Five ways to first base

Interesting this classic is up this week

Today on the Tacoma Rainiers twitter feed (talking to the Reno Aces) they came up with 23 ways for a hitter to reach first without it being scored a hit:

*@Aceball walk, int. walk, HBP, dropped 3rd pitch, don’t deliver pitch in 20 secs, catcher interference, fielder int, spectator int…

@Aceball fan obstruc., fair ball hits ump or runner, fielder obstructs runner, pinch-runner, fielder’s choice, force out at another base…

@Aceball preceding runner putout allows batter 2 reach 1st, sac bunt fails 2 advance runner, sacrifice fly drop, runner called out on appeal

@Aceball error, 4 illegal pitches, single, game suspended with player on 1st who is traded prior to the makeup-> new player then takes place

I especially like the last one for creativity!

Thanks very much voguevixen. I count only 22 in your list, which looks like it’s from Tacoma Rainiers (RainiersLand) on Twitter. What am I missing? And why are “walk” and “intentional walk” counted as two? Same for “pinch runner” and “game suspended…”. However, if 62-year-old Morganna runs out on the field and causes the runner on first to faint…

Single, fielder’s choice, anything with “runner”, fielder or spectator interference all involve hitting the ball, which is excluded in the original question.

a balk with a 3 balls count (although that might be consider a walk)

Rainiers are a minor league team and in the minors you can announce to the ump that you are giving an intentional walk and they get the base without throwing the 4 pitches.

The fair ball hitting an ump would be scored a hit because umpires are in the field of play (like hiiting a bas would be considered a hit too)

Um, what? Balks don’t affect the batter–only the runners. I don’t think you can even walk a batter on that play–play is dead as soon as the balk is called, isn’t it?

From the Official Rules:

If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when –
(a) The pitcher…


PENALTY: The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out, unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk."

Bold added.

Gee, my preferred way to first base is dinner and a movie.

You guys are just over-complicating it.

As Telemark pointed out, Cecil’s column dealt only with ways to first without hitting the ball, but I’ll play along here anyway…

There are lots of redundancies on your list.
“Walk” and “intentional walk” were mentioned. Officially, there is no difference.
What the hell is the difference between “spectator interference” and “fan obstruction”? (and in most cases it’s scored a double anyway.)
“Force out at another base,” “preceding runner putout allows batter 2 reach 1st,” and “sac bunt fails 2 advance runner” are all forms of “fielder’s choice”…
“Don’t deliver pitch in 20 secs”?? What rule is that?

I have to call bullshit on this @Aceball person.

I think the deal here is that if the pitcher balks during his delivery, and it’s ball 4 or a hit, etc., the batter gets his base as usual in addition to the runners moving up. This is rare since most balks are called before the delivery or on throws to the bases.

I’ve never heard of this or seen it happen, and don’t believe it’s true.

According to Wikipedia, the line here is drawn between non-professional and professional, not between minor and major.

The Rainier list is BS. For example: count is 3-1 and the pitcher puts his hand to his mouth without permission. Under Rule 8.02(a)(1) the ump calls a ball and the batter gets his base. Any reasonable person would say that’s a walk but Aceball would list it as yet another way to get on base. He also does not know the rules, because as I pointed out earlier, a hit ball off an ump in the field of play is a live ball and would be scored a hit just like if it hits the rubber or wall. Even if you grant that in the minors, a pitcher can give an intentional walk by announcing it (and yes I did see it maybe 10 years ago at an Elsinore Quakes game although the rule may have changed since then), we would all agree that it is no different than the standard base on balls.

If a base runner is hit by a batted ball, the base runner is out and the batter is awarded first base.


A general, catch-all rule referred to as Fielders Choice.

Does “sac bunt fails to advance runner” mean a) fielder’s choice (runner was put out), or b) hit (if first base was open, and runner just stayed where they were w/o advancing) ?

Is “sacrifice fly drop” scored as a sacrifice (i.e. not an official at-bat?) or is it really the same thing as “error”?
And how is “single” not “scored a hit”?

And a serious scoring question: Assume there’s a runner on second, and what would otherwise be a single is hit, but the runner goes to third while failing to tag second and is out on appeal. This would be a hit plus a baserunning out, right, same as if the runner was tagged out trying to reach third?

OK, how’s this list:
(Without hitting the ball): walk, HBP, dropped third strike, catcher interference, pinch runner, and (possibly a variant of pinch runner, but listed because it’s so creative) game suspended with player on 1st who is traded prior to the makeup-> new player then takes place,
(with hitting the ball): fielder int, spectator int, fielder’s choice, error
I suppose to both lists we could add “umpire decision over situation not otherwise covered in rules”, since that’s always a possibility. Say, it’s discovered the third baseman has a mirror that he’s using to flash sunlight into the batter’s eyes during the pitch; in that situation I could see an umpire awarding first to the batter (and yet it’s not catcher interference).

A really good pick up line helps also =)