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CJK

Unusual baserunning appeal

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This happened in a USSSA slow-pitch softball game, but I'm very interested in rulings from any code.

R2, outs don't matter, ball lined up the middle.  R2 avoids the ball by moving past 2B toward RF (basically along the 2B/3B line extended).  The ball goes into the outfield and R2 advances to 3B.  At the end of the play, F9 appeals a missed base on the premise that R2 "retreated" past 2B and failed to touch 2B while advancing.

Is R2 out on appeal?  If you'd call R2 out, what rule would you use to support it?

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From the 2018 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 5.17, p. 46):

A runner is considered to have passed a base if he has both feet on the ground beyond the back edge of the base or beyond the edge of the base in the direction to which he is advancing.

The direction the runner is advancing determines the edges of the base when defining when a runner has passed a base.

 

You can also find that definition in the MLBUM and in an article written by Gil Imber of Close Call Sports titled Past or Prior—Deciding When a Runner Has Passed a Base dated July 1, 2017.

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1 hour ago, CJK said:

This happened in a USSSA slow-pitch softball game, but I'm very interested in rulings from any code.

R2, outs don't matter, ball lined up the middle.  R2 avoids the ball by moving past 2B toward RF (basically along the 2B/3B line extended).  The ball goes into the outfield and R2 advances to 3B.  At the end of the play, F9 appeals a missed base on the premise that R2 "retreated" past 2B and failed to touch 2B while advancing.

Is R2 out on appeal?  If you'd call R2 out, what rule would you use to support it?

That is a very observant outfielder. Yes I would call the runner out on appeal. What I would use to support it is the rule that states all runners must touch the bases in order.

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1 minute ago, JSam21 said:

That is a very observant outfielder. Yes I would call the runner out on appeal. What I would use to support it is the rule that states all runners must touch the bases in order.

And the "last time by" principle.

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35 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

#1-beyond the back edge of the base or

#2-beyond the edge of the base in the direction to which he is advancing.

I separated the interpretation to better pose my question. 

Given that #2, it is very easy to determine the "edge" (facing towards 3B) as the "direction in which he is advancing"

Would it then be safe to assume that it would mean that in #1, the "back edge" would be the side of the base facing towards 1B??

......and if so, does retreating backwards "toward RF (basically along the 2B/3B line extended)", qualify as retreating towards 1B thereby invoking the "last time by" principle?

 

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Guys, I really appreciate the input, especially given that it's a question with its roots in slow-pitch softball.

I totally understand the idea of a retreating/advancing runner being required to touch the bases in order and the "last time by" principle, and I thought about them when I considered the situation.  I 100% understand using those concepts if this had been R1 advancing past 2B on the play, then retreating, then advancing again.

I'm struggling with the idea that R2 can be "retreating" on this play, though.  I didn't think it was an option for a runner to return to base before his TOP base (Jean Segura in 2013 notwithstanding).  R2 certainly wasn't running the bases in in reverse order to retouch 1B.

Suppose F6 were near the baseline and the ball had been grounded toward 2B, R2 retreated to 2B, F6 took an angle right across 2B, and R2 hopped out of the way (toward 1B) to avoid contact, then advanced to 3B.  Would you have the same call?

Please understand that I truly respect your answers and I do not intend this to be argumentative at all.  I'm just really challenged by calling this "retreating" and trying to find a way that feels more intuitive, I guess.

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I’ll be the contrarian ... (and I am still stumped by some of my fellow umpires on here) ...

If R2 stood on the bag and let the line drive hit him, he has the potential of being called out (if an infielder had a possible play).  The base is not a safe haven, so there is no reason for him to hold his position.  He reacted by moving away from, not towards, the ball, which is IMO a natural reaction.  R2 was obviously NOT making any attempt to retreat to 1B.  He was avoiding a live ball that was in play.

I am denying the appeal.  (I will agree it was an astute attempt by the fielder though!)

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33 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

If R2 stood on the bag and let the line drive hit him, he has the potential of being called out (if an infielder had a possible play).  

