Tagged: Sports

How To Be The Winning AND Losing Pitcher In The Same Game


Let’s open the 2011 season by pulling a question out of the “e-mailbag”…

Q: Suppose Bob is the pitcher of record when a game is suspended. Before the game resumes a few months later, Bob gets traded to the other team. Assuming Bob pitches for his new team once the game resumes, could he be the winning pitcher for one team, and ALSO the losing pitcher for the other team?
(Luke – via the WorldWideWeb)

A: The answer is YES Luke. First off, Bob is eligible to pitch for both teams in the same game. This is covered on page 41 of the 2010 edition of the Official Baseball Rules:

Rule 4.12(c): …A player who was not with the club
when the game was suspended may be used as a substitute,
even if he has taken the place of a player
no longer with the club who would not have been eligible
because he had been removed from the lineup
before the game was suspended.

That being said, I only know of one scenario in which Bob could be both the winning and losing pitcher. In order for this incredibly rare instance to occur, all of the following conditions would have to happen before the game was suspended and when it was resumed – as indicated in Rule 10.17:

  • Bob’s “first” team would have be the home team,
  • The home team would have to be batting (bottom of the inning),
  • The home team would have to be trailing the visiting team (not tied),
  • The tying or go-ahead runs could not be on base,
  • Bob would be the “pitcher of record”, having completed the top of the inning,
  • Upon the game’s resumption, Bob would have to immediately enter the game as the visiting pitcher,
  • The home team would have to assume the lead with Bob as the pitcher of record for the visiting team.

In the minors, infielder Andrew Pinckey had the chance to play for both teams in the same game on July 28, 2008. To read more about it,
click here. I’m sure there are others, but as far as Major League Baseball goes I have my own story on this topic.






Early in my minor league scoring career I was personally “duped” by a former major leaguer turned pitching coach who had claimed to have struck out himself out under a circumstance similar to Luke’s question. In this fibbing player’s scenario, he had been batting when the game was suspended, traded to the opposing team, and entered as the pitcher when the game was resumed. A tremendous story-except the world wide web confirmed it to be an extremely TALL tale. A famous man once said, “Trust – then verify”.

It’s a simple game. Really.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.


GIDPs Are Twice As Bad


Our latest question comes to us via text message from Tom and Dan at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia:

Q: Greetings from the home of the 2008 World Champions! Take a look at how the top of the 8th inning ended here tonight…

A: Thanks for pointing out one you don’t see every day:

With one out and runners at first and second, Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded to third base. Pedro Feliz threw to Chase Utley to get the force at second, and Utley threw the ball back to Feliz at third for the inning-ending double play. In addition to recording the 5-4-5 DP on their scoresheet, Tom and Dan must also give Kouzmanoff “credit” for a GIDP – ground into double play.

Rule 10.02(a)(17): “The official score report prepared by
the official scorer shall be in a form prescribed
by the league and shall include: Number of force double plays
and reverse-force double plays grounded into.”

Stat Crew Nation would correctly type in the above play as follows:
Batter – ”FC GDP”
Runner at first – ”X″
Runner at second – ”545″

And if it had been less than two outs, AND a runner from third scored…

…Kouzmanoff would NOT have gotten credit for an RBI
Rule 10.04(B)(1).

The fact that Kouzmanoff was not “put out” is immaterial, he hit a ground ball that resulted in a double play.

It’s a simple game. Really.

TRIVIA TIME…this play resulted in Kouzmanoff’s second GIDP of the game, but the good news for him is that he is nowhere close to the all-time record. Do you know WHO holds the all-time record for grounding into the MOST double plays in their career? Your only hint is that this Hall-Of-Famer is better known for holding another record.

Send your questions, comments, and answers to the mailbag…

Fouling Up The Rule


Let’s pull another question out of the email bag…

Q: Can an error ever be called if a hitter hits a CATCHABLE foul ball that is dropped by either the catcher or one of the fielders? (Warren – Washington, DC)

A: Can and must.

Rule 10.12(a)(2): The official scorer shall charge an error
against any fielder when such fielder muffs a foul fly to
prolong the time at bat of a batter, whether the batter
subsequently reaches first base or is put out.

It should be fairly clear to all that the intent of this rule is to give the pitcher the benefit of the doubt when a plate appearance is extended because of an error by a fielder.

Nowhere in the Official Baseball Rules does it mention that this rule be applied as a ”get out of earned run(s) FREE if there’s a foul ball” coupon for the pitcher. As ridiculous as this concept sounds, the frequency that it actually happens is the part I find to be completely ridiculous. To illustrate this point, I share with you the happenings of one of the first Major League Baseball games I ever covered:

Night game at Shea Stadium, in which it had rained all afternoon prior to the game. The ground crew did a great job readying the field for play, but the far reaches of the field were in less-than-perfect conditions. Mike Piazza hit a ball into foul territory, and the opposing team’s first baseman chased it as it headed towards the seats. The kitty litter and water puddles slowed this already slow first baseman down and the ball dropped harmlessly a few feet in front of him on the dirt track. The Official Scorer that night stated “No Play” – the correct call. On a night with perfect field conditions, his call might have been different.

Piazza drove the very next pitch out of the ballpark for a home run. As he was rounding the bases, a member of the media walked up to the Official Scorer and said something akin to now that we “know” what happened, he should change the dropped foul to an error to protect the pitcher by making Piazza’s run unearned. When the Official Scorer responded that this was not the intent of the rule, the media member responded that it would have been changed in other locales. The rest of the conversation was colorful, but not germaine to this discussion. You get the point.

