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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki’s Matrix Move at Home Plate

The 38-year-old Suzuki was trying to make it home from first on Robinson Cano’s two-out double into the right field corner. Just like the previous night, though that was with the slower and less agile Russell Martin running the bases, Wieters had the ball before the runner reached home plate.

This time, though, Wieters didn’t get the out. He swung his glove hand into the basepath, but Ichiro leaped sideways and toward the back of the plate to evade the tag. But his mission was far from accomplished as he was well past the plate. Wieters dove to cover the back side of the plate and Suzuki dove to get his hand in.

But Suzuki had one more surprise, arching his body at the last second to go over Wieters’ outstretched glove and get a hand on the plate.

In conclusion, baseball and Ichiro are both great.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:04 AM | 111 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fun, ichiro, mlb_rules, orioles, yankees

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   1. Bhaakon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:34 AM (#4260189)
Wait a minute. Ichiro clearly circled home plate and approached from the rear to avoid a tag. How is this not against rule 7.08?

Any runner is out when—
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged
unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A
runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight
line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely


   2. Scott Lange Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4260205)
The Greg Maddux video linked in the article is incredible. If you'd asked me to guess two players who made "Matrix" moves to score runs at home, I would have guessed Ichiro and... not Maddux.
   3. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4260214)
yeah this was bonkers
   4. Lassus Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4260215)
Heh. I made that jumping over the mitt move in Little League to complete an error-filled Little League HR.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4260233)
I wish there was a way I could root for the Yankees to lose but for Ichiro to win.
   6. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4260234)
I was in a softball league about 5 years ago where the quality level was extremely mixed and generally pretty low. Everybody was being extremely conservative on the basepath and I kept telling my teammates to just keep running and force the other team to make the play. So to prove I was right I got ultra aggressive on the bases when I got on. A guy hit a line drive to center while I was on first and I took off and wasn't going to stop until I touched home plate. The ball beat me to home plate by a mile but as I approached the plate I could see that the catcher was hunkering down and expecting me to slide so I leaped over him and landed on home plate for a safe call. Greatest play of the season.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4260237)
Wait a minute. Ichiro clearly circled home plate and approached from the rear to avoid a tag. How is this not against rule 7.08?


According to the official rules on MLB's website the back line of the catcher's box is 8 feet from the back point of home plate. Watching the replay Ichiro! gets to about that point as he passes the plate which says to me that he was out of the baseline.
   8. Hack Wilson Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4260248)
What happened in #6 sounds like what happened to a Cub in 1969 (the year usually erased from my memory).

Jimmy Qualls attempted to score in the tenth inning. Pat Corrales blocked the plate, Qualls, running full speed, jumped as Corrales bent down to grab the throw. The ball and Qualls arrived at the same time. Qualls, having nowhere to go but up, attempted to leap over Corrales, but his leg hit Corrales’ shoulder as Corrales rose with the ball and Qualls was sent hurdling into the air about ten feet before home plate. Qualls soared over the plate, his feet skyward and his hand reaching downward in an effort to touch the plate. His momentum carried him over the plate and his outstretched hand never came within a foot of the plate as he crashed to the ground and rolled about twenty feet past home plate. Corrales held up the ball and looked at the umpire who stood stone-faced making no signal at all. Qualls, knowing he missed home plate, got up and raced for home. Corrales, still down the third base line, did the same. Qualls and Corrales both dived for the plate with Qualls hand sliding under the tag before the collision.


And Ichiro should have been called out!!!!!
   9. JRVJ Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4260265)
Not very sure I'd call that a Matrix move, even if it was brilliant base running by Ichiro!

And FWIW, I have enjoyed having Ichiro! in a pennant chase/now the playoffs. Good for him.
   10. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4260270)
I'm a biased orioles fan, but I thought it was ridiculous and that he should have been called out. Why not just let him run around the field with Wieters chasing him, Benny Hill style?
   11. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4260283)
I leaped over him and landed on home plate for a safe call


You'd be out in my league for failure to slide.

I think the "baseline" goes away at home plate. I think it's legal for a player to mistakenly wander off into the grass only to return and tag the plate.
   12. villageidiom Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4260297)
Wait a minute. Ichiro clearly circled home plate and approached from the rear to avoid a tag. How is this not against rule 7.08?
If he went wide by more than 3 feet to avoid the tag, he should be out. If he went wide by less than 3 feet to avoid the tag, then once past the catcher his momentum carried him more than 3 feet away, that's fine.
   13. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4260309)
Why not just let him run around the field with Wieters chasing him, Benny Hill style?

And therein lies the problem. Wieters had no business pursuing Suzuki (just as Slaught had no business pursuing Maddux in the video in #2). The baserunner has nowhere to go. Just camp at home plate and wait for the baserunner to come back.
   14. bunyon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4260311)
As I said in the chatter, the ump usually gives wide latitude at the plate. Stay on the dirt and you're fine. It's how it's always been and I can go find video to support the call, so it must be fine.
   15. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4260320)
I think the "baseline" goes away at home plate. I think it's legal for a player to mistakenly wander off into the grass only to return and tag the plate.

