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What’s the right call in this situation


Guest Mason

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Guest Mason

I’m an umpire for a local rec league in baseball. I also play baseball at my highschool. In a game recently I had a play happen that I’ve never seen before and am wondering what the proper call would be. There is a runner at first and third base with 1 out, a line drive is hit directly to the shortstop. the runner at third takes off for home and never tags the bag .when trying to throw the ball to the third baseman the throw is offline and ends up in the dugout what would be the proper ruling on that play.

 

also can a home plate umpire call a balk when a field umpire is present and didn’t see a balk it cost us the winning run in that game.

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None of this is relevant.  The ump saw what he saw, or thought he saw what he saw...in his judgment there was a balk...it's his prerogative to call it. The balk didn't cost you the game.  The err

I think this is my new favorite post. You made me chuckle... I have said the same thing to my kids.

In your first situation, I'm assuming R3 left early and did not tag up properly. Since the ball that was thrown out of play is the first play by an infielder, it is a 2 base award from the time of pit

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Guest Mason
8 minutes ago, Guest Mason said:

I’m an umpire for a local rec league in baseball. I also play baseball at my highschool. In a game recently I had a play happen that I’ve never seen before and am wondering what the proper call would be. There is a runner at first and third base with 1 out, a line drive is hit directly to the shortstop. the runner at third takes off for home and never tags the bag .when trying to throw the ball to the third baseman the throw is offline and ends up in the dugout what would be the proper ruling on that play.

 

also can a home plate umpire call a balk when a field umpire is present and didn’t see a balk it cost us the winning run in that game.

Also for a little clarification on the bit about the balk call ,the play was for a fake backpick to first ,with a step over the rubber with their back foot ,then a throw to third base. He cleared the rubber but quickly and it was called a  balk by the plate umpire 

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In your first situation, I'm assuming R3 left early and did not tag up properly. Since the ball that was thrown out of play is the first play by an infielder, it is a 2 base award from the time of pitch. Meaning all base runners are awarded 2 bases beyond the base they were on at the time of the pitch. In this case, R3 would be awarded home, and R1 would be awarded 3rd base. R3 still has to correct his base running error, or he could be out on a proper appeal for failure to tag up. In other words, he has to go back and re-touch 3rd base. If the game was played under High School rules, a defensive appeal could be made while the ball was dead. If it was under Official Baseball Rules (OBR), the ball would have to be made live again, then the defense would have to execute a proper appeal then.

There are some other conditions with regards to appeals, but that is the gist of it. Others may want to expand upon that. I would study appeals and base awards of the rule set you are using.

As far as balks go, any umpire can call them. I'm not sure about your description of the balk in your 2nd post, I don't really understand what the pitcher did there.

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1 hour ago, Guest Mason said:

Also for a little clarification on the bit about the balk call ,the play was for a fake backpick to first ,with a step over the rubber with their back foot ,then a throw to third base. He cleared the rubber but quickly and it was called a  balk by the plate umpire 

Balk:  Any umpire can declare a balk. There’s no rule that when a BU is present only he/she can call it.  That said, each umpire generally has something they can see better than the other.  BU has great view of feet, specifically back foot (pivot) while HPU has a great view of pitcher gaining ground towards first.  To clarify, a dead ball balk can be overturned but it has to come from the HPU, so lot depends on if they want help, ask for help, and accept any help they get.  I doubt the BU was standing there saying “yeah I wouldn’t have called that” so who knows what BU would have offered if asked.

Bad Throw:

this is a 2 base award from the time of the throw, but the rules for advancement remain, that you must do so legally.  On a caught fly ball (line drive) a runner must be touching or retouch at the time of the catch or after to legally advance.

try to remember that what is actually awarded is the right to advance legally without being put out.

the runner would need to go back and retouch third and then advance to home without fear of being put out.

if he doesn’t, he can be put out on appeal (this is not an automatic out)

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Guest Mason

Thank you both for the clarification that makes a lot more sense I’ll be sure to use this if this ever comes up in a game for when I’m officiating 

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I'm confused. Who threw the ball to F5, and when? I'm guessing that the batted ball was caught for an out, and that R3 was liable to be out on appeal. Was F6 initiating a retouch appeal?

