Swing And A Myth…Outta Here!


It’s time to debunk another baseball myth:

“A batted ball that reaches the outfield grass on the fly
untouched by a fielder is automatically a base hit.”

Although this is generally true, it’s not always true. Let’s pull out our hard copy of the 2008 Edition of the Official Baseball Rules and take a look. Of course, we’ll take a moment to glance at the front cover since it features Washington Nationals catcher and Brooklyn Cyclones alum Jesus Flores (Cyclones Class of 2004). Turning to page 98, we find:

Rule 10.05(a)(4) The official scorer should credit a batter with a base hit when the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball that has not been touched by a fielder and that is in fair territory when the ball reaches the outfield, unless in the scorer’s judgment the ball could have been handled with ordinary effort.

Simply put, an Official Scorer must use his/her judgment to decide ordinary effort. It’s a safe bet that if you’ve seen a similar successful catch attempt on a TV “Plays of the Day/Week/Month/Century” show – it’s likely extra-ordinary effort. An official scorer must also consider things like extreme weather conditions (high winds, etc.) and high skies (natural or man made). If a center fielder loses a ball in the sun/lights/roof, it’s generally a base hit. If a center fielder calls another outfielder off from making a routine catch and then loses the ball – it’s probably going to result in an error, even though the ball dropped untouched. If a fielder has to dive to make the attempt – the ball is likely a hit. ”Cans of corn” and other balls that should be caught “100 times out of 100 chances” – are likely going to be an error. Notice that who the batter or fielder are, and/or what team they play for is not a part of the decision making process. Never. Ever. Nor do you weigh in potential earned/unearned runs. You can’t please everybody all the time, so concern yourself with scoring the play correctly.

Here’s another situation:
Let’s not forget about the circumstance when a base runner is forced out on a ball that would normally be a hit. This is a byproduct of the defensive “overshifts” managers now implement for certain batters. When infielders overload one side of the field, one fielder usually moves to a position on the outfield grass in order to turn a sure hit into an unusual out.

For example:
Jason Giambi comes to bat with a runner on first. The entire infield shifts to the right side of second base, and Giambi hits a line drive into right field – directly in front of where the second baseman is positioned. The second baseman fields the ball on the bounce and flips to the third baseman, who is covering second.

Stat Crew Nation would correctly type in the above play as follows:
Batter – ”FC”
Runner at first – ”45″

It’s a simple game. Really.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s