Saturday, September 21, 2013

Solution for Case Play 2013-09: Whose Base is it Anyway?

The answer to Iassogna's double Case Play: Whose Base is it Anyway (2013-09) is now available below:

To refresh, with one out and two runners aboard (R1 Lawrie and R3 Reyes) in the Yankees-Blue Jays game, B1 Adam Lind hit a ground ball to F1 Kuroda, who threw to F2 Stewart as R3 Reyes attempted to return to third base. After the brief rundown, R3 dove back into third base as R1 Lawrie stepped on the bag. F2 Stewart threw the ball to F5 Reynolds, who tagged R1 before tagging R3 Reyes, resulting in 3B Umpire Dan Iassogna's double play call.

Answer, Lightning Case Play 2013-09
In responding to the scenario, the following rule was properly identified and referenced: OBR Rule 7.08(c), which states a runner is out when "he is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base."

Also introduced was Rule 7.03(a) - "Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies."
Rule 7.03(b) applies in the event of a force play situation, when the following runner is entitled to the base. We can stipulate 7.03(b) does not apply as this is not a force situation (R1's forced base is 2B/R3 none).

Entitlement to a base specifies a runner who has permission to touch a base (and be declared "safe" if tagged while on the base). In this situation, R3 is entitled to third base over R1 (priority entitlement); However, if R3 does not physically touch third base, R1 is entitled to it. Entitlement is not a binding action—it just means the runner is authorized to legally touch a base, if he so chooses. R1 loses entitlement if R3 touches 3B.

R1 is entitled to (touch) third base as long as R3 is not touching third base, but R3 is always entitled to 3B:
If R1 is not touching third base and R3 is not touching third base, then R1 & R3 are entitled to third base.
If R1 is touching third base, but R3 is not touching third base, then R1 & R3 are entitled to third base.
If R1 is not touching third base, but R3 is touching third base, then R3 is entitled to third base.
If R1 is touching third base and R3 is touching third base, then R3 is entitled to third base.

The MLB Umpire Manual (35-35) confirms this: "If two runners are touching a base at the same time, the following runner is out when tagged (unless, of course, the lead runner is forced)."

Rule 7.01 states, "A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base." Rule 7.01, however, does not apply because of the principle of occupation.

R3 still does occupy third base, as portrayed in Rule 7.08(b) Comment ("a runner is considered to occupy a base until he legally has reached the next succeeding base"); however, trail/following runner R1 may touch third base and be declared safe (unless R3 is simultaneously touching) because with no other runner touching third base, R1 (along with R3) is entitled to it. R3 is entitled to the base over R1, but is not mandated to actually return and touch it. R3 acquired title to the base during the preceding play when he became R3, as opposed to R2, R1 or B1. A runner need not touch a base to occupy it.

Analysis of Rule 7.03(a) produces the following conditional statement, "If two runners are touching a base, [then] the following runner [is] out..." (For the next part, assume both runners are touching a base.)

The simplest proof from this point finds that because the "two runners are touching a base" condition was not satisfied, the conclusion "the following runner is out" cannot apply, as far as 7.03(a) is concerned. Alternately, the indicator for Rule 7.03(a) [the condition it must satisfy for it to be applicable] is "two runners are touching a base." Because two runners were not touching a base at the time of either tag, Rule 7.03(a) does not apply and cannot account for either runner being declared out.

By logical law, the contrapositive of this statement must be true (see: Logical Equivalence, p. 47): "If the following runner is out, then two runners are touching a base." Error: 2 runners were not touching the base.

Read on for a definition of concepts used (entitled, occupy, touch, acquire title) and the CP's conclusion:

Concepts (Y/N in parentheses before term indicates whether multiple persons may hold term at same time)
(Y) Entitled - Permission to perform an act, such as touch a base. Also, a just claim to something, such as respect. Appears in Rules 2.00 [Safe], 3.01(e) Comment, 5.09(g) Comment, 5.10(c)(1), 6.07(d)(2)AR-3, 6.08, 6.09(d)(e)(f)(h), 7.01, 7.03, 7.04(b) Comment, 7.04(d) Note, 7.05(g) Comment-AR, 7.05(i), 7.09(j), 8.05(m)-AR, 10.01(c), 10.06(f) Comment, 10.06(g), 10.09(a)(3), 10.17(e).
(Y) Entitled to Base - Permission to touch a base. Appears in Rules 7.01, 7.03, 7.08(b) Comment.
(N) Occupy - Settle upon or take control of a base. Appears in Rules 7.03, 7.08(b) Comment.
(N) Touch - To physically touch a base. Appears throughout OBR, notably in Rule 7.08(c)-AR.
(N) Acquire Right or Title - Assumes legal right, generally to a base. Appears in Rule 7.01 Comment: "legally acquires title to a base" and 7.08(i).

