Voluntary Release

Finally, the long winter is over and there are loads of baseball games to watch. With all the baseball, there will be a slew of situations to review.

Here is an interesting one from Texas/Oakland last evening.

The second baseman gloves the ball (and I carefully chose the word “gloves”). He does not have control of his body. As he steadies himself the glove hits the ground and the ball falls out.

This is not a catch. The ground can cause a “fumble” in baseball. The umpires will be looking for a “voluntary release” to know a catch is secured. If the drop would have occurred as he reached into his glove, a catch would have been ruled.

A lot of people ask me why umpires wait so darn long to call an out on a routine play at first. Often you see the ball in the glove well before the runner and the ump waits and nonchalantly calls an out. He is not showboating. He is waiting for the voluntary release. Only when this second action occurs can a catch be assured.

Catch is covered on page 28 of RuleGraphics.

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