That's certainly happened enough times to be cited as a precedent. As for Ichiro's first maneuver, unless you put a buzzer-activating chalk line exactly three feet outside the baselines that can only be set off by the baserunner, that's always going to be a bang-bang judgment call.
   16. McCoy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4260323)
And therein lies the problem. Wieters had no business pursuing Suzuki (just as Slaught had no business pursuing Maddux in the video in #2). The baserunner has nowhere to go. Just camp at home plate and wait for the baserunner to come back.

Wieters was down on the ground and had to surge back to home plate either way. "Camping out" at home plate would be an extremely difficult thing for Wieters to do in a timely manner. Slaught did screw up though by not camping out at home plate.
   17. JL Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4260336)
Slaught did screw up though by not camping out at home plate.

Watching the video, I came away with the impression that Slaught initially assumed that Maddux was giving up on the play and would take the tag easily. Maddux dodges it, at which point Slaught realizes that things are still on.

A screw up but not entirely unsurprising given the circumstances.
   18. jacjacatk Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4260338)
unless you put a buzzer-activating chalk line exactly three feet outside the baselines that can only be set off by the baserunner


This won't work, for the purposes of this rule the base path is established as the line from the the runners position to the next base at the time a tag is attempted. I don't think he violated the rule, and the fact that his momentum carried him well past the base doesn't appear to be a violation either, especially given that he went directly (enough, given the attempt to avoid the tag the second time) back for the plate once he was able to stop.
   19. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4260343)
Agree with VI - I figured the ruling was that Ichiro wasn't excessively out of the baseline, he just went past home. He's allowed to move up to three feet to avoid Wieter's tag once his path to the plate has been established. He could still have touched home with his hand like a runner going into second on a take-out slide. Once he goes past home, he went fairly directly toward home after stopping his momentum, it wasn't like he ran all over foul territory.
   20. dave h Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4260345)
I'd call him out. Weiters is 6'5", so half his wingspan is almost certainly more than 3', and he's in Ichiro's path before the evasive maneuver. Additionally, he ends up very wide of the plate as a result of his attempting to miss the tag - I understand his momentum carrying him forward but the fact that he ended up wide as well should be counted against him. VI, do you have a specific rule interpretation that says it is only the instant that he is closest to the catcher's glove that matters?
   21. escabeche Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4260348)
I would have loved it if Wieters had camped on the plate with Suzuki dancing just out of his reach yelling "COME AT ME BRO!"

Has there ever been a play where the runner led the catcher on a merry chase around the plate while another baserunner took extra bases uncontested?
   22. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4260369)
Why not just let him run around the field with Wieters chasing him, Benny Hill style?


They should do that during the 7th inning stretch. Who wouldn't watch that?
   23. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4260387)
#20 - Rule 7.08 "A runner'?s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; "
   24. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4260405)
I don't think there's anything in the rules about this, but my understanding is that once the runner goes past home plate, he's allowed to go back to the plate from whereever he ends up if he still needs to touch it. But the issue here is the path Ichiro took before he got to the plate. I thought he went well beyond three feet from the basepath when he avoided Wieters initial tag.
   25. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4260423)
Suzuki's acrobatics has served to distract from how crappy a relay throw that was. There was tons of time to get Ichiro, and Andino threw the ball nowhere near the plate, forcing Wieters to lunge for Ichiro.
   26. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4260430)
Seems like on all bases umps will let it go as long as they think that if the player were to lay out from where he is he'd touch the base.
   27. dave h Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4260435)
#23, the baseline is established then, but I would think that the question isn't just whether he is out of the baseline at one moment. I think he's out if he leaves the baseline at any time in the process of avoiding the tag. Again, going past the plate isn't a problem, it's going well wide of the plate. And for #26, that may apply when you're talking about the takeout slide at second, but that's a different situation since there you're not avoiding a tag. The idea is that when you're avoiding a tag you can't just run around it, which is exactly what Ichiro did.
   28. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4260447)
since I wasn't home for the play, how much did Baltimore protest? From the clip, Wieters didn't seem animated by the call.
   29. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4260448)
This is a bit like the infield fly issue in that both incidents raise the question of the language and application of the rules vs. the intended purpose. For the infield fly, the ump might have called it correctly in a technical sense, but the point of the rule is to prevent the fielders from getting a cheap extra out by taking advantage of the runners' situation. That doesn't apply to a fly out 20 feet beyond the infield IMO. Here, the purpose of the rule is to prevent runners from running around a tag to get to a base, as #27 notes.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4260449)
Historically, umpires do not care if momentum takes you further outside the baseline to avoid a tag. It only matters where you were in relation to the baseline at the moment the tag was eluded. Running outside the baseline is an extraordinarily rare call, and I don't think Ichiro's move comes all that close to qualifying.
   31. Danny Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4260451)
It seems pretty clear that he "[ran] more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged."

The far edge of the batter's box is 4.5 feet from the edge of the plate, and back of the batter's box is 3 feet behind the center of the plate--making the back corner of the batter's box about 5.4 feet from the plate. So Ichiro was close to 6 feet away from the plate/baseline when he goes around the back corner of the batter's box to avoid the tag.
   32. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4260455)
The "past home plate" issue complicates the "out of the baseline" rule. If he left the baseline before he got to home, he should be out. If not, then he's past home plate and can wander around for a while.
   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4260456)
what would have convinced me that ichiro is a mythical creature is if he had done that elevation/hang in the air trick so common to the martial arts silly movies. he hovers over home plate and then suddenly dives in to touch the plate.

