The Ole Ball Game

Fielders choice determination

by Greg
(Melboune, Florida)

Greg asked: Tie score bottom half of the last inning. Runner at third. Batter drops a bunt down.

Pitcher fields the ball and chooses to throw to the catcher to tag out the runner from third but; catcher bobbles so the runner is safe and the game is over on the call at home.

MLB Rule 2 definitions state a FC is called when a fielder chooses to go to the preceding runner to attemp the out rather that going to first. Gets more broken out in section 10 of MLB rules.

Just looking for a scoring answer on whether this should be ruled a hit, E2 on the bobble or FC.

Rick answered: Greg, thank you for your question.

From the High School Federation Rules, Section 14 Fielder's Choice Art 1...A fielder's choice is the act of a fielder with a live ball who elects to throw for an attempted putout or retire unassisted any runner or batter-runner, thus permitting the advance of another runner(s).

The scorer decides whether the batter is credited with a safe hit or an extra base hit in accordance with Art 9-3..Art 2...c) because of a fielders choice when a fielder attempts to put out another runner but is unsuccessful and the scorer believes the batter-runner would have reached first base even with perfect fielding.

These types of scoring situations are at the discretion of the official scorer, using the above criteria.

You had a live ball, the pitcher determined he was going for the out at the plate. At that point the batter-runners fate was left in the hands of the scorer to determine if he would have reached first base safely.

If that is his determination, base hit.

If he felt the batter-runner would have been out at first, had the pitcher made that play, then it goes as a fielder's choice.

The scorer has to also determine how the runner from third base scored. He can credit the catcher with an error, if he feels the runner would have been out without the bobble. The scorebook has to show how the runner from 3B scored. The error would be scored as the reason the runner from 3B scored; but not determine the batter-runner's situation.

Batter-runner will either be on as a result of a base hit, or a FC, with an rbi in either case.

Yours in baseball,


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