Home Keeping scoreGreat Britain Baseball Scorers AssociationYou Are the Scorer You Are the Scorer: Number 3

You Are the Scorer: Number 3

by Joe Gray


It is the top of the ninth inning in a tied game and, with the bases loaded, the #9 hitter just popped up to the shortstop for the second out. Although this was only the second out, the pitcher starts walking towards the dugout, and the rest of the fielding team as well as the batting side also start to leave the field, thinking that the top-half of the inning is complete.

As the official scorer, what should you do about the teams changing sides with only two outs?

A – Immediately notify the manager of the fielding side.
B – Immediately notify the manager of the batting side.
C – Notify the umpire-in-chief before the bottom of the ninth can begin.
D – Keep quiet.

Highlight the text below to reveal the answer:

 C – Notify the umpire-in-chief before the bottom of the ninth can begin.

Rule 10.01(b)(2) states:
If the teams change sides before three men are put out, the official scorer shall immediately inform the umpire-in-chief of the mistake.

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Ron November 21, 2008 - 8:02 pm

Can I ask where you got this reference for the rule, because I’ve been umpiring for 30 years and its one I’m not familiar with. I might be wrong, but I’m not sure.

It comes down to the same issue as batting out of order. If the scorer or umpire says something, then it affects play. If the defensive players are walking off the field and 2 runners score becasue they are not paying attention, that’s perfectly legal. But if the scorer/umpire corrects the defensive team, they then prevent the offensive team from socring on a defensive mistake. That can’t happen either.

I have a feeling that this rule is designed to state that after both teams have abandoned the field and no further plays can be made, the umpire will send the teams out to continue play. But not beforehand, as that would interfere with live ball play.

Joe Gray November 21, 2008 - 11:21 pm

Hi Ron,

The wording for the rule is taken straight out of the MLB rulebook (see here). It’s one of the many rules that requires a bit of interpretation – and I believe your interpretation to be the most in keeping with baseball and therefore the one to follow.

Thank you for your valuable insight. The intention of the question was to ask what the scorer should do about teams changing sides, rather than just starting to leave the field, but this was a little unclear from my wording (hey, maybe I could get a job working on the MLB rulebook). Anyway, I’ve tidied up the wording to better reflect the intended question.

Ron November 26, 2008 - 10:29 pm


Thanks. I’ve kept score for years and taught many people how to do it, but I’m an umpire first and foremost, so that’s what my thinking always is.

Thanks for the reference and the clarification. As they always say, the interest is in always getting it right, and nothing else.



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