Sunday, June 21, 2009

"One base on an overthrow!"

Okay, something a bit lighter today.

For as long as you've been playing baseball you've heard the line, "one base on an overthrow" so you know that if the shortstop overthrows first base and the ball lands in the dugout, or an outfielder tosses the ball over the backstop the runners get to advance one base, right?

So what happened here? You may have heard of this incident last weekend involving notorious redass Milton Bradley, but I'll recount it for you in case you haven't. Bradley is in the outfield for the Cubs and the Twins have men on first and third. One out. A fly ball is hit out to Bradley, right at him, so he doesn't even have to move to get the ball. He catches it, stands there for a minute, and then, forgetting that there are only two outs, tosses the ball to the fans in the bleachers.

Big mistake, but what happens next? The ruling is that the runner on third scores and the runner on first goes to third.

But wait a minute--what about one base on an overthrow? Shouldn't the guy on first stop at second?

No, and here's why. The rule is not one base on an overthrow. The rule is actually that if the ball is thrown out of play (in this case, into the stands), the runners on base are entitled to advance two bases from the position of the runners at the time the ball was thrown (or, in the case of a ball thrown by an infielder, the position of the runners at the time of the pitch).

In other words, the next time you hear "one base on an overthrow", feel free to either correct the speaker, or just enjoy that satisfying feeling of superiority you get when you're right and the rest of the world is wrong.

Next up: "ground rule double".

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