Passion – There isn’t another other word that best describes my feelings for the game of baseball. Over the years, I can tell you, never a day goes by that I don’t think about, prepare for or study the game.
On occasion, we officials get together and just talk about some of the crazy situations we see during nine innings of play. The other night a fellow official and I were discussing last year and the upcoming season. During this conversation we started laughing about some of the myths some people seem to take as gospel when it comes to the rules of baseball. So I thought it would be fun to share a few of these situations.
Let’s get started with the famous Tie goes to the runner “rule.” I have to admit, close calls really get me pumped, but – I’m sorry to say – there is no rule in baseball to support this claim. All calls made, whether a ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or ball or if a runner is safe or out are clearly defined in rule9.02(a). Sometimes your eyes can deceive you when making a very close call. In this case, I was trained to close my eyes and listen. The ball hitting a glove makes a different sound that the foot hitting the bag. Once you have developed this skill, making this type of call becomes routine. So to settle this myth, thereare no ties. You’re either safe or out based on the judgment of the official.
Another good one is The halfway hoax. That’s when the runner is halfway to a base and there’s an overthrow that leaves the field. Some think that since the runner is over halfway to the next base they are automatically awarded that base, and then awarded the additional bases. There are several rules that cover a variety of situations; they include 7.04, 7.06, 7.07, 7.08, 7.09 and 8.00. The common rule of thumb has always been “one base from the mound, two bases from the field”. The key element that is commonly missed is these rules apply at the time of the pitch, which is outlined in rule7.05. If a runner is on first base at the time of the pitch, the ball is then hit to the short stop and he air mails it into the parking lot, then the runner will get two bases, thus, placing him on third even if he is only inches from the next base. If the pitcher, while engaged on the rubber, tosses it over the backstop, then the runner only gets one base. Now, if a pitcher disengages the rubber that automatically makes him a fielder, then two bases are awarded
All this in a split second. Clear as mud, right?