   34. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4260465)
Has this sort of thing ever happened at a different base? I know that sometimes runners overslide second on a steal, but I don't recall anyone really doing the Benny Hill thing to avoid a tag.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4260469)
Getting the plate with his right hand was pretty awesome. It reminds me of that Michael Jordan layup that they always show where he switches hands mid-air.
   36. KT's Pot Arb Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4260482)
Apparently we learned nothing from pearl harbor.
   37. spycake Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4260484)
Suzuki's acrobatics has served to distract from how crappy a relay throw that was. There was tons of time to get Ichiro, and Andino threw the ball nowhere near the plate, forcing Wieters to lunge for Ichiro.


Agreed. A better throw allows Weiters to catch it closer to Ichiro's running path (instead of lunging toward the mound, on the fair side of the line, just to get the ball). Also, a better throw allows Weiters to catch it standing up, which not only aids the initial tag, it would have enabled him to "camp out" protecting home plate if necessary.

Although given the time they had, Weiters could have positioned himself further up the line too to meet Ichiro.
   38. DKDC Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4260494)
BBTF groupthink at work.

It's good to know that everyone thinks Ichiro Maybe/Definitely was out/safe.
   39. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4260496)
Are we watching the same play? The relay was right on target and Wieters did catch it standing up. That said, I agree that Wieters could have set himself up a couple feet over so that he was straddling the baseline.
   40. spycake Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4260513)
My best view of it was that Weiters was standing on the plate, and had to lunge on the fair side of the line to catch the throw, which either brought him to his knees or put him in a position where he had to go to his knees to then lunge at Ichiro for the initial tag attempt. I don't think it was a terrible throw, but it didn't go to Weiters, Weiters had to go to it.

(And I'm no expert on catcher positioning, but I suspect Weiters was playing where he was supposed to, so it's hard to blame him for not being where Andino's throw came in.)
   41. spycake Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4260515)
since I wasn't home for the play, how much did Baltimore protest? From the clip, Wieters didn't seem animated by the call.


Didn't Weiters omnisciently know the outcome of the game already?
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4260525)
Getting the plate with his right hand was pretty awesome. It reminds me of that Michael Jordan layup that they always show where he switches hands mid-air.


That Jordan play is great, but I've seen it so many times that I've begun to notice that there was not really a defender close and the switch was unnecessary.
   43. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4260574)
#20 - Rule 7.08 "A runner'?s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; "

Which is why I think he was clearly out. If you establish a baseline when tag attempt occurs, his momentum clearly pushes him past the three feet of established baseline.
   44. something like a train wreck Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4260576)
I just looked at the video. He was easily 4 feet and possibly 5 feet from the base line at the point of the swipe. In general, I wish they would enforce all of the baseline rules. Sliding 2 feet to the right of second base to break up a double play really shouldn't be allowed.
   45. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4260607)
Per Billy Ripken's demo, it's "his base path" not "the baseline". It's not about the chalk lines on the field.

If the Orioles did not raise a stink about it, it couldn't have been an egregious violation, if any.
   46. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4260620)
Per Billy Ripken's demo, it's "his base path" not "the baseline". It's not about the chalk lines on the field.

Billy was terrible in his demo. He didn't even follow all of the rule he just explained. He thought since Ichiro was within 3 feet of the initial tag he was safe, but then he totally ignored the whole point about drawing the baseline from where the tag is applied to the base which he just explained to viewers.
   47. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4260636)
It's true that it's the runner's base path and not the baseline (otherwise, the runner wouldn't be able to "round" third base), but even given that I thought Ichiro went at least three feet from his own base path when he went around Wieters.
   48. cardsfanboy Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4260642)
Per Billy Ripken's demo, it's "his base path" not "the baseline". It's not about the chalk lines on the field.


I haven't been following this thread intently, but yes it's the base path not base line, if it was required to be within 3 feet of the baseline then you wouldn't be able to circle around the bases per your momentum.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4260651)

I haven't been following this thread intently, but yes it's the base path not base line, if it was required to be within 3 feet of the baseline then you wouldn't be able to circle around the bases per your momentum.


No, because the rule only applies to avoiding the tag. There's no real limit to how far removed from the path the runner can go if no tag is being attempted.

But this really wasn't close. Rather than total footage, umpires aren't going to make any kind of out-of-the-baseline call on a single step to elude the tag. There's a reason Smoltz and Ripken didn't say anything in that clip.* I doubt they considered the possibility that Ichiro was out of the baseline.

* Crossing my fingers and hoping that they didn't bring this up later.



   50. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4260681)

I just looked at the video. He was easily 4 feet and possibly 5 feet from the base line at the point of the swipe.


I think people are taking 'three feet' a little too literally. I think the intent is to allow the runner to run just outside the reach of the player with the ball, that is, approximately 3 feet for a person of normal height. Since Wieters is taller than normal, Ichiro gets more leeway. As I see it, Ichiro ran just past Wieter's outstretched arm, so was within the spirit of the rules.
   51. Danny Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4260685)
A runner's baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely

The runner's baseline is from Ichiro to the plate.

