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DougMH

What's the call

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Runner at 1st, nobody out.  The pitcher throws a wild pitch.  The home plate umpire forgets about the runner at first.  The catcher reaches back for another ball and the home plate umpire gives it to him.  The runner at 1st has gone to second and when he sees the original pitch laying near the backstop heads for third.  The catcher throws the new ball to 3rd and the runner is tagged out.

How is this resolved?  I remember Look Magazine used to have a feature called "You Be The Ump" and this was one of the situations that was brought up.  But it was years ago and I cannot remember the correct call.

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The ball handed to the catcher cannot be used to record an out, as it was never put in play. I'm also not giving the runner third most likely. 

My intuition says that I'd give the runner second, and kill the play, but I'd be hard pressed to give a reason other than "that's what would've happened if I didn't screw up". I'm interested in seeing the rule cites that will come along.

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43 minutes ago, DougMH said:

How is this resolved?

Better training and awareness?

Oh wait: you're probably asking about the game situation, not umpires who screw up.

Seriously: there's no rule that covers umpiring screwups. People post these things and then waste a lot of time declaiming about how they'd handle it. Yawn.

Make everyone a little unhappy, apologize all around, and get the ball back in play as quickly as possible.

 

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Since the OP does not specify the rule set his scenario was played under, I can say that Mr. maven is wrong for at least two rule sets. The NCAA code actually has a rule that covers the extra ball on the field situation and FED now has a case play that addresses this question:

2019-2020 NCAA Rule 6 Dead Ball—Play Suspended

SECTION 5. Time shall be called by the umpire and play is suspended when:

c. An unusual circumstance interferes with the normal progress of the game, such as any crowd action, animal, ball, or other object on the field (see 6-4-a PENALTY);

6-4a PENALTY—The ball is dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as to nullify the act of interference;

2018 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 5: With one out and a runner on third base, the defense is warming up a pitcher in its bullpen, which is located inside the fence in live-ball territory along the left-field fence. A ball from the bullpen gets past the bullpen catcher and goes to the fence to the left of the catcher. Meanwhile, the pitcher throws a wild pitch that gets past the catcher and goes to the fence to the right of the catcher. The catcher retreats to the fence, picks up the bullpen ball and throws it to the pitcher covering the plate for an apparent out on the runner advancing home. RULING: The runner is safe. Only the game ball can be used to record an out. (1-3-1)

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It isn’t like pinball where you get to play the bonus ball, too?  

 

While those situations cover a second ball in play, I don’t think they accurately cover the play presented by the OP.  In the presented play, we obviously have a correctable umpire error that led to the situation.  I’m with Biscuit ... the runner likely would have obtained second base.  The umpire’s error led to the play at third ... strike the play at third and put the runner back on second.  I might even be OK with leaving the runner safe on third base.  Since the catcher made no effort to go get the ball, you could reasonably expect the runner would have reached third base safely.  Tough to say without seeing it though.

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In an MLB game played on August 5, 2014, between the Reds and Indians, there was a play involving an extra ball on the field—the umpires kept the ball live:

With none out and two on (R1, R3), B1 hit a double to F9, who threw to F4 to F6 as a ball from the defensive bullpen flew onto the field near F4. F6 threw to F5 as R1 dove back to third and was tagged out.

OBR Rule 5.01(b) states that after the umpire calls "Play" and until the umpire calls "Time," or until for legal cause (e.g., hit batsman, umpire or offensive interference, foul ball, etc.), the ball is alive. Rule 5.12 lists several additional opportunities to call "Time," including weather/darkness, light failure, an accident, mound visit, examination of baseball, fielder falls out of play, and the umpire orders a person removed.

Rule 5.12(b)(8) states, "Except in the cases stated in paragraphs (2) and (3)(A) of this rule, no umpire shall call 'Time' while a play is in progress." According to these rules, the umpire should not kill the ball simply because an extra ball flies onto the field. The circumstance of an extra ball on the field is not listed as an opportunity to stop play.

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There have been at least two other threads about this issue of more than one ball on the field—one in 2015 and the other in 2018. Perhaps the most famous (probably because it involved two future HOFers) extra ball on the field incident took place on June 30, 1959, at Wrigley Field.

Stan Musial took a ball four pitch that got away from the catcher and went all the way to the backstop of Wrigley. Seeing the ball got away Musial started running to first base. The pitcher and the catcher immediately started to argue with the HP umpire Vic Delmore that the reason the ball got away was that the pitch hit Musial's check swing. During the course of the argument Delmore handed a second ball to the catcher. The catcher sees that Musial is on his way to second and overthrows second base with the second ball going into center field. Musial saw the overthrow and started for third base. While all this was happening the third baseman ran in and picked up the first live ball and threw it to the shortstop Ernie Banks who applied a tag on Musial and he was called out. That out was upheld by the umpires after lengthy discussion.

