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Runners re-touching Base

Get quick answers to all your Umpiring Questions from Jim Thompson, a member of the Florida and National High School Hall of Fame

by UmpCoach » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:41 pm

I have been umpiring a long time over 20 years and never have enforced baserunners to re-tag the bases they are occupying after a foul ball.

What is the actual rule on that if a runner doesn't re-tag the base after a foul ball?

To me it's such a ticky-tack conversation if a Coach brings it up because you can't appeal it after a picther has thrown a pitch and I was always told to tell the runner to re-tag the base.....what is the penalty if they do not do this? Unsportsmanship?

I have never told any runner to do that or had any coach tell me a runner didn't re-tag just curious.
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by JimThompson » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:42 pm

Sorry for delay There has been so little activity I don't check the Forum as often as I should. I don't have my current Rules Book at home so I'm not certain of the answer but I'll get it . In the meantime I think the rules require the base to be retouched HOWEVER I think in actual practice umpires normally do not put the ball in play until the runner is in the vicinity of the base. I'll get you an answer..
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by JimThompson » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:32 am

Here is pretty good explanation for your question. I have an umpire friend who is an expert on all the different sets of rues. I asked him for a bettr explanation than mime and here it is:

The rule hasn't changed. The actual FED verbage is: ART. 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.

The new OBR verbage is: (didn't print)
With those two rule sets in agreement that the runner must return (which includes touching) to the legally occupied base, NEITHER rule set specifies a penalty but instead instructs the umpire to wait until the runners have returned before making the ball live again.

So we must look at the purpose of the rule, and that is to ensure that a baserunner cannot gain an unfair advantage by advancing 89' during a dead ball. Without the rule the baserunner could stand next to the advance base and when the ball is put in play take only one step to achieve a stolen base. Since the pitcher has to have the ball on the mound before it can be put in play, by requiring the runners to be in the vicinity of their legally occupied base an unfair advance becomes highly unlikely.

Actual practice is that if the runner is closer to the base than a normal lead, attentive, and prepared to resume the game then the ball can be put in play. THERE IS NO PENALTY!!
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