Since he was more than three feet away from the plate when he runs around the batter's box to avoid the tag, isn't he necessarily more than three feet out of his basepath? I think he'd be called out without any debate if he tried that at second base; is the rule different at home?
   52. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4260713)
As I see it, Ichiro ran just past Wieter's outstretched arm, so was within the spirit of the rules.

But that ignores the whole, "A runner's baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely," part of the rules.
   53. PepTech Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4260738)
Since he was more than three feet away from the plate when he runs around the batter's box to avoid the tag


Go back and look at the clip again. This time, look at where Ichiro! was at 0:11 in the clip - he was out in the grass already. The ump is directly behind the plate so as to look up towards 3rd. The "three feet" is NOT from the baseline, it's from where Ichiro# was when Wieters started swiping, and Ichiro$ didn't move three additional feet to the left, he just basically kept going straight.

The only time "three feet" matters is during the act of swiping. So Ichiro@ running past the plate makes no difference, as Wieters wasn't swiping at him while he ran eight feet past.

Getting back to the plate, sure, Ichiro% contorted, but he was moving in the direction of the plate the entire time of Wieters' 2nd swipe job.
   54. dave h Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4260743)
#50, that's exactly the opposite of the rule. The rule is meant to avoid runners being able to evade a tag simply by running around it, not to give them a little window to get through.
   55. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 09, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4260750)
angel hernandez does not bother himself with mundane things like 'rules'

he's free form.

   56. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 09, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4260772)
Go back and watch the play on mlb.com. #### the little flash dingy. What you see is that Ichiro is coming down from third ON THE GRASS in foul territory. He's on the grass as Wieters catches the ball. He's on the grass as he crosses the circle.

There's no way in hell he deviated more than 3 feet from his basepath to miss the tag.
   57. Danny Posted: October 09, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4260777)
Go back and look at the clip again. This time, look at where Ichiro! was at 0:11 in the clip - he was out in the grass already. The ump is directly behind the plate so as to look up towards 3rd. The "three feet" is NOT from the baseline, it's from where Ichiro# was when Wieters started swiping, and Ichiro$ didn't move three additional feet to the left, he just basically kept going straight.

Ichiro's basepath isn't just a continuation of whatever direction he's running; rather, it's a line from him to the plate. It doesn't matter that he "basically kept going straight" if going straight leads him away from the direct path between him and the plate.

Draw a line from Ichiro to the plate when Wieters attempts his tag. Ichiro goes more than 3 feet away from that line to avoid the tag.
   58. PepTech Posted: October 09, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4260898)
Draw a line from Ichiro to the plate when Wieters attempts his tag. Ichiro goes more than 3 feet away from that line to avoid the tag.


That's where I'd disagree. To avoid the SWIPE, he didn't go an ADDITIONAL three feet (in my opinion). Hernandez was at the perfect angle to judge this.

That his momentum then took him past the plate is immaterial.
   59. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: October 09, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4260963)
They should do that during the 7th inning stretch. Who wouldn't watch that?

Sounds like another one of the eleventy kajillion or so things I'd rather see during the 7th inning stretch than GBA.
   60. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4260981)
My opinion is that if Ichiro isn't out of the baseline on that play, the rules need to be changed so that all runners in the future who do the same thing will be.
   61. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4261030)
Why are some people assuming (it seems) that his feet have to touch the plate. People come in on that line all the time, slide, and get a hand on the plate.

Now, if you're saying that he can't take that path without sliding, that's an interesting argument. Where is it in the rulebook that the basepath instantly changes with a decision not to slide?
   62. AT-AT at bat@AT&T Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4261051)
in a parallel universe... ichiro s. tried to boulder over wieters and disintegrated upon impact into 1000 pieces, but the yankees won the game 17:2 !
i think the call was borderline with tendency 80:20 to OUT, but for the fun factor of it, great call ! now get out the big bats and blast some orioles !
   63. Bhaakon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4261066)
Why are some people assuming (it seems) that his feet have to touch the plate. People come in on that line all the time, slide, and get a hand on the plate.

Now, if you're saying that he can't take that path without sliding, that's an interesting argument. Where is it in the rulebook that the basepath instantly changes with a decision not to slide?


I think he was too far away fromt he plate to reach it even if he'd slid, but that's a moot point, because he made no attempt to slide, so there was no hand stuck out to satisfy the 3-feet rule.

The rule is pretty clear. You draw a straight line from the runner to the base when the tag is attempted. If the runner moves more than three feet from that line, he's out. Ichiro leaped to the right when the tag was attempted, and the proceeded to run past the base. He clearly moved more than three feet from the base path established by rule when the tag was attempted. That his momentum carried him that way is irrelevant, because the momentum was the result of his move to avoid the tag.
   64. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4261102)
I don't recall ever seeing a runner called out for going 3 feet out of the way to avoid a tag at home. I doubt anyone else has either. That would seem to, at least, undercut the narrow view of how the three feet is measured.
   65. Bhaakon Posted: October 09, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4261127)

I don't recall ever seeing a runner called out for going 3 feet out of the way to avoid a tag at home. I doubt anyone else has either. That would seem to, at least, undercut the narrow view of how the three feet is measured.


