I’m out of order, the whole system is out of order

Yes, even youth ball mistakes can happen in the big leagues. The video above shows the Giants batting out of order in a game. Batting out of order is another rule that people make more complex than it really is.

This winter I attended the Bruce Doane Sr. Umpire Camp (a great camp by the way). One of the instructors was from the Wendelstedt Umpire School. He taught the rule in a way that I found brings a great deal of clarity to it.

There are two important elements to the rule: timing and who is the next correct batter.

Timing is the easier of the two. Think about it as Goldilocks and the Three Bears:

  • You can appeal too early (while wrong batter is in the box)
    • The right batter just replaces him and assumes the count
  • You can appeal too late (after a pitch or play)
    • No penalty is applied
  • You can appeal just right
    • Defense appeals before the next pitch or play. The batter who should have batted is out

This last point is the one people get tripped on. It is also where the pro school instructor gave a good tip – when thinking about who bats next, only focus on two batters – the one who just batted (either correctly or incorrectly) and the one following. All else is noise.

In the video, Sandoval should have been up but Posey batted. Dodger manager Don Mattingly waited until the right time to appeal. The penalty was the batter who should have batted (Sandoval) was out. The next legal batter is the one following Sandoval on the card – Posey. So, Posey “batted” twice in a row.

What if the Dodgers would have appealed too late making Posey’s AB legal? In this instance the next correct batter would be the one on the official lineup card after Posey.  Focusing only on the batter who batted (either properly or improperly) and the one following brings great clarity to a muddy topic.

Batting out of order is covered on page 36 of RuleGraphics.

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