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Thread: Why not errors?

  1. #1
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    Question Why not errors?

    I've long wondered why wild pitches, balks, passed balls, and a couple of other miscues by pitchers and/or catchers are not considered errors in the rules.

    All thoughts are welcome.
    Put it in the books.

  2. #2
    The rationale I've heard for a separate passed ball category is that a passed ball could occur on any pitch with runners on, but a non-passed ball does not count as a fielding chance. Most, not all, errors occur when the result of a cleanly played ball would be an assist or putout, so fielding percentage makes a kind of sense. So out of fairness to catchers, there's a separate category because they are in jeopardy on every pitch but get no credit, only blame.

    The same would seem to apply to wild pitches and balks. But I have no authority for this. It's just what I heard somewhere and seems reasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    I've long wondered why wild pitches, balks, passed balls, and a couple of other miscues by pitchers and/or catchers are not considered errors in the rules.

    All thoughts are welcome.
    They are not by definition causing a runner to reach base.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
    They are not by definition causing a runner to reach base.
    No, but they do allow a runner an extra base by definition, and that is the defining criterion for most errors--any others besides dropped foul flies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
    The rationale I've heard for a separate passed ball category is that a passed ball could occur on any pitch with runners on, but a non-passed ball does not count as a fielding chance. Most, not all, errors occur when the result of a cleanly played ball would be an assist or putout, so fielding percentage makes a kind of sense. So out of fairness to catchers, there's a separate category because they are in jeopardy on every pitch but get no credit, only blame.

    The same would seem to apply to wild pitches and balks. But I have no authority for this. It's just what I heard somewhere and seems reasonable.
    That explanation does seem reasonable, considering all the extra chances pitchers and catchers would encounter if each pitch was considered a chance for either the pitcher or the catcher. It's still a bit puzzling to me, but the more I read what you've written, the clearer it seems to be. ....although a balk still seems to me to be an outright error on the pitcher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
    They are not by definition causing a runner to reach base.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
    No, but they do allow a runner an extra base by definition, and that is the defining criterion for most errors--any others besides dropped foul flies?
    Thank you, JD. That's essentially what my reply would've been. And you've raised an extra good point with dropped fouls that would've otherwise been clean outs.

    Am I mistaken that a muffed third strike on which the batter reaches first is considered a error? And is it contingent on whether it was a wild pitch or a passed ball as to who receives the error?

    (This is weird. I've been following baseball for over 40 years, yet these seem to be such elementary inquiries. I feel so ignorant, heh.)
    Put it in the books.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    That explanation does seem reasonable, considering all the extra chances pitchers and catchers would encounter if each pitch was considered a chance for either the pitcher or the catcher. It's still a bit puzzling to me, but the more I read what you've written, the clearer it seems to be.

    (This is weird. I've been following baseball for over 40 years, yet these seem to be such elementary inquiries. I feel so ignorant, heh.)
    Thank you, but as I say, I don't really know that I'm right, and reasonableness is not a reliable guide where rules are concerned. (That's why they're rules.) I stick my fingers in my ears whenever the announcers start to talk about why the pitcher balked.

  7. #7
    CAN a passed ball be ruled an error, or is it that a wild pitch is an error in some cases?

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    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    I've long wondered why wild pitches, balks, passed balls, and a couple of other miscues by pitchers and/or catchers are not considered errors in the rules.
    As the rulebook says,
    (f) Because the pitcher and catcher handle the ball much more than other fielders, certain misplays on pitched balls are defined in Rule 10.15 as wild pitches and passed balls. No error shall be charged when a wild pitch or passed ball is scored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    As the rulebook says,
    (f) Because the pitcher and catcher handle the ball much more than other fielders, certain misplays on pitched balls are defined in Rule 10.15 as wild pitches and passed balls. No error shall be charged when a wild pitch or passed ball is scored.
    Thank you, ipitch. What does it say about balks? My instinct tells me that a balk isn't ruled an error because, as was stated above, then every toss to first would have to be considered a chance, which it isn't (even though if the ball gets thrown away on a pickoff attempt and the runner moves up, it's considered an error on either the pitcher or the firstbaseman). I think it's that parenthetical passage that confuses me. Why is it considered a chance only if it's become an error?

    Third-strike wild pitches/passed balls allowing the batter to reach first also seems to be one of those occasions when a non-chance becomes a chance due to a pitcher or catcher miscue, because an error usually results when the batter reaches first.
    Put it in the books.

