Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Quickie - Orioles Assist Hurt Runner on Dead Ball Walk Off HBP

In this quick review, tmac traces Orioles batter Jorge Mateo's journey to first base on a game-ending, bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the 10th inning to give Baltimore a 7-6 win over Texas.

The question posed related to the Official Baseball Rules' prohibition of base coach assistance pursuant to OBR 6.01(a)(8), which puts a runner out if, "in the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base."

Naturally, this play involved no coaches, but did involve other Orioles players, including bench personnel and the runner who scored the winning run. There is no rule specifically addressing this situation in OBR, but there is in NFHS: the high school rule states: "No coach shall physically assist a runner during playing action," which, as one would surmise, applies only to live game play. An interpretation for NFHS Rule 3.2.2a states, "Contact, even physical assistance, by a coach with a home run hitter who is advancing on a four-base award is legal" with the even more direct case play: "R1 tries for third on B1’s single, but F9’s throw goes dead. R1 rounds the bag (he will be awarded home) but does not touch it. The coach grabs R1 by the arm and yells:  “Go back and touch third.” Ruling:  At all levels, there is no penalty."

For NCAA college, there is likewise no direct language from the rules book, but a 2011 interpretation from Mountain West Conference coordinator of baseball umpires Jim Paronto states, "There is no coach’s interference during a dead ball unless the coach’s actions provide an advantage for the offensive team."

Although the merits of "advantage" can certainly be debated, declaring an injured hit batsman out for being assisted by other players to first base would likely run afoul of the spirit of the rules.

Video as follows:


Post a Comment