? It is the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. There is one out and Team B has runners on second and third. With first open, Team A decides to intentionally walk the next batter. Just before the first pitch, the catcher steps out of the catcher's box to give the pitcher a better target. Suddenly the umpire waves the runner on third home with the winning run. What happened?
This is an article from the April 10, 1961 issue
• A balk resulted when the catcher stepped out of the catcher's box before the pitch. The catcher must not step beyond his area until the pitch has been released.
? 1) What is a suicide squeeze play? 2) How does it differ from a safety squeeze?
•1) A runner on third base breaks for home on the pitcher's motion. The batter must bunt at the ball wherever it is pitched, sacrificing himself, in an attempt to squeeze the run home. 2) The safety squeeze allows for an option. The batter may take the pitch if he thinks it is out of the strike zone. The runner does not start home until he sees the batter bunt the ball on the ground.
? A batter from Team A hits out of turn and singles. After the next batter takes a pitch for a ball, the defensive team realizes the batting-order error. Does the man who baited out of turn still have a single?
• Yes. Batting out of turn is an appeal play, and the umpire acts only when informed by the defensive team. The appeal must be made before the first pitch to the next batter.
? With less than two out and runners on first and second, a batter hits an infield fly. A fielder drops the ball, and a base runner is thrown out as he tries to advance. What is the call?
• It's a double play. The batter is automatically out under the infield fly rule. The runner, who may advance on an infield fly at his own risk, is also out.
? A runner is on first base. The pitcher fakes a pickoff throw, then pitches to the batter. The umpire calls a balk, but the batter swings and gets a base hit. Does he have to go back to the plate and try again?
• No. This is a legal play. If the batter reaches first base safely, this negates the balk call.
? A hitter stands ready in the batter's box. The pitcher throws a strike, lakes the catcher's return throw and rapidly throws another pitch. Is this legal?
• No. This is an umpire's judgment play. If he feels the batter was not ready, he will rule a quick pitch, and the ball is declared dead. (This is sometimes a device used by experienced pitchers when facing younger batters.)
? A pitcher is attempting to walk a batter intentionally. 1) The batter steps out of the hitter's box and lines a double. Is he credited with a hit? 2) The batter swings at a ball that has bounced in front of the plate and hits it for a single. Is he credited with a hit?
•1) No. If the batter hits the ball while out of the batter's box, he would be declared out. 2) Yes. Any pitch a batter can reach, as long as he does not leave the box, can be hit for a fair ball.
? An outfielder moves against the fence in fair territory for a long fly ball. He leaps, the ball bounces off his glove and falls into the stands in foul territory. Is this a home run?
• No. It is a ground-rule double. If the ball had fallen into the stands in fair territory, however, it would have been a home run.
? With runners on first and third, a batted ball strikes the base runner going into second base. Does the run score?
• No. A runner hit by a batted ball is automatically out, and the batter is credited with a single. No other runners can advance.
? With a runner on first, a pop foul is hit to the left of the plate in foul territory. The third baseman makes the catch, stumbles into the dugout and falls down. But he recovers in time to get the ball to second base ahead of the runner trying to advance after the catch. Is the base runner out?
• No, he is safe. In this case the ball became dead when the fielder fell out of the field of play (i.e., the dugout). The runner is allowed to advance one base but no farther.
? A batter hits a drive to deep centerfield. In running the bases, he fails to touch first. As he nears third he realizes his mistake, cuts back in front of second and gets to first before the relay from the outfield. The first baseman then lags him with the ball. Is the runner safe or out?
• He is out if the umpire was notified by the team in the field (appeal play). To properly rectify his mistake, the runner should have touched the bases in reverse order.
? The batter swings at the ball and tops it in front of home plate. As he runs toward first, he drops his bat and the ball rolls against it. The catcher's throw to first is not in time. Would this be ruled a dead ball or a base hit?
• It would depend on the umpire's judgment. If the umpire felt that the batter did not intentionally throw his bat in the way of the ball, he would be credited with a base hit. If, however, the umpire felt that the batter intentionally interfered with the ball, he is out.
? What is the maximum number of balls and strikes a batter may have in one official at bat?
•Eleven. This would happen if he ran the count to three and two and then the third out was made (i.e., an attempted steal or pickoff) before he finished his turn at bat. He would then lead off the following inning, and could receive another count of three and two again before either walking or striking out.