Since that day, I’ve seen a couple of “E’s” mysteriously appear on college and minor league scoreboards shortly after such plays happen. It goes without saying, so I’ll say it again: As an Official Scorer you apply the rules on the “live” action AS IT HAPPENS. If you didn’t think the ball was playable at the time you saw it, what happens next should have no bearing on your decision. No matter what the manager, the player, or his mother say to you. I recommend that you leave “revising history” to historians, “managing” to managers, “parenting” to parents, and “official scoring” to Official Scorers.

It’s a simple game. Really.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.

You Can’t Make It Up, Really. It’s Against The RULES.


Here’s another question from the mailbag:

Q: Is the Official Scorer in Detroit making up his own rules? (YankeeBob – Woodhaven, NY)

A: Let me check YB. According to my brand new edition of the Official Baseball Rules that I just got in the mail (sporting 2008 WS action on the front cover):

Rule 10.01(b)(1): In all cases, the official scorer shall not make a scoring decision that is in conflict with Rule 10 or any other Official Baseball Rule. The official scorer shall conform strictly to the rules of scoring set forth in this Rule 10….

Q: OK smart guy, explain to me this play that happened in the Yankees game at the Tigers last week: One out, runners on second and third. Jorge Posada hits a fly ball to left field. The left fielder doesn’t make the catch and the ball bounces by him. Both runners score and Posada ends up on second on the play. The Official Scorer ruled: Sac fly, error 7, one RBI. Well, SmartGuyDave?

A: YB, everything is correct as you described. Simply put, a sacrifice – fly or hit – can be awarded to a batter on a play that does not record an out. The dropped sacrifice fly is specifically discussed on page 106 of the brand new edition of the rulebook.

Rule 10.08(d)(2): The official scorer shall score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield in fair or foul territory that is dropped, and a runner scores, if in the scorer’s judgment the runner could have scored after the catch had the fly been caught.

In the scorer’s judgment, the fly ball should have been caught by the left fielder, AND he/she also judged that it was hit far enough that if the runner tagged up on a caught ball he would have scored. In the play described above, Posada is credited with an RBI, because he hit a ball far enough into the outfield to score a runner from third.

Stat Crew Nation would correctly type in the above play as follows:
Batter – ”E7F + SF RBI” (if batter scores, UE)
Runner at second – ”++″ (unknown yet if UE)
Runner at third – “+” (run is earned)

It’s a simple game. Really.

By the way, a small “shout-out” to my pal, YankeeBob:
Back in the days when it wasn’t COOL to be a Yankee Fan (1982-1995), YB lived far, far away from the city so nice they named it twice. Before there was the internet, satellite TV, and all the things we take for granted today, YB would call local “establishments” in New York City and ask the bartenders to put the phone receiver next to the TV speakers so he could listen to the game “long distance”. Seriously. He’s got the phone records and check stubs to prove it. In my humble opinion, YankeeBob is a TRUE baseball fan and I’m honored to know him.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.

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.

We NEED Umpires!


It’s time to reach into the “mailbag” for our first inquiry…

Q: OK smart guy, what would you do with that play in the second inning of last Sunday’s Dbacks/Dodgers game? (Brian – New Rochelle, NY)

A: Simply put, an Official Scorer’s primary job is to pay attention. This particular play required a little more attention than most plays, but it just proves that “it aint’ over until it’s over”.

Let’s reset the situation as it occured on April 12, 2009:
With one out, the Dodgers have runners on second and third when the batter hits a line drive that is caught on the fly by the pitcher. The pitcher wheels around and throws to the second baseman, who tags the runner a few steps away from the bag for the inning-ending double play.

The runner on third was running on contact, and crossed the plate before the runner on second was tagged out. The Diamondbacks left the field, apparently thinking the run doesn’t count and the inning is over.

The umpires huddle up, then meet with both managers and correctly inform them that the run did count.

Crew Chief Charlie Reliford later told the media, “They could have gotten the fourth out with an appeal at third base, but they didn’t do that before leaving the field.”

First off, let’s remember who we are:

Rule 10.01(b)(1) “…The official scorer shall not make any decision that conflicts with an umpire’s decision…”

So once the umpire’s huddle begins, we simply wait for them to do their thing. I’m fairly certain that at least one member of a Major League Baseball umpire crew knows Rule 7.10(a) – they don’t need and won’t ask for our input. So back to the play…

Stat Crew Nation would correctly type in the above play as follows:
Batter – ”L14 DP RBI”
Runner at second – ”X″
Runner at third – “+”

But what if the appeal been made correctly?

Rule 10.09(a)(2) Comment: The official scorer shall credit a fielder with a putout if such fielder catches a thrown ball and tags a base to record an out on an appeal play.

So let’s alter the play as follows:

The runner on third was running on contact, and crossed the plate before the runner on second was tagged out. The catcher throws to the third baseman, and the umpire rules the base runner out on appeal.

Stat Crew Nation – we have a problem. If one tries to enter…
Batter – “L14 DP”
Runner at second – “X”
Runner at third – “5″

…a ”too many outs” error occurs. Consulting the help screen (F1) informs us that the only occasion to have more than three outs in our stat crew inning must involve a strikeout. If appears to me that the only option would be to ignore the appeal putout to 5. Life is not perfect.

Meanwhile, as the Official Scorer we simply record the fourth out – a putout for the third baseman. A reminder that the rules do not provide for assists on appeal plays.

It’s plays like these that make “proving” a boxscore an important task:

  • When the OS in Arizona proved his box after the game, I’m sure it added up.
  • Had the appeal been made, the box would have had one more out for the Diamondbacks and one less run for the Dodgers, and the box would have added up.
  • If the second baseman would have simply touched second base instead of chasing the runner down – which gave the runner on third the chance to score – the box would have one more left on base and one less run for the Dodgers, and the box would have added up.

It’s a simple game. Really.

Send your questions and comments to the mailbag.

You CAN Assume A Double Play. Or can you?


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.