Big Orange Guy's Top 5 – Obscure Baseball Rules

I would like to personally thank Don Mattingly for this week’s Top 5 inspiration. If you did not hear what Donnie Baseball did last week, let me fill you in. Due to a few ejections, Don Mattingly was left in charge of the Dodgers against the Giants. He went to the mound to speak to the Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton. The entire infield came in for one of those team meetings on the mound and as it concluded, Mattingly started to leave and took a step off of the mound. It was then that his first baseman asked him a question, so Mattingly turned around and answered the question.

At this point, the Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out and brought up Rule 8.06, “A manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit to the mound when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber”. After some discussion, the umpires decided that Bochy was correct and ruled that the closer must immediately come out of the game. His replacement did not get time to warm up, and the Dodgers then lost the game. The umpires were wrong in the interpretation of the rule. In this case, the pitcher in the game is allowed to pitch to the current batter but must be removed before the next batter.

Who knew this rule besides Bochy? I did not, so I began looking at other rules in baseball and this week’s Top 5 list was born. This week, I present to you the Top 5 Obscure Baseball Rules That You May Not Know.

Rule #1 – Ground Rule Triple – This can happen in only a couple of instances, and I cannot remember either of them ever happening. First, if a player attempts to catch a ball with a mask or a hat, it is a ground rule triple. Also, if a player throws his glove and touches a fair ball it is a triple. Again, these never happen. However, I have read something interesting in my research for this rule. When I did a tour of Fenway Park, I was told by the tour guide that there is a ladder that is on the Green Monster and that if a ball hits the ladder, it is a ground rule triple. However, this has happened twice and each time the ball stayed in play and was an inside the park home run.

Rule #2 – Rule 10.19 – No pitcher shall be credited with pitching a shutout unless he pitches the complete game, or unless he enters the game with none out before the opposing team has scored in the first inning, puts out the side without a run scoring and pitches all the rest of the game. When two or more pitchers combine to pitch a shutout a notation to that effect should be included in the league’s official pitching records. Now this rule has come into play once. It was 1917 and a pitcher named Babe Ruth walked a batter on four pitches and was then thrown out of the game. His replacement was Ernie Shore. The batter that walked was thrown out trying to steal and then Shore retired the next 26 in a row and was credited with a shutout and a perfect game. Thanks Babe!

Rule #3 – Four Outs In An Inning – What? How is that possible? But it is and it could have happened on April 12, 2010. Follow me here. There was second and third with one out. The batter lined the ball to the pitcher for the second out. The pitcher turned and threw the ball to second base to catch the runner off of the base by way of a force. Instead of tagging the base, the shortstop went to tag the runner. Before he tagged the runner, the runner from third did not tag up and crossed home plate and THEN the runner at second was tagged out. Since the runner was not forced out at second, the runner on third was allowed to score even though he did not tag up and the run was not challenged. Since no one went to third base to force that runner, the run scored. Now, if the team then went to touch third to force the runner, there would have been four outs in the inning. Follow that?

Rule #4 – Hitting Streaks Do Not Come To An End If The Batter Does Not Get a Hit, Rule 10.24 – Okay, another one. Let’s say that a batter has gotten hits in 56 straight games and was attempting to break Dimaggio’s record. If the batter walked once, was hit by a pitch once, was awarded first base due to catcher’s interference and then laid down a sacrifice bunt, the hitting streak is not over. If the plate appearances result in one of these four outcomes, the batter’s hitting streak will continue. However, a sacrifice fly will end the streak.

Rule #5 – Don’t Give Any Gifts, Rule 21-b. Basically, if you give a gift or “reward” to a member of an opposing team, or the team itself, you will be suspended for a minimum of three years. In April of 2007, Torii Hunter gave the Kansas City Royals champagne for sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the previous season. Hunter was not suspended as the unopened gift was returned. Torii Hunter would have just started playing once again!
Enjoy the rules. Are there others? Find them and let me know. Have a great week.
By the way, the Geico commercial with the soccer announcer at the chess match would have made my Top 5 of last week if ESPN had thought of it somehow!

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