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The Five Strangest Rules in Baseball
Wall Street Journal, by Brian Costa

Original Article

Posted By:Hazymac, 7/30/2014 12:42:26 PM

At 240 pages, Major League Baseball´s rule book is dense, and it is only growing denser. Last winter alone, the league added three new rules and amended six others—and that doesn´t even count the two rules it has amended since this season began. But for all its love of new legislation, MLB has shown little inclination to delete rules that have long ceased being relevant. As a result, the rule book has become baseball´s version of the tax code, dotted with obscurities and oddities whose existence are unknown even to many players and managers. On the off chance that "Official

Comments:
Real sports fans inevitably absorb some of the rules minutiae in their favorite sports, because said rules sometimes affect the outcomes of games. It´s important to know why referees and umpires decide as they do.

On my bookshelves is Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 1998-1999, which clocks in at an even 600 pages. The sixteen more recent editions are undoubtedly even more prolix. In my mini-tour days making proper rulings at tournaments was absolutely essential, although some PGA Tour players are amazingly ignorant of the Rules, to their own detriment.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Hazymac, 7/30/2014 12:50:43 PM     (No. 9946406)

FYI, my favorite entry in the entire Decisions on the Rules of Golf is 18/4, which answers the question of what a snake is under the Rules. Answer: A live snake is an outside agency. A dead snake is a loose impediment.

Didn´t you always want to know that?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: kofcfn, 7/30/2014 1:01:46 PM     (No. 9946426)

Thanks OP for the article. The Stealing 1st base rule came up last year. I forgot the details on which teams it was, and what caused the problem.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: vulcan, 7/30/2014 1:06:35 PM     (No. 9946439)

This isn´t a sport. This is politics.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Gorzabozo, 7/30/2014 1:14:03 PM     (No. 9946453)

The only rule that is absolute is "There´s no crying in Baseball".

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Reply 5 - Posted by: JimS, 7/30/2014 1:32:44 PM     (No. 9946490)

I knew 4 of the 5 rules. Didn´t know about positioning fielders in foul territory.
Does that make me a baseball geek?

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Reply 6 - Posted by: DaddyO, 7/30/2014 1:43:42 PM     (No. 9946510)

A fielder catching a ball their cap may have worked for Madonna in "A League of Their Own", but doing it anywhere else will cost you three bases (rule 7.05).

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Reply 7 - Posted by: NorthernDog, 7/30/2014 2:11:29 PM     (No. 9946555)

Interesting info. I believe baseball is the only known game where the defensive team controls the ball.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: chattaboogie, 7/30/2014 2:25:24 PM     (No. 9946581)

What´s the difference if you shoot the deer, or it got run down? Same meat. Nice story.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: chattaboogie, 7/30/2014 2:28:35 PM     (No. 9946588)

The MLB rules cover all aspects of Baseball from Little League through NCAA Baseball. Yes Leagues do have some of their own rules (catcher wears cup, and throat protecter. Otherwise all baseball is played the same

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Reply 10 - Posted by: whyyeseyec, 7/30/2014 4:11:44 PM     (No. 9946748)

Which would you prefer - fielding a squibber or a screaming line drive?

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Reply 11 - Posted by: BaseballFan, 7/30/2014 5:25:13 PM     (No. 9946863)

#5 - I had that come up just this past weekend.

Situation: Runner on first. First baseman goes to the bag to hold runner on. His right foot is touching the line (legal) but his left foot is in foul territory (not legal). The shortstop comes over to the base umpire and tells him about it. Base umpire comes to me and says, "We need to address this." So I yell down to first base, "Hey, put your toes on the line." Which he does. Play ball.

I always liked the institution of a base runner having to go back to the previously occupied base after a foul ball.

5.09 (e) A foul ball is not caught; runners return. The umpire shall not put the ball in play until all runners have retouched their bases;

Note that the rule says that runners must "retouch" the base. This is rarely if ever enforced. Rather, the umpire should see to it that the runners return "to the vicinity" of the base. The ruling came about when some player decided to remain very near to the next base after a foul ball. The ball was then put in play by the umpire and the runner "stole" 3rd base. This was viewed as being unfairly advantageous, and so the rule was put into place to prevent this from happening.

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