May 06, 2014

Ground Rule Double - NOT!

Will Venable's hit bouncing over the wall
Exciting extra inning game at Petco last night. The Royals scored a run in the top of the 12th to take a 5-4 lead. But in the bottom half, the Padres got runners on 2nd and 3rd with only one out.  And then Will Venable came to the plate....

He promptly hit a ball that split the outfielders and bounced over the wall as the excited home team announcers called it: "It's up the alley and the game will end on a ground rule double"

Here's the video: Walk off

Was it really a "ground rule" double?  No, no it was not.
If anything, it was just a double, or an "automatic" double if you prefer.  There is no "ground rule" to cover a ball bouncing into the stands. It's just a "normal" rule.  The same way there is a rule that says a runner gets a base on a balk. It's not a "ground-rule balk".  But as far as scoring goes, it does not matter.  A double, is a double, is a double.  Whether the ball stays in the park, hops over the fence, or is in fact a ground rule double (e.g., stuck in the Ivy at Wrigley).  So my whole point has been irrelevant so far if you are scoring a game.

But there was a slight twist to this one.  You see, it wasn't even a double.  Will Venable got mobbed after he rounded first base and never got to second.  The scoring rules - 10.06 (f) - state that:
When a batter ends a game with a safe hit that drives in as many runs as are necessary to put his team in the lead, the official scorer shall credit such batter with only as many bases on his hit as are advanced by the runner who scores the winning run, and then only if the batter runs out his hit for as many bases as are advanced by the runner who scores the winning run.  Rule 10.06(f) Comment: The official scorer shall apply this rule even when the batter is theoretically entitled to more bases because of being awarded an “automatic” extra-base hit under various provisions of Rules 6.09 and 7.05
Because of the bolded part, he only got credit for a single.  He could have had a double if he kept running.
Note that if the winning run is on third, no matter how far the batter hits the ball, he can never get more than a single.*  If the winning run is on first, he can get up to a triple... BUT he has to actually run all the way there to get credit for it.  It rarely happens because it's just considered bad form to run out a hit to pad one's stats. So most walk off hits end up being singles regardless of how far the batter could have made it.

* There is an obvious exception. Rule 10.06(g) does award a home run if the batter hits the ball out of the playing field.  But note based on the comment of 10.06(f) this does not apply to any other automatic base award.

By the way, if all of the above sounds like I'm repeating myself, it's because I am. I've mentioned this at least two other times.  Here and here.

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