October 26, 2007

Ask SpoFi: Can a player line up behind the catcher during a baseball game? (More inside)

posted by 86 to navel gazing at 12:28 PM - 14 comments

Runner on third, slugger at the plate. You choose to walk the slugger. Now, I'm wondering why the manager doesn't have an outfielder (or someone) come in and stand near the back-stop behind the catcher while they are intentionally walking the guy. While it might be overkill in June, it seems like a prudent thing to do during the post-season. After all, we've seen wild pitches during intentional walks before. And with the tying/go-ahead run 90 feet away, and the season hanging in the balance, I don't see any reason not to protect against the possibility.

posted by 86 at 12:31 PM on October 26, 2007

I've always thought that the catcher was the only player that could be in foul territory when the pitch is thrown...but maybe I am mistaken.

posted by chris2sy at 12:47 PM on October 26, 2007

The catcher is indeed the only player allowed in foul territory before the ball is put into play. I believe this rule came about because of Keith Hernandez.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:28 PM on October 26, 2007

Piggyback: Who gets the putout when a batted ball hits a runner?

posted by yerfatma at 01:55 PM on October 26, 2007

Rule 4.03 of MLB Rules (emphasis added): When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory. (a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. PENALTY: Balk. (b) The pitcher, while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take his legal position; (c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory; (d) Except the batter, or a runner attempting to score, no offensive player shall cross the catcher's lines when the ball is in play.

posted by holden at 02:04 PM on October 26, 2007

In response to yerfatma's question, I'm going to guess the putout goes to the fielder nearest the hit runner.

posted by holden at 02:10 PM on October 26, 2007

What did Keith Hernandez do to foul things up for everybody else?

posted by rcade at 02:35 PM on October 26, 2007

Well, another brilliant idea is ruined, but thanks for the help. I appreciate it. And yeah, do tell about the Keith Hernandez thing.

posted by 86 at 02:40 PM on October 26, 2007

From the mustachioed one's wikipedia page: Hernandez also revolutionized the position -- until umpires disallowed what he did -- by taking pickoff throws while essentially squatting in foul territory so that he could make tags to his right more readily. (Positioning oneself in foul territory is now illegal, according to official baseball rules, which state that all defensive players except the catcher must be positioned in fair territory while the ball is pitched.)

posted by holden at 03:15 PM on October 26, 2007

Piggyback: Who gets the putout when a batted ball hits a runner? Wouldn't that be the pitcher since he's the last one to touch the ball?

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:34 PM on October 26, 2007

That's my guess, just too lazy to look and too stupid to know where to look.

posted by yerfatma at 03:51 PM on October 26, 2007

Who gets the putout when a batted ball hits a runner? Everything I find seems to indicate that the putout is credited to the nearest fielder, but none of this is from solid sources.

posted by 86 at 03:56 PM on October 26, 2007

It happened in the top of the 8th in this game. Posada was struck by a batted ball from Cairo.

posted by 86 at 04:01 PM on October 26, 2007

To split a very fine hair, at the time of the pitch all defensive players except the catcher must be in fair territory. The catcher must be in his box. The time of the pitch is determined by when the pitcher is committed to deliver a pitch, not when the ball leaves his hand.

posted by Howard_T at 11:41 PM on October 26, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.