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Technically it is not a force play at all, but a time play.

If the runner left the base prior to contact, then if the ball beats him back to the bag, he's out with or without the fielder applying a tag.

The only thing I can think of as to a tag being necessary would be if the runner had either not left the bag until after contact, or if he had otherwise retouched after contact. In that situation a tag would be necessary even if he decided to return to first instead of trying to advance.
Midlo - You're not saying the term used in scoring is a Time Play are you? Let me know if I'm wrong. I am thinking you are using the term to create a better undersatnding for SSSawyer but maybe I'm wrong and if so I just learned something. Smile

basically the run got caught leaving the base he occupied too early (at a time when he is off the base and a catch of a ball in the air is made).

I have always looked at this as "being doubled-off" which implies a double play out since (a)the runner left prior to the defense making the out and (b) was not able to return to his base before the defense advanced the ball to the base formally occupied. had the runner gotten back in time (safely) then the out in this case is a simple L4.

Midlo - let me know if I am wrong. i like your use of the term to help explain the play, just not sure it has any purpose other than that. (Hope you don't take my tone as's not meant that way.

Thanks very much!
When a runner does not tag up on a caught batted ball, it is neither a force play nor a time play. It is an appeal play. The appeal is made by touching the runner or base with the ball. Contrary to many other appeals (e.g. a missed base) no announcement of the appeal is necessary, because the appeal is obvious.

If the appeal is the third out and a preceeding runner was trying to score, there may also be an associated time play: the run scores if the third out occurs after the runner touched home. Contrast that to a force situation-- if the third out is made by a forced runner before he reaches his advance base, no run can score.

A force play can only occur when first, first and second, or all three bases are occupied at the time of the pitch. A forced runner can be put out by tagging him or his advance base, but that is not the definition of a force play.
Not sure I agree unless that is actually a defined rule.

by definition an appeal is a request for a review. There is no such review in this situation even though the out is obvious.

Now if there is question as to if the runner left before or after the catch, then an appeal can be made and handled as such.

I'm looking at this from the perspective of an assumed out. Scorekeepers are usually not to assume any out on the field and this concept carries through to things like earned runs, attempted double plays (bad throw on the transfer is still just a fielders choice in most cases).

I think you see what I mean (at least I hope so).

But then again it is very possible I am wrong but if I am, is there somewhere in the rules where this is addressed?
It is an appeal play.

Sorry I'm laid up after some minor back surgery and without my normal reference resources, but think of it this way; its no different if the infielder tries to get a runner going back to third on a line drive or that runner from third scores on a fly to the outfield, only to be called out on appeal for leaving early.

Its the same basic play, just executed in a different sequence.

The umpire's forum has some great historical threads on this topic.
ok but how many times has a runner left early and not been called out on appeal? Happens rather often in games with just two umps. If in doubt they will not create the "out". They must be sure of what occured before they make that "out" call.

Sorry guys but I'm still not seeing how this is an appeal play if there is no basis for an appeal.
Originally posted by JMoff: fact go over to the "Ask the Umpire" and read the thread "Does the Run Count". It's not quite exactly on topic but addresses this discussion.

I read the thread and I am more convinced than ever that it is a force out because the runner is forced to return to the base he occupied before he can advance. Yes?
No. To be frank, I'm hard pressed to see how you could have read the other thread, which includes the following 2 quotes, and still believe that a retouch situation is a force play:
Here's an approved ruling from 4.09: (everything in italics is a direct quote from the rules or casebooks.)
APPROVED RULING: One out, Jones on third, Smith on first, and Brown flies out to right field. Two outs. Jones tags up and scores after the catch. Smith attempted to return to first but the right fielder’s throw beat him to the base. three outs. But Jones scored before the throw to catch Smith reached first base, hence Jones’ run counts. It was not a force play.

