The Ole Ball Game

Batter steps over first base without touching the bag

Photo Bill Stanton:

Photo Bill Stanton:

Anonymous asked: If a batter hits a ball and runs to first base but actually fails to touch the base(steps over it) and there is no play by the first baseman, is the runner out?

Rick answered: Thank you for your question!

As you look at the picture above, we will assume for our purposes with this question, that the batter/runner stepped over first base, and that the first baseman in this case did not catch the ball on the bag, nor did he return to touch the bag or tag the runner.

The umpire should see that the runner stepped over the base, not touching it. He/she should make a no call, and see what transpires with the players.

If the runner comes to a stop and comes directly back to first base to occupy it, with no tag of the runner or the base by the first baseman before the runner accomplishes this, the runner is safe, and the umpire should then make the safe call.

If the first baseman, purposely or not on purpose steps on the bag with the ball in his possession, or tags the runner before the runner returns to do so, the umpire should then call the runner out.

Should the runner make a clear attempt to go to second base, then stop and try to occupy first base, the first baseman can tag him out, or in this case could just touch the base, as the runner had never taken possession of first base by touching it.

The batter/runner cannot be out, or safe, until he touches the bag, or the fielder touches the bag or the runner. One or the other has to happen.

The other possibility that could occur is the runner, after stepping over the bag, decides to walk off the field and go to the dugout, in which case the base umpire should call the runner out for leaving the field of play.

Plays like this can certainly get interesting in a hurry.

Yours in baseball,


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