Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Why Did These Runners Get Two Bases? The Rulebook

Two Binghamton Rumble Ponies received an odd two-base award in the 9th inning of a Double-A Eastern League game against Somerset, with HP Umpire Jae-Young Kim signaling the runners' advancement with one out remaining in the teams' one-run ballgame. We were asked why the Binghamton runners were given two bases and, after reviewing the rulebook, we have an answer.

Official Baseball Rule 5.06(b)(4)—NCAA equivalent rule 8-3 and NHFS 8.3.3—decrees that under certain circumstances, "Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance" a certain number of bases. There are nine provisions within OBR 5.06(b)(4), which we have listed by quantity of base award:

(A) To home base (4 Bases): HR Hit Over Wall
(B) Three bases: Fielder touches fair ball with detach equipment or uniform, such as a removed hat.
(C) Three bases: Thrown glove touches fair ball—it must actually touch the ball to be a penalty.
(D) Two bases: Fielder touches a thrown ball with detached equipment or uniform.
(E) Two bases: Thrown glove touches thrown ball—it must actually touch the ball.
(F) Two bases: Fair ball bounces out of play, sticks in a fence, goes through the wall, etc.
(G) Two bases: Thrown ball goes out of play.
(H) One base: Pitched ball goes out play. Also includes a pitcher's pickoff attempt from the rubber.
(I) One base: Pitched ball lodges in the catcher or umpire's equipment.

There are other award rules—such as one base for the batter (but not unforced runners) on a batted ball lodging in a fielder's uniform—but these are the relevant ones for this play.

Step by step, we review the video and rule to eliminate award cases A-F, H, and I, leaving just G: a two-base award for a ball thrown out of play (bases awarded from positions at time of throw).


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