And what did the pitcher do that was called a balk? If he disengaged before the move to 1B, that would be legal. But if both feet moved when he moved the pivot foot, that would be a jump turn and would require a throw to 1B. If the latter happened, a balk call would be correct for feinting to 1B.

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1 hour ago, maven said:

I'm confused. Who threw the ball to F5, and when? I'm guessing that the batted ball was caught for an out, and that R3 was liable to be out on appeal. Was F6 initiating a retouch appeal?

And what did the pitcher do that was called a balk? If he disengaged before the move to 1B, that would be legal. But if both feet moved when he moved the pivot foot, that would be a jump turn and would require a throw to 1B. If the latter happened, a balk call would be correct for feinting to 1B.

So the exact sequence of events is like this 

there are runners at first and third with 1 out

line drive is hit to shortstop which he catches for an out 

the runner at third runs for home and the runner at first tags 

the shortstop who caught the ball for an out overthrows the 3rd baseman 

it is called a dead ball before he returns to the bag

The runner originally at third never returns to third to tag on the ball

 

also on the balk situation he cleared the rubber with his back foot and fainted the throw, then threw it to third.
 

my team does jump turns for our picks to first except for when we have that play called. I’m assuming they just thought it was a jump turn and called it a balk because they had only seen jump turns from us all night 

my problem with it was that the plate umpire wasn’t really at a good angle to see if he stepped off or not. Also that he  did disengage from the rubber and it cost us the game

 

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3 hours ago, Guest Mason said:

my problem with it was that the plate umpire wasn’t really at a good angle to see if he stepped off or not. Also that he  did disengage from the rubber and it cost us the game

None of this is relevant.  The ump saw what he saw, or thought he saw what he saw...in his judgment there was a balk...it's his prerogative to call it.

The balk didn't cost you the game.  The error your F6 made in the first inning did.  Or the meatball your F1 served up for a three run shot in the second did.  Or leaving six runners on base in scoring position did.  Or you batting in the fourth with bases loaded with nobody out and hitting into a 1-2-3 double play did.   Or your leadoff hitter getting thrown out trying to stretch a single to a double did.   Or just the simple fact that you didn't score enough runs did.

And to be clear...I'm not an umpire...I'm a coach.   And if your coach is helping propagate the myth that an umpire cost you the game (even if he really did make a mistake)...get a new coach.   Score 15 runs...then you don't have to worry about the ump screwing up now and then.

If you don't like that third strike call the ump made, hit the ball before you get two strikes.

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33 minutes ago, Guest Mason said:

So the exact sequence of events is like this 

there are runners at first and third with 1 out

line drive is hit to shortstop which he catches for an out 

the runner at third runs for home and the runner at first tags 

the shortstop who caught the ball for an out overthrows the 3rd baseman 

it is called a dead ball before he returns to the bag

The runner originally at third never returns to third to tag on the ball

 

also on the balk situation he cleared the rubber with his back foot and fainted the throw, then threw it to third.
 

my team does jump turns for our picks to first except for when we have that play called. I’m assuming they just thought it was a jump turn and called it a balk because they had only seen jump turns from us all night 

my problem with it was that the plate umpire wasn’t really at a good angle to see if he stepped off or not. Also that he  did disengage from the rubber and it cost us the game

 

I'm not sure what was called in your game, but in the 1st scenario, it's the same ruling as some have posted above. 2 base award from the time of pitch, R3 awarded home, R1 awarded 3B. R3 subject to being called out on a proper appeal for failure to re-touch. What was the ruling in your game?

As far as the balk goes, if your pitcher did in fact disengage properly, then no balk should have been called. If he didn't, then Maven is correct, balk.

