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Throwing a bat at a pitch


Senor Azul

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What have you been told or what authoritative opinion have you read about a batter throwing his bat at a pitch? Would it be unconditionally OK or are there caveats we all must take into account? Sadly, there isn’t much written about this question—the following is about all I have found so far.

2016 BRD (section 98, p. 84) FED Official Interpretation:  Rumble:  If a batter throws his bat toward a pitch, that constitutes a carelessly thrown bat with all attendant penalties.

And on page 85 the following case play can be found:  FED only:  R1. Left-handed B1 attempts to sacrifice. The defense detects the play and pitches out. B1, attempting to protect the runner, throws his bat at the pitch. The bat sails very near F5, charging in for the play. Ruling:  B1 is guilty of carelessly throwing a bat.

And this from baseballrulesacademy.com—

“Sometimes a batter will throw his bat at a pitch during a hit-and-run and lose his grip on the bat. This is a dangerous situation and should be discouraged. If the umpire determines that the bat is thrown intentionally and it interferes with a fielder making a play, two outs could be called.”

So it would seem to me that the general principle of a batter being responsible for his bat not interfering would apply also to a bat thrown at a pitch. What do you think?

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Two things…

in NCAA a thrown bat that impedes a fielder is INT, whether in fair or foul territory, even when not thrown “at a pitch”…you throw it, you risk it.  
 

Just for giggles, let’s say it’s a pitch out and batter steps out of the box and throws bat at pitch (steps across/over line or on plate) and bat contacts ball and hits ball fair, but bat was not in batters hands at time of contact with pitch…he out?

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22 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Rumble:  If a batter throws his bat toward a pitch, that constitutes a carelessly thrown bat with all attendant penalties.

Please pardon my ignorance, but what "attendant penalties"?  I've been taught that a thrown bat is not an out, but could be a warning/ejection if it is deemed a safety issue.  I guess a flying bat could result in INT (BI?) but two outs seems a stretch...shouldn't it just be: batter out, runners return (in the basic case where no out is made)?

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The Brad Rumble interpretation—that throwing the bat at a pitch is considered to be carelessly throwing the bat--is based on FED rule 3-3-1c and its penalty is warning/ejection…

SECTION 3 BENCH AND FIELD CONDUCT

ART. 1 . . . A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not:

c. carelessly throw a bat;

PENALTY: At the end of playing action, the umpire shall issue a warning to the coach of the team involved and the next offender on that team shall be ejected. In (b), it is also obstruction (8-3-2).

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Does anyone remember middle infielder Mike Phillips? He had an 11-year career in the majors and according to a post I found in another officiating website he actually got a hit by throwing his bat at a pitch--

Once in the eighties, Mike Phillips of the Mets was being intentionally walked and for whatever reason he threw the bat at the ball and got a single on a soft fly into centerfield. I think the fielders were caught off-guard. 

That is pretty cool but Mike Phillips didn’t play for the Mets in the 1980s so this may be apocryphal. He did play for the Mets in the 1970s—he was a Met in 75, 76, and 77. Actually getting a hit with a thrown bat has to be extremely rare if this is true. Does anyone remember this incident?

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In OBR,one of  the following would likely be the case:

1-If the thrown bat misses the pitched ball, it is a strike.

2-If the thrown bat hits the pitched ball, it is a”batted ball” (fair/foul)

3- In either case 1or2, if the thrown bat interferes with the catcher or other fielder attempting  to make a play on any runner, or if the thrown bat hits the batted ball a second time in fair territory, then the batter is out, the ball is dead, and runners return to their original base.

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Here’s the actual rule that governs a batter who throws his bat—please note that there are indeed limitations on throwing the bat at a pitch. This rule entered the rule book in 2016--

2021 OBR rule 6.03 Batter Illegal Action

(a) A batter is out for illegal action when:

(4) He throws his bat into fair or foul territory and hits a catcher (including the catcher’s glove) and the catcher was attempting to catch a pitch with a runner(s) on base and/or the pitch was a third strike.

 ***

The Official Playing Rules Committee made the following changes that will be in effect for the 2016 season…

• Added new Rule 6.03(a)(4) regarding a batter who throws his bat and hits the catcher. Exception now applies to Rules 6.03(a)(3) and 6.06(a)(4). Comment now applies to 6.03(a)(3) and 6.06(a)(4).

• Renumbered previous Rule 6.03(a)(4) to Rule 6.03(a)(5) and renumbered previous Rule 6.03(a)(4) Comment to Rule 6.03(a)(5) Comment.

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On 1/2/2022 at 6:02 PM, Senor Azul said:

The Brad Rumble interpretation—that throwing the bat at a pitch is considered to be carelessly throwing the bat--is based on FED rule 3-3-1c and its penalty is warning/ejection…

SECTION 3 BENCH AND FIELD CONDUCT

ART. 1 . . . A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not:

c. carelessly throw a bat;

PENALTY: At the end of playing action, the umpire shall issue a warning to the coach of the team involved and the next offender on that team shall be ejected. In (b), it is also obstruction (8-3-2).

I would argue it's not careless at all.   A batter throwing his bat at a pitch (which I've done on more than a few hit and runs) is quite deliberate and marked.

If said bat then hinders a fielder then sure, that's a problem and the batter will be out.  But on its own, it's anything but careless.  Far different story than the batter who tosses his bat with reckless abandon after getting a hit.

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32 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I would argue it's not careless at all.   A batter throwing his bat at a pitch (which I've done on more than a few hit and runs) is quite deliberate and marked.

If said bat then hinders a fielder then sure, that's a problem and the batter will be out.  But on its own, it's anything but careless.  Far different story than the batter who tosses his bat with reckless abandon after getting a hit.

Yeah, I completely disagree that letting go of the bat on a pitch should be considered carelessly throwing a bat. That’s a brutal interpretation, and would sound absolutely ridiculous when explained to a coach. Bat falls nowhere near anyone on a very deliberate action. Yeah coach, that was careless. 
 

In reality, this is generally a guy hitting an outside pitch and the bat ends up nowhere near anyone and doesn’t travel very far in the air. 
 

If that’s considered careless, you’d have to consider a guy swinging and missing and losing grip of the bat careless. Which also seems a bit wild. 

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