Rule 8 - Base Running
Section 1 - WHEN BATTER BECOMES A RUNNER
8-1-1 A batter becomes a runner with the right to attempt to score by advancing to first, second, third and home bases in the listed order when:
- he hits a fair ball (2-5-1);
- He becomes a batter-runner when entitled to run.
- he is charged with a third strike;
- If third strike is caught, he is out an instant after he becomes a runner.
- an intentional base on balls is awarded, or a fourth ball is called by the umpire;
- a pitched ball hits his person or clothing, provided he does not strike at the ball; or
- If he permits the pitched ball to touch him (7-3-4), or if the umpire calls the pitched ball a strike, the hitting of the batter is disregarded except that the ball is dead. It is a strike or ball depending on location of the pitch.
- If a batter’s loose garment, such as a shirt that is not worn properly, is touched by a pitched ball, the batter is not entitled to first base.
- the catcher or any other defensive player obstructs him. The coach or captain of the team at bat, after being informed by the umpire-in-chief of the obstruction, shall indicate whether or not he elects to decline the obstruction penalty and accept the resulting play. Such election shall be made before the next pitch (legal or illegal), before the award of an intentional base on balls, or before the infielders leave the diamond. Obstruction of the batter is ignored if the batter-runner reaches first and all other runners advance at least one base.
- Any runner attempting to advance (i.e., steal or squeeze) on a catcher’s obstruction of the batter shall be awarded the base he is attempting. If a runner is not attempting to advance on the catcher’s obstruction, he shall not be entitled to the next base, if not forced to advance because of the batter being awarded first base. If obstruction is enforced, all other runners on the play will return to base occupied at time of the pitch. The batter is awarded first base, if he did not reach base.
- If obstruction is not enforced, all other runners advance at their own risk.
8-1-2 A batter-runner is awarded first base if:
- he is a runner because of 8-1-1c, d, e; or
- his fair ball, other than an infield fly, becomes dead (5-1-1f-1, 2) and provided a preceding runner or retired runner does not interfere in such a way as to prevent a potential double play (8-4-1h).
NOTE: Unless awarded first base as above, a batter-runner is entitled to first base only if he reaches it before being tagged out or thrown out or called out for hitting an infield fly (8-4-1).
Section 2 - TOUCHING, OCCUPYING AND RETURNING TO A BASE
8-2-1 An advancing runner shall touch first, second, third and then home plate in order, including awarded bases.
8-2-2 A returning runner shall retouch the bases in reverse order. If the ball is dead because of an uncaught foul, it is not necessary for a returning runner to retouch intervening bases. The umpire will not make the ball live until the runner returns to the appropriate base.
8-2-3 Any runner who misses a base while advancing may not return to touch it after a following runner has scored.
NOTE: Any runner who misses the first base to which he is advancing and who is later called out shall be considered as having advanced one base.
8-2-4 If a fair or foul batted ball is caught, other than a foul tip, each base runner shall touch his base after the batted ball has touched a fielder. (See 8-4-1c for fielder intentionally dropping the ball and 8-4-2i for runner being put out.)
8-2-5 If a runner who misses any base (including home plate) or leaves a base too early, desires to return to touch the base, he must do so immediately. If the ball becomes dead and the runner is on or beyond a succeeding base, he cannot return to the missed base and, therefore, is subject to being declared out upon proper and successful appeal.
PENALTY (ART. 8-1-5): For failure to touch a base (advancing and returning), or failure to tag up as soon as the ball is touched on a caught fly ball, the runner may be called out if an appeal is made by the defensive team. The defense may appeal during a live ball immediately following the play and before a pitch (legal or illegal), granting an intentional base on balls, or before the next play or attempted play. If the offensive team initiates a play before the next pitch, the defensive team does not lose the right to appeal. A live-ball appeal may be made by a defensive player with the ball in his possession by tagging the runner or touching the base that was missed or left too early. A dead-ball appeal may be made by a coach or any defensive player with or without the ball by verbally stating that the runner missed the base or left the base too early. Appeals must be made (1) before the next legal or illegal pitch; (2) at the end of an inning, before the pitcher and all infielders have left fair territory; (3) before an intentional base on balls is granted; or (4) on the last play of the game, an appeal can be made until the umpires leave the field of play. NOTE: When a play by its very nature is imminent and is obvious to the offense, defense and umpire(s), no verbal appeal is necessary, e.g. runner attempting to retouch a base that was missed, or a failure to tag up and a throw has been made to that base or plate while a play is in progress.
