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Discussion: Is there a penalty for batter not releasing the bat after reaching 1st base?

Posted Discussion
July 12, 2016
Turbobob
Men's 65
59 posts
Is there a penalty for batter not releasing the bat after reaching 1st base?
I'm in a 60 plus league using SSUSA rules. We do not use a runner's line on the 1st base line. The batter hits the ball, runs to 1st base successfully, and still has the bat in his hand. Is there a written rule stating this action is illegal, and if so, what is the penalty?

The 2015-2016 rule book defines Interference (Sect. 1.45) as "the act of an offensive player or team member that impedes or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play. A base runner must avoid a fielder making a play."

Section 8.3,E. Batter-runner is out, states "when he interferes with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball or intentionally interferes with a fielder attempting to throw the ball."

As an umpire, I called the batter out and declared a dead ball, but I couldn't find any rule to cover this situation, and based my call on the definition of interference, although no one was physically touched or impeded.

In the future, I'm going to try and institute a rule to cover this situation. What do they do in the major leagues?
July 12, 2016
SSUSA Staff
2896 posts
Turbobob ... You likely erred (by reference to your own description of: "..although no one was physically touched or impeded..") by ruling interference even though NONE of the elements mentioned in SSUSA Definition 1.45 OR Rulebook 8.3 E. were present ... There is no rule in the SSUSA Rulebook that specifically references carrying a bat ... You are certainly free as a league to make your own Local Rule to cover this ... Making up the call because you appear to not like the practice of carrying the bat and asserting that it is SSUSA Rules compliant is inappropriate ...

As it relates to MLB, it IS LEGAL to carry the bat provided it does not cause some form of interference (like a throw hitting it) ... There is no prohibition in the Official Rules of Baseball against carrying the bat ... Hope this helps!

July 13, 2016
Dancer
114 posts
Then again it is senior league. The guy might have been using the bat as a cane to get to first base. LOL
July 13, 2016
Omar Khayyam
1329 posts
Dancer, LOL
July 13, 2016
curty
Men's 60
178 posts
I believe USSSA instituted a rule covering this a few years back as it was considered a possible / potential injury situation. Not sure of where to find it in their book, though
July 13, 2016
Hit the gap
Men's 70
154 posts
The real question is why the heck would you want to carry your bat to first? Surely it would slow you down.
July 13, 2016
k man
Men's 65
292 posts
Hit the Gap - how about the batter was using a doctored bat, or a bat with a rattle in it, etc and didn't want the opposing catcher or umpire to pick it up. I don't think so either but just a thought. From what I've seen, guys who carry the bat aren't exactly swift of foot.
July 13, 2016
Turbobob
Men's 65
59 posts
Hey Gap and k man. There are a few players in our league that hit a pop up, thinking it is going to get caught, then just jog to 1st base holding their bat so they don't have to go back and retrieve it. They have given up and don't realize that fielders drop fly balls all the time. Hard to imagine that scenario, isn't it?
July 17, 2016
dand
Men's 75
30 posts
I recently played in the Buckeye Classic, an SPA tournament. The batter was called out for still holding the bat after reaching 1st base.
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