Double Play or Triple Play?
(Chestnut Ridge, NY)
Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com
Bruce asked: No outs. Runners on first and second.
Runners begin to advance on the batter's line drive. First baseman catches the line drive, touches first base before the runner returns then throws to the second baseman who catches the ball and touches second base before the runner returns.
Umpire calls batter and first base runner out but, second base runner safe. The Ump claimed the runner on second base would have had to be thrown out first followed by the first base runner for all three to be out.
Is the Ump correct?
Rick answered: Bruce, thank you for your question.
The umpire is correct. It is called, "force removed".
Rule is 2-29-Art 3:
A force play is a play in which a runner(or two or three runners) loses his right to a base he occupies and is forced to advance because the batter becomes a batter/runner.
For a given runner, a force play ends as soon as he touches the next base or the following runner is put out at a previous base.
As soon as the first baseman stepped on first base, the runner on first base is removed, at the same time removing the force on the runner returning to second.
Coaches teach infielders to yell out "tag" whenever they have removed the force from a play, so that the infielder ahead knows to make the tag.
The most frequent occurance of this situation is a runner on first, ground ball to the first baseman close to the bag. He fields the ball, steps on first for the put out of the batter/runner, then yells "tag" as he throws the ball to the shortstop covering at second base.
There is a page on the site describing this situation of force removed,
and a drill which provides the opportunity to teach the rule at live speed in practice.
In the photos above, the backside of this force removed play should end up like the second photo, tag applied to the no longer forced runner.
This situation is also easily integrated into a team situation drill, complete with runners. Coaches are able to control what they want to hit off their fungo, the runners make the drill real time live, so they get to thinking on their feet.
Yours in baseball,