Woodbury vs. Roaring Spring at Roaring Spring. Woodbury is at bat in the top half of the first inning. There is one man out with base runners on second and third. The batter lifts a fly ball to short right center field. The runner on third tags up, while the runner on second takes a normal lead for third in case the ball cannot be played. The right fielder, after making a nice run for the ball, overruns it slightly but manages to throw up his gloved hand and knock the ball into the air. At this moment the runner on third breaks for home and the runner on second turns back to return to second, but after returning only a few steps sees the ball bounce from the right fielder's glove and immediately turns and breaks for third without returning to tag up at second. As he does so, the right fielder reaches up with his bare hand and catches the ball for the second out and throws to second to double up the runner on second. During this process, the runner on third scores. But the umpire says the run does not count because of the double play—the catch of the fly ball and the double-up of the runner on second. The Woodbury manager protests the call, contending that the run should count because the run scored before the double play was completed at second base.
The game is completed and Roaring Spring defeats Woodbury 4-2. The protest is filed with the league president and a meeting of the arbitration board is called to settle the dispute.
The arbitration board meets and upholds the protest, contending that the run should count. So the game is to be replayed. The board also orders play to resume in the last half of the first inning, with Roaring Spring coming to bat and Woodbury leading 1-0. The board further orders that the lineups may be altered in any way, and that although a player who started the protested game does not start the replay, he may enter the replayed game at any time, just as long as each team fields nine men. The game is replayed and Roaring Spring defeats Woodbury 2-1.
Public opinion contends that the fly ball double play is the same as a ground ball double play if the runner does not tag up. Therefore the run would not count even if scored before the entire execution of the double play, just as a man cannot score on a double play in the infield; for example, 6-4-3.
It is also felt that if the protest is upheld the game should be played in its entirety, not from the last of the first inning.
Thirdly, public opinion feels that the players who started the original game should start the replay also or not be permitted to enter the game later on. It is felt that this would be the same as a player starting a game, leaving, then reentering later.
I hope I have related this in a way that is clear and understandable.
C. WESLEY LINGENFELTER
Roaring Spring, Pa.
?In the opinion of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S baseball department (which found Mr. Lingenfelter's letter clear and fascinating) the run definitely did count, as the runner was tagged up at the instant the outfielder first touched the ball and he did score before the third out of the inning was made (Official Baseball Rules, 6.05 and 4.09). The protest was justified because it involved an umpire's violation of the rules rather than a question of judgment, but the proper procedure in upholding a protest depends upon the league's own rules. Mr. Lingenfelter's league officials may have decided that the game was suspended from the moment of the faulty ruling and that everything that happened thereafter was in the nature of an exhibition. Rule 4.12 (d) reads in part: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution." Which leads our baseball desk to the opinion that the players who started in the original game should have started the replay or else not have been permitted to enter the game later on.—ED.