The Ole Ball Game

What is the correct running lane for 3rd base to home?

by tom

Photo Bill Stanton:

Photo Bill Stanton:

Tom asked: Base runner avoided the tag from the catcher by going more than 10 feet out from marked base line on his way home.

What is the correct running lane for third base to home?

Rick answered: Tom, thank you for your question.

The rule which covers the situation you have described is 8-4 Runner is out Art 2...Any runner is out when he:

a. Runs more than 3 feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged or to hinder a fielder while the runner is advancing or returning to a base.

2. When a play is being made on a runner or batter/runner, he establishes his baseline as directly between his position and the base towards which he is moving.

If you look at the first picture above, the runner has taken his lead in foul territory, which is the correct thing to do on third base, so if they are hit with a batted ball in foul territory they are not out.

Should the batter put the ball in play on this pitch, and the runner attempt to score, his established baseline will be from where he is when the ball is hit, directly to home plate.

The runner's flexibility is only 3 feet, one way or the other, to avoid a tag.

In the second picture, you see the runner swerving out of the baseline as he goes into second base.

The runner must avoid interfering with a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a ball.

In this case, the second baseman is directly in the base path, the runner must move out to avoid an interference call.

Two seperate base running situations that often create confusion at the time they occur in a game.

Umpires look for baserunner positioning, so they are able to mentally establish the baseline should it become a factor.

Where it becomes confusing to those watching it unfold, many believe that the baseline is literally from the middle of one base, to the middle of the next.

While it may work out to be in many situations, quite often it becomes established from a different start point, like the first picture above.

Yours in baseball,


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