The Ole Ball Game

is it a double play or is the runner at first out?

by Jared Haller
(Anaheim, CA)

Jared asked: Runners on first and second base nobody out.


The ball is hit up the middle on the ground. The SS tags the runner standing on 2nd, then steps on 2nd.

What's the call?


Rick answered: Jared, thank you for your question.


Rule 5.06 Running the Bases

(a) (7.01) Occupying the Base

(1) A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base.

(2) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged, or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced.

The runner on second, who was tagged by the shortstop, was on the base.

While he is forced to vacate that base when the batter becomes a batter runner, there is nothing that says when he must leave.

Runner on second should be safe at that point, as he is still in contact with the base, SS steps on second, runner from first base out at second, which eliminates the force on the runner who started on second.

If the SS threw to first, there was the possibility of a double play on that end.

Not really sure how the umpires determine when that runner has to leave the base, whether it is once the ball is put in play or anytime as long as the play remains live. No statement on timing in the rule book, just that he is forced to vacate.

If the timing for the runner to move is when the ball goes into play, then the runner on second would be out with the tag, and the runner from first would be out at second, DP.

Given enough time, the SS may have been able to complete a triple play, had he attempted a throw to first.


Yours in baseball,

Rick




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