by Al Neiman
(Portola Valley, CA)
Sacrifice Bunt World Series 1954
Al asked: Runner on 2nd no outs. Batter lays down bunt, pitcher fields and throws late to 3rd. All runners safe.
What is the scorekeeping decision here? Is it simply a fielders choice, a hit, or a sacrifice and a fielders choice?
It would seem a simple fielders choice penalizes the batter. It the throw were made to first he would have been out but it would have been a sacrifice and no at bat recorded. The scorekeepers decision was to give the batter a fielders choice with an at bat recorded which penalizes him when no outs were recorded on the play.
Rick answered:Great question! It is amazing how quickly baseball score keeping can become complicated. Your situation is a good example.
Based on your situation description, the correct scoring decision should have been a sacrifice recorded for the batter. The runner was advanced on a bunt which, if fielded and thrown to first base would have resulted in the batter being out.
The other possibility in this situation would be to record a base hit to the batter, if the scorer believes that the batter/runner would have reached first base even with perfect fielding.
A sacrifice or a base hit were the only two options, fielder's choice would not apply here.
You are correct that recording the play as a fielder's choice penalizes the batter unfairly.
The rule book description for this is:
Rule 9-3 Player's Batting Record:
Art 2: A basehit is is credited to a batter when he advances to first base safely:
Art 2-C: because of a fielders's 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.
Art 4: A sacrifice is credited to the batter when, with not more than one out, his bunt enables any runner to advance, or his fly ball enables a runner to score but which, in either case, results in the batter/runner being out before he reaches first, or would have resulted in his being out if his bunt or batted ball had been fielded without error.
Yours in baseball,