Dear Answer Man: This occasional Twins fan would like to understand how the White Sox play was called at the bottom of the third inning last night. The runner left first base when a fly ball was hit, was past second when the ball was caught, and then was out when the ball was returned to second base.
Perhaps it would be of interest to others who weren't hearing the play by play. — Steve Strange
Steve: Baseball, like all sports, has a lot of quirky rules, and this play illustrates one of them.
On this play, a White Sox base runner on first base took off for second and rounded the base on a deep fly into the outfield. The Twins outfielder tracked down the ball and made the catch, forcing the runner to scramble back to first base. But in his haste, the runner did not re-touch second base on his way back to first, he simply cut through the infield and returned to first. Since he didn’t touch second, he was called out when a Twins infielder took the ball and stepped on second base. If the runner had never touched second base on the play, he could have returned to first without re-touching the base. Maybe next time we’ll take a look at the infield fly rule.