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MLBGround >> MLB Rule 10.04 Part C

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6/1/09 8:43 PM
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Member Since: 8/18/01
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My name is Jesse and I play in an adult baseball league in Fort Myers, FL. In my team's last game a play occurred that caused some argument as to whether or not an RBI should have been awarded to the batter. The batter in question came up with less than two outs and a runner on third. A sharp ground ball was hit to the third baseman. The base runner made an initial motion towards home, but stopped when the third baseman looked him back after fielding the ball. The third baseman then made the fielder's choice throw to first for the out. The runner then broke for the plate after the fielder's throw and scored. I argued that under part (c) of MLB Rule 10.04 this would constitute a run scored on a fielder's choice and no RBI should be awarded. Conversely, my teammate feels that even though the runner's motion was broken after the fielded ball the batter should still be awarded with an RBI.

I present MLB Rule 10.04:

The official rulebook of Major League Baseball states in Rule 10.04:

(a) The official scorer shall credit the batter with a run batted in for every run that scores:

(1)unaided by an error and as part of a play begun by the batter's safe hit (including the batter's home run), sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, infield out or fielder's choice,unless Rule 10.04(b) applies;

(2)by reason of the batter becoming a runner with the bases full (because of a base on balls, an award of first base for being touched by a pitched ball or for interference or obstruction); or

(3)when, before two are out, an error is made on a play on which a runner from third base ordinarily would score.

(b)The official scorer shall not credit a run batted in

(1)when the batter grounds into a force double play or a reverse-force double play; or

(2) when a fielder is charged with an error because the fielder muffs a throw at first base that would have completed a force double play.

(c) The official scorer's judgment must determine whether a run batted in shall be credited for a run that scores when a fielder holds the ball or throws to a wrong base. Ordinarily, if the runner keeps going, the official scorer should credit a run batted in; if the runner stops and takes off again when the runner notices the misplay, the official scorer should credit the run as scored on a fielder's choice.

I sent my teammate an email earlier today defending my position using this logic...

"Would you agree that one of the reasons that coaches champion hitting to the right side of the infield with a runner on third is because it virtually assures that a runner is going to score unchallenged? Would you also agree that hitting a ball to the third basemen in such a situation is tantamount to a cardinal sin in baseball because it either means the runner at third is going to get tagged out, caught in a run down, thrown out at home, or at the very least held up permanently or temporarily due to a fielder’s choice play? If so, then it stands to reason to state that the batter has offered nothing of value in terms of contributing to the scoring of that run. If the runner had never broken stride then the logical play would have been to the plate where an accurate throw would have ensured an out. Conversely, by breaking his stride to the plate the runner’s actions also indicate that the batter’s efforts have not contributed to his ability to score. The runner is no longer being propelled by the act of the hit ball, but rather is at the mercy of the fielder who can decide to chase him back to the bag, simply hold the ball, fake throw to first to induce a run down, or actually throw to first where two strong and accurate throws could result in a double play with no run scored. In any case, even if the runner scores his trepidation in doing so is a rather overt admission that it is the fielder’s actions, not the batter’s, that he must rely on to score a run. This, I believe, is exactly the type of play that 10.04 (c) covers."

What are your opinions?

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