Thursday, June 3, 2021

New York Misinformation - Base Path is Not a Baseline

After 1B Umpire Alan Porter called Tampa Bay batter-runner Kevin Kiermaier safe in the 5th inning of Thursday's #Rays-#Yankees, New York manager Aaron Boone came out to argue as YES broadcasters mused about the baseline and runner's lane. Unfortunately, the rule about a base path has nothing to do with either of those concepts, meaning all within earshot of a television tuned to YES in New York were witness to misinformation regarding the out of the base path rule.

Play: With one out and none on, Kiermaier hit a 0-1 changeup from Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole on the ground to first baseman DJ LeMahieu, who attempted to tag Kiermaier as he ran to first base.

: Kiermaier avoided LeMahieu's tag and 1B Umpire Porter ruled him safe. Yankees manager Boone campaigned for a base-running infraction, but to no avail: the safe call stood.

Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1) governs this play and states that "any runner is out when they run more than three feet away from their base path to avoid being tagged unless their 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 they are attempting to reach safely."

In other words, the runner sets their own base path and is allowed three feet to the left or right of that established position on their way to the next (or previous) base in order to avoid a tag.

Not the Rule: The 45-foot runner's lane painted on the ground to the right of the foul line is rules-relevant for one and only one play: runner's lane interference, which occurs when a batter-runner outside of the lane "interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base" (OBR 5.09(a)(11)). If there is no throw (or no fielder taking a throw), there can bee no runner's lane interference, meaning the lane line is immaterial during a tag play.

The baseLINE, meanwhile, is simply a direct line between any two bases, such as the painted foul line between home and first base. The baseline has no relevance for a base path call such as the Kiermaier play and the only relevance of both the foul line and runner's lane line is that we know, dimensionally, the distance between the two lines is three feet. Thus, we have an impromptu painted ruler or yardstick on the ground that we could conceivably apply to Kiermaier's journey.

: Accordingly, Porter's only consideration is whether Kiermaier deviated by more than three feet, pursuant to OBR 5.09(b)(1), to avoid being tagged. Umpire Porter could use the three-foot wide yardstick known as the runner's lane to help guide him to determine what three feet might actually look like, but the runner's lane itself is meaningless for this play. All that is relevant is whether Kiermaier ran more than three feet away from his base path—which he establishes well into foul territory—to avoid being tagged. If so, the runner would be out for running away from (or out of) his base path to avoid being tagged. If not, the runner is safe. 

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Kiermaier's avoidance maneuver concerns a base path, not a baseline & not RLI (CCS)


Post a Comment