Regarding your last few words, I coached youth baseball for 13 years, and I never once told my kids that an umpire cost us the game. Baseball is played over the course of a few innings, and during that time, we always had ample opportunity to do things better, and score more runs.

My message to my players was always this. I would tell them, "anytime you put the decision making in someone else's hand, you may or may not like the outcome. So don't make it so close, run faster, put the ball in play, make a play, remove all doubt from the umpire, don't let him decide. Just be better than the other team." Every game my team won or lost was decided by me and my players and nobody else.

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59 minutes ago, Guest Mason said:

there are runners at first and third with 1 out

line drive is hit to shortstop which he catches for an out 

the runner at third runs for home and the runner at first tags 

the shortstop who caught the ball for an out overthrows the 3rd baseman 

it is called a dead ball before he returns to the bag

The runner originally at third never returns to third to tag on the ball

OK, let's take these separately. Because the ball is dead and R3 touched HP after the ball became dead (I'm guessing), he may not return to 3B to correct his error. (I know he didn't return; but even if he had, it wouldn't "count," and he'd still be liable to be called out on appeal.) If the defense appeals the failure to retouch before the next pitch or play, R3 should be called out. If no appeal, his run counts. OBR 5.09(c)(2)AR

R1 should be awarded 3B on the play and will not be liable to retouch appeal as he tagged up. 

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1 hour ago, Guest Mason said:

also on the balk situation he cleared the rubber with his back foot and fainted the throw, then threw it to third.

my team does jump turns for our picks to first except for when we have that play called. I’m assuming they just thought it was a jump turn and called it a balk because they had only seen jump turns from us all night

So we can't really assess the call without video. It's possible you fooled the umpire (or he wasn't looking). PU can judge disengagement about as well as BU, so I have no issue with mechanics.

I will say that I have seen HS pitchers who thought they were legally disengaging, but both of whose feet were in the air at the same time. Unless the pivot lands before the free foot moves, this should be ruled a jump turn, and the balk call would be correct. As I say, it's impossible to assess your actual play without video.

And: I agree with JonnyCat about umpires "costing us the game." Unless you can prove blatant cheating, I recommend getting this notion out of your head (especially if you want to be an umpire). 

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25 minutes ago, maven said:

And: I agree with JonnyCat about umpires "costing us the game." Unless you can prove blatant cheating, I recommend getting this notion out of your head (especially if you want to be an umpire). 

I would add (without meaning to be too harsh, since you seem to be a newer umpire) that you should learn to describe plays in "umpire speak" and not in "player / coach speak."  Players / coaches can often describe the same play differently, or use the same description for different plays (with different rulings), or include information that's not relevant while omitting what is important.

 

Using rule-book language will help you understand the rules better as an umpire AND as a player and will more likely get you the answer you need (even if it's not what you want to hear).

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2 minutes ago, noumpere said:

I would add (without meaning to be too harsh, since you seem to be a newer umpire) that you should learn to describe plays in "umpire speak" and not in "player / coach speak."  Players / coaches can often describe the same play differently, or use the same description for different plays (with different rulings), or include information that's not relevant while omitting what is important.

 

Using rule-book language will help you understand the rules better as an umpire AND as a player and will more likely get you the answer you need (even if it's not what you want to hear).

To add to what umpere said about “even if it isn’t what you want to hear”, I’d throw in that as an umpire, what you should want to hear, is the proper ruling and why, not validation of your thoughts.

We all make mistakes. I’ve misapplied rules when I did younger games because of some sandlot rule I always assumed to be true but isn’t.  Heck even the other day I asked a question on here about a situation several umpires I respect have talked about and found out they were in the minority (about what constitutes a catch ending). So I was wrong about a hypothetical situation and what I would have called. I’m glad I asked, I’m glad I learned, the fact that I wasn’t validated never crossed my mind.

