Running out of base line

Beliefs:

  1. The base line is defined as a straight line between the bases (with 3 feet allowed to either side)
  2. Runners are automatically out if they run out of the base line
  3. The base line belongs to the runners.  If there’s a collision with a fielder and the runner is on the line, it is obstruction and the runner is awarded the next base.

Realities:

  1. The base line is defined as a straight line from the runner to the base he is going to at the time a tag attempt is made.  If a runner really wants to, he can run past first base all the way to the foul pole, and then head towards second base.   If a fielder them tries to tag him, the base line would be defined as a straight line between the RF foul pole and second base.
  2. A runner is only out for running out of the base line if he is trying to avoid being tagged.   For example, on a regular double it is common for the batter-runner to take a wide turn at first base.  He is nowhere close to the base line, but is not doing anything wrong..   There is also a seldom used trick play (at lower levels), where a with runners on 1st and 3rd, the runner on 1st base takes his lead up the right field line, instead of towards 2nd base, trying to draw a throw from the pitcher.   If he’s far enough down the line, it is very hard to get him out without giving up the run scoring from 3rd base.  This may look weird, but it is perfectly legal.
  3. The base line belongs to the runner if the ball isn’t there.  If a fielder is daydreaming on the base line and a runner runs into him, then it’s certainly obstruction.  However, the runner not only should, but MUST get out of the base line if a fielder is trying to field the ball there.  Otherwise, the runner (not the fielder!) will get called for interference and be out.   Take a look at the interference rule below.  Nowhere does it say ‘unless the fielder is on the base line’.

Reference:

Definition 2.00 INTERFERENCE (a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.

7.08 Any runner is out when—

(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely;

(b) He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball; Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not.

(f) He is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder. The ball is dead and no runner may score, nor runners advance, except runners forced to advance.

7.09  (j)  It is interference by a batter or a runner when he fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, provided that if two or more fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the umpire shall determine which fielder is entitled to the benefit of this rule, and shall not declare the runner out for coming in contact with a fielder other than the one the umpire determines to be entitled to field such a ball;

PENALTY FOR INTERFERENCE: The runner is out and the ball is dead.

Share this on your favorite sites:

 Add to FaceBook Add to Twitter Add to Google Bookmark Add to Delicious Add to Digg

Comments