The Ole Ball Game

called out for base runner lane rule.

by richard Shewbert
(portland oregon)

Richard asked: Had a batter,no one on base, hit the ball into left field.

As batter ran to first base, outfielder missed ground ball which runner made the turn to left for second, but made the turn wide and was out of the running lane, outside of the infield dirt and into the grass area of the outfield.

On the way to second was on the outside of the second base player, made it to second, third, and slid into home safe; but was called out when he had entered the grass area of the outfield, for base runner lane rule. Said he was out of bounds, is this the correct call?

Rick answered:Richard, thank you for your question.

In the situation you describe, the batter/runner had reached first base and was making his turn to head for second, when the outfielder missed the ball.

Making an extra wide turn is not illegal, just not very efficient.

Since there was no attempted play on the runner at second or third, his established baseline for a tag was from 3B to home plate. He cannot go outside of that established baseline by more than 3 feet to avoid a tag. If he does, he is out.

By running the route he did around first to second, if he did not interfere with any fielder attempting to field the ball, there would be no interference.

Once he had reached first base safely, he cannot leave the field for the dugout, which would be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases.

As you describe it, I see no grounds to call the runner out for running in such a big arc. It would only come into play if the outfielder had caught the ball and was making a play at second base, then the runners base line would be established from his position on the field, directly to second base.

By running such an exaggerated turn, the runner was creating his own disadvantage, he was gaining no advantage over the defense.

The key rulebook phrase for this is: When a play is being made on a runner or batter/runner, he establishes his baseline as directly between his position and the base to which he is moving.

Bet this one got pretty exciting in real time. Lot going on there.

Yours in baseball,


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