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Baseball  
AWARD OF BASES REFERENCE
Much confusion exists regarding the proper award of bases after a ball enters dead ball territory.

The most common myth is the statement "he gets 1 plus 1." This is not correct. Rule 7.05 covers award of bases and an umpire must know all the details of this rule. Rule 7.05(g) is the focus of this document.

The basic thing to remember is:

When the pitcher throws the ball into dead ball territory while he is in contact with the rubber, the runners are awarded one base. If he is not in contact with the rubber he is a fielder. When any fielder throws the ball into dead ball territory, the runners are awarded two bases.

The complicated part of this rule is deciding from what position the two bases are awarded. There are several exceptions that can affect the award. I will try to simplify making the decision.

If the throw was the first play by an infielder, the award is two bases from where the runners were at the time the pitch was thrown in 99% of the plays. There is an exception that will be described later. Time of pitch is when the pitcher began his motion to the plate. "Where the runners were" means from the last legally held base. The direction they were running or how far between bases they were has nothing to do with the award. They get 2 bases closer to home plate from wherever they were positioned.

If the throw was the second play by an infielder, or any play by an outfielder, the award is two bases from the time the throw left the fielder's hand. The moment when the ball enters dead ball territory has no effect on the determination of the placement of the runners. The placement is from where the runners were at the time of the pitch or the time the throw left the thrower's hand depending on whether the play was the first play by an infielder or some other play.

A key thought to remember is:
"first play by an infielder = time of pitch. Second play or outfielder = time of release." The award is always two bases. The only decision is; from where?

EXCEPTIONS:

If ALL runners including the batter runner have advanced one base before the first play by an infielder, the award is from time of release. The key word is ALL. Example: Runner on second. A high pop-up is hit to the shortstop. The runner holds. The shortstop drops the ball, then throws to first attempting to get the batter who has already rounded the base before the release of the throw, and the ball enters dead ball territory. This was the first play by an infielder which means the award is from time of pitch. The exception states that ALL runners must advance a base before the time of release award is used. Because the runner at second held his base, the award is from time of pitch.

A play for purposes of this rule is a legitimate attempt to retire a runner. A throw to a base, an attempted tag or attempting to touch a base for a force out are plays. A fake throw or fielding a batted ball are not.

PLAY:

Runner on first. Ground ball to SS. The throw to second is too late and R1 is safe. The second baseman throws to first and the ball goes into dead ball area. R1 is awarded home and the batter is awarded second. This was the second play so time of release applies. R1 was at second when the throw was made. The batter was not at first at the time of the release.

An infielder is always an infielder for purposes of this rule even if he has gone into the outfield. Anytime the infielder's throw is the second throw after the batted ball has been fielded, the time of throw will apply in determining the award.

The catcher is an infielder for purposes of this rule. If he throws a batted ball out of play as the first play, the award is from time of pitch. If he throws away a ball on a second play or one in which the batter has not become a runner, the award is from time of throw.

Submitted by: Jim Booth


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