Home Keeping scoreGreat Britain Baseball Scorers AssociationYou Are the Scorer You Are the Scorer: Number 38

You Are the Scorer: Number 38

by Joe Gray


Scenario: With a runner on second and two outs, the batter hits a blooper to right field, but the outfielder, who is playing shallow, fails to take what is a very easy chance. The runner on second had set off on contact and was rounding third when the ball was dropped. The runner carries on running hard for home. The fielder retrieves the ball quickly and makes a near-perfect throw to the catcher, and the runner is tagged out while sliding into the plate.

Does the out exempt the right fielder from an error?

A – Yes.
B – No.

Highlight the text below to reveal the answer:

B – No.

Rule 10.12(d)(4) states:
[The official scorer shall not charge an error against] any fielder when, after fumbling a ground ball or dropping a batted ball that is in flight or a thrown ball, the fielder recovers the ball in time to force out a runner at any base.

Since the out is made on a runner not forced to advance, this exemption does not apply so the batter reaches base on an error.

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CJ July 29, 2009 - 6:51 pm

Another random question. Bases empty, ball 4 is in the dirt and goes through the catcher. Batter goes to one and knowing the catcher hasn’t got a great arm sees the ball is only just been picked up and the catcher is still half way towards the backstop (which is pretty deep). Runner goes for 2nd and the catcher is slow to react and is easily safe without even a throw. How would you score the progression from 1-2?

Joe Gray July 30, 2009 - 1:59 pm

Good question, and I’m loving the detail in the description. The answer lies in Rule 10.12(f)(1)(i), which tells us that we can’t charge an error for it, but it’s an advancement that needs to be accounted for as we can’t just write a big “BB” to get the player to second. So it’s a “BB” between home and first, and a “WP” (because the ball was in the dirt) from first to second. Also, it’s a nice bit of base-running, although perhaps the manager wants to have a quiet word with the catcher about being a bit lazy getting to that wild pitch.

CJ July 30, 2009 - 11:36 pm

I was the baserunner in the case in question – that’s why the detail is good! I did it twice in the same game – it wasn’t the strongest catcher. The other one was a dropped third strike and there was a man on 2nd who went to 3rd and so I made it to 2 on that one also but scored that as DI (as the man was on 3)but didn’t have a clue on how to score the other one. Final question, if there was a throw from the catcher would it change the situation? Could it be considered a steal or caught stealing depending on the outcome of the throw or would it always be dependent on the result of the AB?
(as always, thank you for the help)

Joe Gray July 31, 2009 - 9:03 am

A throw from the catcher wouldn’t change the situation unless an out was made. And it could not be called a caught stealing if an out was made, because you were attempting to advance aided by a passed ball/wild pitch rather than attempting a steal. If you were thrown out at second trying to advance on ball four in the dirt, you’d get a “BB” and a “2-4” or “2-6”. The catcher would have saved the pitcher from having a “WP” chalked up.

CJ July 31, 2009 - 9:49 pm

Excellent, thanks for clearing that up for me! One other alteration to the example and I’ll be done, what if the ball was not a WP? I have seen once before with a man on third and 1 out a batter get a walk and then turn towards 2nd with the aim of drawing the throw for the man on 3 to go home. The throw came and then when the runner at 3 broke the play at the plate was safe. From what you have said I’d guess at a possible steal for the runner on 3 and a FC on 1-2? I know its rare but this is British baseball after all!

Joe Gray August 1, 2009 - 5:05 pm

The rules tell us that: “The official scorer shall credit a stolen base to a runner whenever the runner advances one base unaided by a hit, a putout, an error, a force-out, a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch or a balk, subject to the following:”.

So you’re right about the runner coming in from third base. As for the other guy, you could argue that the throw to the plate permitted the steal, making it a type of fielder’s choice scenario, but in a more conventional double-steal the scorer would never dream of awarding one of the runners a fielder’s choice advancement… so I reckon the guy getting to second would also get a steal. Another way to think about it is that we’d probably charge a caught stealing if the runner got gunned down at second, so it’s only fair that a successful advance should earn a stolen base.


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