R1, R2, 1 out. OT has been running the bases like a merry-go-round for the past inning, and has racked up 5 runs. 1B to 3B, 2B to plate, the works.
Towering fly ball to F8. Flat sky, so nearly everybody loses sight of it (this umpire, as PU, included), but figure it has to be somewhere towards centerfield. R2 figures that, based on F8's previous body of botched catch attempts work, he'll take his chances and reaches 3B and rounds it towards HP. R1 follows suit, and is nearly to 2B when F8 actually... holy crap how'd he find it?... catches it. "Catch!" voices my BU.
Now panic ensues. R1 taps on R2 (never breaks the plane of it, just touches on the front edge), then retreats to 1B in a mad dash while F8 throws a... oh no... pond-skipper to F3, who can't field it cleanly and can't secure it before R1 arrives at 1B, touches it, then at the pleading of his coaches and fans heads to 2B (it turns out, these pleas and promptings were to R2 to return to 2B). While this is going on, R2 suddenly figures out he has to head back and tag up, so retouches 3B, and heads back towards 2B. F3 now throws to 2B, but R1 has already "safely" arrived there, and is sitting on it after sliding into it. F6 catches throw with his foot on the bag, and then tags R1.
Who is (technically) out?
FWIW, we called R2 out on the touch of 2B by F6 in possession of the ball. I made a point of saying, "That (point at) runner is out!" Was there an out sooner that we missed? Is R2 the one who is the third out or is R1 the third out?
We all Most of us know about the "Skunk In the Grass" play, yes? I had a team set one up during a MLK Day Weekend Tournament here... R1 and R3, and R1 started leading off down the 1BL to RF, but the pitcher never looked over and the batter wasn't disciplined enough to resist swinging at a fairly fat pitch and popped out. The entire crowd in attendance didn't get a chance to see the play (stand-off) develop to its full potential, but it got several buzzing and twittering (no, not actually on Twitter).
It got me thinking of other time-bleeding "legal" plays and "stand-off" situations where a team is trying a trick at scoring R3 at the accepted risk of losing R1. So here's what I came up with...
R2. 2 outs or less (inconsequential, but more likely with 2 outs because a sac fly or squeeze bunt won't work). Batter lays down a bunt, and beats the throw to 1B. He touches the base, but keeps right on going down the 1BL some 30-to-40-perhaps-more feet. Meanwhile, R2 arrives at R3, rounds it, and stays off the bag in a threatening-to-score position. R1 (perhaps at the cue of his 1BC) then makes a definite move towards 2B, drawing the attention of nearly the entire DT and the BU (PU is, of course, still watching the plate and now-R3). Because R3 has not returned to the 3B, and is instead in a posture to attempt to go to HP, a knowledgeable umpire is not going to just ambiguously call "Time!" (there are no injuries or technical failures (dislodged base)).
So how does this go? Obviously, R1 has negated his right to return to 1B unaffected ("directly") because he made that move towards 2B. What limitations are now on him? Also, nothing has occurred to make the ball Dead. R1 did visibly touch 1B, so he can't be out on Appeal. A play has to be made somewhere... right?
In a lineup card with BD, once the battery turns around, the pitcher -placed in tenth place in the lineup- takes the turn before for the first batter and reached first base hitting to left. The first batter occupied the batter box after the pitcher and got walk. The BD, which is as second batter, stops in batter box, bunt the ball and reaches safe to first base. Bases loaded. My question is: should I, as umpire, to prevent that the BD consume the turn, as he was replaced by the pitcher and therefore is now officially out of the game? or I should await the defensive team makes the claim to bring the situation in order?
By Umpire in Chief
A friend and I were talking this weekend about a play he saw in the game before his.
Situation - Competitive collegiate wooden bat league, R1, no outs.
R1 breaks to second on the pitch, batter steps back out of the box (away from catcher).
F2 misplays the catch and the ball bounces back toward the batter.
The batter for whatever reason taps the rolling ball back to the catcher with his bat.
PU calls the batter out for interference and returns the runner.
The excrement hits the rotary device and the offensive manager argues.
My friend and I both agreed that within the letter of the rules this is probably interference; but there was not a chance to put out the runner once the ball rolled that far away and common sense should have dictated a no call.
We thought this was grabbing the dirty end of the stick and not a word would have been said with a no call.