The Ole Ball Game

Batter Hitting Breaks Leg

by Edward Kriskey
(Bradenton, Florida 34 212)

Edward asked: Batter at the plate hits the ball to the infield, but on his way to first he falls down and breaks his leg, unable to continue to first base.

The infielder throws the ball into the stands.

What is the final call on the play as he never made it to first? They can not advance anyone to second?

Rick answered: Edward, thank you for your question.

Rule 5.12 Calling Time and Dead Balls

(a)(3.12) when an umpire suspends play, he shall call "time". At the Umpire-In-Chiefs call of "play", the suspension is lifted and play resumes. Between the call of "time" and the call of "play" the ball is dead.

(3) When an accident incapacitates a player or an umpire;

(A) If an accident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to which he is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of one or more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.

In the situation that you described, when the runner went down, and the umpire could discern he was injured, he should call time, which immediately creates a dead ball situation, no action takes place.

When it is determined that the player is unable to continue, the umpire has to make a decision on whether or not, bases are to be awarded, based on what the umpire can project from the action that occurred up to the point he called "time".

He basically has two options:

1. If he suspended play before the infielder released the ball, it could be argued that the runner only gets awarded first base, as the throw never occurred due to the suspension.

2. If the fielder had already released his throw, then it could be argued that, had the runner not been injured, he would not only been safe at first, he would have been awarded second as well when the throw went out of play.

Depending on how the umpire perceived the action as it played out, it is really up to his discretion.

Yours in baseball,


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