8-2-6 Appeal procedures and guidelines
- Missing a base
- Leaving a base on a caught fly ball before the ball is first touched.
- Live Ball. In all games an appeal may be made during a live ball by any fielder in possession of the ball touching the base missed or left too soon on a caught fly ball, or by tagging the runner committing the violation if he is still on the playing field.
- Dead Ball. The dead-ball appeal may be made: 1) Once all runners have completed their advancement and time has been called, a coach or any defensive player, with or without the ball, may make a verbal appeal on a runner missing a base or leaving a base too soon on a caught fly ball. The administering umpire should then make a decision on the play. 2) If the ball has gone out of play, runners must be given the opportunity to complete their base-running responsibilities before the dead-ball appeal can be made.
- May Not Return. A runner may not return to touch a missed base or one left too soon on a caught fly ball if:
- he has reached a base beyond the base missed or left too soon and the ball becomes dead,
- he has left the field of play, or
- a following runner has scored.
- Advance. Runners may advance during a live-ball appeal play. If a time out is requested for an appeal, the umpire should grant it, and runners may not advance until the ball becomes live again.
- More Than One Appeal. Multiple appeals are permitted as long as they do not become a travesty of the game.
- Awards. An appeal must be honored even if the base missed was before or after an award.
- Tag-Ups. If a runner leaves a base too soon on a caught fly ball and returns in an attempt to retag, this is considered a time play and not a force out. If the appeal is the third out, all runs scored by runners in advance of the appealed runner and scored ahead of the legal appeal would count.
- Fourth-Out Appeal. An appeal may be made after the third out as long as it is made properly and the resulting appeal is an apparent fourth out.
- End of Game. If any situation arises which could lead to an appeal by the defense on the last play of the game, the appeal must be made while an umpire is still on the field of play.
- Third-out Baserunning Infraction. If a baserunning infraction is the third out, runs scored by the following runner(s) would not count. With two outs, if the base missed was the first to which the batter or runner was forced to advance, no runs would score. When a runner is legally returning after a fly ball has been caught, he can be put out by being tagged with the ball by a defensive player or merely by the defensive player with the ball touching the base occupied by the runner at the time of the pitch.
- Last Time By. If a runner correctly touches a base that was missed (either in advancing or returning), the last time he was by the base, that last touch corrects any previous base running-infraction.
8-2-7 A batter-runner who reaches first base safely and then over-runs or over-slides may immediately return without liability of being put out provided he does not attempt or feint an advance to second. A player who is awarded first base on a base on balls does not have this right.
8-2-8 A runner acquires the right to the proper unoccupied base if he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to this base until he is put out, or until he legally touches the next base while it is unoccupied or until a following runner is forced (2-24-1) to advance to the base he has occupied. A runner need not vacate his base to permit a fielder to catch a fly ball in the infield, but he may not interfere.
a. If two runners are on the same base, at the same time and both are tagged, the following runner is declared out. On a force play situation, the runner who is forced to advance shall be declared out when tagged on the base or the base to which he is forced is touched by a fielder while in possession of the ball.
8-2-9 Each runner shall touch his base after the ball becomes dead. All awarded bases must be touched in their proper order. The runner returns to the base he had reached or passed when the ball became dead. In the event of interference, a runner returns to the base he had legally reached at the time of the interference. If the interference does not cause the batter to be out and any other runner cannot return to the base last legally occupied at the time of the inter - ference, he is advanced to the next base.
a. The runner returns to the base occupied at the time of the pitch if his advance was during an uncaught foul.
Section 3 - BASERUNNING AWARDS
||BASE OCCUPIED TIME OF
|ONE BASE (runners)
|2. Pitch from pitcher's plate thrown out of play
|3. Throw from pitcher's plate goes out of play
|4. Unintentional catch and carry
|5. *Catcher obstruction (if attempting to advance)
|6. Forced (because batter is awarded 1st base)
|7. Pitch strikes runner
|ONE BASE (batter)
|2. Pitch thrown out of play on ball four
|3. *Batter is obstructed
|4. Hit by pitch
|5. Runner interference (unintentional)
|6. Umpire interference (hit by batted ball)
|7. Pitch lodges in defensive player's or umpire's uniform or equipment on ball four
|TWO BASES (batter and runners)
|1. Fair batted ball bounces over, through, goes under, lodges in or under fence
|2. #Fair batted ball or thrown ball lodges in defensive player's or umpire's uniform or equipment
|3. *#Live thrown ball or pitch touched by illegal glove or mitt
|4. *#Live thrown ball or pitch touched by detached player equipment which is thrown, tossed, kicked or held by fielder
|5. First throw by infielder and ball goes out of play or lodged in or under fence
|6. For any subsequent play by an infielder or for any throw by an outfielder and ball goes out of play or lodges in or under fence.