  10. #10
    Despite my admitted ignorance about what constitutes a balk, I'll weigh in on why I think it's not an error. The rules seem to distinguish carefully between the pitcher as pitcher and pitcher as just another fielder.

    So if a pitcher throws a ball into the stands while fielding a bunt or making a pickoff play, and a runner scores as a result, it's an unearned run. But if a pitcher balks, either in making a throw to first, or in some eccentricity in pitching motion, or getting blown off the mound like Stu Miller, and a run results, it's an earned run, because it came about as a pitcher's failing, not a fielder's. The same person, but a different player. That's a kind of bassackwards way of thinking about it, but I think it's fair, in a way.

  11. #11
    So how come if a catcher drops a foul pop-up and then the batter goes on to get a hit, he still gets credit for a hit? It seems that he reached on an error effectively.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    So how come if a catcher drops a foul pop-up and then the batter goes on to get a hit, he still gets credit for a hit? It seems that he reached on an error effectively.
    One of the attractions baseball had for me as a kid was its supposed mathematical perfection. The symmetry between pitching and batting, the way every offensive entry had a corresponding defensive one, and so forth. 90 feet being the perfect length for a basepath, etc. I would bet that's part of its appeal to many posters here. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite hold up all the time.

    Kind of like Euclid: For centuries his geometry was thought to be a perfect deductive system, but it turned out not quite so. But like Euclid's Elements, the rules of baseball are about as close to pefection as we can hope to come in this world.

  13. #13
    So am I right that a passed ball on a third strike that lets a player get to first IS an error?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    So am I right that a passed ball on a third strike that lets a player get to first IS an error?
    I would think so, but I could be mistaken. I would think a third strike passed ball that allows the batter to get to first is an E2, and a wild pitch third strike would be an E1. Then again, as has been said, wild pitches and passed balls that allow runners to move from first to second, second to third, and/or third to home are not considered errors, so I'm still not sure.
    Put it in the books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    So am I right that a passed ball on a third strike that lets a player get to first IS an error?
    No.

    1) No error shall be charged when the batter is awarded first base on four called balls or because he was touched by a pitched ball, or when he reaches first base as the result of a wild pitch or passed ball. (i) When the third strike is a wild pitch, permitting the batter to reach first base, score a strikeout and a wild pitch. (ii) When the third strike is a passed ball, permitting the batter to reach first base, score a strikeout and a passed ball.

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    Okay, so last night, during the Mets @ Rockies game, the Mets' 7th run crossed the plate due to what was initially scored a passed ball, allowing the runner to score from third. It was ruled as an unearned run. The official scorer then changed the call to a wild pitch, rendering the run earned.

    Now, I can't attest to passed balls that allow runners to get to first, second, or third, but it seems that there is indeed an allowance to rule a run scored due to a passed ball as unearned. E2? And wouldn't this rule encompass the other three bases as well? In other words, wouldn't a passed ball that allows a runner to move from second to third, or to first on a third strike, be considered an error on the catcher, or is it only when the passed ball allows a run to score?

    I realize ipitch posted the rules, but I saw what I saw. So, is it an error only when it allows a runner to score from third?
    Put it in the books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    Okay, so last night, during the Mets @ Rockies game, the Mets' 7th run crossed the plate due to what was initially scored a passed ball, allowing the runner to score from third. It was ruled as an unearned run. The official scorer then changed the call to a wild pitch, rendering the run earned.

    Now, I can't attest to passed balls that allow runners to get to first, second, or third, but it seems that there is indeed an allowance to rule a run scored due to a passed ball as unearned. E2? And wouldn't this rule encompass the other three bases as well? In other words, wouldn't a passed ball that allows a runner to move from second to third, or to first on a third strike, be considered an error on the catcher, or is it only when the passed ball allows a run to score?

    I realize ipitch posted the rules, but I saw what I saw. So, is it an error only when it allows a runner to score from third?
    A WP or PB that allows a runner to advance (or score) is not an error. But, a PB can cause a run to be unearned. A WP cannot.

    This is the 9th inning from the NY/DET game on Friday...

    Russell Martin grounds out sharply, second baseman Ramon Santiago to first baseman Prince Fielder.
    Derek Jeter walks.
    Curtis Granderson walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Brayan Villarreal. Derek Jeter to 3rd.
    With Alex Rodriguez batting, passed ball by Alex Avila, Derek Jeter scores.

