Previous Poll Results and Explanations

If you have a question to suggest, please eMail it to us


Is the base runner always awarded 2nd base if he collides with the 1st basemen when he is rounding 1st?

Yes - 35% No – 65%

The majority are correct on this. The rule that comes into play is called “Obstruction” and the umpire can call it if he feels the base runner would have made the base he was going to if the obstruction had not occurred. That said, if a runner was simply rounding 1st without intent to go to 2nd and collided with the first basemen, an obstruction would not be called.   If the umpire deems an obstruction has occurred, he will indicate it by calling it out and/or moving his arm parallel to the ground. The play is allowed to continue and if the runner who was obstructed is put out, the umpire will enforce the obstruction and award the base he was trying to gain.  When an obstruction is called on a play being made directly on a runner, like in a run down, and a fielder bumps the runner then an obstruction is called and the play is dead and the runner get’s the next base.


Is the batter always out when they hit a pitched ball and their foot is touching the plate?

Yes – 73 %; No – 22 %

The majority are wrong on this with the key word in the question being “always”. Since the batters box is only 6 inches away from home plate, if part of the batters foot is still in the batters box then he should not be called out. Players are not called out for hitting a ball because they are touching the plate; they are called out for being out of the batters box (in any direction). The foot must be completely out of the box for this rule to be enforced. Often, when a batters foot is on the plate, it is completely out of the box and therefore the batter is out.  

If a popup is hit in foul territory but is dropped by fielder and it lands fair - is it a fair ball?

Yes – Fair 50 %; No – Foul 50%

Not so obvious but unlike football where a player can jump into the end zone to knock the ball backwards for a downing on the 1 yard line – In baseball, it’s all about where the ball is. If the ball is in foul territory then it is a foul ball. A FOUL BALL is a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, or that while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player, or any object foreign to the natural ground.

NOTE: A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on foul or fair territory at the time that fielder touches the ball.


On a close play at first do ties go to the runner?

Yes 70 %; No 9%; Neither 22%

According to the rule book, the folks who think ties go to the runner are wrong. Rule 6.05 The Batter is out (j) after a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base. While there is no mention of tie’s some argue that a tie does indeed go to the runner since the word "before" is used. However, several on the SABR site argued that umpires are taught that there is no such thing as a tie and so there will always be a correct call. Interestingly, one of the contributors to the SABR list noted that the "1875 DeWitt's Umpires Guide was emphatic that ties go to the runner: 'If simultaneously, the base runner is not put out...'". He also noted that when he umpired he was instructed that a close play was an "out that you needed to sell". Is that still the training for MLB umpires? If so, it would appear that umpires are in fact allowing ties to go to the fielder in contradiction to the written rule.


Which pitcher holds the MLB record for highest ERA in a season? 

Jamie Moyer – 2%, Adam Eaton 63% , Roy Halladay 18%, Steve Carlton 16% 

As miserable as Adam Eaton was for the Phillies, it aint him. Believe it or not, arguably one of the best pitchers in the history of MLB also holds the worst ERA (60 innings or more). After pitching great in his rookie year in 1999 with a 3.92 era for Toronto, the next year, Halladay posted a 10.64 era in 67 innings of work. He got sent all the way down to single A and was almost out of baseball. Halladay reinvented himself, worked hard, and became one of the best pitchers in the game. Don’t give up.


Is a player always awarded 1st base on a catcher’s interference?

47% - YES; 53% - NO

The brains are split on this question. The answer is NO. When catcher’s interference is called, it is not a dead ball as many think. The play is live and once time is out, the umpire asks if the offended team if they want the play or the interference call. The interference call awards the batter 1st base and base runners advance if forced or if they were stealing on the pitch. However, if the batter hits the ball and it results in an outcome better than the interference call, the offended team can decline the interference. 


Can a runner on 3rd score on a double play that ends the inning?

92% - NO; 8% - YES

Can’t fool the majority. There are some ways where a double play ends the inning and a runner on 3rd cannot score but there are a few ways that he can score. In the case of a force play that ends the inning, the runner from 3rd cannot score even if he crosses the plate before the double play is completed. Standard ground ball plays like short – 2nd – 1st end the inning and the run never counts. Any non-continuous plays can end the inning with a second out but if the runner crosses the plate before the 2nd out is made, then the run counts. An example of this could be a runner caught off a bag or in a rundown following the first out. The most confusing rules could be in the case of a sacrifice fly. If a trail runner is put out at a base following the catch, the run would count as long as he crosses the plate before the putout. Two interesting examples –

  1. Men on 2nd & 3rd 1 out. Fly ball to center. If both men try to advance and the throw and out is made at 3rd base before the runner from 3rd crosses home then no run is counted
  2. Men on 1st & 3rd 1 out. Fly ball to center. If the runner from 1st goes ½ way and is doubled up on the center fielders throw to 1st AFTER the runner from 3rd crosses home then the run is counted. Many confuse this type of play with a ground ball “Force” play. Force means runner was “forced” to run


If a batted ball hits a base runner standing on 3rd is he out?

