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Old Tue May 03, 2011, 11:18pm
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"Last time by" confusion

I was BU so this was described to me by my partner during our post game. It didn't all play out, but lets play along.

R2, 1 out. Fly ball. R2, thinking there are 2 outs, touches 3rd and starts towards home. About 10-15 feet on his way to home (about at the cutout) he realizes his gaffe and takes a few steps (lets call it 2) directly back towards second base across the cutout. The ball is then dropped, and the runner directly advances home safely.

What do you have on appeal?

I've spoken with a few different guys and while we all agree that at some point you have an out in here for failure to touch 3rd on the last time by, we can't really pinpoint at what point he is required to retouch 3rd. By rule, if he "passes" 3rd on his retreat to 2nd, he has to retouch it again. But what does "passes" mean when he never even goes to retouch it? Is there any sort of guideline to be used, or is this just a play you gotta bear down and umpire?
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Old Tue May 03, 2011, 11:24pm
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I would say if he is 10-15 feet down the line and then cuts back you can't really tell if he was going back to 2nd or 3rd. I would say as long as he was some what in the baseline (still in the cutout), cut back, and proceeded to home it would be fine.

I am a Rat not an Umpire so just my opinion.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 12:21am
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Last time by refers to a runner touching a base the last time by if he missed the base previously. He can't be out on appeal because he touched the base the last time by essentially correcting his error. In the OP, the runner does not have to be in any baseline unless he is being played on. He can run wherever he wants. It would be a gross mistake to call him out for this.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 06:59am
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Originally Posted by TussAgee11 View Post
But what does "passes" mean when he never even goes to retouch it? Is there any sort of guideline to be used, or is this just a play you gotta bear down and umpire?
Great (imo) question. At first, I was going to say it's as soon as he's "committed" (in your mind) to second (and not to third in the interim). But, then what if the play happened at the home plate cut out and he took three (or 4 or 5) hard steps toward second? Would I really expect him to run back to third to be legal?

So, I think it does come down to (a) hoping it doesn't happen to you and (b) sometime you just have to umpire.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 06:59am
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Originally Posted by Coach Dykhoff View Post
I am a Rat not an Umpire so just my opinion.
It would be your opinion anyway. But my point is that you have a typo in your sig.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 07:03am
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Originally Posted by TussAgee11 View Post
But what does "passes" mean when he never even goes to retouch it? Is there any sort of guideline to be used, or is this just a play you gotta bear down and umpire?
I think the latter: if you judge that he has retreated back between 3B and 2B, then he is obligated to touch 3B again. If not, then he's good.

There are so many ways that a runner might move, it's challenging to lay out guidelines. I would look at how many steps he took and where he was on the field (say, relative to the line between 3B and 1B) to help with this call.

In the sitch you describe, taking 2 steps IMO does not commit him to returning to 2B; he might just be observing the play. But it's a judgment call all the way, and I would not second guess the umpire on the field.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 07:38am
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I might be misunderstanding the question here but, unless the ball becomes immeadiately dead there is not going to be a call/appeal until playing action has stopped, for a "last time by" infraction. By that time the runners intent would have been defined. "Attempt does not come into play here.

How can the runner be called out on appeal when the ball was dropped?
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 07:39am
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Originally Posted by jicecone View Post
How can the runner be called out on appeal when the ball was dropped?
For missing the base on the last time by. It is a missed base appeal, not a retouch appeal, so catch/no catch does not enter the picture.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 08:21am
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I agree with mbyron. A few steps toward 2B doesn't constitute "missing" 3B. If he gets close to 2B, you have a much better case.

Even then, we have the legal "skunk in the outfield" play and other examples of how a runner can be far away from the basepaths and not be "missing" anything. If you take baserunning weirdness to a ridiculous extreme, you enter a theoretical area in which there's virtually no "case law." What if a batter lines a shot that shoots past the outfielders and rolls 600 feet on an open field. He sees that the outfielders aren't even chasing the ball, so he runs all over the infield and outfield as he touches the bases in order and the defense stands still watching him and plotting their revenge? Did the BR "miss" a base in all that nonsense?

Batter stretches a single into a double but after he slides into 2B thinks he's been put out. Meanwhile, the throw to 2B has kicked off into a remote corner of foul territory. The runner trots toward his dugout, crosses the 1B line, and then sprints directly back to 2B (or even to 3B) at the entreaties of his teammates. Did he "miss" 1B in the process? I'd say no.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 08:42am
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I'm going to add: IMO, (and don't take this literally) the purpose of the "touch every base" rule (and, thus, the LTB), is to make sure the runner runs 360' to score, and doesn't gain an advantage along the way. It's not to give the defense an easy out for a mis-step or two along the way.

So, in the OP, if R2 got an advantage by what he did, then call the out. Otherwise, call it an ambling approach to the plate.

And, yes, that gets back to the last sentence in the OP -- "just a play you gotta bear down and umpire"
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 09:14am
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Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
So, in the OP, if R2 got an advantage by what he did, then call the out. Otherwise, call it an ambling approach to the plate.
That's better than what I said. It's not so much where he was or what he was trying to do: if he gained an advantage from missing a base the last time by, then he's out on proper appeal.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 09:37am
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I believe I'd mentally draw a line between 3rd and 1st base. If this rambling runner crossed that line such that he's closer to 2nd than home ... then in my mind he's "passed" 3rd base and on his way to 2nd. A couple of steps as in the OP? I've got nothing.
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Old Wed May 04, 2011, 09:44pm
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Are you saying the ball was dropped, no catch? If so I don't see the point of question, there is no need to return and R2 running in in a little circle near home plate is irrelevant. You say he realized his gaffe, what gaffe if there was no catch? If there was a catch then last time by is irrelevant because he would have need go back to 2b to touch. Confusing, certainly.
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Old Thu May 05, 2011, 07:37am
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Originally Posted by mbyron View Post
For missing the base on the last time by. It is a missed base appeal, not a retouch appeal, so catch/no catch does not enter the picture.
That was my point. He didn't miss the base on the last time by and as Ozzy has already implied, could have run circles around the mound then head for second, get two steps away turn touch third and go back to second. I know it is far fetched but besides reality, there no rule against it. Until he retouches second, there is no LTB infraction to consider. Not theoritically speaking of course.
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Old Thu May 05, 2011, 07:46am
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Originally Posted by jicecone View Post
That was my point. He didn't miss the base on the last time by and as Ozzy has already implied, could have run circles around the mound then head for second, get two steps away turn touch third and go back to second. I know it is far fetched but besides reality, there no rule against it. Until he retouches second, there is no LTB infraction to consider. Not theoritically speaking of course.
Ah, interesting interp. I don't agree, but it's interesting!

Different case: R1 stealing on the pitch, batter hits the ball high and deep to left-center. R1 touches 2B and sees F7 settle under the ball. He retreats past 2B, missing it, and heads to "halfway" between 1B and 2B. F7 then drops the ball. R1 now proceeds past 2B, missing the base again, and rolls into 3B. The defense appeals the missed base.

You're ruling "safe" on the appeal, because he just took a circuitous route to 3B?
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