Aside from whether the appeal is valid are you saying an infielder has to have a play in baseball for the runner to be called out. Or is that a softball rule?

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Surprised by the answers here.  I'm with the Man In Blue.  R2 was clearly not retreating to 1st.  And I also am reminded of explanations of the base path that explain the base path is not established until a play is made on the runner. Some explanations state that the runner can run anywhere he pleases before the baseline is established. 

To me, that means R2 could run out into right field if he wanted to on his way to 3B and it wouldn't be retreating.  IMO, unless he is clearly heading toward 1B, he doesn't have to retouch 2nd on his was to 3rd.

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:23 PM, Jimurray said:

 

Aside from whether the appeal is valid are you saying an infielder has to have a play in baseball for the runner to be called out. Or is that a softball rule?

 

I was referring to the runner being hit by a batted ball in general — sorry for the confusion.  Same in baseball and softball, though you obviously have some different definitions of when it no longer applies dependent on the code in both.

If he had stayed on the bag and let the line drive hit him, he puts himself in jeopardy of being called out.  So you can’t expect him to stay there.

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18 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

 

I was referring to the runner being hit by a batted ball in general — sorry for the confusion.  Same in baseball and softball, though you obviously have some different definitions of when it no longer applies.

If he had stayed on the bag and let the line drive hit him, he puts himself in jeopardy of being called out.  So you can’t expect him to stay there.

If he had stayed on the bag and didn't let the line drive hit him (intent) he still would be out in baseball even with no infielders able to make a play (base hit up or line drive the middle) on the ball if the ball hit him when he did not get hit intentionally. He would be out if he was hit off the bag in his attempt to avoid even if no infielder had a play. So leaving or staying on the bag does not protect him from being called out when hit by the batted ball in the OP. It seems by interp that he has passed 2B and must retouch it in baseball. Tough luck that his actions caused him to "pass' the base. I might not expect him to stay there but whether an overslide, a third world play (happens in MLB also though) happens if that puts the runner passed the base by MLBUM interp they are going to require him to retouch in the direction he's advancing or returning.

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Wow ... that is really over-complicating things unnecessarily. :cheers:

My only point was staying on the base did not protect him, so there is no expectation for him to stay put.  Not rehashing the “runner hit by the ball” scenarios.

 

With the ball still in play, R1 steps “behind” first base (outfield edge of the base) to talk to the base coach before taking his lead.  One of his feet and most of his body are in foul territory (“past” first base).  Without touching first base he takes his lead.  Are you going to make him retouch?

I am utterly amazed how many folks are “going looking” for something to call here.  You are being overly literal with your reading/scrutinization of this rule, but are happy adding made up components to a pick off move.  :shrug:

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12 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Wow ... that is really over-complicating things unnecessarily. :cheers:

My only point was staying on the base did not protect him, so there is no expectation for him to stay put.  Not rehashing the “runner hit by the ball” scenarios.

 

With the ball still in play, R1 steps “behind” first base (outfield edge of the base) to talk to the base coach before taking his lead.  One of his feet and most of his body are in foul territory (“past” first base).  Without touching first base he takes his lead.  Are you going to make him retouch?

I am utterly amazed how many folks are “going looking” for something to call here.  You are being overly literal with your reading/scrutinization of this rule, but are happy adding made up components to a pick off move.  :shrug:

It’s not going looking for something to call. This is a runner who, inadvertent as it maybe, retreated back towards first base. It is what it is...

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A FED ruling that *might* apply (even though I disagree with it):

 

SITUATION 9: R1, on third base, attempts to score on a squeeze play. B4 attempts to bunt, but misses the pitch and F2 comes up with the ball and gets R1 in a rundown between third and home. F2 eventually attempts to throw R1 out at third, but makes a bad throw into left field. R1 steps on third, but his momentum takes him several steps down the foul line behind third base. R1, seeing the bad throw, turns, misses third base as he advances to home. After R1 has touched home plate and enters the dugout, the defense calls “Time” and verbally appeals R1 missing third. RULING: R1 is out on the valid defensive appeal. R1 must touch third base again on his way to home plate. (8-2-1, 8-2-6c)
 

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