How Would You Rule? –XI
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.
Runner Goes Straight to 3B on Ground Rule Double
Situation: Oakland's Rickey Henderson is on 1B in a game against the White Sox. On the first pitch to the next batter, Rickey takes off for second. The batter hits a fly ball down the LF line. Henderson drives head first into second. From his prone position, he sees that the LF has a good chance to catch the ball. So he scurries to his feet and hurries back to 1B. But the ball eludes the LF and bounces into the stands for a ground-rule double. The embarrassed Henderson takes a shortcut across the infield from 1B to 3B while the batter trots to 2B.

What should the umpires do?

Reference: Baseball Brain Teasers, Dom Forker (1986)


Rickey Henderson, Oakland A's

Foul Tip
Batter Out on Foul Tip off Umpire?

Situation: The batter foul tips a 2-2 pitch that bounces off the home plate umpire up into the air. The catcher snares the ball before it hits the ground. Is the batter out on strikes?

Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, May/June 2011

Foul Pop into Stands

Situation: A visiting team infielder reaches into the stands and is about to catch a foul pop fly. A home team fan pushes him away. As a result, the ball lands among the fans.

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan's Guide to the Official Rules,
Peter E. Meltzer (2013)
Foul Ball into Stands
Pitcher in Motion
Pitcher Drops Ball While in His Motion

Situation: With the bases empty, the pitcher starts a legal delivery to the batter, but midway through his motion, the ball slips from his hand and rolls away.

What is the ruling?

Reference: Knotty Problems of Baseball, published by The Sporting News, 1979
Runner Doubled Off before Run Scores

Situation: Runners on first and third with one out.

The batter flies out to CF for the second out. The runner on third properly tags up and goes home. But the runner on first, who was off with the pitch, is doubled-up at 1B for the third out a couple of seconds after the runner on third crosses the plate. Does the run count?

Runnder Doubled Off 1B

Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest July/August 2012

Jackie Robinson Steals Home
Jackie Robinson stealing home in the 1955 World Series
Interference with Runner Stealing Home

Situation: Runners on second and third, two out and a weak-hitting P at bat.

The manager gives the sign for a steal of home. Away to a good start on the P's windup, the runner from third appears a cinch to make it safely. The C, in his anxiety to get the runner coming home, moves forward toward the plate and interferes with the batter's wing. However, the C succeeds in tagging the sliding runner before he reaches the plate. Is the runner out and what about the batter?

Ball Drops on Infield Fly

Situation: The bases are filled with none out. The batter hits a high pop down the 3B line. The umpire calls "Infield Fly." The C and 3B chase the ball and, at the last moment, both shy away. The ball drops untouched in fair territory, then bounces foul.

Is the batter out?

Infield Fly Rule
Roger Bernadina, Nationals
Bunt with Foot on Plate

Situation: May 22, 2011 - Washington Nationals @ Baltimore Orioles

Roger Bernadina leads off the game with a drag bunt single. However, home plate umpire Todd Tichenor notices that Bernardina's foot on was on home plate when he bunted the ball.

Two Runners on Same Base

Situation: Runners on second and third with one out

The batter hits a ground ball to the 3B. The runner on third is caught in a rundown, and the man on second advances to third. The ball is thrown to the 3B who tags the runner from second who is standing on the 3B bag and tags the other runner sliding back into 3B just before his foot touches the bag.

Two runners on 3B
Interference on Infield Fly Play

August 26, 2012: Florida Marlins @ Los Angeles Dodgers

Situation: Bottom of the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez on 2B and Andre Ethier on 1B with one out.

Luis Cruz hits a pop fly halfway between home and 1B. The umpires properly declare "infield fly if fair." As 1B Carlos Lee runs in to make the catch, he collides with Ethier, who was off his base.

The flyball hits the ground and rolls away from C Rob Brantly into foul territory without being touched by Brantly. P Chad Gaudin retrieves the ball in foul territory and flips it to 2B Donovan Solano covering 1B. Meanwhile, Ethier runs to second and Gonzalez takes off for third. Solano runs the ball across the infield and throws to 3B Greg Dobbs, who tags Gonzalez.

The umpires huddled for several minutes trying to straighten out the chaos. How did they rule?

Foul Tip
Foul Tips Ball in Dirt

Situation: With the count 2-2, the pitch hits the ground in front of home plate. However, the batter swings and foul tips the ball into the mitt of the catcher.

