Running to First

  • Post
    Travis Elseth
    Situation, runner on 2nd and the count on the batter is 1-1.  There is a passed ball to make the count 2-1 and the batter runs to first and the runner on second advances to 3rd.  Then the batter/runner goes to second to trick the catcher to throw to second to get him out and the runner on third advances home on the throw to second.  Is this legal?

    The Umpire informed us that the batter may run to first on every pitch if he chooses to no matter what.

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      I think <strong class=”art”>7-3-1 applies here, in that he can step out since it’s a passed ball and while it doesn’t specify where he can step out to, it does specify how long he has to be back in the box; 20 sec once the pitcher has the ball or it’s a called strike. I also disagree he can run to first on every pitch. 7-3-1 specifies when a batter can leave the box. If it is one of those, well, he’s on ‘the clock’. If it’s not one of those, and he’s taking off, then I’m thinking I have either a delay of game or a ‘travesty of the game’ issue. I’ll have to ponder that situation some more.  
      This is umpire judgement in the intent of the batter-runner.   If it is believed that the batter is doing this to intentionally confuse the defense then unsportsmanlike behavior will apply, and the umpire can warn/eject/ and/or return all runners…this would be considered “making a travesty of the game”. However, if this were a single incident and the batter runner truly thought somehow this might be ball four/strike three and he was entitled to run then you have nothing.  The defense does have an obligation to know the status of the game and what their options are as well. They simply could have made a play on the runner as he is in jeopardy once he leaves his base. Since a batter is entitled to run to first on ball four/strike three, I don’t see where any umpire would consider his actions inappropriate. I also don’t understand why you say a runner going from first to second is done to “trick” the catcher as it’s typical behavior for a runner to go from first to second.
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