Sunday, June 20, 2021

Intent to Advance - When Overrun Protection Terminates

During Friday's Mets-Nationals game, New York batter-runner Billy McKinney reached on a fielder's choice, running safely past first base as Washington shortstop Trea Turner's throw sailed over Erick Fedde's head, 1B Umpire Adam Hamari watching the ball as Josh Harrison, backing up the play, retrieved it.

Harrison then tagged McKinney, alleging the runner attempted to advance to second base and, in doing so, lost the overrun protection ordinarily afforded to batter-runners at first base.

Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(4) is brief: "Any runner is out when they are tagged, when the ball is alive, while off their base. EXCEPTION: A batter-runner cannot be tagged out after overrunning or oversliding first base if they return immediately to the base."

OBR 5.09(b)(11) expands on the premise: "Fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or oversliding that base. If [the batter-runner] attempts to run to second they are out when tagged. If, after overrunning or oversliding first base they start toward the dugout, or toward their position, and fails to return to first base at once, they are out, on appeal, when they or the base is tagged."

This can also be an appeal play, as in OBR 5.09(c)(3): "Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when—they overrun or overslide first base and fail to return to the base immediately, and they or the base is tagged prior to the runner returning to first base."

In Washington, it appeared that 1B Umpire Hamari was watching the ball to make sure it didn't go out of play at the time of McKinney's attempt to advance to second, HP Umpire/Crew Chief Kerwin Danley likely saw the same thing (remember Rule 8.00's General Instruction to Umpires: "Keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play. It is more vital to know just where a fly ball fell or a thrown ball finished up than whether or not a runner missed a base"), 3B Umpire Chad Fairchild may not have had a proper angle, and 2B Umpire CB Bucknor was still engaged with the sliding runner/fielder interaction at second base to make sure it wasn't a bona fide slide violation.

Nonetheless, if the umpires had seen McKinney's actions and interpreted those movements as an attempt to advance, McKinney would have been declared out upon Harrison's tag.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: McKinney safe at first after double play attempt, overrun rule review (CCS)


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