Is the batter out?
Runners Dive Back to First and Second

Situation: One out, runners at first and second

The batter hits a low liner which the runners fear will be caught. So they dive back to their bases. The 1B, however, catches the ball on one bounce. He whirls to touch 1B, then fires to second, where the SS steps on the base, believing a DP has been accomplished. Has it?
Runner Mistakenly Thinks Ball Is Caught

Situation: Two outs with a runner on first base.

The batter hits a long drive to left, but the LF catches the ball, then drops it. The runner on first, seeing the catch, dejectedly turns away toward his position in CF. Alerted by the coch, the runner spins around and runs to 2B. The defensive team claims the runner is out for leaving the base line. Is this correct?

Where Should the Runners Be Placed?

Situation: Runners on first and second, one out.

The batter hits a sharp grounder to the 3B. His toss to 2B is too late for a force play, and the 2B's toss to first is high and sails into the stands. Where should the umpire place the runners?

Quick Pitch Penalty

A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. However, the home plate umpire must decide whether the hurler delivers the pitch before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box.

What is the penalty for a quick pitch?

Wide Throw But Runner Misses Base

Situation: June 17, 2011 - New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays

Bottom of third, two outs, no one on

Yunel Escobar hits a grounder up the middle. 2B Robinson Cano fields it and throws high and wide to 1B Jorge Posada, who is pulled off the bag. Escobar, trying to avoid Posada, oversteps the base. 1B umpire Angel Hernandez makes no call either way. Posada, knowing the runner missed the bag, steps on first base.

"Rule Review," Rich Marazzi, USA Today Sports Weekly, July 27-August 2, 2011

Batter Knocks Strike 3 Out of Catcher's Glove

Situation: Runner on first, one out, two strikes on the batter

The batter swings and misses as the runner streaks for second. On his back swing, the batter hits the catcher's glove, causing him to drop the ball.

Knotty Problems of Baseball, The Sporting News (1979)

Batter Hits Ball Twice on Same Swing

Situation: June 25, 2011, Colorado Rockies batting against the New York Yankees

Troy Tulowitzki swung and, as slow-motion replay revealed, inadvertently hit the ball twice. The ball landed safely for a single. If the umpire had detected that Troy hit the ball twice on the same swing, what should he have ruled?

"Rule Review," Rich Marazzi, USA Today Sports Weekly, July 14-19, 2011

Runner Kicks Ball Out of Fielder's Hands

Situation: Runner on first.

The batter singles to RF. The runner rounds second and heads for third, where the throw easily beats him. As he slides, he deliberately kicks the ball from the 3B's hands. As the ball rolls away, the batter-runner advances to second.

Earned or Unearned?

Situation: On July 10, 1942, the Cardinals and Giants are tied in the bottom of the tenth at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The Cardinals have Terry Moore on second and Enos Slaughter on first with none out and Stan Musial at bat.

Musial bunts. The pitcher, Ace Adams, fields the ball and throws to 3B. Since no one is covering the bag, the wild throw allows Moore to score the winning run. Is the run unearned?

Third Strike Hits Batter

Situation: Oregon State vs Belmont in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, June 1, 2012

The right-hand hitting Oregon State leadoff batter in the bottom of the first has a 1-2 count facing the southpaw P. The batter swings and misses a curve ball, but it hits him and bounds toward the backstop. The batter starts running to first.

Pitcher Bumps Runner

Situation: Attempting to sacrifice, the batter pops a bunt between the mound and the first base line. The P lunges for the ball, which hits the tip of his glove and rolls away. The P's momentum carries into the batter-runner's path and they bump. The C grabs the ball and throws out the batter at first.

What is the call?

Knotty Problems of Baseball, The Sporting News (1979)
Relief Pitcher Doesn't Face a Batter

June 20, 2011: Tampa Bay Rays @ Milwaukee Brewers

Situation: Tampa manager Joe Maddon sends Sam Fuld to pinch-hit for reliever J.P. Howell in the eighth inning. At the end of the inning, Fuld takes the mound and begins warming up.

After Fuld completes his warmups but before the first batter of the inning steps to the plate, Maddon removes Fuld and brings in Cesar Ramos.

Is this legal?

Reference: "Umps dropped ball on pitching change," Rich Marazzi, USA Today Sports Weekly June 29-July 5, 2011
Two Men on Third after Obstruction

Situation: Runners at first and second

  • The batter lines a hit to right.
  • The runner at second starts for third but collides with the SS in the base line. Dazed, he gets up and staggers to third.
  • The runner coming from first is unaware of the collision and dashes into third, only to find his teammate standing there.
  • As both occupy the base, the 3B tags the second runner.

What is the ruling?

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