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Dropped third strike

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#1 ashburyjohn

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:04 AM

Man on first, one out. Catcher drops strike three. Batter makes a break for first base, going several steps with clear intent to try for first. Obviously the batter is not entitled to try this, as the base is occupied with fewer than two outs.

 

Any umpiring experts here? What is correct action for the plate umpire at that moment?

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#2 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:08 AM

I'm no expert, but when I was an umpire I would have let the guy run all over the place. He's out. The runner at first is fair game if he takes off for second, though of course he has to be tagged to be out.

 

I don't think the guy going toward first intrudes on the game until he tries to stand on first base with his teammate. 

 

Trying to draw an errant throw could be considered smart baseball, though the player who just struck out needs to stay in foul territory.

Edited by Oldgoat_MN, 27 July 2017 - 08:10 AM.

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#3 ashburyjohn

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:54 PM

On the play I saw yesterday, which was outside Organized Ball (Cape Cod League), the umpire took a step or two toward first base and barked something (which I couldn't make out) and the batter stopped.

 

It looked odd to me, but I can't say I have seen a lot of dropped third strikes mistakenly run on by the batter. The play's not dead, so I assume that wasn't what Blue was saying.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind I have it that it's not proper to try to draw a throw in that situation. In that case the umpire probably went by accepted procedure.

 

But I looked in the MLB rulebook, which usually covers other leagues too, and the only rule I can find that pertains is this:

"Rule 7.09(e) Comment:  If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders."

 

The batter was out, period, because he's not entitled to try for first in that situation. Lacking any other guidance, this suggests the ump was premature to say anything.

 

Further thoughts, anyone?

 

BTW, the batter was UofM's own Terrin Vavra, playing this summer for the Cotuit Kettleers.

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#4 spycake

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 01:23 PM

Maybe if the batter-runner disregarded the ump's warning, it could be considered as "confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders"?

#5 ashburyjohn

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 03:24 PM

Maybe if the batter-runner disregarded the ump's warning, it could be considered as "confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders"?

Probably. I guess my question is whether the ump should be issuing warnings, a reminder of the rules really, while a play is still in progress. The catcher hadn't finished gathering up the ball, although it hadn't rolled far away and the runner at first gave no indication of even considering a dash to second.

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#6 Sarah

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:47 PM

I had the opposite thing happen at a recent Saints game. It was ball four and the batter (not a Saint, an opposing player) didn't move, obviously he lost track of the count. I looked down at my scorebook confused and then looked up to see the umpire saying something and pointing toward first base. The batter had a look on his face like, "Oh!" It was pretty funny. 

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#7 spycake

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:35 AM

 

Probably. I guess my question is whether the ump should be issuing warnings, a reminder of the rules really, while a play is still in progress. The catcher hadn't finished gathering up the ball, although it hadn't rolled far away and the runner at first gave no indication of even considering a dash to second.

True.  "Warning" was the wrong choice of word for me there.  He's basically repeating his call in a sense, perhaps not unlike Sarah's example with the batter who lost track of the count.

 

Obviously the ump shouldn't tell a player he is batting out of order, etc.  But I think repeating a call for emphasis is probably okay.