I've never seen a player circumvent the base quite a blatantly, either.
   66. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4261267)

I've never seen a player circumvent the base quite a blatantly, either.


The base or the tag? The move to elude Weiters was fairly common, and I can't recall seeing it called. And players have often ended up far of home plate as a result of a collision. I just don't see how this would be considered running out of the baseline, and it seems telling that none of the guys doing the game even brought it up.
   67. Danny Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4261275)
It's not at all common for players to run around the batters box to avoid a tag at home, and ricocheting off a collision with the catcher is not running out of the basepath to avoid a tag.
   68. Darren Posted: October 09, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4261280)
Why invite such stupidity with these vague rules? Why does the player get his own basepath? Can he round third wide enough to go into the dugout and hideout there until he decides to make a break for the plate (in a straightish line, of course)? You have a basepath there. Give the guy a little leeway going around the base but make him get into the basepath on his way to a play at the base.
   69. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:11 PM (#4261288)
It's not at all common for players to run around the batters box to avoid a tag at home, and ricocheting off a collision with the catcher is not running out of the basepath to avoid a tag.


The Ichiro move was common. His left foot hit the very corner of the grass and the baseline, at the start of the dirt circle. His next step was a lateral type move with his right foot, which was the step where he eluded Wieters' tag. That single step naturally carried him further away from home on his subsequent steps, though by this time he was no longer within Wieters' reach, so it's immaterial as to the baseline issue.

This single lateral step to avoid a tag happens frequently enough on plays at home and in the middle of the basepaths. Because it happened close to home plate, it looks worse because he ends up far out of line from the base he's trying to get to. When the same move is made between first and second, it doesn't appear as jarring because the runner typically has more ground in which to get back in line. But I've never seen a play like that called "running out of the baseline" in almost 40 years of baseall playing and watching, and I doubt anyone else here has either.


   70. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4261348)
...by this time he was no longer within Wieters' reach, so it's immaterial as to the baseline issue.


This is the key point that everyone seems to be missing. The basepath is established in the instant immediately before the tag attempt, and becomes moot in the instant immediately after the tag is missed. As has been noted, you can run wherever the hell you want to as long as nobody is trying to tag you, so if you succeed in avoiding a tag you get to go right back to running wherever the hell you want to.
   71. DFA Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4261418)
#36 - I laughed
   72. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:20 AM (#4261425)
That Jordan play is NOT great, but I've seen it so many times that I've begun to notice that there was not really a defender close and the switch was unnecessary.

Congratulations, some of us noticed that 20 years ago when it happened. The most overrated, over-replayed "highlight" ever. Sorry, moving the ball from one hand to the other is not interesting when it accomplishes nothing.
   73. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4261428)
Sorry, moving the ball from one hand to the other is not interesting when it accomplishes nothing.


What are you, a robot?

I mean, overrated, ok, but uninteresting?
   74. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4261431)
Also, after rewatching the video, I disagree. Sam Perkins is right in front of him and priming himself for a leap when Jordan has to decide to make that switch. Perkins ends up sidestepping Jordan (I guess to avoid a foul?), but there was no way to know that he was going to do that.
   75. dave h Posted: October 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4261599)
#70, is there any evidence besides the wording of the rule to support this "instantaneous" aspect (such as a clarification from MLB)? I read the rule as saying any movement required to avoid the tag is relevant.
   76. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4261612)
#70, is there any evidence besides the wording of the rule to support this "instantaneous" aspect (such as a clarification from MLB)? I read the rule as saying any movement required to avoid the tag is relevant.


Decades of application? I don't know why it would be interpreted differently. When Ichiro took his second and third steps away from the baseline, it wasn't done because he was trying to avoid a tag or to assist him in run scoring (in fact, it made scoring more difficult for him). It was physics.

If Wieter was chasing him, rather than making a one-time swipe, and he continued to veer away from the baseline, that would be entirely different. And that is where the running out of the baseline rule is typically applied. But a single lateral step taken to avoid a stationary tag attempt has always been allowed, and what happens after those steps is disregarded since it had no bearing on the tag attempt.

   77. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4261617)
This is the key point that everyone seems to be missing. The basepath is established in the instant immediately before the tag attempt, and becomes moot in the instant immediately after the tag is missed. As has been noted, you can run wherever the hell you want to as long as nobody is trying to tag you, so if you succeed in avoiding a tag you get to go right back to running wherever the hell you want to.

I don't see how that follows. Once the fielder has the ball he's attempting to make a tag. The umps have no business trying to determine whether or not a fielder is "in the act" of tagging at any given moment. It's true that if the catcher misses the tag and the runner goes past home plate he's allowed to go back, but not via the pitcher's mound or some other point. Again, the purpose of the rule is important, and that's fairly simple: The runner isn't allowed to run around a tag. That's exactly what Ichiro did here. I agree that that's rarely called at home plate, but it should be IMO.
   78. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4261746)
Once the fielder has the ball he's attempting to make a tag.


This is incorrect, I think. The rule says that the baseline is established "when the tag attempt occurs". That implies a tag is a discrete event, otherwise it would say it is established "when a fielder receives the ball".
   79. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4261866)
This is incorrect, I think. The rule says that the baseline is established "when the tag attempt occurs". That implies a tag is a discrete event, otherwise it would say it is established "when a fielder receives the ball".

