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Discussion: Courtesy runner established

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July 11, 2021
bkb555
288 posts
Courtesy runner established
big controversial call in championship game today.....runner A walks and takes first base....Player B reports to umpire to run for Player A....Player A becomes first base coach....Player C hits ball to outfield and Player B goes to 3rd base and Player C stays on First base....manager tells umpire that player C needs a runner and #25 will take first base....while coach is reporting to umpire about courtesy runner Player A who is coaching First base slaps teammate on back for good hit and shakes hand of Player C and touches first base with foot...(#25 is halfway to replace runner on first base)......catcher notices this and tells home plate umpire that first base coach touched the base (orange part) and that he is out because he was run for earlier by Player B....after a long heated discussion, runner is out on first for illegal substitution.......what is the official rule and intent of the rule????...was this the correct call????...obviously the first base coach who needed a courtesy runner 2 batters earlier is in no condition to take first base and his intent was NOT to be a runner.....you make the call
July 11, 2021
domer
33 posts
That is so tickey tack, sounds like bad call
July 12, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
105 posts
Umpire appears to have made a very bad ruling based on the above scenario. Rule set listed below, umpire did not properly make the call as I interpret the rule.

SSUSA Rule 8.5(5) • COURTESY RUNNER OFFICIALLY IN THE GAME
A courtesy runner must report to, and be acknowledged by, the umpire before play resumes. A courtesy runner may enter the game only prior to the first pitch to any batter. A courtesy runner is in the game when he touches the base. If a courtesy runner is determined illegal, he will be called out upon touching the base and no other courtesy runner is allowed. The original runner may not return as the runner. An illegal courtesy runner on base is committing a continuing violation and may be called out upon appeal at any time while on base or, if he scores, prior to the first pitch to the next batter.

the offensive team manager has announced that C needs courtesy runner and has announced that #25 will take his place, umpire by rule is to acknowledge this CR before play resumes. Having the opposing team's catcher to "inform" him that the base coach, who isn't allowed to enter as a CR, touched first base? While #25 is half way to first base? The offense had already made a proper CR entry earlier in this inning as B reports to umpire to run for A, now Manager has reported that #25 will replace C.

As an example, our Manager always calls out for umpire and all to hear, what player number is reporting in as a CR.
July 12, 2021
B.J.
904 posts
bkb.. it sounds like you Mgr. correctly asked for a CR and even gave the #25 as the new runner.. many times no number is given and if that that happened I would definitely have the 1b coach out as soon as he touched the bag (and I have had to actually make that call before).. since the #25 was given to the umpire then I would not have an out.. but the rule does say that the CR is in the game when he touches the base..
I will have to wait and see if DD agrees??

another thing I don't understand is if the umpire saw it and deemed him an illegal CR why didn't he call him out right away upon touching the bag?
July 12, 2021
mck71
247 posts
Sadly the rule is the rule. IMO, in this case you have the "spirit of the rule" vs the actual rule (as stated clearly by T2). Once a manager says that the Batter/runner needs a CR, as soon as a different player touches the base they becomes the CR (sorry, I don't care what # was announced until that person LEGALLY takes the base). In this case, it was an illegal CR and hence the out call. You can easily call that semantics but a rule is a rule and while you can be mad at the umpire, it's the guy who "inadvertently" stepped on the base after a CR was announced who made the "mistake". I have seen this enough times where "in the heat of the moment" the wrong person (illegal CR) steps onto the base and almost ALWAYS it's was "inadvertently" because some guys are not paying attn. Sad but we are all old guys doing the very best we can and sometimes we make mistakes. Sad ending but you can't start challenging the rule book during the course of a game, it gets challenged every year at the convention.

