View Single Post
Old 04-05-2018, 05:04 PM
robardin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,766

What By The Rules of Major League Baseball...?!

My son likes to think of the corner cases... I'm pround of him that way.

These are some rules questions he asked me the other day at a baseball game that I told him I'd have to look up, which means of course, I'm asking the SDMB because using Google is going to be more work and less amusing.

Every so often a major league baseball player forgets how many outs there were, and starts jogging towards the dugout after the second out. (I don't think this ever happens after the FIRST out.) Sometimes, if he caught a fly ball for the second out, he even tosses the ball into the stands... And some of THOSE times, there are runners on base. In which case, all runners get to advance two bases.

Same thing if an infielder or catcher slings the ball to first base REALLY wildly, and it goes into the stands - all runners advance two bases.

Meanwhile, it happens every so often that a ball in play bounces into the stands for a ground rule double, which limits a guy on first base to stopping at third base, even if there were two outs and he was a fast runner already in motion with the pitch and would obviously have scored.

So, what prevents an outfielder from intentionally throwing the ball into the stands to keep a runner on first base from scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth? I think there's some kind of clause that the umpires can award MORE than two bases at their discretion under certain conditions, a general "you're making a mockery of the game" clause or something, to give them leeway to deal with creative attempts to game the system.

He also wondered, in watching all the trash blowing around the field on a windy day: is airborne debris deemed "in play"? What if the shortstop was just about to glove a ball when the ball hits a hot dog wrapper that suddenly blows right in front of it, and he messes up the pick - is that an error? Certainly any baserunners get to take advantage of it, I'd think, but would the batter get credited for an infield hit?

What if that wrapper messed up a ball as its pitched to the batter, is it a do-over or is it just a ball? If it's bad enough that the catcher can't catch it, is it a wild pitch or a passed ball?

Or would it be like the time Randy Johnson threw a fastball that an unlucky seagull got in front of somehow, and exploded in a shower of feathers? That is the canonical example of the very rare call of "no pitch". But I don't think there is a fielding equivalent, is there? If an African Pinstriped Swallow swooped down and carried off a fly ball into the distance just as Tony Tarasco was about to catch it, too bad, it's a home run?

Is a pitch grazing a player's beard considered a hit by pitch? Since the ball grazing the uniform (and not actually striking the batter's body) is deemed a HBP, it would see one's beard would count, too. So, could a batter grow out a really long, Pharaonic or Ancient Assyrian type beard, waxed stiff, that jutted out 2 feet from his chin... And move in such a way as to intentially draw contact with a pitch to get on base?

I said that could get ruled by the umpire as not trying to avoid the pitch, but we all know there are times when a batter all but or even clearly attempts to lean into the pitch to draw a HBP and still get awarded first base (so long as he doesn't actually project himself into the strike zone), so maybe "Walk Like An Egyptian" could find another life as "Get To First Base Like An Egyptian"?

Last edited by robardin; 04-05-2018 at 05:07 PM.