|7. Intentional catch and carry (runners only)
|THREE BASES (batter and runners)
|1. Fair batted ball contacted with detached player equipment or illegal glove/mitt
|FOUR BASES (batter and runners)
|1. Fair batted ball over fence in flight
|2. Fair batted ball hits foul pole above fence in flight
|3. Fair batted ball prevented from going over fence because it is touched by spectator
|4. Fair batted ball prevented from going over fence because of contact with detached player equipment or illegal glove/mitt
|1. Spectator interference
|2. *Runner(s) obstruction (minimum of one base)
|3. Defensive malicious contact
8-3-1 Each runner other than the batter-runner (who is governed by 8-1-2) is awarded one base when:
- there is a balk (6-2-4) or a pitch strikes a runner (6-1-4);
- he is forced from the base he occupies by a following runner who must advance because a batter receives a fourth ball, or is hit by a pitched ball, or hits a fair ball which becomes dead (5-1-1f,g);
- he is attempting to steal or he is forced from the base he occupies by a batter-runner or runner who must advance because the catcher or an fielder obstructs the batter, such as stepping on or across home or pushing the batter to reach the pitch or touching the bat (8-1-1e). Instances may occur when the infraction may be ignored (8-1-1e).
8-3-2 When a runner is obstructed (2-22) while advancing or returning to a base, the umpire shall award the obstructed runner and each other runner affected by the obstruction the bases they would have reached, in his opinion, had there been no obstruction. If the runner achieves the base he was attempting to acquire, then the obstruction is ignored. The obstructed runner is awarded a minimum of one base beyond his position on base when the obstruction occurred. If any preceding runner is forced to advance by the awarding of a base or bases to an obstructed runner, the umpire shall award this preceding runner the necessary base or bases. Malicious contact supersedes obstruction. Runner(s) will be awarded appropriate base(s) per umpire judgement. When obstruction occurs, the umpire gives the delayed dead ball signal and calls “obstruction.” If an award is to be made, the ball becomes dead when time is taken to make the award.
8-3-3 Each runner is awarded:
- four bases (home) if a fair ball goes over a fence in flight or hits a foul pole above the fence, or is prevented from going over by being touched by a spectator, or is touched by an illegal glove/mitt or detached player equipment which is thrown, tossed, kicked or held by a fielder;
- three bases if a batted ball (other than in item a) is touched by an illegal glove or mitt, or by detached player equipment which is thrown, tossed, kicked or held by a fielder, provided the ball when touched is on or over fair ground, or is a fair ball while on or over foul ground, or is over foul ground in a situation such that it might become a fair ball;
- two bases if a fair batted or thrown ball becomes dead because of bouncing over or passing through a fence, or lodges in a defensive player’s or umpire’s equipment or uniform; or if a live thrown ball:
- including a pitch, is touched by an illegal glove or mitt, or by detached player equipment which is thrown, tossed, kicked or held by a fielder; or
- goes into a stand for spectators, dugout or player’s bench or over or through or lodges in a fence and it is not thrown by a pitcher from his plate as in 8-3-3d;
- When two runners are between the same bases on an overthrow into dead ball territory, the lead runner receives two bases and the following runner is awarded one, since both runners cannot share the same awarded base.
- Runners between second and third would score, because the award does not result in both runners occupying the same base.
- one base if a pitch or any throw by the pitcher from his pitching position on his plate goes into a stand or bench or over or through or lodges in a fence or backstop or touches a spectator or lodges in an umpire’s or catcher's equipment; or with less than two outs, the batter hits a fair or foul ball (fly or line drive) which is caught by a fielder, who then leaves the field of play by stepping with both feet or by falling into a bench, dugout, stand, bleacher or over any boundary or barrier such as a fence, rope, chalk line or pre-game determined imaginary boundary line. A runner shall not be declared out if the fielder deliberately throws or carries the ball into dead ball territory to prevent that runner who has touched or advanced beyond a succeeding base from returning to a missed base or a base left too soon. Award the runner two bases. This allows the runner(s) to correct any baserunning error. Defense may still appeal the play.
- bases as determined by the umpire, who shall also impose such penalties as in his judgment will nullify the act of spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball. The ball shall become dead at the moment of the interference (8-3-3a, b, c, d). It is not spectator interference if a spectator physically hinders a fielder who is reaching into a dead ball area to make a play on a batted or thrown ball.