Accordingly, the statement "R3 is entitled to third only as long as he still occupies it" is true and does not preclude R1's entitlement to third base (both are entitled as long as R3 is not touching third base). Multiple runners may be entitled to a base, but multiple runners may not simultaneously occupy it. Only one runner at a time may acquire title to a base, yet a runner may be in contact with a base without first having acquired legal title (R1 can touch third base without first acquiring legal title). All this means is that by play's end, some runner is not legal, but does not imply which one it is. In this situation, the runner who was not legal was R3 (off his base), not R1 (legally touching a base to which he was entitled). Once acquired, title can be relinquished pursuant to the terms of Rule 7.01.

Replays indicate R1 was never tagged while R3 was in contact with third base; therefore no simultaneous touching of a base occurred, meaning Rule 7.03(a) does not apply.

Therefore, Rules 7.01(entitlement to unoccupied base) and 7.03(b) are not applicable.

Rule 7.08(h) (he passes a preceding runner before such runner is out) does not apply since R1 never passed R3 (passing has to be "in full"; the trail runner must pass the entirety of the lead runner).

Review of this play suggests U3 Iassogna ruled R1 out pursuant to 7.03(a) and R3 due to 7.08(c).
Conclusion: U3's DP call was wrong as Rule 7.03(a) does not apply, though 7.08(c) does. Two out, R1, R3.

One Point Awarded (+1): bwburke94, ClutchUp, hbk314, Joe Gravina, Nate, Russ, UmpAtty


Lindsay said...

The original case play said this was to run through Saturday. I'm home at 7:30PM Saturday and the solution is already posted., Why am I not allowed to post now and receive points?

If the deadline is Saturday, everyone in the league should have all of Saturday to post.

Lindsay said...

The lightning case play has a turnaround of 24-hours as opposed to two days. In the future I will do a better job in communicating that or will simply get rid of the "lightning" cp completely.

Lindsay said...

WSH vs MIA are still in a rain delay??? 6 hours plus umps?

Lindsay said...

Sorry I am a little bit confused about the conclusion, I agree U3's DP call was wrong as 7.03(a) does not apply, so the correct call should be "One Out, R3" or "Two out, R1, R3"? Thanks

Lindsay said...

It's the last homestand of the year in DC, and the weather is iffy for Sunday. Since the Nats are still mathematically in it, I'm guessing the umpires didn't want to have to play two tomorrow. If they couldn't get one or both of the games in tomorrow, and they ended up being important, they'd have to bring both teams back to DC to play the games at the end of the season.

Lindsay said...

UEFL Commishes,

Hope you don't mind some constructive feedback. Might I suggest that in future case play answers, you should organize your posts in a Summary / Detail format...? I have been umpiring for 20+ years and can dig thru the mess that is the rule book with the best of 'em, but let's be honest - most folks don't find that fun. And although KickersRule might not have been tactful in his post, I think he does make a good point. You would be wise to consider that not everyone in your audience is a rule book junkie or concerned with pages of detail, even if that detail is important to justify and backup your findings.

Something along these lines will help keep your readers engaged and not glossy-eyed...

Just sayin...


A following runner can only be called out while in contact with a base when he is tagged while the runner who is legally entitled to the base is also in contact with the base. In this scenario, R1 was never tagged while R3 was in contact with the base, thus only R3 should have been called out.


The above ruling is supported by:

Rule a.b.c which states blah blah
Rule x.y.z which states blah blah

Now we'll use logic to tie thes principles together and wrap up our thesis in a nice logical conclusion in line with the above summary.

Keep up the great work guys - I love the site!!

Lindsay said...

Thanks for the tip Brandon, we'll take it to heart going forward.

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