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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 09:25pm
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Can checked swing be a 'fourth out' appeal?

Long-time reader, first-time poster (a lurker, I suppose). I thoroughly enjoy the forum and the banter, and have learned quite a bit (bad knees have put the kibosh on my umpiring for the last few years, so I may be a little rusty, but I still have the passion). Anyway, here's my sitch.....

Runner on 1st, two outs, two strikes on the batter. On the next pitch, runner breaks for 2nd, batter check swings, and catcher's throw retires runner at second for the third out. The question is, can the defense now appeal the checked swing and (assuming the BU rings him up) take the 'fourth out', retiring the batter so he doesn't lead off the next inning?

I didn't see it, but my brother called me about a similar play that happened last night in the CLE-BOS game...except the runner was safe at 2nd. The checked swing was appealed for the 3rd out of the inning, so no stolen base was awarded in the box score. That's what got me thinking......

Thanks.
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 10:21pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorg
Long-time reader, first-time poster (a lurker, I suppose). I thoroughly enjoy the forum and the banter, and have learned quite a bit (bad knees have put the kibosh on my umpiring for the last few years, so I may be a little rusty, but I still have the passion). Anyway, here's my sitch.....

Runner on 1st, two outs, two strikes on the batter. On the next pitch, runner breaks for 2nd, batter check swings, and catcher's throw retires runner at second for the third out. The question is, can the defense now appeal the checked swing and (assuming the BU rings him up) take the 'fourth out', retiring the batter so he doesn't lead off the next inning?

I didn't see it, but my brother called me about a similar play that happened last night in the CLE-BOS game...except the runner was safe at 2nd. The checked swing was appealed for the 3rd out of the inning, so no stolen base was awarded in the box score. That's what got me thinking......

Thanks.
I don't see why not...
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 10:25pm
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Absolutely

This could make a huge difference in the game. If the batter DID indeed swing at the pitch, that would be the third out and there would be no chance at a play at second. Either way the inning ends. No difference? Not exactly. Say the batter is a great hitter. If he was struck out, then the runner on second would be stranded and the next batter would lead off next inning. If you give the defense the out at second and do not allow them to appeal the check swing, then the same great hitter would lead off next inning. Now the only concern I have is "does an appeal of a check swing have to occur before the defense makes a play at second?" Something worth pondering. I don't think it is fair to not allow the defense to appeal...
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 10:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukinrox
This could make a huge difference in the game. If the batter DID indeed swing at the pitch, that would be the third out and there would be no chance at a play at second. Either way the inning ends. No difference? Not exactly. Say the batter is a great hitter. If he was struck out, then the runner on second would be stranded and the next batter would lead off next inning. If you give the defense the out at second and do not allow them to appeal the check swing, then the same great hitter would lead off next inning. Now the only concern I have is "does an appeal of a check swing have to occur before the defense makes a play at second?" Something worth pondering. I don't think it is fair to not allow the defense to appeal...
if the check swing is the third out, then almost by definition it occured prior to the play at 2B, as the runner could not have reached 2B before the swing.
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 11:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMan
if the check swing is the third out, then almost by definition it occured prior to the play at 2B, as the runner could not have reached 2B before the swing.
Especially since he was thrown out at 2nd by the catcher.
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 11:19pm
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True but...

The question is ... if the plate umpire rules it a ball or couldn't see it because the catcher blocked him out, and the catcher made a throw to second because he didn't hear the ump call a strike, can he now appeal to the base umpire about whether the batter swung or not? We all know that 95% of the time you cannot tell whether a batter swung while in the B position but would this be a proper appeal or not is the question?
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 11:30pm
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so what is the answer...my intuition tells me that the proper mechanics would be for the 2nd base umpire to not make a call until the appeal and then make the call at 2nd base. if upon appeal the BU judges that the batter did not swing. IMO, this would not be a 4th out sitch. great question...nobody wants to take this one on though...
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Old Tue Aug 01, 2006, 11:46pm
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Guys,

The catcher (or manager) has every right to appeal to the PU to check with his partner on a "checked swing" called a ball by the PU. According to the MLBUM, the PU "has an obligation" to do so if the appeal is made.

If the PU says the batter offered, the batter is out and the play at 2B never happened - because the half inning had ended. The batter was out at the instant he offered at the pitch and missed (assuming the pitch was legally caught). It just wasn't clear that had happened until the BU confirmed that "he went".

If, on the other hand, the BU confirms the PU's call of a ball, the play at 2B DID happen. In the original sitch, the inning ends with the tag out of the stealing R1 and the same batter is the proper batter to start the next half inning for his team's turn at bat.

JM
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 12:09am
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I agree JM.

I don't think its a "4th out" technically speaking, but it sure could make a difference.

For scoring purposes, I would say that if the BU rings up the batter, a CS would not be put into the book. Therefore, I don't see a 4th out here.

What happens if the ball was in the dirt! I'll tell you what, a possible s***storm!
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 12:23am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukinrox
We all know that 95% of the time you cannot tell whether a batter swung while in the B position but would this be a proper appeal or not is the question?
I can usually determine if in my judgment the batter offered at the pitch from B or C. I would say that 95% of the time I get the call right from the middle. I do not use the position of the bat as the major determining factor on a check swing. I use my judgment in deciding if the batter actually offered at the pitch, or managed to check his swing without doing so.
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 08:52am
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I realize that Coach JM...i think we all know that if the PU calls swing that's strike three and play at 2nd doesn't matter unless strike three is in the dirt at the point in which the B offered at the pitch...at that point the PU must act quickly and let the catcher and B know what's going on ASAP...the no catch mechanic should come into play here (if the ball is in the dirt) but TussAgee is right...this could get really sticky...when in doubt on a sitch like this...it makes most sense to call strike 3 on the check swing so that would eliminate the appeal in most instances as your BU wouldn't take a strike away from you as the PU...
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 09:09am
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I think you must allow the checked swing appeal here. Suppose we have R1 and R3 and the offense tries to score R3 by having R1 steal second to draw a throw from F2... on the throw R3 advances to and touches home plate. If the checked swing appeal is upheld and the batter is out, no run scores.

This is a good thread. The rule is not that difficult to understand. What about the mechanics? Does BU make a call at second before PU asks for help? If not, how long does he wait to make the call? What if PU has a reputation for not checking with BU on these types of appeals (I know that he should, but many here won't if BU is in B or C)?
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 09:12am
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Many umpire manuals stress that in these cases the PU should immediately ask for an appeal on his own (without waiting for the coach/F2), so as to resolve the play as soon as possible, and not place runners in peril unnecessarily.
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 09:16am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMan
Many umpire manuals stress that in these cases the PU should immediately ask for an appeal on his own (without waiting for the coach/F2), so as to resolve the play as soon as possible, and not place runners in peril unnecessarily.
I understand. However, I frequently work with guys who won't ask when BU is in the middle or if the batter is left handed.
I guess my question boils down to, how long do I as BU wait to make a call at second?
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Old Wed Aug 02, 2006, 09:16am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukinrox
The question is ... if the plate umpire rules it a ball or couldn't see it because the catcher blocked him out, and the catcher made a throw to second because he didn't hear the ump call a strike, can he now appeal to the base umpire about whether the batter swung or not? We all know that 95% of the time you cannot tell whether a batter swung while in the B position but would this be a proper appeal or not is the question?
We DON'T all know this.

I can call a check swing just as well from B or C as I can from A or D. Saying otherwise just perpetuates this myth.
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