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22 minutes ago, ShaunH said:

To add one more clarification, I said 2 from the throw and someone else has twice said two from the pitch.

in this play it’s certainly the same bases, but the original put out of the batter is the fielders first play, so wouldn’t the throw be second play, therefore two from the throw?

"Catching the ball" is not a play.  A play is (something like) "an attempt by a player WITH THE BALL to retire a runner."  Someone (sr. azul, likely) will be along with the exact quote.

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16 minutes ago, ShaunH said:

Sometimes I worry I am too literal...

But Rule 8 - Section 3 - Part O - #3 - Note 2 says "For the purpose of this rule, the act of FIELDING the ball....is not considered a play.  A "play" must be a legitimate attempt by a fielder to retire a runner

So that alone would make me think you are correct...but combine this with Rule 8 - Section 2 - Part A where a batter becomes a base runner "INSTANTLY after making a fair hit".  

 

So is making an out on the batter-runner not considered a play?

This is true, but under the rules catching a batted ball retires a BATTER, not a runner.

5.09 Making an Out (a) (6.05) Retiring the Batter A batter is out when: (1) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;

 

When you catch the ball you have retired the batter, and not made a first play on a runner.

If you field the ground ball and throw to first, that is now a first play on a (batter)runner.

Anyway - any act of fielding is not the first play...what you do with the ball after fielding it is.  (faking a throw is not)

And then there's yet one more (very rare) exception - if all runners, including B/R, advance one base before the infielder makes the first play, then it's two bases from time of throw.  (eg. slow roller to F4...everyone reaches base safely, F4 holds ball...and then tries to throw to third to pick off R2 who has rounded too far, and ball goes out of play - even though it was his first play all runners get two bases from where they are)

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14 hours ago, ShaunH said:

 

Bad Throw:

this is a 2 base award from the time of the throw, but the rules for advancement remain, that you must do so legally.  On a caught fly ball (line drive) a runner must be touching or retouch at the time of the catch or after to legally advance.

try to remember that what is actually awarded is the right to advance legally without being put out.

the runner would need to go back and retouch third and then advance to home without fear of being put out.

if he doesn’t, he can be put out on appeal (this is not an automatic out)

Time of pitch...first throw by an infielder.

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On 3/17/2021 at 9:12 AM, Guest Mason said:

also on the balk situation he cleared the rubber with his back foot and fainted the throw, then threw it to third.
 

my team does jump turns for our picks to first except for when we have that play called. I’m assuming they just thought it was a jump turn and called it a balk because they had only seen jump turns from us all night 

my problem with it was that the plate umpire wasn’t really at a good angle to see if he stepped off or not. Also that he  did disengage from the rubber and it cost us the game

 

1. Any umpire can call a balk.

2. Assuming what you saw is the same as what the umpires saw, this particular balk is one of a handful of occasions where an umpire can give unsolicited help to the calling umpire. If a balk depends on if the pitcher was engaged or not, and a non-calling umpire definitively knows that the pitcher was disengaged, they can go to their partner on their own. 

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On 3/17/2021 at 8:01 AM, beerguy55 said:

None of this is relevant.  The ump saw what he saw, or thought he saw what he saw...in his judgment there was a balk...it's his prerogative to call it.

The balk didn't cost you the game.  The error your F6 made in the first inning did.  Or the meatball your F1 served up for a three run shot in the second did.  Or leaving six runners on base in scoring position did.  Or you batting in the fourth with bases loaded with nobody out and hitting into a 1-2-3 double play did.   Or your leadoff hitter getting thrown out trying to stretch a single to a double did.   Or just the simple fact that you didn't score enough runs did.

And to be clear...I'm not an umpire...I'm a coach.   And if your coach is helping propagate the myth that an umpire cost you the game (even if he really did make a mistake)...get a new coach.   Score 15 runs...then you don't have to worry about the ump screwing up now and then.

If you don't like that third strike call the ump made, hit the ball before you get two strikes.

I think this is my new favorite post. You made me chuckle... I have said the same thing to my kids.

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