Home Keeping scoreGreat Britain Baseball Scorers AssociationYou Are the Scorer You Are the Scorer: Number 29

You Are the Scorer: Number 29

by Joe Gray


Scenario: The batter hits a slow grounder straight towards the shortstop. The third baseman dives and knocks the ball with an outstretched glove. This diverts the ball off the path that was taking it straight to the shortstop, but this fielder is still able to grab the ball and nail the batter-runner at first.

How would you put the play down in your scorebook?

A – 5-6-3.
B – 6-3.

Highlight the text below to reveal the answer:

 B – 6-3.

Rule 10.10(a)(1) Comment states:
Mere ineffective contact with the ball shall not be considered an assist. “Deflect” shall mean to slow down or change the direction of the ball and thereby effectively assist in putting out a batter or runner.

The third baseman’s involvement is hindering rather than effectively assisting the putting out of the batter-runner.

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Matt Smith May 22, 2009 - 3:08 pm

This is a good example of where you think you’ve learned something and then find out that it’s not as simple as you first thought!

I remember being a bit surprised but glad to finally learn that a player can get credited with an assist if they deflect the ball. Typically when I score as a fan this will come into effect where the pitcher reaches out for a sharp grounder and deflects it for the shortstop or second baseman to then throw to first for the putout.

From learning this, my mindset has simply been that if a player deflects the ball, he gets an assist. So, when I saw this question, I immediately thought the answer was A.


I guess the key here is that we often pick up the rules by watching the games and if a particular situation doesn’t come along, you’re not going to know about it. Well worth checking the rule book every now and then!

Joe Gray May 22, 2009 - 6:45 pm

It will rarely be as clear cut as the example I present, and if there’s doubt it’s almost certain to go in the fielder’s favour (which is why this doesn’t crop up much, as you mention), but it does illustrate that the scorer has the option to withhold credit for an assist.

Joe Cooter May 22, 2009 - 8:25 pm

One famous Example of the ball being deflected off the glove of the third baseman to the shortstop occured in Game Five 1956 World Series. The first batter of the 2nd inning was Jackie Robinson. Robinson hit a hard ground ball off the glove of third baseman Andy Carey and the ball deflected to Gil McDougal who threw the ball to first baseman Joe Collins in time to just beat out Robinson. Larson latter admitted that a younger Jackie Robinson would have beaten the ball to first base. As it was Jackie was out and Larson went on to throw a perfect game.

Chris May 24, 2009 - 11:49 pm

I have a scoring question, Joe – if a player on 3B tries to score on a wild pitch, but the catcher recovers in time to get the ball to the pitcher for an out at the plate, does that go down as “caught stealing” or something else?

(It happened to me today for Pirates III, so I’m asking to see if my 100% SB record is still intact or not!)

Joe Gray May 24, 2009 - 11:56 pm

Your record is safe, for now. It just goes down as “2-1” in the scorebook, with no other notations needed. To be “caught stealing” a player has to have set off with the intention of getting a stolen base, rather than advancing on a wild pitch or passed ball.

Chris May 25, 2009 - 7:22 pm

Cool, thanks!

CJ May 25, 2009 - 11:34 pm

I have another play for clarification for you. Sorry if any of these are stealing ideas from you. This happened in the Brentwood – Herts game yesterday. Man on 3rd – 2 down.
Batter swings at strike 3 in the dirt. He then starts to run to 1st. Meanwhile the man on third seeing a ball in the dirt and expecting the throw to 1 has broken to go home. The catcher sees this and tags the runner out at home.

Logically I would guess at a dropped 3rd strike Fielders Choice? Does such a play even exist?

JJ May 26, 2009 - 12:05 am

CJ: I reckon you’ve got it right (but also, a strike out is recorded for the pitcher and against the batter).

This whole discussion reminds me of the annoyance I feel (whether I’m scoring or not) when people try to claim a SB for themselves or someone else just because a base was reached without the batter hitting the ball.

The other one that grates with me is when an error is given just because “the ball went in to the glove and out again!” making no allowance for the fielder’s effort to make it even that close.


