Runner passes another runner ahead of him on the bases [Official Rule 5.09(b)(9)]
A runner who passes the runner in front of him will be called out. The preceding runner (runner in front) will be allowed to continue his attempt to advance.
KNOW THIS: The preceding runner may physically push the trailing runner to prevent him from passing him.
KNOW THIS: With a walk-off, game winning home run, if a trailing runner passes a lead runner before the winning run touches home plate, the passing runner is out. If this happens with two outs, the inning ends and only those runners who touched home plate before the passing violation are counted. With fewer than two outs, the play continues as normal.
Passing a Runner: [Insider Reports]
It is not always an easy call when the trail runner passes the lead runner as you will read about in this Insider Report. It happened at Citi Field in 2015 when the Mets hosted the Cubs.
Are you aware that players are permitted to touch and physically assist another runner? Read about this odd play that occurred when the Royals hosted the O’s August 26, 2015.
Runners are permitted to touch and physically assist other runners but coaches are not permitted to touch or physically aid a baserunner, even if that baserunner is in foul territory. If a coach touches or aids a runner while the ball is live and in play, the runner will be declared out.
Two Runners on the Same Base
If two runners end up on the same base, it is the lead runner who has a right to the base unless the trail runner is forced to advance to the base because of a ground ball. It is advisable for the defensive team to tag both runners and allow the umpire to determine which runner is out.
Abandoning the Bases
Baseball rules also state that if a runner leaves his base path and is abandoning an attempt to advance to the next base, he will be called out, though the ball remains live. Instances of deliberately “abandoning the base path” are pretty rare, but it still applies if a runner incorrectly believes he’s been put out and starts heading to the dugout. Even though an out is called, the ball remains in play with respect to any other runners. [Official Rule 5.09(b)(2)]
One wrinkle to the abandonment rule is the idea of “desertion” where a batter-runner abandons an attempt to advance to first base all together. An example of this would be if a catcher drops a third strike and the batter-runner doesn’t bother trying to take first.
Even if a batter-runner is to be replaced by a pinch runner at first base, he must acquire first base before the substitution happens versus going directly to the dugout. Failure to do so may still be ruled as “abandoning his effort to touch the next base.”
Video Explanation – Runner Abandoning His Effort
Bizarre Play – Passing Runners, Abandonment, or Obstruction? [Insider Report]
This Insider Report details one of the most bizarre plays of the 2015 major league season. The Mets hosted the Cubs and when a suicide squeeze backfired, chaos on the base paths ensued. Watch the video and read Rich Marazzi’s expert analysis.
Runner runs bases in the reverse order:
Unlike missing a base, this is an intentional violation done to “make a travesty of the game.” The rule exists to keep runners from doing odd things on the base paths with the strict intent of confusing the defense. [Official Rule 5.09(b)(10)]