The Ole Ball Game

what are the rules for runners staying the baseline from third to home?

Anonymous asked: Is there a rule for the runner going from third to home to stay outside the foul line or can he run on the field side of the line?



Rick answered: Thank you for your question.

When a play is being made on a runner or batter-runner, he establishes his baseline as directly between his position and the base toward which he is moving.

Runners at third base are taught to lead off in foul territory, so that, if they get hit with a batted ball, they are not out.

Looking at the two base running photos above, both runners are off the line in foul ground at the time of the pitch. Should the ball be hit and the runner decides to run, he has an established start point when the ball is hit and then must maintain somewhat of a direct line towards home plate.

To go from where he led off, cross the baseline to run inside, would be a much slower path to home plate. For the runner, it is the old adage, "the fastest distance between two points is a straight line".

Depending on the hitter, runners at third base vary their distance in foul ground, mostly for self preservation. Big strong, right handed pull hitters will cause a runner to start out somewhat wider.

Once that line has been established, the runner is restricted to run no more than 3 feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged, or to hinder a fielder while the runner is advancing or returning to a base.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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