Joe Gray May 26, 2009 - 9:29 am

CJ: Yep, I think you got that one right. There would be no passed ball or wild pitch charged in the scenario you describe. To see how a simliar scenario (but one where a passed ball is charged) is scored in the International Baseball Federation system, look at example 45, on page 28 of Chapter 3 of the scoring manual:

JJ: I agree. Stolen bases are one of the most misunderstood areas of scoring. And, with your other point, it’s a shame that some people think that if it hits the glove and is muffed then it must be an error, but if it doesn’t hit the glove then it can’t be an error. For me, an easy ball through the legs goes down as an error, while a diving catch that is muffed will probably not do.

CJ May 26, 2009 - 3:13 pm

I was aware of the K going to the pitcher, should have put that down. Thanks for clearing up the rest of it, it’s amazing how wierd and wacky things keep happening (almost every week) when you think each time – now I’ve seen it all!

Joe Gray May 26, 2009 - 3:27 pm

British baseball provides a wonderful training ground for scorekeepers!

Chico May 26, 2009 - 4:26 pm

I have been around the game for my whole life as the grandson and son of a player and coach and myself being a player and coach. MY son is now a player, making it 4 generations! It is 24/7 in our family. If we are not playing or coaching, we are watching games every day, 7 days a week. That being said, something “new” happens all the time. One cannot ever get to the point of thinking they have “seen it all” because baseball by its very nature will always have something different happening constantly. Hello to Matt and Joe Gray. Guys, we are starting our playoffs for high school ball on Friday of this week. Hard to believe another season of Spring HS ball is in the books. Our state playoffs and tournament run through June 9th. Summer ball begins for us on June 13th. We have a lot of games lined up at the Cell to see the White Sox play also. Hope all is going well for you! Chico

Joe Gray May 26, 2009 - 8:13 pm

Good to hear from you Chico, as always. I’m sure there’s nothing quite like taking in a Major League game on a pleasant summer’s day.

Brian June 4, 2009 - 6:21 am

I’m going to be scoring for the IBAF. I have my own system, which I love, but need to learn the new (to me) system. Is the only way to print out the scoresheet is to do it on 8 seperate pages? Or is there a way that it all prints out together. Is is normal to have 8 sheets per game? I’m used to my nice flip scorebook that I’ve used for the last 2400 games I’ve scored.

Joe Gray June 4, 2009 - 9:04 am

Hi Brian,

Which scoresheet are you referring to?

There are several on the internet. I’ve not seen one that requires 8 pages (so I wouldn’t call it normal). I suspect what has happened is that something’s playing up with the print settings. If you’ve got an Excel-based sheet, you’ll need to make sure the print area covers all of the sheet (and for this you may need to play with the paper size and margins on the print settings). The IBAF scoresheet is best printed on A3 paper, otherwise the actual boxes for scoring will be too small.

You clearly sound like you’re not looking forward to the prospect!



Brian June 4, 2009 - 9:41 am

What in the world is A3 paper? I went to your score sheet on the site, and you can see where it says Page 1, Page 2, etc…

Page 1 printed the 9 innings and as far down as the E box. The pitchers showed up on a different page. Inning 10 and the offense boxes showed up on yet another page, and then the catchers and the summary box showed up on the fourth page. Two that twice, once for each team, and you have the 8 pages. I don’t have a printer that would take paper big to print it all out together, and I think those boxes are way small already so I would hate to shrink it. Wouldn’t know how to shrink even if I did.

Joe Gray June 4, 2009 - 2:22 pm

Thanks for the constructive comments on the A3 scoresheet, but it’s not something I designed.

I would strongly recommend either finding an A3 printer or contacting IBAF for a scorebook if you are going to be using the system.

I like to score on A4 (fits under my umbrella better in the rain), and since basically all the games I score are 7 innings I’ve made my own sheet with eight columns (giving ample room for scorign notations). That’s also available at http://www.gbbsa.org.uk. You’ll notice it has space alloctaed for recording balls and strikes and inning-by-inning pitch counts, as well as clear gaps between each square so that the lines for substitutions demanded by the IBAF system can be made clear (something that is not so easy with the Excel-based sheet).


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