Here is what happened on May 17, 2022 between the Cleveland Ardians (I call them Ardians in 2022 as a protest because Jose Ramirez's contract was only partially front loaded instead of fully front loaded) and the Cincinnati Reds in the bottom of the 10th inning with a runner on second base for Cleveland.
The pitch went past the catcher, ricocheted off the backstop and then rolled quite a bit. AFTER the Ardians runner had touched 3rd base, the ball THEN rolled into the Dugout.
Runner had already touched and passed third base BEFORE the ball went into the dugout.EVERYBODY has misinterpreted rule 5.08 (b) (4) (h) and as a result the Ardians runner was never awarded his one base! Below is the rule that was misinterpreted.
One base, if a ball, pitched to the batter, or thrown by the pitcher from his position on the pitcher’s plate to a base to catch a runner, goes into a stand or a bench, or over or through a field fence or backstop. The ball is dead;
APPROVED RULING: When a wild pitch or passed ball goes through or by the catcher, or deflects off the catcher, and goes directly into the dugout, stands, above the break, or any area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be one base. One base shall also be awarded if the pitcher while in contact with the rubber, throws to a base, and the throw goes directly into the stands or into any area where the ball is dead.
If, however, the pitched or thrown ball goes through or by the catcher or through the fielder, and remains on the playing field, and is subsequently kicked or deflected into the dugout, stands or other area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be two bases from position of runners at the time of the pitch or throw. end of rule quote..
So here is the question that was not asked but should have been....How can an umpire award a base that the base runner already has already reached BEFORE the ball went into the dugout?
By ruling that the runner only can advance one base, the runner could have literally sat his butt on the second base bag, watched the pitch go by the catcher, still sitting on second base, watch the ball roll around in foul territory, take one step off of second base, watch the ball fall into the dugout, and then be "awarded" one base, third base, because the ball went into the dugout.
In this instance, an umpire cannot "award" a base that a baserunner has already "earned" before the ball left the field of play. Period, end of story, wrong call, everyone got it wrong.
The base runner EARNED third base before the ball left the field of play and therefore should have been AWARDED one base, home plate, by the Umpire.
An umpire can't award what a baserunner has already earned.
The rule as written envisioned a situation in which the pitched ball goes into the dugout before the base runner reached the next base.
The scenario that actually happened in the game was NOT what the rule was written for. The ball in the dugout rule was meant for a runner running TO the next base and the ball goes into the dugout BEFORE the runner has EARNED the next base under their own power.
MLB has failed to to define how a base runner EARNS a base versus being AWARDED a base.
However, just because MLB does not define what Earning a Base is does not change the reality that when a baseball player reaches the next base by running to it before they are tagged out and while the ball is in play, they have earned that new base.
The Cleveland runner EARNED third base, and the umpire should have then AWARDED one base, namely, home.
If you have MLB.TV and can view the actual play from the game, the replay clearly shows the ball did not roll into the dugout until after the runner had rounded third base.
Indians Television announcer Matt Underwood's instincts were 100% right when he asked if the runner had already reached and passed third base.
Unfortunately, this rather unique situation that probably rarely comes up, runner on second, ball goes by catcher and takes so long to end up in the dugout the runner has already reached and passed the next base, resulted in everyone who thought they knew the rule based on past experiences failed to remember the one golden rule about baseball; some times a play happens that either never happened before, or happens so rarely it mistakenly gets clumped into other scenarios when the rules are applied.