- one base beyond the last legally acquired base, if in the umpire’s judgment the runner was attempting to advance at the time the ball becomes lodged in an offensive player’s uniform or equipment. If the lodged ball occurs during play when the batter-runner was attempting to reach first base, the batter-runner will be awarded first base. Preceding runners will be awarded bases needed to complete the award.
8-3-4 Illegal use of detached player equipment (8-3-3a, b and c) or an illegal glove/mitt does not cause ball to immediately become dead. If each runner advances to or beyond the base which he would reach as a result of the award, the infraction is ignored. Any runner who advances beyond the base he would be awarded does so at his own risk and may be put out.
8-3-5 An award is from the base determined as follows:
- If the award is the penalty for an infraction such as a balk, use of detached player equipment, or an illegal glove/mitt, the award is from the base occupied at the time of the infraction.
- If any pitch (batted or unbatted) is followed by a dead ball before the pitcher is in position for the next pitch and before there is any throw by the fielding team, any award is from the base occupied at the time of the pitch.
When a runner, who is returning to touch a base after a batted ball has been caught is prevented from doing so because a thrown live ball has become dead (5-1-1g), his award shall be from the base he occupied at the time of the pitch. In any situations other than (a) or (b), on a batted ball which is the first play by an infielder, all runners including the batter-runner are awarded two bases from their positions at the time of the pitch. For purposes of this rule, the act of fielding is not considered a play. If every runner, including the batter-runner, has advanced one base at the time of the first play, the award is two bases from the time of the throw. For any subsequent play by an infielder or for any throw by an outfielder, the award is two bases from the time of the throw.
8-3-6 When a plate umpire hinders, impedes, or prevents a catcher's throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pickoff play, if an out is not made at the end of the catcher's initial throw, the ball shall be dead and all runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the interference.
Section 4 - RUNNER IS OUT
8-4-1 The batter-runner is out when:
- he intentionally interferes with the catcher’s attempt to field the ball after a third strike;
- his fair hit or foul (other than a foul tip which is not a third strike) is caught by a fielder, or such catch is prevented by a spectator reaching into the playing field;
- his fair fly, fair line drive or fair bunt in flight is intentionally dropped by an infielder with at least first base occupied and before there are two outs. The ball is dead and the runner or runners shall return to their respective base(s).
- In this situation, the batter is not out if the infielder permits the fair fly, fair line drive or fair bunt in flight to drop untouched to the ground, except when the infield fly rule (2-19-1) applies (5-1-1j).
- after hitting or bunting a ball, he intentionally contacts the ball with the bat a second time in fair or foul territory. The ball is dead and no runner(s) advance.
- In the case of a foul ball, it must have a chance to become fair in the umpire’s judgment.
- If the bat and ball accidentally come in contact with each other a second time while the batter is holding the bat in the batter’s box, it is a foul ball.
- a third strike is caught, usually by the catcher but might be by a fielder if the ball rebounds from the catcher after first touching the catcher’s glove or hand (2-16-2); or the third strike is not caught while a runner is on first and there are less than two outs;
- after a dropped third strike (see 8-4-1e) or a fair hit, if the ball held by any fielder touches the batter before the batter touches first base; or if any fielder, while holding the ball in his grasp, touches first base or touches first base with the ball before the batter-runner touches first base: or
- he runs outside the three-foot running lane (last half of the distance from home plate to first base), while the ball is being fielded or thrown to first base; or
- This infraction is ignored if it is to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field the batted ball or if the act does not interfere with a fielder or a throw.
- The batter runner is considered outside the running lane lines if either foot is outside either line.
- any runner or retired runner interferes (2-21-1, 2-30-3) in a way which obviously hinders an obvious double play; or
- on a dropped third strike, he gives up by entering the bench or dugout area, or with two outs he does not attempt to reach first base before all infielders leave the diamond at the end of the half-inning;
- hits an infield fly and the infield-fly rule is in effect;
- enters the game as an illegal substitute and is discovered.
8-4-2 Any runner is out when he:
- runs more than three feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged or to hinder a fielder while the runner is advancing or returning to a base;
- This is not an infraction if a fielder attempting to field a batted ball is in the runner’s proper path and if the runner runs behind the fielder to avoid interfering with him.
- When a play is being made on a runner or batter-runner, he establishes his baseline as directly between his position and the base toward which he is moving.
- does not legally slide and causes illegal contact and/or illegally alters the actions of a fielder in the immediate act of making a play, or on a force play, does not slide in a direct line between the bases; or
- A runner may slide in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder.
