A Baseball Rule That's Broken All The Time!

Aug 27 08:28 2010 Larry Cicchiello Print This Article

Why is a rule in the rule book if it's never enforced? This rule is broken all the time. Baseball players do it in a sneaky fashion so it's hardly ever called.  

Baseball rules clearly state that you can not block a base without the baseball. So much for the rules. Many players don't just bend this baseball rule but completely break it. If you're not going to enforce a rule,Guest Posting why do we still have it in the rule book?

Catchers do it on almost every close play at the plate and get away with it 100% of the time. Infielders get away with it very close to 100% of the time. They say the hand is quicker than the eye but in this case, quite often the knee is quicker than the eye. 

What the infielders will do is block the base a fraction of a second before they receive the throw. It happens so fast that they get away with it. The base runner often gets to the base beforehand but has no access to the base.

First basemen are very good at blocking the base on a pick-off throw from either their pitcher or their catcher, before they actually receive the throw. What the first basemen will do is to get their knee down to block the base an instant before they catch the ball and then bring their tag down. They get away with it because the knee blocks the base at the very last split second before they receive the ball. Most are so good at it that it has to be viewed in slow motion to be seen. It appears that they are within the baseball rules but they are not. We're talking a fraction of a second here.

A base runner can discourage this from happening. If the base runner is retreating to a base or advancing to the next base, he can slide in feet first instead of head first. The last thing we want is to see anyone hurt on the baseball field so hopefully the baseball player in the field will follow the rules. And even if the player in the field does not follow the rules, we still don't want to see anyone injured.

I saw a high school varsity baseball coach make a valid point. His team had a base runner on first base and his base runner had to dive back to first base on an attempted pick off by the pitcher to the first baseman. Before the first baseman had the ball, he blocked the base with his knee and the base runner was safe but it was a very close play. Much closer than it should have been. The reason is because the base runner was blocked by the knee of the first baseman and had a difficult time getting to the base. The coach simply yelled to his runner, "If he's going to block the base, go back feet first." The coach is 100% right. I'm hopeful that the coach did not want his base runner to injure the first baseman but simply wanted to forewarn the first baseman that he should abide by the baseball rules of the game.

Hey, no big deal but if we're not going to enforce a rule, why not just simply remove it from the rule book?

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Larry Cicchiello
Larry Cicchiello

Larry Cicchiello has more FREE baseball tips on hitting and FREE baseball pitching tips at Larry Baseball.com. You will be raising a few eyebrows!


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