What if the fielder is chasing after the runner in a rundown? At what point does the tag attempt occur?

Imagine this scenario: The catcher receives the ball and the runner is 10 feet from home plate (bad send). The runner comes to a dead stop, and the catcher is standing in front of home plate waiting for him. Is the runner allowed to turn and run towards the dugout and then approach home from some other angle? ?
   80. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4261907)
What if the fielder is chasing after the runner in a rundown? At what point does the tag attempt occur?


That's exactly the situation I noted in 76, and where the overwhelming majority of running out of the baseline rulings are made (to the very limited extent they're ever called). A fielder pursuing a runner is making a tag attempt throughout the play, and thus the runner who takes 2-3 steps outside the path will be flagged for ROOB. That is a very different situation than the Wieters-Ichiro play, where Wieters was stationary making a one-time swipe at the runner. The second half of the play, when Wieters begain his pursuit, involved Ichiro trying to get back to plate, and thus the baseline, and not away from it.
   81. Danny Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4261959)
The Ichiro move was common. His left foot hit the very corner of the grass and the baseline, at the start of the dirt circle. His next step was a lateral type move with his right foot, which was the step where he eluded Wieters' tag.

It doesn't matter how many lateral steps he took. Instead of running toward Wieters and the plate, he ran completely around them.

I agree it's rare to see someone called out for running out of the baseline to avoid the catcher. Would you agree that it's also rare for a player to run completely around the batter's box to avoid the catcher?
If Wieter was chasing him, rather than making a one-time swipe, and he continued to veer away from the baseline, that would be entirely different.

I don't see why it matters if he had continued even further out of the baseline due to Wieters pursuing him when he had already run 5+ feet out of the baseline to avoid Wieters' initial tag attempt.

Ichiro's basepath was established when Wieters tried to tag him, and that basepath is a direct line from Ichiro to the plate. Ichiro deviated more than five feet from that basepath when he ran completely around the batter's box, and he did so to avoid the tag attempt. That's precisely the action the rule is intended to prevent.
That single step naturally carried him further away from home on his subsequent steps, though by this time he was no longer within Wieters' reach, so it's immaterial as to the baseline issue.

None of Ichiro's deviation from the basepath was accidental or unmotivated--it was all part of his avoiding the tag. He ran toward the back of the catcher's box instead of the toward the plate because he wanted to avoid Wieters. That doing so took him out of Wieters' reach is at the heart of the baseline issue.
   82. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4261962)
Maybe I have some of BBTF's characters confused, but it seems like some of the same people who've argued against catcher collisions are now arguing that a runner shouldn't be able to step away from the catcher (and/or baseline) to avoid a collision without automatically being called out.
   83. PepTech Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4262007)
I don't see why it matters if he had continued even further out of the baseline due to Wieters pursuing him when he had already run 5+ feet out of the baseline to avoid Wieters' initial tag attempt.


Like I said in #58, that's where we disagree. It becomes a matter of umpire's judgement whether the "three feet" was exceeded.

SoSH put the rest of it perfectly in #80. In any kind of "chase" situation, a fielder taking a step towards a runner constitutes an attempt to tag, and the only choices the runner has are towards the next base or the last base. No right angles towards the dugout allowed.

But this particular case was a swipe, not a chase, so the three feet refers to the contortion itself, not the momentum afterwards. At least that's how I see it. Ichiro^ was already three feet outside the actual line, so ending up six feet outside at end of the swipe is jim-dandy. And when Wieters *did* take steps towards him in the latter half of the play, Ichiro* had established a new baseline, and was moving towards the plate.
   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4262027)
According to the official rules on MLB's website the back line of the catcher's box is 8 feet from the back point of home plate. Watching the replay Ichiro! gets to about that point as he passes the plate which says to me that he was out of the baseline.


I asked the question of whether he was out of the baseline immediately after it happened.

   85. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4262047)
I agree it's rare to see someone called out for running out of the baseline to avoid the catcher. Would you agree that it's also rare for a player to run completely around the batter's box to avoid the catcher?


I don't agree that's what happened here. He took a single step from his established baseline to his right to avoid Wieters' tag, a move that is now and has always been deemed acceptable. His subsequent circumnavigation back to the plate simply didn't matter, as Wieters was not attempting to tag him while he was moving away from the plate, and when Wieters resumed pursuit, Ichiro was trying to get back to the plate.


   86. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4262079)
Again, the purpose of the rule is important, and that's fairly simple: The runner isn't allowed to run around a tag. That's exactly what Ichiro did here.
If the runner wasn't allowed to run around a tag, there'd be no allowance for movement away from his baseline. And yet there is.

I disagree that the spirit of the rule is that the runner cannot avoid being tagged. I think the spirit of the rule is that the runner cannot avoid being tagged unless the mitigating factor is fielder position.

IMO the intent of the rule is that, if the fielder with the ball is standing directly in your basepath, you cannot avoid being put out by running around him. The 3-foot allowance won't get you out of arms' reach from that fielder unless for some stupid reason the fielder moves out of your way.

Now, instead of picturing the fielder being directly in the runner's basepath, picture him 3 feet to the left of it. If the runner proceeds on his basepath, he'll be tagged out, because he'll be (barely) in reach. But if the runner moves up to 3 feet to the right, he'll be out of reach, though he would have been easily tagged had the fielder been in position. The runner has no duty to make it easy on a fielder who is tagging from an out-of-position spot.

