[Q] A batter/runner (with EYJ speed) hustles down the first base line trying to beat out an infield single. He reaches the bag just ahead of the throw, which sails over the 1B-man’s head and down the RF line. The batter/runner is a good 10-15 feet past 1B when he sees that the throw was bad, turns left and heads to 2B and beats the throw. But since his initial momentum carried him so far past 1B, his direct path to 2B is way out of the baseline. Is it allowed for him to be out of the basepath in this situation? (Miketober)
[A] The simple answer is yes, he is allowed to be out of the baseline on his way to second.
Another scenario…he gets caught in a rundown on your previous play. When and where is HIS baseline? The runners baseline for purposes of umpire determination for when the runner is OUT of the baseline is established when he turns left heading for second…his baseline is now that point and second base. In theory he could be way, way out of the original baseline(a direct line between first and second)in this case. Totally legal…the umpire will have to determine if the runner ran three feet on either side of this “new” line before he can call him out. It should be noted that the umpire may only call a runner out for running outside his baseline IF he runs outside that line to avoid a tag.
[COMMENT] Thanks Ed. It would be legal but hard to officiate if he were way out of the “traditional” base line and got caught in a rundown. Each time he reversed direction (say running back and forth between 1B and 2B) a new base path would be created: from the point he reversed direction to the base he was trying to make it safely to. (Miketober)
Posted in: Ask Ed The Ump