The 3-in-1 hit Was Fine

So, like a demolition crew, the Giants won 9-0 last night in a eventually rain-soaked Game 7. The game’s signature play, however, was Hunter Pence’s double during the third inning. You can see a GIF of the play over at Deadspin, but in essence, as the bat broke into two the barrel hit the ball not once, not twice, but thrice. This, of course, caused some weird spin to come onto the ball, badly confusing Cardinals’ rookie SS Pete Kozma, who made a bad first move that allowed what could have been a double play to instead be a double that burst the game open.

Some online have said that there is a rule that anybody who hits the ball twice or more with the bat is out and the ball is dead. See rule 6.05 H:

(The batter is out if…) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair
territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance.

 

Looking at this, you would think this would mean that Pence should have been out. But, well, that’s only if you don’t read a comment below that:

Rule 6.05(h) Comment: If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted
ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called.

 

Pence’s bat broke, and this is part of the reason why it hit the ball several times, as it trampolined back into the ball. Therefore, the play is valid.

Now, of course, there would have been no way for the umpire to have seen the bat hit several times anyway, as the umpire didn’t have the super-slow-motion replay that FOX’s broadcast had. And, besides, this type of unintentional multi-bat-hitting isn’t what the rule is there for. Instead, it is there to stop, say, a guy bunting a ball in the air and then playing fungo with it.

And now you know.

Great Baseball Lies: No, the tie does NOT go to the runner! Maybe. It’s complicated.

It is a rule born of the schoolyard, and of Little Leagues, repeated by announcers and fans throughout the nation: if the ball and the runner tie, especially at first base, then the tie goes to the runner.

I myself believed it. But, it turns out, it is isn’t true. The Hardball Times has a good article about it, but it is basically this: there are no actual rules that say anything about ties. Therefore, a good reading of the rules would suggest that the ties don’t even exist, either a runner has clearly beaten the ball, or he hasn’t.

As Hardball Times notes, the rules that govern safe and out are these:

Rule 6.05 (j) A batter is out when, after a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base.

Rule 7.01 A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base.

Rule 7.08 (e) Any runner is out when he or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base….

As you can see, there is nothing said about a tie. Basically, it depends upon what rule is followed. Veteran umpire Tim McClelland, for example, goes by the middle rule, and basically says that since the batter didn’t “beat” the throw to first, then he is out. This makes a sort of sense when you look at that rule (7.01): if there WAS a tie, then you couldn’t exactly say that the runner had acquired the base BEFORE he was out.

However, former umpire Jim Evans says that actually, the runner is safe, since he had gotten to the base before he was out. So, in other words, in the case of the tie it could be said that, during a “tie” the runner beat the ball to the bag.

In short, it depends on the umpire.