The Ole Ball Game

Question about rule 5.08(b)

by John
(Timnath, Colorado)

Question About Rule 5.08 (b)

Question About Rule 5.08 (b)

John asked: Some friends of mine were debating this last night, after watching and reading about the Diamondback/Reds game two days ago, and rule 5.08(b).

We were surprised this could be a timing play. Here's a hypothetical situation we came up with, and then a question:

Bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, 1 out, game tied.

Ball is hit towards short. Short fields, throws to third.

Third baseman catches, makes out #2. Third baseman overthrows second trying to make a double play.

Runner from first to second falls down, or is injured, or something else that delays him from getting from 1st to 2nd. Right fielder picks up ball and throws to 2nd in time for a force, but AFTER the runner from 3rd scores and the batter gets to first.

Is the game over or is the inning over? Rule 5.08(b) seems to imply the game would be over.

Thanks in advance!

Rick answered: John, thank you for your question.

Rule 5.08...How a Team Scores (a) One run shall score each time a runner legally advances and touches first, second, third and home base, before three men are put out to end the inning.

(b) When the winning run is scored in the last half inning of a regulation game, or in the last half of an extra inning, as the result of a base on balls, hit batter or any other play with the bases full which forces the runner on third to advance,the umpire shall not declare the game ended until the runner forced to advance from third has touched home base and the latter-runner has touched first base.

As you look at the image above, we have to insert a base runner on second base to duplicate the scenario you are presenting.

Once the ground ball is hit to short, all base runners are forced to leave their current base.

The shortstop throws to third base to get the force on the runner coming from second.

The third baseman turns and makes an errant throw to second base, which ends up in right field.

As the runner from first base heads for second base, he crashes along the way, and is unable to reach second base before the right fielder can make a good throw to second.

The throw from right field is at second in time to beat the runner, however, out number three is recorded after the base runner from third base scores, and the batter-runner touches first base.

Based on the rule, the umpire can't declare the game ended until the runner from third has touched home plate and the batter runner has touched first base.

Both of those requirements have happened, thus the third out never occurs in real time.

Plays such as this can get pretty exciting at the time they happen.

I was watching the D'backs game the other night. It all happened so fast, then the questions started to fly and they cut away. Never did see the end discussion.

I would guess that it was considered a timing play due to the distance the ball traveled. I don't know if Owings ever reached first base or not; but it was probably be presumed that he would have gotten there, in the time it took the runner from 3B to score, thus game over.

That's just an assumption on my part, as I really didn't see it play out in the discussions.

Yours in baseball,


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