Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rules Reminder - Safe Passage When Base Dislodged

Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar successfully stole second base in San Francisco when his forceful slide dislodged the bag, ruled safe by 2B Umpire Chad Fairchild as Brewers SS Orlando Arcia tagged Pillar while not in contact with the bag, confirmed via Replay Review following a challenge by Brewers Manager Craig Counsell.

This Rules Review reminds umpires that runners are to be ruled safe if a base is knocked off its moorings during the course of play, assuming that the runner initially arrived safely.

Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4) states that "A runner is out when—He is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base," but note the following approved ruling: "If the impact of a runner breaks a base loose from its position, no play can be made on that runner at that base if he had reached the base safely."

Had there been a following runner, the matter would fall into umpire judgment as to whether the following runner "touches or occupies the point marked by the dislodged bag."

Thus, with Pillar appearing to slide well past the dislodged base's proper location, the approved ruling protects him—the action runner—from being put out due to his impact that caused the base to come loose; even though Pillar slid past the base, because it became dislodged during his slide, he cannot be put out at that base as a result of that action.

However, if Pillar continued to advance toward third (he, of course could be put out in that situation via a tag), any following runner would be required to slide to the point marked by the dislodged bag.

NOTE: The base is defined in the book as a 15-inch square (or, for home base, a 17-inch square slab with two corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides 8.5 inches, and the remaining two sides 12 inches and set at angle to make a point), four of which set in a 90-foot square comprise the infield, but a bag is defined as the physical whitened rubber cuboid that marks where the base is.

Put another way, "First, second and third bases shall be marked by white canvas or rubber-covered bags, securely attached to the ground as indicated in Diagram 2" (OBR 2.03).

Thus, the following runner would slide to the "point marked by the dislodged bag."

Q: What is the point marked by the dislodged bag also known as? A: The base.

Video as follows:
Alternate Link: Safe call at second is confirmed after base is dislodged (SF)


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