How Would You Rule? –XII
You are presented with a situation that actually occurred or might occur in a game. To play along, decide how you would rule or score. Then click the button to find out what either the umpires or the official scorer actually decided.
Wild Throw after Balk
September 25, 2009 - Red Sox at Yankees

Situation: Bottom of the 4th; A-Rod on 1B and one out.

Boston P Hunter Jones balks before throwing to 1B. A-Rod takes off for second, and 1B Victor Martinez, after catching Jones's throw, fires wild past 2B. A-Rod continues to 3B.

Does the play stand?

Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest Nov/Dec 2011

Conflicting Rulings
The picture below is one of the most interesting in baseball history.

Situation: May 12, 1969 Los Angeles @ St. Louis

The Dodgers' Bill Sudakis hit a looper into short CF that fell among the SS, 2B, and CF. Sudakis decided to try for 2B. The 2B umpire, John Kibler, first ran out toward CF. Seeing his colleague move out of position, 1B ump Ed Vargo hustled to 2B. As CF Curt Flood's throw came in to 3B Mike Shannon covering the bag, both umpires arrived in the vicinity and made conflicting calls. Kibler called Sudakis out while Vargo ruled safe.

What now?

John Kibler signals out while Ed Vargo says safe.

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan's Guide to the Official Rules, Peter E. Meltzer (2013)

Pitcher Drops Ball While Winding Up
Situation #1: With no one on base, the ball slips out of the pitcher's hand as he begins his windup and rolls a few feet off the mound.

Situation #2: With no one on base, the ball flies out of the pitcher's hand as he begins his windup and ends up between the 3rd base line and the dugout.

Situation #3: Same as Situation #1, except one or more runners are on base.

Situation #4: Same as Situation #2, except one or more runners are on base.

How would you rule in each situation?

Reference: Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 8.01(d)

Rick Porcello
Batter Hits Ball Twice
August 28, 2014: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers

Situation: Brendan Ryan of the Yankees batting against Rick Porcello in top of the 3rd

Porcello throws a fastball that jams the right-handed batting Ryan. The ball strikes the handle of the bat as Ryan begins to swing. Then, as he completes his follow-through, the barrel of the bat catches the ball and drives it into LF for a base hit.

Reference:: "Baseball Rules Corner," by Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest November/December 2014

Brendan Ryan

Cliff Lee
Pitch Lodges in Chest Protector
August 9, 2005: Cleveland Indians @ Kansas City Royals

Situation: Third inning, two outs. Royals' Angel Berroa on 3B with Donnie Murphy at bat.

P Cliff Lee throws a pitch that gets stuck in the chest protector of C Victor Martinez. Murphy did not swing at the ball, which isn't called strike three or ball four.

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan's Guide to the Official Rules, Peter E. Meltzer (2013)

Victor Martinez
Runner Misses Base on Way Home
June 4, 1956: Phillies @ Reds

Situation: Reds batting in bottom of first; one out; Johnny Temple on 3B, Frank Robinson on 2B, Gus Bell on 1B.

Wally Post hits a Saul Rogovin pitch into LF for a base hit. LF Del Ennis bobbles the ball, then throws to 3B where Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones applies the tag too late to catch Bell going from 1B to 3B. In the meantime, both Temple and Robinson score.

However, Rogovin appeals that Robinson, on his way home, missed 3B. Umpire Jocko Conlan upholds the appeal.

a) What is the end result of the play?
b) What would be the outcome if there were two outs to start with?

Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, September/October 2013

Frank Robinson
Broken Bat Hits Ball
September 23, 2008 - Mets @ Cubs

Situation: One out in fifth inning and a man on base; Mets P Johan Santana at bat.

Santana squares to bunt, then swings away. The bat breaks on his swing. Both the ball and a part of the broken bat fly past the mound. As SS Ronny Cedeno is about to field the ball, it hits the rolling bat again and bounces away from Cedeno. Santana reaches first base safely.

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? Peter E. Meltzer (2013)
Pitcher Delivers Ball Off Rubber
Situation #1: With a man on third, the pitcher delivers the ball to the batter without having his pivot foot in contact with the rubber. The batter takes a lusty swing at the ball but fails to connect. How should the umpire rule in this situation?

Situation #2: Suppose in Situation #1 that the batter hits a dribbler down the 3B line and reaches 1B safely. However, the runner stays at 3B.

Reference: Knotty Problems of Baseball, The Sporting News (1979)

Intentional Walk or Not?

Derek Lowe

October 14, 2003: Game 5 of the Yankees-Red Sox ALCS

Situation: 3-0 count on NY 1B Nick Johnson.

Boston P Derek Lowe intentionally throws ball four well wide of the plate. This is the only pitch of the at-bat that missed the strike zone by a large margin.

A) Does this count as an intentional walk?

B) If the situation were reversed, and Lowe intentionally missed on the first three balls but tried to throw the fourth one over the plate but missed, would that be considered an intentional walk?

C) Suppose Lowe threw the 3-0 pitch in the dirt, but otherwise over the plate, and Johnson didn't swing. Intentional walk?

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? Peter E. Meltzer (2013)
Can P Strike Out Batter He Didn't Face?