79% - NO; 21% - YES

Generally speaking, the majority missed this one. By rights, the answer should start with “It Depends” as there are a few instances when the runner is not out. If the question read “is he always out?”, then the majority would be correct. However, under normal circumstances, a base runner in fair territory is out when a batted ball hits him and 3rd base is in fair territory.   This is the same rule as when a base runner is running between bases and is hit by a batted ball. The exceptions are:

  1. If the 3rd baseman (or other fielder) was in front of him and had a play on the ball that was not made. If the ball deflects off the fielder or the fielder just misses it, then the runner would not be out even if he is hit in fair territory. 
  2. If the batted ball is foul and the base runner has one foot on 3rd and one foot foul
  3. If it is an infield fly rule and the ball hits the runner standing in fair territory

This relates to the reason to always take leads in foul territory when off 3rd


Is the batter always out when an infield fly is called by the ump?  

55% - NO; 45% - YES

The correct response is NO. Usually yes but the batter is not out if the ball is not caught and ends up going foul. The ball then becomes a foul ball and the batter continues batting. This could occur on a ball that is foul or lands fair and rolls foul without being touched. This is yet one more good reason to always catch an infield fly.


The ump calls the infield fly when the ball is hit if he feels it can be caught with ordinary effort. It is a judgment call and doesn’t have anything to do if it is in the infield or on outfield grass. It also doesn’t matter if an outfielder has charged in and called off the infielder. The rule exists to protect the base runners from a double play occurring at 3rd and 2nd. This is why the rule only comes into effect when runners are at least 1st and 2nd and less than 2 outs. It does not exist with just a runner on 1st since you would hope that the batter would always run out the pop to first and therefore could never be doubled up.



Is a batter always awarded 1st base when hit by a pitched ball?  

73% - NO; 27% - YES

The majority are the smart ones again. There are several ways that the batter can be hit and not get 1st

  1. If the batter makes no attempt to get out of the way of the pitch or leans in to be hit
  2. If the batter swings at the pitch it is a strike even if it then hits him
  3. The ball hits the batter in the strike zone such as his head ducking.
  4. If the ball hits the bat first and then the batter
  5. Finally, in the Phil’s game last week, I saw a batter get hit by the ball thrown back by the Catcher! Live ball and runners can advance


Can a runner steal on a caught foul tip caught by the catcher?  

79% - YES ; 21% - NO

The majority are correct. If the foul tip is dropped by the catcher, then it becomes an ordinary foul and the base runner must return to their base. If it is caught it is a strike just like any other caught strike


Can 9 batters come to the plate in 1 inning and not have one man score?  

56% - NO; 44% - YES

There are two answers that make the 44% who answered YES correct.

1.      1 Inning technically consists of two parts – the Top and the Bottom – so 5 batters could come to the plate in the top and 4 in the bottom without one man scoring.

2.      However – It’s even possible to have 9 batters come to the plate in just their ½ of the inning and not have one man score….. If it was a girls team playing !!!


How many ways can you score from 3rd base?  

36% - 5; 28% - 9; 22% - 11; 14% - 13

22% were right! There are 11 ways:   Batter hits homerun; Batter hits triple; Batter hits double; Batter hits single; Passed ball; Wild pitch; Balk; Steal; Fielders choice; Sac Fly; Sac Bunt. 


How many MLB home teams sit on 3rd base line?  

44% - Zero; 56% - Less than 5; 0% - More than 10.

No one got this right! Which team occupies the dugout on the first-base side or the third-base side is purely arbitrary. Theories include: Less Walking; Sun Shine in dugout; More close plays at first; which dugout and clubhouse is nicer.


In the MLB 13 teams sit on the 3rd base line: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Washington Nationals 


Is Home Plate 90 feet away from 3rd base?  

94% Yes; 6% No.
Technically the minority is right on this. The outside part of the bases and plate are contained within the 90 foot square.   So if bases are 1 foot square and home is a pentagon, then the front edge of 3rd is really about 88 ½ feet away from the front edge of home. So when a guy is standing on 3rd he is really has to go less then 90 feet to score.