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Strange rule question

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Guest Cam

Had bases loaded no outs.  Ball is hit to third, hard down the line, third handles the ball and tags third base, but the runner on third sees the tag and is about a fourth of the way down the line towards home.  The third basemen throws the ball home, to initiate the tag play with the advancing runner from third towards home, but the third base runner stops, and turns back and slides back into third, and is called safe.  Can he even do this, when there are runners behind him, or if there was a force play on his bag?  I was thinking that even if his base is tagged, he must advance to the next base.  Another example of this rule question would be like if there was a runner on first, ball hit to the firstbasemen, who touches first, but the runner, who should advance to second on the ground ball, comes back and touches first and is safe.  

 

In my Sunday league we ran into this and it has literally never happened before so I haven't a clue what the right call would be.  But I think it would be weird if the runner could just stay at his bag on a ground ball and not advance.

 

thanks for the help.

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No, he's fine. Once the 3B tagged the base, the force is removed because the runner on 2nd - who was forced to 3rd - is now out. So the runner is free to go back to 3B or go home.

The reason the runner on 3rd has to go home is because the runner from 2B is forced to 3B. Once that's gone, the force is gone too. There no longer is a runner immediately behind him forcing him from 3B. The runner on 1st is forced to 2nd but not obligated to go to 3rd, so no more force.

Edited by scrounge
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Think about your second example and how it plays out if R1 were to continue running to second, instead of retreating back to first base: the fielders call "tag!" as there is no longer a force (removed by F3 getting the BR out by tagging the base) and that R1 must be tagged to get an out. Same principle at play in your scenario.

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As I posted in another thread just this morning (the play is slightly different; R3 stayed on the bag and was tagged):

 

Note that if F5 tags R3, and then steps on the bag, it's a double play -- both R3 and R2 are out.

 

If F5 steps on the bag and then tags R3, only R2 is out -- the force is removed.

 

I know all the umpires know that; sometimes others get confused by it.

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2.00 Force play:

A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base

by reason of the batter becoming a runner.

Rule 2.00 (Force Play) Comment: Confusion regarding this play is removed by remembering

that frequently the “force” situation is removed during the play. Example: Man on first, one out,

ball hit sharply to first baseman who touches the bag and batter-runner is out. The force is removed at

that moment and runner advancing to second must be tagged. If there had been a runner on third or

second, and either of these runners scored before the tag-out at second, the run counts. Had the first

baseman thrown to second and the ball then had been returned to first, the play at second was a force

out, making two outs, and the return throw to first ahead of the runner would have made three outs. In

that case, no run would score.

Example: Not a force out. One out. Runner on first and third. Batter flies out. Two out.

Runner on third tags up and scores. Runner on first tries to retouch before throw from fielder reaches

first baseman, but does not get back in time and is out. Three outs. If, in umpire’s judgment, the runner

from third touched home before the ball was held at first base, the run counts.

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