The difference between the two examples I use would be (a) fielder position, and (b) success of tag. If the success of the tag hinges on fielder positioning, then the actions of the runner are moot.
   87. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4262090)
IMO the intent of the rule is that, if the fielder with the ball is standing directly in your basepath, you cannot avoid being put out by running around him.

Isn't that what I said?

EDIT: I guess you're focusing on "tag" vs. "fielder," but I meant the latter. We just disagree on whether Ichiro ran around Wieters.
   88. Danny Posted: October 10, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4262095)
Any runner is out when -- (a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner?s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely

SoSH--to be clear, are you arguing that:

1) Ichiro did not run more than 3 feet out of the basepath;

2) Ichiro ran more than 3 feet out of the basepath, but he did not do so "to avoid being tagged;" or

3) Ichiro ran more than 3 feet out of the basepath to avoid being tagged, but he shouldn't have been called out because the rule is not strictly enforced?

I assume it's not (1), but you seem to be alternately arguing both (2) and (3). I just don't understand the argument for (2), as the entire reason Ichiro ran out of the basepath was to avoid being tagged.
   89. PepTech Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4262133)
I'm not SoSH, but I think he and I are saying the same thing, so I'll take a whack at answering. The answer is indeed (2). And (1).

Break the play down into four distinct parts:

A) Suzuki rounded third because he was running fast. Runners routinely round bases and go many, many feet outside the basepaths. Look at the :06 point in the clip above to get an idea of how far out they go (granted, it was rounding 2nd, but same idea). No one cares, they're not avoiding a tag.

B) Wieters swipes at Suzuki. Discrete event. Suzuki dodges three feet to his right to avoid the tag. As long as he doesn't dodge MORE than three feet DURING the swipe, he's fine.

C) Suzuki runs past the plate. No one cares, he's not avoiding a tag. See A) above.

D) Wieters comes after him again, during which Suzuki is heading towards the plate.

So it comes down to a judgment call as to whether he dodged more than three feet during the swipe. I didn't think so. YMMV. Hernandez didn't think so, and he was lined up just right.

EDITED to add: My A) and C) line up with your 2), and my B) lines up with your 1).
   90. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4262148)
SoSH--to be clear, are you arguing that:

1) Ichiro did not run more than 3 feet out of the basepath;

2) Ichiro ran more than 3 feet out of the basepath, but he did not do so "to avoid being tagged;" or

3) Ichiro ran more than 3 feet out of the basepath to avoid being tagged, but he shouldn't have been called out because the rule is not strictly enforced?

I assume it's not (1), but you seem to be alternately arguing both (2) and (3). I just don't understand the argument for (2), as the entire reason Ichiro ran out of the basepath was to avoid being tagged.


It is 1, but that's because the basepath is not a single, permanent line.

The baseline only exists as it relates to the defender trying to put the runner out, and is defined as the point between where the runner is at any given time and the base he is approaching. Unless the defending team is attempting to tag out the runner, there effectively is no baseline. Now, the whole shortest distance between two points rule governing us all means that the runner is best served by sticking close to the straight line between the bases, but runners are under no obligation to do so.

In this case, Ichiro was rounding third and heading home, running in foul territory as a result of the turn at third (baserunners not being built with Dyson ball technology). Once the turn was complete, he followed a pretty straight line from where he was to home plate, a line that was going to take him a few feet right of the chalk line at the point he was going to meet up with Wieters. When Wieters fielded the ball and made the tag attempt, Ichiro took a single step (the distance is not really relevant as much as the steps, since umps don't carry yard sticks) off his established baseline to his right to avoid a swipe tag from a stationary Wieters. That single step did not carry him out of the baseline, either by rule or by common application. That single step did, however, successfully accomplish his goal of avoiding the tag.

As a result of that step, he was carried even further away from the plate (and off his previously established line). However, since no tag attempt was being made at the time, the game reverts to the previous position where the runner's baseline does not matter. He was not running off his baseline because there was no baseline to be running off (as mentioned, if Wieters had been chasing him instead of having missed a swipe tag, this would a different story).

Once Wieters recovered and began pursuing, Ichiro was now on a new baseline (which was the straight line between his body and the plate). He followed that baseline back and slipped his hand in safely.


Edit: Well, that was unneccesary. Coke to PepTech.
   91. Danny Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4262150)
B) Wieters swipes at Suzuki. Discrete event. Suzuki dodges three feet to his right to avoid the tag. As long as he doesn't dodge MORE than three feet DURING the swipe, he's fine.

C) Suzuki runs past the plate. No one cares, he's not avoiding a tag. See A) above.

I agree that no one cares that he ran past the plate. It's the fact that he was clear on the other side of the batter's box when he ran past the plate that demonstrates how far he ran out of the baseline (much more than 3 feet) to avoid the tag.
   92. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4262159)
So it's a judgment call as to whether he dodged more than three feet during the swipe. I didn't think so. YMMV. Hernandez didn't think so, and he was lined up just right.

