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Discussion: Correct Call???

Posted Discussion
June 1, 2014
HJ
Men's 70
442 posts
Correct Call???
Man on first 1 out. Batter hits slow grounder to SS. SS throws to second for force out. 2nd baseman decides not to throw to first since batter almost there. Home Plate ump calls batter out because he doesn't touch safety bag but touches inside bag. Manager of batting team argues that since no throw to first the call is wrong. Ump argues that rule is for safety and there easily could have been a throw with resulting collision so batter is out.
I have no idea what the correct ruling is. Please advise under both ASA and SSUSA if there is a difference.
Thanks.
June 1, 2014
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2667 posts
My understanding it that there MUST be a throw to first for the batter/runner to have to use the orange bag.
Also, it is an appeal play in SPA if the batter/runner used the white bat when there is a throw there. I was also told that in ASA it is not an appeal play, the umpire will call an out if he observes the runner using the white bag.
Not sure in SSUSA.
June 1, 2014
JimmyG
Men's 50
6 posts
Ump was incorrect. Here is the rule from ssusa rulebook. It clearly states "If there is a play", not if there could have been a play.

8.4(1) BATTER-RUNNER REACHING FIRST BASE
Each batter must reach first base without the aid of a courtesy runner. A double bag shall be used at first base, the double portion of the bag being in foul territory abutting first base. If there is a play on a batter-runner going to first base, the batter-runner must touch the portion of the double bag extending into foul territory. He will be called out if he fails to do so, except, in the umpire's judgment, the batter runner is avoiding a collision. This is NOT an appeal play. Important: The defending player has only the white base, in fair territory, to make the putout; his touch of only the bag in foul territory will not result in an out. After the batter runner becomes a base runner, the defensive player may use either portion of the double base to record a put out.
June 1, 2014
HJ
Men's 70
442 posts
I would like staff to give its opinion. To me, "If there is a play" doesn't fully resolve this. Many middle fielders automatically make the throw to first and don't stop to look how close the runner is to first in a DP situation. To me, who was umping at second base, there definitely was a play if the middle fielder threw the ball. If the throw had been made, there probably would have been a collision.
The issue is whether the phrase means an actual play or the potential for a play. For example, if the fielder starts to throw the ball and stops, then the first basemen is likely to move his foot to the bag in anticipation of the throw and there could easily be a collision w/o a throw. Staff??
June 2, 2014
stick8
1301 posts
I interpret "if there is a play" to mean a throw is made to first for attempting to get the batter-runner out. If a throw isn't made to first then there is no play at first. The batter runner therefore cannot be out. To be on the safe side the rule of thumb for the batter runner when going to first is to always touch the outside bag on a infield ground ball and you'll never be called out for touching the wrong bag. First base coaches should be encouraged to holler "outside bag' to the runner. Better to be safe than sorry.
June 2, 2014
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2667 posts
I can see the interpretation "if there is a play" to mean there is an opportunity to make an out. Imo the rule book should be edited to be more clear.
June 2, 2014
SSUSA Staff
1282 posts
The intent of the rule is clear to the Rules Committee: The white bag is fine for the batter-runner so long as there no play at first base on that batter-runner ... Our interpretation is that such a play must involve the defensive player (presumably the first baseman) receiving a throw at first or fielding a grounder and racing to the bag for the putout ... Based on the hypothetical situation described in the first post of this thread, the umpire erred in his call involving the batter-runner ...
June 2, 2014
stever
Men's 65
62 posts
According to rule 8.4(1), "the defensive player may use either portion of the double bag to record a put out (once the batter runner becomes a base runner). Using this interpretation, if a runner is on first base when a line drive is caught by an infielder, the first baseman can use either the orange or white base to record the put out before the runner gets back. Unfortunately, that was not the interpretation the two umpires in our game made at the LVSSA/SSUSA tournament in Las Vegas. Their interpretation was the first baseman MUST touch the white base.

SSUSA Staff - were they right or is the rule to be interpreted as written?
June 2, 2014
SSUSA Staff
1282 posts
The double first base is to be used on an assigned basis by the defense (WHITE portion) and the batter-runner (ORANGE portion) when there is a play at first base as discussed previously in this thread ... Once the batter-runner ceases to be a batter-runner and is only a base runner, the double first base is "merged" for purposes of any subsequent play ... That means that the defender AND the base runner may use either portion of the double bag as though it were a single bag like at second or third base ...

In your version of the hypothetical circumstances, the umpires should have interpreted the rule as written (which is true for all rules, by the way) ... They erred by creating a non-existent obligation for the defender to use only the white portion ... On a related point, your manager also erred by not protesting the call/interpretation immediately and seeking a ruling by the Field Director ... This would have been easily and quickly resolved in your favor had he possessed the presence of mind to have done so ...

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