The Ole Ball Game

Is the runner out or safe?

by Clarence
(Butler, Georgia)

Beginning Of The Catch

Beginning Of The Catch

Clarence asked: One out and runner at third.

A fly ball is hit to deep left and the left fielder gets under the ball to make the catch.

The ball hits in his glove and pops out, but he catches it in his bare hand before it hits the ground. The hitter is out, but the runner tagged up when the ball hit the glove and heads home.

After the fielder makes the play on the popped out of his glove ball, he throws the ball to third and the umpire calls the runner out because he left third before the ball was actually caught.

The argument is that the runner may leave when the fielder touches the ball regardless if he makes the catch or not. The umpire stayed with the out call at third.

What is the correct answer?

Rick answered: Clarence, thank you for your question.

Rule 2.00 Catch: A catch is legal if the ball finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.

Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball.

Essentially, as soon as that fielder touched the fly ball, all runners are able to leave their bases. They are under no obligation to see if the fielder holds onto it or not.

The team, the base runner and the batter all were shorted on the call. No run scored, no rbi and no sac fly. Ouch!

Yours in baseball,


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