It looked like a hard call for Hernandez and somewhat gutsy for him to call Ichiro safe (vis-a-vis a tag or missed tag, not the baseline issue). Has anyone seen a clip from behind Hernandez or from anything resembling Hernandez's POV?
   93. PepTech Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4262164)
It's the fact that he was clear on the other side of the batter's box when he ran past the plate that demonstrates how far he ran out of the baseline (much more than 3 feet) to avoid the tag.


OK, so it comes down to your definition of "discrete", then, I suppose.

Imagine this swipe happening, for some reason, halfway between second and third, at :06 in the clip. Apply SoSH's "single step" criteria. We wouldn't care what path Suzuki took to third following the swipe. But because this is so close to the plate, I think it magnifies the "three feet" thing, and makes it harder to intellectually separate the swipe from the running past part.
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4262184)
Imagine this swipe happening, for some reason, halfway between second and third


It happens occasionally on slow bouncing balls to the second baseman with a runner on first. That's basically the Offerman play from the 1999 ALCS, except the dumbass ump claimed Knoblauch tagged him.
   95. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4262185)
Imagine this swipe happening, for some reason, halfway between second and third, at :06 in the clip. Apply SoSH's "single step" criteria. We wouldn't care what path Suzuki took to third following the swipe. But because this is so close to the plate, I think it magnifies the "three feet" thing, and makes it harder to intellectually separate the swipe from the running past part.

If the batter hit a ball right at the 3B, and Ichiro jumped 3+ feet sideways (easy to do in one step) to avoid being tagged on his way to third, I think he should be called out.
   96. PepTech Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4262195)
It happens occasionally on slow bouncing balls to the second baseman with a runner on first. That's basically the Offerman play from the 1999 ALCS, except the dumbass ump claimed Knoblauch tagged him.

Yeah, but in those cases, the runner is usually on the actual line, not rounding a circle :) The Phillips play from the other day is better, where the runner just went down, not sideways.

Hey, I'm not saying Suzuki couldn't have been called out. I'd have been fine with that ruling too, like I said, it's a judgment call by Hernandez and however he is feeling about the definition of the act of tagging and how long that act takes. It appears that Hernandez defines "discretely" like I did in #89, or did on that play at least.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4262199)
If the batter hit a ball right at the 3B, and Ichiro jumped 3+ feet sideways (easy to do in one step) to avoid being tagged on his way to third, I think he should be called out.


And I'm glad you're not an umpire. Or the author of the rulebook. (-:

Forget for a moment that it was perpetrated by a Yankee, and is therefore burdened with at least a skosh of evil. A baseball world where Thursday's play is stopped before it ever happens is a much poorer one.

And FTR Joe, I'm aggressively anti-catcher collisions, so my pro-elusive maneuver stance is not inconsistent.
   98. SoSH U at work Posted: October 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4262203)
Yeah, but in those cases, the runner is usually on the actual line, not rounding a circle :)


Good point. That aspect of the play is different.

   99. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4262253)
And FTR Joe, I'm aggressively anti-catcher collisions, so my pro-elusive maneuver stance is not inconsistent.

I didn't say such a position is inconsistent. I said (or at least implied) that it's inconsistent to be anti-collision and anti-evasion.

EDIT: I suppose one could advocate both positions without being inconsistent, but it would make baseball quite a bit more boring.
   100. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4262266)
Isn't that what I said?

EDIT: I guess you're focusing on "tag" vs. "fielder," but I meant the latter. We just disagree on whether Ichiro ran around Wieters.
No, I'm focusing on "fielder". But the fielder isn't in the direct basepath. He's several feet to the side of the basepath.

If the fielder were standing directly between the runner and the base, then the runner wouldn't be able to avoid being tagged by moving 3 feet to either side of his base path. The fielder could reach 3 feet to either side and tag him out. This is where both of us are saying the same thing.

The distinction I'm making here is when the fielder isn't in the base path, he's several feet away from it, when he makes the tag attempt. If the runner can move 3 feet to the side of his base path and avoid the fielder's tag, the avoidance is successful not because the runner is far out of his base path; it's because the fielder is not in position to make the play to begin with. The fielder should get no additional benefit from being out of position relative to the runner.

(This is a defense of the rule. This is not a defense of the application of the rule in the Ichiro case, as that depends on whether Ichiro was within 3 feet of his base path at the time of the tag attempt. That's a separate issue from whether the rule makes sense.)

It happens occasionally on slow bouncing balls to the second baseman with a runner on first. That's basically the Offerman play from the 1999 ALCS, except the dumbass ump claimed Knoblauch tagged him.
That is a somewhat different situation, as runners are supposed to avoid contact with a fielder in the act of fielding. If the runner is doing it right, he should already be trying to avoid the fielder before he has the ball, and there is probably wider latitude than 3 feet allowed for this. Then, once the fielder has the ball and attempts a tag, the runner has yet another 3 feet of latitude because their already-avoiding-the-fielder position establishes the base path. All told, there is a HUGE amount of latitude allowed on that kind of play.

For a play at the plate, the catcher is not fielding a batted ball. Without the ball he is supposed to be out of the way. (Wieters is out of the way, in this case, as he's completely in fair territory as he gets the throw.) The runner is wherever he is, but generally has no requirement to avoid the catcher. They should be calling it tighter in this case than in the other.
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