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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 08:24am
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With a runner (R1) on first base, a foul fly ball is hit to the Left Fielder. R1 is standing between first and second base and is waiting to see if the ball will be caught.

The Left Fielder catches the ball and then his momentum carries him across the out-of-bounds line.

The base umpire awards R1 second base. R1 proceeds to second base without returning to first base to "tag up."

Before the next pitch, the defensive team appeals that R1 did not tag-up at first base after the caught fly ball.

Question 1: Is R1 required to go back to first base and tag up?

Question 2: Is this situation an "appealable" play or a "correctable" play (i.e. assuming that R1 needed to go back to first and tag up, and the umpire "awarded" him second base, could the play be "corrected" simply by having R1 return to first base and resume play from that point)?
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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 09:05am
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1 - Yes, always...

2 - There is no such thing as a 'correctable' play when the ball becomes dead by legitimate means (ie, the umpire did not kill the play when it was not called for). This is an appealable offense and, as an umpire, I am only hoping the defense is paying attention. I don't like to miss the opportunity to call outs.

Generally speaking, with few exceptions, a runner is always required to return and touch any/all bases if they left early (as in your situation) prior to advancing to the awarded base and they must be touched in legal order (ie. can't go straight from first to third on a two base award). It should be treated as a live ball situation with the exception that the runner can not be put out because the ball is dead. Any deviation is appealable and will result in the offending runner being called out if properly appealed.
Wade Ireland
Softball Umpire
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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 10:03am
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What Wade said!

A little preventive umpiring may have helped. I am aware of the team argument that the runner was just following the umpire's direction.

As an umpire, I never immediately award a base during a dead-ball period when the runner is where s/he doesn't belong. Since the runner is supposed to be given the opportunity to complete their tasks during dead-ball periods, I will hesitate to see what the runner will do.

In this case, if the runner started back toward 1B, I would wait until the runner reached that base and then announce the award.

If the runner just stands there looking at me, I will again hesitate a second or two longer (bet on the coaches, players and fans to be screaming for an award). If it becomes obvious to me that the player just isn't going to move, I will announce the award as "one base". This way I am not "directing" the runner to 2B.

Sometimes just the slightest little thing will help the umpire.

The bat issue in softball is as much about liability, insurance and litigation as it is about competition, inflated egos and softball.
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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 02:29pm
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Great tips, Mike. Saw a similar play in a college game this spring. RF caught foul ball, then stepped up on the rolled up tarp. Your approach would have prevented the long, long conference with both coaches that followed.
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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 04:08pm
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On the college fields I've been on, "On top" of the tarp would not be considered out of play unless a ball became lodged behind it.
"Many baseball fans look upon an umpire as a sort of necessary evil to the luxury of baseball, like the odor that follows an automobile." - Hall of Fame Pitcher Christy Mathewson
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Old Mon Aug 08, 2005, 04:16pm
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Originally posted by mcrowder
On the college fields I've been on, "On top" of the tarp would not be considered out of play unless a ball became lodged behind it.
By my reading of NCAA Rule 2-25, that is a book rule dead ball, one which cannot be superceded by ground rules. If a fielder cannot make a live catch with foot on the tarp, the only logical result of putting a foot on the tarp after catching the ball is a "catch and carry" dead ball.
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