MLB Rule: Trapped Ball

I was Goggling the MLB’s definition and rule on Trap Balls. It seems when a ball is tossed to 1st base as a grounder AND if the baseman “catches” it with the glove down, it is a trap ball and not a true catch. Even if his foot is on the bag, the runner is safe. Two questions: I assume the same could be true at any base? Or, is this rule unique to a play at 1st base? Also, isn’t it a trap ball for any grounder handled in this way? Let’s say a ball is batted or bunted in such a way that it turns into a grounder at a base where a play can be made. The trap ball rule still applies, does it not?

  1. More likely to happen at first base, because, unless it’s a force-out (i.e., a runner had to run to the next base because of runners behind him), outs at bases have to be through tagging the runner with the ball (including the ball in a glove), rather than simply touching the base while holding the ball.

  2. First basemen’s mitts are different in design for those used by other fielders, as discussed in this thread a few weeks ago; one of those differences is a rounder top edge, to facilitate successfully scooping up a ball that’s in the dirt.

I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about this. Whether the glove is facing up or down is irrelevant. The softball rules (I know you said MLB but can’t find anything like a rule about this) say specifically that a trapped ball is " a thrown ball to any base for a force out which is caught with the glove over the ball on the ground, rather than under the ball"
[emphasis mine]. You cannot simply lay your glove on a ball on the ground. You must have control of it in your hand or glove. But your glove can be facing down.

But if you’ve trapped the ball, and your glove is face-down on the ground, wouldn’t you be presumed not to have control of the ball until you pick it up? The critical detail wouldn’t be whether you made a clean catch by snagging the ball in midair. It would be when you can demonstrate control.

That makes sense to me; as @OldGuy notes, my understanding of the rule is that you are only considered to have control of the ball if it’s in your glove or in your hand. Trapped against the ground by your glove doesn’t count.

Yes a trapped ball is by definition not caught. If it’s a fly that is trapped, the batter is not out. If the ball is trapped against the ground a force out is not complete. But the mere fact that the face of your glove is pointing down does not make it a trap. Usually if there is any question of a trap on catching a throw, you will see the player immediately lift his glove into the air to prove he has control.

Never heard of this rule. I always thought that as long as the ball gets to first (typially in the first baseman’s glove) before the hitter-runner, he was out, no matter how the ball got there. I don’t even know if this ever happened, the ball essentially rolled to first base.

I think OldGuy got it right in explaining. You can’t just “trap” a ball on the ground, you need to have clear control of it. So if he grabs it in his glove off the ground before the runner gets there, it’s an out.

This has nothing to do with how a ball gets to first base. It’s just that the first baseman (or whoever is manning the base or applying the tag) must have full control of the ball at the time. You can have full control of the ball with the mitt touching the ground and facing down, but you have to convince the ump that the ball isn’t resting on the ground. You might be able to show this by lifting up glove cleanly after the play and showing the ump the ball fully in the pocket of the mitt.

My remarks:
a) My question concerns MLB rules. I know each level of minor league ball and softball, etc., has its own variations of the rules…but I am not up on the all the nuances.
b) Couldn’t there be a force-out at 2nd base where a grounder comes to the 2nd baseman? Wouldn’t the trapped ball rule still apply regardless? Yet, in my Google searching, it sounds as if the rule is written concerning plays at first base only.
(Ultimately, yes, it seems rules on trapped balls would fall under a broader topic of maintaining control over the ball.)
c) i did not realize the 1st baseman’s glove is different. I regret not seeing that thread.

Further thoughts on the topic?

Yes, as I noted in the first reply.

Can you provide a link to an article which indicates this? As myself and other respondents in your thread are unfamiliar with this particular rule you seem to have found.

As I’m sure you are aware, when asking questions about something like this, it’s always useful to actually provide the rest of us with a link to what you are looking at.

It applies to other cases. Early this year there was a play against the Mets where an outfielder trapped a ball against the outfield wall. It was originally called a catch and was called a triple play when the ball was thrown into a replay, but video showed it was a trapped ball and everyone was safe.

Trapped balls aren’t caught, so the rule applies there.

The Official Rules do not use the word “trap” in this sense (it’s used in other senses) so I am not sure what rule the OP is referring to. The rule that states you’re out if first base is tagged before you get there reads, in its entirety:

5.09.10: (The batter is out when) After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base.

That’s it.