You CAN Assume A Double Play. Or can you?

BASEBALL…OFFICIAL SCORING BLOG#01

Let’s start this blog off right by debunking a baseball scoring myth:

“You can’t assume a double play”

First of all, this “commandment” does not appear anywhere in the Official Baseball Rules. Perhaps it was written on one of the tablets that Moses dropped on his way down the mountain (for more information, please view History of the World – Part I).

It is correct that Rule 10.12(d)(3) specifically directs a scorer not to charge an error to “…any fielder who makes a wild throw in attempting to complete a double play or triple play…” unless of course the throw results in the runner(s) advancing additional base(s).

It is also correct that the rules require a scorer to charge an error based on a scenario involving a potential double or triple play. Please turn to page 111 in your hymnals, and follow along silently while I type aloud:

Rule 10.12(d) Comment: When a fielder mufffs a thrown ball that, if held, would have completed a double play or triple play, the official scorer shall charge an error to the fielder who drops the ball and credit an assist to the fielder who made the throw.

Here’s an example:
Runner at first, batter hits a ground ball to the second baseman who flips to the shortstop for the force at second. The shortstop throws to first where the first baseman drops a perfect throw, allowing the batter to reach safely. As a scorer, you know this – because your friendly neighborhood umpire signals ”safe” and points to the first baseman, telling you that if he had held the ball the runner would have been out.

Please make a mental note to deduct style points if said umpire inadvertently pumped his fist for the “out” before he quickly altered his dance move to the “safe” call.

Stat Crew Nation would correctly type in the above play as follows:
Batter – ”E3M A6 GDP”
Runner at first – ”46″

And yes, if any preceding base runners score on the play, the batter does NOT get credit for Runs Batted In. Turn to pages 8-9 of the “Book of Shannon” for a funny story regarding this exact play. I’ve scored this play a few times, including at an OS assignment last year at Shea Stadium.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.

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