And not trying to be an #ss but if you were the other team, I would like to think you would have argued the same way the other team did, please apply the rule as written (I know I would have).
July 12, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3518 posts
Although I tend to err on the side of the rule's literal content as mck71 mentioned, allow me to make a fair counter-argument because I'm not convinced the umpire actually "made the call" ... It's possible the catcher did the honors! ... This probably isn't going to sit well with some "literalists", if such a word exists ... In this circumstance, I don't have an out because the CR, by all accounts described, is #25 and nobody else ... He was on the way to 1B after being acknowledged BY THE UMPIRE as the CR ...

bkb555 asks a critically important question in my view: What is the intent of the rule? ... I personally believe it is to stop any potential shenanigans in CR administration ... And until we added the "Hennessy Rule" (CR is reported to, and must be acknowledged by, the umpire) maybe this would have been more palpable as a result ... What was the nature of "..touches first base with his foot.."? ... It doesn't sound as though he was standing tall on the middle of the orange bag ready to bolt for 2B at the next live ball situation ... And he likely knows he's not an eligible CR in the first place, having already been replaced by a CR two batters previously ... I didn't see it, but is seems to me there is the possibility of adept gamesmanship by the catcher, that the umpire probably didn't see any of it, and the end result, by design or not, was a cheap out ... Light up your flame throwers! ...

July 12, 2021
mck71
247 posts
No flame thrower here Dave, just a couple of simple questions: 1) who said the CR was ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE UMPIRE? I read the description and he said he told the umpire what was going on but what was the actual timing? 2) who said the umpire didn't see the 1B Coach step on the bag? We are ASSUMING that the catcher (smartly) saw what happened and brought it to the attn of the umpire who could have SEEN the the 1B coach step on the bag making him an "illegal CR".

I would agree with your counter argument if indeed it played out out EXACTLY how it was described but again, I have been umpiring a LONG time and there are always 3 sides to every story, correct? :-)
July 12, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3518 posts
Hi Mike ... Allowing common sense to take over for a bit: [1] Implied from "..manager tells umpire that player C needs a runner and #25 will take first base....while coach is reporting to umpire about courtesy runner.." ... Seems more like bantering back and forth rather than a casual "Runner, Blue!" shout-out ... [2] STRONG inference that "..catcher notices this and tells home plate umpire that first base coach touched the base (orange part).." in lieu of umpire actually seeing it ... And YES, there here are ALWAYS three sides to every argument ... Yours, mine and the TRUTH somewhere in between! ... Cheers
July 12, 2021
stick8
1905 posts
Nearly the same thing happened to my team earlier this year. Championship game, goes into extra innings. We’re visitors. Our batter who made the last out in the top of 7th starts off at second base in the top of the 8th. We end up scoring 6 runs.
Bottom of the seventh: our opponent sends out a courtesy runner at second to start their half of the 8th inning. By rule that should be an out and they lose the runner. I’m playing middle in a 5 man infield and I casually tell the runner who was standing on the bag the same thing. The runner just stated “they told me to run for Sammy”
Our two coaches are arguing with the ump at home plate. Apparently the ump then allowed our opponents to send out the proper runner. And we played it out. They scored 7 runs to win without making an out.
I’m not saying they wouldn’t have scored 7 because they’re a strong team. But going into an inning with 1 out and no one on base is a different look then no outs and a runner on second.
July 12, 2021
stick8
1905 posts
Correction: third line down should read bottom of the eighth inning.
July 12, 2021
bkb555
288 posts
i would like yo add one more point to this discussion....Player C was still on base getting congratulated by Player A for the hit and inadvertently touched first base while doing so.....there was never any intention of Player A to run the bases.....also, since the catcher saw Player A touch the base before a CR was established, is this any different than a first base coach squaring up a loose bag or clearing dirt from the side of it at first base or any other base and touching it while his teammate is on the bag or near it??????.....the more I think about it, the more the INTENT of the play should determine the outcome of the ruling...nobody is denying Player A touched the bag but he in no way was trying to relieve Player C from occupying the base
July 13, 2021
neck10
688 posts
you guys would love playing in our local league.I always tell the opposing team when they need a runner I don't care if your grandmother runs for you.Most people will not abuse the rule.
July 14, 2021
rmp0012002
Men's 50
45 posts
It’s just so Bush league by the catcher and should have never been an out. The umpire was notified who the CR would be so that should have been the end of it. For years playing softball the CR was the last batted out but this being senior ball it has to be made complicated. That said, the day I need a CR is the day I put my equipment out at the curb for garbage pickup.
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