May 03, 2021

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 5 comments

There's been a string of bad baserunning calls recently, but this one is a real head-scratcher. Also, what is the possible rationale that the runner's basepath is not reviewable--it's really frustrating when it's clearly wrong and they can't even look at it.

posted by bender at 10:24 AM on May 03, 2021

Jomboy has turned me on to some great head-scratchers lately. Here is one I originally saw on Jomboy and then did a little more research on.

posted by prof at 09:13 PM on May 03, 2021

Time for your Sports Filter resident umpire to check in. First of all, let's discuss what makes a base line. It is not the direct path between bases. When a fielder has the ball, and he's attempting to tag a runner, the base line is established as a direct line from the position of the runner to the base. The runner must stay within 3 feet of this line. Even if the runner is in right field when the fielder has the ball, he is not out of the base line as long as he runs straight toward the base. In the video the runner not only stays within 3 feet of the base line, had there been a chalk line between 1st and 2nd, he would have remained on it.

The failure to recognize a dead ball situation and to allow play to continue is egregiously bad. It is basic baseball. The rule book even explains the situations in which a ball goes dead and how it should be placed back in play. Yours truly was nearly caught on this, but I recognized the situation and stopped play. With runners on base an uncaught foul ball was hit The runners do not have to retouch their base. The ball was returned to the pitcher who noticed the runner on 1st with his back turned to the field talking to the coach. The pitcher threw to 1st, a tag was applied, and since it would have been the 3rd out, the fielders began to leave the field. I yelled at them until they stopped, explained that the ball had not been in play, and had them all go back out to the field. The coach tried to argue, but I had to explain that the ball is not in play until the umpire says so. Watch a plate umpire after an uncaught foul. You will see him point to the pitcher. That gesture, sometimes accompanied by the word 'play', means that the ball is in play.

Umpires make mistakes, but those that relate to rule interpretation are rare and really inexcusable. Judgement calls are generally not reviewable, but if plays at the bases and calls at the boundaries can be reviewed, then everything should be. My opinion is that nothing should be reviewed. All that review accomplishes is to lengthen the game. If an umpire gets a rule wrong, that is grounds for appeal. The team that had the runs scored against them when the ball was dead should have appealed. I would have upheld it.

posted by Howard_T at 11:43 PM on May 03, 2021

Thanks, Howard_T. I always appreciate your insight in baseball rules/officiating discussions.

posted by bender at 05:03 PM on May 04, 2021

So what happens today? I had the plate, there were runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1out, the pitch was ball 4. As is the usual case, the catcher returned the ball to the pitcher who was standing in front of the mound; that makes him an infielder, not a pitcher. The runner on 3rd was 3 or 4 steps toward the plate; he did not notice the 3rd baseman near the base; the throw over was quick, runner is out. My partner made the call, and the runner insisted that time was out because of the base on balls. Wrong answer: The ball remains in play during the award of the base, and time out cannot be allowed until the award is complete. The ball continues in play unless time out is requested. I'm not surprised when a middle school kid doesn't understand the fine points of the rules, but I would really like to have them get better coaching in the rules.

posted by Howard_T at 09:08 PM on May 04, 2021

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