not occupy a base. Then it goes right on to say if two runners happen to end up touching the same base the defense can put one of them out. It's not like the baseball world stops turning, just that R3 is entitled to be there (occupy) and R2 is liable to be put out. The pitching rules say where the defense and batter must be to pitch but nothing about the runners. I don't have a case play to show you but a case play about a batter's turn at bat ending and something from softball isn't much more helpful. Of course softball handles it differently because you can't take leads. If my takeaway form the case play should be to continue to call it as I see it I see R3 legally occupying third and R2 with a really big lead touching third and liable to be put out. And I don't have a rule that compels anyone to do anything about it. Do we tell R2 to go back a step or make the pitcher do something? 

Then there's the hypothetical juicing of the bases. So you walk a batter and I guess bases are loaded with R2 still with a huge lead. The next batter walks and former R2 is now R3 and former R3 is forced home. So you have rules in place that keep us from getting 4 baserunners on at the same time without making anything up.

Matt, R3 is entitled to occupy third until he is forced and then I guess he has to do something. I'm not sure what else you were referring to.

So why hasn't this happened since the 1800s? Well it has as explained in the OP, and probably countless other times in low level ball around this great country. It hasn't happened at any remotely high level of baseball because the defense is going to get an out...Not because the umpire comes out and quotes softball case plays.

ETA: I disagree that my assertion goes against the fundamental design of the game. The defense can put R2 out if they want. It is not similar at all to having five base runners or a BR going back to bat again.

 

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