    Even though there were no errors in the inning, the run was unearned.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    A WP or PB that allows a runner to advance (or score) is not an error. But, a PB can cause a run to be unearned. A WP cannot.

    This is the 9th inning from the NY/DET game on Friday...

    Russell Martin grounds out sharply, second baseman Ramon Santiago to first baseman Prince Fielder.
    Derek Jeter walks.
    Curtis Granderson walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Brayan Villarreal. Derek Jeter to 3rd.
    With Alex Rodriguez batting, passed ball by Alex Avila, Derek Jeter scores.

    Even though there were no errors in the inning, the run was unearned.
    What drives people crazy is, that run was unearned because the game ended on it and there were no other batters. But, letís say that happened in the 1st. After Jeter scored, ARod would still have had to finish his AB because there was only 1 out. Now assume ARod jacks one. The score is 2-0 and the run flips back to being earned because it would have scored whether the passed ball happened or not after the reconstruction. Gotta love the rules!
    The pitcher whoís afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    A WP or PB that allows a runner to advance (or score) is not an error. But, a PB can cause a run to be unearned. A WP cannot.

    This is the 9th inning from the NY/DET game on Friday...

    Russell Martin grounds out sharply, second baseman Ramon Santiago to first baseman Prince Fielder.
    Derek Jeter walks.
    Curtis Granderson walks. Wild pitch by pitcher Brayan Villarreal. Derek Jeter to 3rd.
    With Alex Rodriguez batting, passed ball by Alex Avila, Derek Jeter scores.

    Even though there were no errors in the inning, the run was unearned.
    I'm sure you're correct, but it does seem rather odd (and incongruous) that a run can be considered unearned without a scored error.

    Quote Originally Posted by scorekeeper View Post
    What drives people crazy is, that run was unearned because the game ended on it and there were no other batters. But, letís say that happened in the 1st. After Jeter scored, ARod would still have had to finish his AB because there was only 1 out. Now assume ARod jacks one. The score is 2-0 and the run flips back to being earned because it would have scored whether the passed ball happened or not after the reconstruction. Gotta love the rules!
    This, of course, I can understand. We've seen it all too often that unearned runs become earned when, with less than two outs, more runners cross the plate. In fact, in the case of a PB that allows the runner to score, the run would become earned even when there are two outs if the runner would have eventually scored (with, for instance, an A-Rod homer). It's that unearned run without an error that has me saying, "Gotta love the rules!" Has me baffled, heh. :
    Put it in the books.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    I'm sure you're correct, but it does seem rather odd (and incongruous) that a run can be considered unearned without a scored error.



    This, of course, I can understand. We've seen it all too often that unearned runs become earned when, with less than two outs, more runners cross the plate. In fact, in the case of a PB that allows the runner to score, the run would become earned even when there are two outs if the runner would have eventually scored (with, for instance, an A-Rod homer). It's that unearned run without an error that has me saying, "Gotta love the rules!" Has me baffled, heh. :
    Would you consider it fair to charge the pitcher for a run scored on a passed ball? It's a misplay by a fielder, but in a separate category from errors for reasons discussed above. It's not an earned run because it was the fault of a fielder. On the other hand, a run scored on a wild pitch, also a separate category, is earned because it was due to a pitching misplay. A run scored on a pitcher's error is not earned, however, because it was not a pitching misplay but a fielding misplay.

    To me it would be nuts to consider a run scored on a passed ball "earned." The rules make sense here, at least to me.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
    Would you consider it fair to charge the pitcher for a run scored on a passed ball? It's a misplay by a fielder, but in a separate category from errors for reasons discussed above. It's not an earned run because it was the fault of a fielder. On the other hand, a run scored on a wild pitch, also a separate category, is earned because it was due to a pitching misplay. A run scored on a pitcher's error is not earned, however, because it was not a pitching misplay but a fielding misplay.

    To me it would be nuts to consider a run scored on a passed ball "earned." The rules make sense here, at least to me.
    They make sense to me, too. I guess the thing that I find most incongruous is the rule allowing for an unearned run without a scored error.

    Incidentally, I still think a balk should be scored an E1. But it's stated otherwise in the rules, and it's just one man's opinion.
    Put it in the books.

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