Tagging Up and Timing the Retouch – Baseball Myth

A baserunner is waiting to tag up on a fly ball, which is bobbled by the fielder. When can this runner legally leave the base? This video example takes a look at one such play wherein the defensive team actually appealed that the runner left early (failed to timely retouch third base) because the runner left when the fielder first touched the ball, as opposed to when the fielder finally caught the ball. Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(1) Comment states, in part, “Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball.” Thus, the runner legally broke contact with third base upon the first baseman’s first touch (prior to the bobble), and was legally declared safe on appeal.

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