The Baseline

Today I went to umpire a double header in Galveston, a good 43 mile drive each way, so really good mileage. Anyways, I get there to find that the schedule changed last minute. We no longer had a double header, and the first game had the teams switched around so that Friendswood’s sophomore team would face Galveston Ball’s sophomore team. I thought to myself, “Great, I drove an hour and twenty minutes to see a game last an hour. Awesome.” The game lasted just about an hour and fifteen minutes. It’d been shorter if Friendswood would have just scored another run in the fourth. They were up 15-1, but you need 15 runs for the run rule to come in to effect that early in a game during tournament play. So we played an extra 10 minutes.

Anyway, to the call that stood out in the game. I have a runner going from second to third on a dropped ball by the cut off man from the outfield, just to the third base side of the mound. It was stupid to run as the cut off man was much closer to third than the runner, but he did. The player had just rounded second base, so he had established a wide baseline, from deep behind second to third base. Well the tag was upcoming, and the base runner juked, taking one step toward home, ole’ing the tag, and reaching untouched.

The coach immediately came out to argue the runner out of the base path. To me, the runner only stepped one step out of his direct path, which seems to me, to be within the 3 feet to either side of the basepath. The kid was within the 3rd base radius of dirt, and never crossed the line of grass if it had been extended to the foul line. I called him safe, the coach gave me crap.

He came out to argue, first looking at my partner. My partner just shook his head and pointed in my direction. I go over to talk with the coach, tell him the guy took one step left, didn’t even make it off the dirt, he was within the baseline.

The coach then tried to quote me as saying “the dirt is the basepath, all of it.” That kind of pissed me off, but whatever. The kid was safe, if his player would have been in the right place and not running so hard to the outfield, he wouldn’t have run right past the play.

The fans got into it too. The next play at third base, one which my partner was covering, someone yelled “he’s out of the basepath! he’s safe!” It was pretty funny.

The play had little outcome on the game. Galveston was beat 15-1 and we all went home early. I’m off from umpiring until Tuesday when I have a freshman game at Santa Fe.

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