- Runners are never required to slide, but if a runner elects to slide, the slide must be legal. (2-32-1, 2) Jumping, hurdling, and leaping are all legal attempts to avoid a fielder as long as the fielder is lying on the ground. Diving over a fielder is illegal.
PENALTY: The runner is out. Interference is called and the ball is dead immediately. On a force-play slide with less than two outs, the runner is declared out, as well as the batter-runner. Runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the pitch. With two outs, the runner is declared out. The batter is credited with a fielder’s choice.
- does not legally attempt to avoid a fielder in the immediate act of making a play on him; or
PENALTY: The runner is out, the ball remains live unless interference is called.
- dives over a fielder; or
PENALTY: The runner is out and the ball remains live unless interference occurs and is declared.
- initiates malicious contact;
- Malicious contact always supersedes obstruction. Runner(s) will be awarded appropriate base(s) per umpire's judgment.
- as a runner or retired runner, fails to execute a legal slide, or does not attempt to avoid the fielder or the play on a force play at any base; or
- intentionally interferes with a throw or a thrown ball; or he hinders a fielder on his initial attempt to field a batted ball. A fielder is not protected, except from intentional contact if he misplays the ball and has to move from his original location; or his being put out is prevented by an illegal act by anyone connected with the team (2-21-1, 3-2-2, 3-2-3) or by the batter-runner; for runner returning to base (8-2-6); and for runner being hit by a batted ball (8-4-2k). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner including the batter-runner interferes in any way and prevents a double play anywhere, two shall be declared out (the runner who interfered and the other runner involved). If a retired runner interferes, and in the judgment of the umpire, another runner could have been put out, the umpire shall declare that runner out. If the umpire is uncertain who would have been played on, the runner closest to home shall be called out; or
- If two fielders try to field a batted ball and the runner contacts one or both, the umpire shall decide which one is entitled to field the ball and that fielder only is entitled to protection. If a fielder drops a batted ball and contact with a runner occurs during a subsequent attempt to field the ball, the fielder has the greater responsibility for avoiding contact.
- is touched by a live ball securely held by a fielder or is touched by a fielder’s glove or hand with the live ball held therein, while the runner is not touching his base.
- If a batter-runner safely touches first base and then overslides or overruns it, except on a base on balls, he may immediately return to first base without liability of being tagged out, provided he did not attempt to run or feint to second. Also, if any base comes loose from its fastening when any runner contacts it, such runner cannot be tagged out because the base slides away from him.
- The ball is not securely held if it is dropped or juggled after the runner is touched.
- does not retouch his base before a fielder tags him out or holds the ball while touching such base after any situation (8-2-1, 2-3 and 2-4). Umpire may also call him out at end of playing action upon proper and successful appeal. Also, it is not necessary for runner to retouch his base after a foul tip (2-16-2); or
- fails to reach the next base before a fielder either tags the runner out or holds the ball while touching such base, after runner has been forced from the base he occupied because the batter became a runner (with ball in play) when other runners were on first base, or on first and second, or on first, second and third. There shall be no accidental appeals on a force play.
- No runner may be forced out if a runner who follows him in the batting order is first put out (including a batter-runner who is out for an infield fly).
- is contacted by a fair batted ball before it touches an infielder, or after it passes any infielder, except the pitcher, and the umpire is convinced that another infielder has a play (5-1-1f, 6-1-5).
- If a runner is touching his base when he is hit by an infield fly, he is not out, but the batter is out by the infield fly rule. The ball is dead, even in the exception.
- If a runner is hit by an infield fly when he is not touching his base, both he and the batter are out.
- attempts to advance to home base when the batter interferes with a play at home base, with less than two outs; or
- If there are two outs, the batter is out because of his interference and since he is the third out, the runner cannot score. But if there are not two outs, the runner is out and the batter is not penalized.
- passes an unobstructed preceding runner before such runner is out (including awarded bases); or
- runs bases in reverse to confuse opponents or makes a travesty of the game; or
- positions himself behind a base to get a running start; or
- after at least touching first base, leaves the baseline, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base; or
NOTE: Any runner, after reaching first base, who leaves the baseline heading for the dugout or his defensive position believing that there is no further play, shall be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases.
- is on or beyond a succeeding base when the ball is declared dead (5-2-2b-1) after having left a base too soon on a caught fly ball, or he failed to touch a preceding base, or he continues and touches a succeeding base after the ball has become dead and the defense initiates a proper and successful appeal;
- deliberately knocks the ball from a fielder’s hand.
- is physically assisted by a coach. (3-2-2)