If the fielder tags the runner with the ball and then trips and falls taking 2 steps after the tag, falls to the ground and the ball comes loose. Is that an out or is it safe?
by Todd Kimura
(Pearl City, Hawaii, US)
Tag Is Already Recorded Even If The Ball Is Dropped On The Throw
Todd asked: If the fielder tags the runner with the ball, and then trips and falls taking two steps after the tag, falls to the ground and the ball comes loose.
Is that an out, or is it safe?
Umpire states that the ball needs to be controlled after the fall.
I feel it's similar to the transferring of the ball from glove to hand after the out, it fell out on the transfer.
Rick answered: Todd, thank you for your question.
Rule 2.00 Definition of terms: A tag is the action in touching a base with his body while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove; on touching a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball, while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove.
It is not a tag, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his touching a base or touching a runner, the fielder drops the ball.
In establishing the validity of the tag, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball.
If the fielder has made a tag and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the tag, the tag shall be adjudged to have been made.
In your scenario, the tag is good. Once the tag was applied and the fielder moved past the runner, there is no reason he has to control the ball to the ground, just because he tripped.
The words simultaneously and immediately do not describe a tag made, then keeping control of the ball for two steps as he is falling. The tag was completed.
You can compare it to a standard double play pivot at second base. The fielder receives the ball, makes his pivot at the base, that is a tag as well. Once he has the ball and touches the base, the out is recorded.
As he finishes his pivot, he drops the ball out of his hand making the throw, the tag was already completed.
I believe the umpire confused it with a catch of a batted ball.
Line drive or fly ball to the outfield. Fielder makes a long run, lays out for the ball and secures it in his glove.
As he hits the ground, the ball pops out, no catch. That was a continuous play, not a separate tag and fall in your question.
Yours in baseball,
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