August 23, 2006 - Chicago White Sox @ Detroit Tigers

Situation: Top of 7th, leadoff batter on 1st with a walk

Detroit P Colby Lewis, who issued the walk, goes to a 2-2 count on Scott Podsednik, who was attempting to sacrifice the runner to 2B. With the threat of the bunt removed, Tigers manager Jim Leyland elects to bring in left-hander Jamie Walker to face the left-hand hitting Podsednik. But White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen counters by sending up Brian Anderson to pinchhit. Walker delivers one pitch. Anderson swings and misses for strike three.

Which pitcher is credited with the strikeout and which batter is charged with striking out?

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? Peter E. Meltzer (2013)

Brian Anderson
Throw from C Hits Ump
Omar Vizquel
Omar Vizquel

April 22, 2002 - Chicago White Sox @ Cleveland Indians

Situation: Cleveland's Omar Vizquel on first.

Vizquel tries to steal 2B. White Sox C Sandy Alomar's throw bounces off 2B umpire Brian Runge and caromed away. Vizquel continued to 3B. Runge ruled the play dead the instant the ball touched him and ordered Vizquel back to 2B.

To make sure Runge got the call right, the entire umpiring crew met. After consulting with each other, they stuck by their call.

Did they get call right?

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? Peter E. Meltzer (2013)
How Do You Score That?

May 24, 2013 - Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners

Situation: Bottom of second; runners on first and second and none out with Jesus Sucre at-bat for the first time in the major leagues.

Sucre grounds to 1B Mitch Moreland, who throws to SS Elvis Andrus for the first out. Andrus relays the ball back to 1B to try to complete the double play. As Moreland stretches to his left for the throw, P Justin Grimm arrives just in time to catch the ball just in front of Moreland's mitt. 1B umpire Jeff Nelson calls the runner out. Seattle manager Eric Wedge, not realizing that Grimm caught the ball, argues to no avail that Moreland's foot was off the bag.

This is an excellent example of a play that could be protested in 2014. But the douple play stood in 2013.

How was the play scored?

Rangers-Mariners 5/24/13
Watch videos of the play (after ads play)

Wild Throw Trying to Double Runner

Situation: Runner on 1B when the batter hits a shot toward LCF.

Certain the ball will go for extra bases, the runner runs full tilt and is around 2B when the CF makes a great diving catch. In his haste to return to 1B, the runner misses 2B. Meanwhile, the outfielder's return throw goes past the first baseman and into the dugout. What about the runner?

Diving Catch
Peralta runs into Casilla.
Fielder Collides with Runner on His Base
Twins @ Tigers September 22, 2012

Situation: The Twins were batting in the top of the fifth with Alexi Casilla on 2B and one out.

Denard Span hit a pop fly behind 2B. SS Jhonny Peralta backpedaled and bumped into Casilla, who was standing on the base with his back to the play. Should Casilla be called out for interference?

Infield Fly Not Called
Situation: Runners are on first and second with one out.

The batter hits a low fly behind SS. The SS runs out and seems to have an easy chance of catching the ball. Realizing that no umpire called Infield Fly, the SS drops the ball intentionally, then throws to 3B to force the runner from second. The 3B throws to 2B to get the runner from first.

Does the double play stand?

Pitcher throws glove at ball
Pitcher Throws Glove at Ball
Situation: Runner on first, no outs.

The batter lays down a bunt that rolls between the mound and the 1B line. The P, unable to get to the ball, throws his glove at it. The glove makes contact with the ball to stop it. But the batter still beats the P's throw to 1B.

What, if anything, should the umpires rule in this situation?

Batter Carries Bat to 1B

Situation: The batter hits a ground ball to an infielder and carries his bat all the way to 1B.

Is this against the rules?

Batter Runs to 1B
Robin Ventura 1999 Playoff HR
Aborted Walk-Off HR

October 17, 1999 - Game 5 of the NLCS

Situation: Bottom of 15th; 3-3; bases loaded; Robin Ven­tura at bat for the Mets

Ventura hits a long drive over the RCF fence. Roger Cede­no and John Olerud run home from third and second, re­spectively. But Todd Pratt, who had been on first, stops near 3B and runs toward 2B to embrace Ventura, who is mobbed by his teammates and never reaches 2B. Even­tually, the players and umpires leave the field.

What was the final score of the game and how was Ven­tura's at-bat scored?

Batter Hits Ball after Balk Call

Situation: Runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs

As the pitcher delivers, the umpire at 2B calls "Balk" but the batter hits the ball, which travels into RCF for a base hit. The runner on 2nd attempts to score but is thrown out at the plate. Meanwhile, the runner who was on 1B goes to 3B and the batter is at 1B.

Does the play stand?

Runner slides home.
Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo
Runner Stays on 1B on Grounder

Situation: July 25, 2012, Cubs @ Diamondbacks, bottom of the 2nd

Dbacks have P Wade Miley on 1B with one out. The batter, Adam Eaton, hits a ball to the right of 1B Anthony Rizzo, who grabs the grounder and starts to throw to 2B. But Miley, with Rizzo between himself and 2B, stays close to 1B.

So Pizzo runs to 1B where Miley stands on the bag. Anthony steps on the bag ahead of Eaton's arrival from the plate, then tags Miley.