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Collision at 1st Base, who has right of way?


Brett Sare

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So I’m curious who, if anyone, has the right of way in this situation where the batter, running to 1st base is intentional run into at the base by the 1st baseman who fielded the ball. I would have expected the fielder to touch the bag, but peel off or swerve inside the baseline to miss the runner, just as a pitcher is taught when they run to 1st from the mound to accept a throw from the 1st baseman as opposed to intentionally crossing the base path and running into the base runner.

 

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I can't tell exactly what happened on the far right edge of that video, over 100 feet away from the camera, through a fence.

But it looks like F3 fields the batted ball, runs right at the BR, and crashes him deliberately instead of stopping and tagging. Tagging the runner instead of the bag is a legal choice, and a smart choice when F3 fields the ball in front of the base. 

But intentionally crashing him is not a legal way to make a tag. If that's what happened, I'd probably rule MC: the fielder is ejected, and the BR awarded 1B.

That's the applicable rule and how it would apply. But I can't say with much confidence that it's the correct call for this play without better video.

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The fielder, with the ball, is allowed to make a tag attempt at the runner.  If the fielder determines that he has a better chance at tagging the runner rather than the bag, he can do so.  And if his momentum takes him into and through the runner, it may just be a baseball play...within reason. He is also allowed to run at the bag, touch the bag, and run through the bag, even with the runner coming at full speed perpendicular (he's putting himself at risk as much as the runner) - he's allowed to determine/believe that he can make the play without crashing into the runner, and he's allowed to be wrong.

Your statement of intent in crashing into the runner is your judgment...I can't make that judgment with this video. (opinions may differ)

If you judge intent then it has nothing to do with right of way.

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The video is a GameChanger live-stream trying to capture the whole field thus the lower quality. Since I was there and watched the video many times, the 1st baseman lowered his shoulder and intentionally plowed into the runner. The 1st baseman never fell, in fact he comes walking back into the scene at the end. The runner was called out and broke two fingers when he landed. Nothing happened to the 1st baseman. 

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5 hours ago, maven said:

I'd probably rule MC: the fielder is ejected, and the BR awarded 1B.

Rule 3-3-1-m

"If the defense commits the malicious contact, the player is ejected; the umpire shall rule either safe or out on the play and award the runner(s) the appropriate base(s) the umpire felt the runner(s) would have obtained if the malicious contact had not occurred."


If the malicious contact is what caused them to be out, you can award bases, so I agree with @maven. If there was a clear distinction in time between the tag and being run over, the out would stand but the fielder is ejected. 

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15 hours ago, Brett Sare said:

So I’m curious who, if anyone, has the right of way in this situation

Just going to share some thoughts. Please correct me if off track.

No right of way exists here. That concept applies to defenders without the ball, fielding a ball and runners being allowed to run their paths without being obstructed.

If defender has the ball, they can block the runners path. The ball has already been fielded so the runner can't accidentally interfere. No right of way, just two players trying to meet their respective goals but they just can't commit MC or interfere intentionally (see 2004 A-Rod (runner) knocking the ball out of the glove).

2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

And if his momentum takes him into and through the runner, it may just be a baseball play...within reason

Yes especially on an evasive action by the runner you can just have a train wreck where the last second move resulted in a collision.

As was already stated, the video is hard to parse, but it even looks like the defender accelerated into the runner. MC.

 

And I think even a collision of light or medium severity, caused by a defender really striving to get the tag on the runner, is still a baseball play. It's a sport and stuff happens. As was discussed in another post, MC involves intent, negligence, excessive force.

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1 minute ago, Toggy said:

 

As was already stated, the video is hard to parse, but it even looks like the defender accelerated into the runner. MC.

If you anticipate a collision accelerating protects you from being trucked. If F3 was racing to touch the bag and saw the runner was not going to deviate it might not be malicious. If F3 was racing to tag the runner the runner would need to attempt to avoid the tag. 

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