|Morrison tags Cron as Estabrook looks on.|
Case Play Question: Is this the proper result (B1 safe) or should Cron have been declared out on the tag? Is the batter-runner limited to a set number of overrun opportunities per play and, if so, did Cron's initial movement past first base without touching it count as an overrun of the base?
Let's complicate matters with a hypothetical scenario. Assume two outs and a runner on third: R3 crosses home plate before Cron is tagged. Does the run score?
|Does the blue portion constitute an overrun?|
|How many times can a BR overrun 1st?|
Could that be it: unlimited overruns?
Seems like a loophole in the rules, or, in computer programming terms, an infinite loop.
Refer to MLBUM #44 (Runner Misses Home Plate): This is an "ordinary play where the runner misses the [base] and then immediately makes an effort to touch the [base] before being tagged" (e.g., this is not similar to 5.09(b)(12) regarding a runner who "makes no attempt to return to the base") Yes, the interpretation concerns plays at the plate, although PBUC (now-MiLBUD) put out an instruction to crew chiefs stating, "Use 7.10d [5.09(c)(4)] for all missed bases, not just home. If the ball and the runner are in the vicinity of the base, when the runner tries to return, he must be tagged to be out. Do not allow an "appeal" (no matter how obvious) of the missed base during that "unrelaxed" action. But if it was a forced base, the defense may subsequently appeal to gain an advantageous fourth out." Note: If old-OBR 7.10(d) / new-OBR 5.09(c)(4) is applicable to all bases, then so too should MLBUM #44, which refers to 7.10(d)/5.09(c)(4). Jaksa/Roder, for instance made reference to the "relaxed" vs "unrelaxed" dichotomy. Wendelstedt, meanwhile, has posited that PBUC's "use 7.10d for all missed bases, not just home" interpretation is not valid for MLB: "THIS RULE APPLIES ONLY TO HOME PLATE. At any other base whether a runner is immediately attempting to return to correct a violation or not, either he or the base may be tagged for an appeal anytime the ball is alive." Thus, Wendelstedt treats "relaxed" and "unrelaxed" in the same fashion. Similarly, these interps seem to indicate the runner has reached, but missed, his base.
Historical citation: The first mention of applying old-OBR 7.10(d) to all bases, not just home, came from an article citing Nick Bremigan in the March 1978 edition of Referee Magazine. Bremigan of Baseball Umpire Development (BUD) interpreted that in such a hectic situation (this predates "[un]relaxed" terminology), the runner must be tagged to be out. Tagging the base would not be sufficient. Bremigan's interpretation held that "beating the play" as it were (as in new-OBR 5.05(b)(3)) removes the force and, thus, commands a time play situation with regard to runners scoring. Similarly, in "The Last Time By," old 7.10(b) is explained as, "That rule literally says that a runner has not 'missed' a base, and so cannot be appealed, until he advances to and touches a base beyond the 'missed' base." Because home plate uniquely has no subsequent base which a runner may advance to, Lucy and Wilson explained that 7.10(d) was crafted to specifically address how and when home plate may be "missed." The Bremigan interpretation, thus, clarified that a base not touched in passing was to be ruled "missed" only when the runner left the immediate vicinity of that base making no effort to return.
|When does a runner reach and pass a base?|
Replays indicate that after passing first base, B1 Cron clearly attempted to return after the double-missed tag/touch. MLBUM #44 long instructed the umpire make no signal when both the runner and fielder miss their respective touches. This season, MLBUM instructs no signal be given at bases other than (and in addition to) home plate when a similar double-missed tag/touch scenario occurs (meaning "old" MLBUM #44's no signal instruction is now redundant, but it is now consistent, as well).
|B1 returns to touch first as F3 lunges for a tag.|
In other words, if U1 rules B1 safe, with due deference to an alternate explanation below this one, it is because he has interpreted Rule 5.09(b)(4) EXCEPTION in such a way as to mean that the batter-runner is afforded multiple opportunities to overrun first base, so long as he immediately returns to first base each and every time that he overruns it. This is important because it establishes that B1 has reached first base for the purposes of the hypothetical R3 time play. Yes, this is subject to protest as it is an issue of interpretation.
|Runner Ichiro returns to touch the plate (link).|
|If B1 hasn't reached first base, is he still safe?|
This alternate reason for ruling the runner safe would not be subject to protest, as this is a judgment call.
If B1 is ruled to be in compliance with the three-foot base path restriction, under this judgment that B1 had not yet passed first base, the proper call is B1 safe. Yet for this judgment to hold up on protest, the umpire would have to declare that B1 Cron hadn't reached first base when photographic evidence seems to suggest he had.
Official Baseball Rules Library
OBR 5.09(b)(4): A runner is out when—"He is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base. EXCEPTION: A batter-runner cannot be tagged out after overrunning or oversliding first base if he returns immediately to the base."
OBR 5.09(b)(11): "He fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or oversliding that base. If he attempts to run to second he is out when tagged. If, after overrunning or oversliding first base he starts toward the dugout, or toward his position, and fails to return to first base at once, he is out, on appeal, when he or the base is tagged."
OBR 5.09(c)(3): A runner is out on appeal when—"He overruns or overslides first base and fails to return to the base immediately, and he or the base is tagged prior to the runner returning to first base."
OBR 5.09(c)(4): Runner is out on appeal when—"He fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged."
OBR 5.05(b)(1) Comment: "If, in advancing, the base runner thinks there is a play and he slides past the base before or after touching it he may be put out by the fielder tagging him. If he fails to touch the base to which he is entitled and attempts to advance beyond that base he may be put out by tagging him or the base he missed."
OBR 5.05(b)(3) Comment: "If the batter-runner missed first base, or a runner misses his next base, he shall be considered as having reached the base."
OBR 5.06(b)(3)(D) NOTE: "[Runner who misses a base] may be put out by tagging the base or by tagging the runner before he returns to the missed base."
OBR 5.08(a) EXCEPTION: "A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases."
OBR 5.09(b)(1): Runner is out when—"He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."
"BATTER-RUNNER is a term that identifies the offensive player who has just finished his time at bat until he is put out or until the play on which he became a runner ends."
Video: Cron and Morrison roll around at first base as Angels DH reaches in the 7th ("Read more")