Come On Blue!
2 Runners Same Base - Is Somebody Automatically Out?
Strange things happen when a coach is trying to not run up a score while holding back his runners that are used to running as free as wild mustangs on the high plains of Montana. This happened last night as the 8-10 year old Orem team went up on the scoreboard huge against their opponents. With a runner on first the batter hit a shot that was easily a double, if not a triple. He came flying around first and headed for second. The third base coach had already held his lead runner at second and as the throw came to the second baseman there were two base runners proudly standing upon second base. As the second baseman went to tag the lead runner the trailing runner realized he was in error and he started running back to first, all without being tagged. Amidst the chaos, and the loud roar of the crowd, we witnessed the dust settle as one runner stood on first and the other on second, with the ball then being returned to the pitcher. I say amidst the chaos because the coaches and the fans knew that what they saw just wasn't legit, but what was the correct ruling?
QUESTION: Is somebody automatically out if two runners are standing on the same base at the same time?
ANSWER: No. Obviously a play cannot end with both standing there proudly, but if both are tagged while standing upon the base, then which one is out? The answer is, it depends... Great answer, huh? Let's read the MLB rule...
(a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies.
(b) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced.
Does that make sense? In last night's situation, the lead runner had the right to the base because there was no force situation causing him to have to try to attempt for third base. Therefore, had the second baseman tagged the trailing runner while the two runners stood on the base, then he would have been called out. As it was, nobody was out and game play continued.
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah