August 15, 2022

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Players frustrated by strange 'fourth strike rule' as Pirates score despite entering double play at half-time

Players frustrated by strange ‘fourth strike rule’ as Pirates score despite entering double play at half-time

You never know what you’ll see on the field on any given day, and on Wednesday afternoon the rare “fourth strike rule” appeared in the series finale between Washington citizens And the Pittsburgh Pirates in Nationals Park (GameTracker).

The scene: Pittsburgh had two riders (Hoy Jun Park) and third (Jack Suwinski) with one exit in the fifth inning when Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a soft-drive at first baseman Josh Bell. Park and Swinsky reached out, Bell fished, then threw for third so the tag could be applied to Park, who was not tagged in second. Here is the play:

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Bell poached one, then Park was flagged for another to complete double play at the end of the first half. The confusion stems from Suwinski. Cross the board unmarked at third base and run count Although no labeling. This is because the citizens did not resume leaving Suwinski early.

This is covered by the MLB 5.09(c) rule., the section covering appeal plays, is colloquially known as “Fourth Rule”. From the rulebook:

(c) Appeal plays

A runner must be called on appeal when:

(1) After a fly ball has been caught, it fails to revise its original base before being marked on it or on its original base;

Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play. If the infringement occurs during play that has ended half of the game, the appeal must be made before the defensive team leaves the field.

All the Nationals players left the field before the team could resume Swinsky’s departure from third base early (which he clearly did), so Washington lost their chance to appeal. Suwinski’s run was calculated even though he was not marked in third base on the Hayes line engine. The referees in the field checked with the replay crew in New York to confirm the rule.

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Had the Citizens resumed in time, Swinsky would have been called up and his flight not counted, and he would have been the “fourth” of the tour. Sadly, the 4th naysayers don’t roll into the next inning or anything like that. It’s just a rulebook oddity that rarely comes into play. It almost did on Wednesday, but the Nationals didn’t resume in time and ultimately lost the match by one round.