Is a base runner out if he starts to the dugout (but does not enter the dugout) and returns to the base
by Michael Booen
One out, runners on first, second, & third.
Batter hits ground ball to third base, third baseman fields the ball, steps on third, and throws to catcher who steps on home plate.
Second base runner is out due to force but removing any force play on the third base runner.
Third base runner starts home, stops thinking he is out and heads to the dugout but does not enter.
I yell to catcher to tag the third base runner, as the catcher starts toward the third base runner the unpire says "runner is out, to far out of the base line".
Only the beginning of the tag play had begun. The runner at this point was not avoiding a play.
I know if he is out of the baseline by three feet avoiding a tag, he is out, but can he head to the dugout (but not enter) and return to the base or playing field ?
Rick answered: That is a great question!
The umpire had it right; but he called it for the wrong reason.
There was never going to be a tag play, once the runner from third left the field, headed for the dugout.
The umpire should have called him out for abandoning his efforts to run the bases, a call which is a judgement call by the umpire.
Rule 8-4-2-p: A runner, after reaching first base, who leaves the baseline heading for the dugout or his defensive position believing there is no further play, shall be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases.
Situations like this one are why we always teach players to finish out the play, let the umpire make the decision on what the call is.
Had the runner from third continued on, stepped on home plate before the catcher realized it had become a tag play, he would have been safe.
Never a good idea for players, at any level, to assume what just happened, or what might happen.
I'll bet that sequence of events created quite a bit of excitement in a hurry. One of those situations which make baseball special.
Yours in baseball,