Thursday, August 17, 2023

Mariners' Moore Out for Abandonment at First Base

Mariners batter-runner Dylan Moore lost his single in Kansas City, ruled out by 1B Umpire John Libka for abandonment when Moore wrongly thought Royals left fielder MJ Melendez had caught his fly ball and began running back to his dugout before realizing his mistake and running back to first base where Royals first baseman Matt Duffy's tag was waiting...but was it even needed?

In declaring Moore out sans tag, 1B Umpire Libka invoked Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(2), which states, "Any runner is out when after touching first base, they leave the base path obviously abandoning their effort to touch the next base."

The rule itself contains a case play to drive the point home: "PLAY — Runner believing they are called out on a tag at first or third base starts for the dugout and progresses a reasonable distance still indicating by their actions that they are out, shall be declared out for abandoning the bases."

Thus, the only judgment-related question here is whether Moore, who touched first base before turning to jog back to the dugout, had progressed a "reasonable distance" and in doing so "indicating by their actions that they are out"...or was the abandonment out call a tad premature?

Do not confuse this rule with OBR 5.09(b)(10), which states, "Any runner is out when, after they have acquired legal possession of a base, they run the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game. The umpire shall immediately call “Time” and declare the runner out" if for no other reason than Moore was too confused to have intended to confuse the defense or make a travesty of the game, which begs the question...who was more confused—Dylan Moore today or Jean Segura 10 years prior?

NOTE: Technically, Moore was credited with a single and THEN out for abandonment, as the rule requires the runner have actually achieved first base prior to this call. | Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Mariners' Dylan Moore Out for Abandonment, Loses Single in Kansas City


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