 

Umpire Delmore was let go after the season ended.

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This is no mere "second ball" scenario, as the umpire lost track of the game and HE threw the other ball in. The cited rules all address the "accidental" second ball from a bull pen or neighboring field. Apples and oranges.

My point earlier was that it's a mistake (and poor officiating) to expect the rules to magically solve all the crap that can happen when we screw up. Nobody can write a rule book like that (well, absent an escape clause: "The umpire has authority to rule on anything not addressed in these rules"). The general prescription is the one I provided earlier: do what seems fair to both teams, apologize (once), and get the ball back in play as quickly as possible.

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10 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

There have been at least two other threads about this issue of more than one ball on the field—one in 2015 and the other in 2018. Perhaps the most famous (probably because it involved two future HOFers) extra ball on the field incident took place on June 30, 1959, at Wrigley Field.

Stan Musial took a ball four pitch that got away from the catcher and went all the way to the backstop of Wrigley. Seeing the ball got away Musial started running to first base. The pitcher and the catcher immediately started to argue with the HP umpire Vic Delmore that the reason the ball got away was that the pitch hit Musial's check swing. During the course of the argument Delmore handed a second ball to the catcher. The catcher sees that Musial is on his way to second and overthrows second base with the second ball going into center field. Musial saw the overthrow and started for third base. While all this was happening the third baseman ran in and picked up the first live ball and threw it to the shortstop Ernie Banks who applied a tag on Musial and he was called out. That out was upheld by the umpires after lengthy discussion.

 

Umpire Delmore was let go after the season ended.

 

That one is pretty close, the difference being which ball was used.  In the MLB case the correct ball was used (out stands).  In the OP the wrong ball was used.  Cases show us the runner should be safe and the play should stand (in MLB).

The only argument I can see to be made against that would be the umpire’s actions “encouraged” (I won’t say prevented) the catcher to not go retrieve the proper ball.  I would counter with the catcher chose not to go retrieve the ball first (not the umpire’s error), then willingly accepted the wrong ball and made a “play” with the wrong ball.

 

Post note: Quoth the Raven “Delmore, nevermore.”

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18 hours ago, DougMH said:

Runner at 1st, nobody out.  The pitcher throws a wild pitch.  The home plate umpire forgets about the runner at first.  The catcher reaches back for another ball and the home plate umpire gives it to him.  The runner at 1st has gone to second and when he sees the original pitch laying near the backstop heads for third.  The catcher throws the new ball to 3rd and the runner is tagged out.

How is this resolved?  I remember Look Magazine used to have a feature called "You Be The Ump" and this was one of the situations that was brought up.  But it was years ago and I cannot remember the correct call.

The reality is, if you are in a game situation where both the umpire AND the catcher conveniently forget there's a runner on first base you're in a different universe (or they're cheating)...this is a nonsense hypothetical, but I think it was created just to discuss a more general scenario, and get a point across...

Forgetting specifics - the real question is, what happens when an umpire majorly screws up a live play...if he doesn't have an ego he fixes it the best he can, apologizes, feels embarrassed for a while, and probably never makes the same mistake again for the rest of his life.   

Same thing that happens when a human being makes a mistake anywhere else....the actions that follow the mistake are driven by the integrity and ego of the human...not a playbook.

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23 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

The reality is, if you are in a game situation where both the umpire AND the catcher conveniently forget there's a runner on first base you're in a different universe (or they're cheating)...this is a nonsense hypothetical, but I think it was created just to discuss a more general scenario, and get a point across...

Forgetting specifics - the real question is, what happens when an umpire majorly screws up a live play...if he doesn't have an ego he fixes it the best he can, apologizes, feels embarrassed for a while, and probably never makes the same mistake again for the rest of his life.   

Same thing that happens when a human being makes a mistake anywhere else....the actions that follow the mistake are driven by the integrity and ego of the human...not a playbook.

Heh I have called strike 3 on strike 2 before but yeah handing another ball into play during a live ball situation.. ooof  I think I would take some time off after that game to examine my head.

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At least a little blame has to go to F2 for putting out his hand for a new ball while R1 was scooting around the bases. In reality, the umpire shouldn't have had time to reach into his bag, pull out a new ball, and hand it to F2. F2 should have been chasing down the WP before PU got his hand out of the bag. 

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56 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

Heh I have called strike 3 on strike 2 before but yeah handing another ball into play during a live ball situation.. ooof  I think I would take some time off after that game to examine my head.

I rung up a kid on 0-3 two weeks ago.... I have no idea how my brain short circuited that badly.

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4 hours ago, noumpere said:

Looks right to me

Hm, maybe I habitually mix up balls and strikes, and that's my problem :smachhead:

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