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Joe is the founder of Project COBB, under which he serves as Stats and Research Manager for the GB National Team and chairs the British Baseball Hall of Fame. Joe's writing has been published in book form by Fineleaf.

You Are the Scorer: Reader query (with a video!)

YouAreScorer
Thanks to CJ Evans from the Chelmsford Clippers for this question. For the first time ever on the column we have a video to go with it, which is embedded below.

The descriptive text and question posted in the accompanying text on YouTube is as follows:

“British baseball play, pop-up to pitcher, runners on 1 and 3. Runner at 1 goes on contact with none out and gets doubled off trying to get back. Runner at 3 comes home on the play and scores without a throw. Question – how do you score it?”

British baseball play, pop-up to pitcher, runners on 1 and 3.
Runner at 1 goes on contact with none out and gets doubled off trying to get back.
Runner at 3 comes home on the play and scores without a throw.
Question – how do you score it?

In particular, CJ wants to know the following:

  1. “Should 1B be charged with an error for not throwing?”
  2. “Can there be a sac fly on an infield pop-up?”
  3. “Does the pitcher get charged with an earned run? (After this play there is a walk and then a ground out so he would have been stranded if the following plays bore out.)”

These are my thoughts on those three questions. If anyone concurs or disagrees, please feel free to chip in with a comment.

  1. This is a mental mistake so no error is charged. (Rule 10.12(a)(1) Comment: “The official scorer shall not score mental mistakes or misjudgments as errors unless a specific rule prescribes otherwise.” I am not aware of a rule in the book overriding this general statement.)
  2. A sacrifice fly should never be scored for a catch taken in the infield. (Rule 10.08(d): “Score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield in fair or foul territory.”)
  3. Yes, because no error is charged on the play.

So it goes in the book as a double-play comprising a fly-out to 1 and a 1-3 put-out, with the run being scored on the play, and no error being charged. Thus, the batter is charged with a time at-bat and no-one gets a run batted in. Also note that the runner who is put out trying to return to first does not get charged with a caught stealing because the action occurred on a ball in play (as soon as the ball is put in play, all stolen base/caught stealing considerations are voided). I mention this last point because it was a question I got from a rookie scorer on the Leicester Blue Sox a couple of weekends back at the Herts Spring League.

To post a question, please contact me by email if you have my address or by using the About > Get in contact functionality of the site if not. I’ll turn the best ones into posts for the site. Alternatively, to hunt through all the You Are the Scorer questions, including the 50 questions that kicked the forum off, click here.

10 Responses to “You Are the Scorer: Reader query (with a video!)”

  1. Matt Smith #

    I would agree with that interpretation. As noted, a ‘mental’ type mistake only counts as an error if it’s specifically covered (eg they added a rule for when someone forgets the number of outs and chucks the ball into the crowd) but I dont’t think this situation is in there.

    Good query though, especially with the clip as well. Like the shout of “what are you doing?!”

    April 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm Reply
  2. Yeah – we definitely need to do more like this. It’s awesome having the video to complement it.

    April 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm Reply
  3. CJ #

    Thanks for the as ever prompt reply-there has been a discussion flowing most of the day on facebook about this play, happy to simulate a few proper proper plays at training for you if you have some you would like to have on the site. Just to clarify, would you annotate the 3-home as a batted forward, of course without RBI credit, or advanced on throw (I think they are the only options available). Thanks again, CJ

    April 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm Reply
  4. Personally, I reserve “advanced on throw” for the more standard play of the batter-runner taking an extra base on a hit to the outfield by virtue of a throw being made to another base – so I would suggest that this is a “batted forward” – or what I would describe as “advanced on the play” – as this is a more generic bucket to put the unusual case in. For me, this would just involve putting the line-up number of the hitter in the space between third and home on my paper scoresheet.

    If you guys have time to simulate some plays for the site, I think that would be fantastic.

    Cheers,

    Joe

    April 7, 2010 at 9:34 am Reply
  5. Adam Brown #

    I wouldn’t call it “batted forward” – that implies that it was something the batter did that allowed the runner to reach home. It was an entirely separate play. If a batter causes someone to advance home (and its not a double play, although thats a stupid rule) then surely an rbi should be awarded?

    It wasn’t even “advanced on the throw” because if you watch closely, the guy clearly hasn’t left 3rd until the ball is with the 1st baseman.

    From an umpires point of view, there are three separate plays here actually:

    1) batter out on P1
    2) R1 out on appeal for leaving early 1-3
    3) R3 advances home on defensive inattention

    It’s no different to a runner jogging from 2nd to 3rd while the infield foolishly throw the ball around after a strikeout. Everything that happened prior to the runner advancing is irrelevant.

    April 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm Reply
  6. Adam,

    I think “batted forward” is preferable to “advanced on the throw” if those are the only two options available. I still personally like “advanced on the play”, but I think “defensive indifference” could describe it as well if you preferred ths term. I tend to reserve this to describe a stolen base that isn’t a stolen base because the defence made no attempt to prevent and had a strategic region to do nothing, but that’s just my preference.

    Also, I would not award an RBI to the batter if they flied out, unless it was an official sacrfice fly. That is how I see the rule book.

    Regardless, I think even if you applied the term “infield out” from Rule 10.04(a)(1) to the play to validate this as an RBI, then I think that Rule 10.04(c) would over-rule it in this particular case:

    “The official scorer’s judgment must determine whether a run batted in shall be credited for a run that scores when a fielder holds the ball or throws to a wrong base. Ordinarily, if the runner keeps going, the official scorer should credit a run batted in; if the runner stops and takes off again when the runner notices the misplay, the official scorer should credit the run as scored on a fielder’s choice.”

    The runner advanced after noticing the misplay (i.e. the mental error in not watching the plate).

    April 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm Reply
  7. Adam Brown #

    There’s the usual difference here between what the official scoring rules say and what actually happened!

    It’s a real shame that they didn’t do a better job of making the scoring rules more rigorous in the 1st place, then there wouldn’t be this confusion, as unfortunately there is simply no official term that adequately describes this particular play.

    April 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm Reply
  8. Absolutely. It’s amazing it’s survived for so long in such an ambiguous state. Some of it is sticking to historical precedents – which I can see a rationale for – but other bits appear to be just laziness.

    Joe

    April 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm Reply
  9. Charles Earle #

    I think the advance from 3rd base to home plate should be scored with the batting order number of the batter with a horizontal stroke above it. See Example 78 on page 141 of the hard-copy IBAF Scoring Manual. The horizontal stroke above the batter’s number indicates that this is not a run batted in, as it was scored on the back of a hit that led to a double play.

    April 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm Reply
  10. Adam Faber (Down Under) #

    I agree with most of things in here.

    No error charged on the play: the catch was taken cleanly, the out was made at first cleanly, and neither a wild throw nor mishandled thrown ball allowed the runner to score.

    The RBI question is a curly one, with a few things to consider. Just because its a double play doesn’t automatically mean that there can’t be an RBI awarded. The rules (10.04(b)(1) for anyone playing along at home) say that a batter doesn’t get an RBI when hitting into “… force double play or a reverse-force double play”. The out at first is not actually a force play but a timing play (had it been the third out and the runner crossed the plate before the out was made, then the run would still count) so that doesn’t prevent the RBI being scored.

    Watching the play, the runner from third starts for home when the pitcher makes the throw, but then hesitates and then starts again (presumably when the first baseman turns around). If there had been no hesitation there would be little room for denying the RBI (even though I don’t think the batter would really deserve it). Because there was the hesitation, as stated above with 10.04(c), there’d be no RBI with the runner advancing on the fielder’s choice.

    April 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm Reply

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