The Fed Casebook:
9.1.1 SITUATION B: With one out, R1 is on third and R2 is on second base when B4 hits a long fly ball that is caught by F8. R1 remains in contact with his base but R2 has nearly advanced to third. The throw to F4 arrives at second base ahead of R2’s return. RULING: R2 is out for the third out. If R1 scored before R2 was retired, the run counts. The inning ended with a play in which the third out was not a force out.

Here's some more relevant info:
NFHS 2-29 (This is the definition of a force play.)
ART. 3 A force play is a play in which a runner (or two or three runners) loses his right to the base he occupies and is forced to advance because the batter becomes a batter-runner. For a given runner, a force play ends as soon as he touches the next base or a following runner is put out at a previous base. When a runner advances beyond a base to which he is forced without touching it, the force play remains. Also, a force situation is reinstated when a runner retreats past the base to which he was forced to advance.

OBR 7.08 Any runner is out when--
(d) He fails to retouch his base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught before he, or his base, is tagged by a fielder. He shall not be called out for failure to retouch his base after the first following pitch, or any play or attempted play. This is an appeal play;

OBR 2 Definitions:
An APPEAL is the act of a fielder in claiming violation of the rules by the offensive team.

The thing to understand here is that a runner who is forced to a base hasn't broken a rule. On the other hand, a player who fails to retouch after a caught batted ball was first touched by a fielder has violated a rule, and may be called out on appeal.
Last edited by 3FingeredGlove
3FG - Thank you. This OBR 7.08 Any runner is out when-- is exactly what I was looking for.

I had doubt because I could not find any relevent info in the rules ( I probably should have looked harder I guess).

Two last questions....the defense is still credited with a double play, correct? Is the batter credited with hitting into a double play?

Thanks very much

I am not always accurate in my use of terms of art the way an umpire would. For example, there was a discussion the other day about the term "foul tip", which has a very specific meaning in the rule book (applies only when caught) but is commonly used in the broader sense for any time you can barely tell if contact was made.

Similarly, I'm using "time play" to distinguish from "force play".

Still, I'm not sure that all plays on runners following caught flies are "appeal plays." I've always thought of an appeal play as one occurring after some interruption of the flow of the game. When you have the play described in the original post (which my scorebook would record as "DP L-4-3"), to me calling that an "appeal play" is kind of confusing. But maybe it's in that category of "foul tip", where the meaning is more Lewis Carrollian than the rest of us really care to master.
But maybe it's in that category of "foul tip", where the meaning is more Lewis Carrollian than the rest of us really care to master.

That is one of the funniest responses I have seen.

I have kept a book and stats for years. I always have the NFHS book and the latest info from MLB with me so that is why I was tring to pin down the sections.

You are quite the "guru" on the boards and I have enjoyed discussing this topic.
As Midlo says the terminology in the Rules compared to how people discuss things does muddy the waters. So I will take a stab:

1) A force can only occur when the Batter Runner is entitled to 1st base. In this play once he is retired on the catch by F4 there are no force plays anywhere.

Key concept here is runners are "forced" to advance from the base they occupy by the Batter putting the ball in play an becoming entitled to occupy 1st base. So Runners 1st and 3rd and ground ball to F4 means the runner at first is "forced" off of 1st base but the runner at 3rd is not.

2) Appeals are the act of challenging illegal plays by runners. In this play once the ball is caught the runner must retouch 1st base. If the defense is able to have a fielder touch the base in pocession of the ball before the runner does they are in fact "appealing" the runner for illegaly not retouching.

3) Time plays when are outs recorded compared to the position of runner(s) when the out is recorded. Runners 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Fly ball to center field F8 which is caught for out #2. Runner at 3rd retouches 3rd base but runner on 1st is half way. The throw goes to home to try to get the runner but is off line. The runner at 1st fails to retouch 1st base. The catcher F2 throws to the first baseman F3 to "appeal" and the runner at 1st is recorded as Out #3. Since the runner at 3rd legally touched home base prior to the "time" the 3rd out was recorded on "appeal" the run counts. And you have your basic 8-4-3 Double Play.

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