A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base
by reason of the batter becoming a runner.
Rule 2.00 (Force Play) Comment: Confusion regarding this play is removed by remembering that
frequently the “force” situation is removed during the play. Example: Man on first, one out, ball hit sharply to first baseman who touches the bag and batter-runner is out. The force is removed at that moment and runner advancing to second must be tagged. If there had been a runner on third or second, and either of these runners scored before the tag-out at second, the run counts. Had the first baseman thrown to second and the ball then had been returned to first, the play at second was a force out, making two outs, and the return throw to first ahead of the runner would have made three outs. In that case, no run would score.
Example: Not a force out. One out. Runner on first and third. Batter flies out. Two out. Runner on third tags up and scores. Runner on first tries to retouch before throw from fielder reaches first baseman, but does not get back in time and is out. Three outs. If, in umpire’s judgment, the runner from third touched home before the ball was held at first base, the run counts.
The U3-6 example described in the rule.
Example of time play described above. R3, R1. Fly ball caught by F8. R3 tags and scores before R1 is doubled-up at 1B. This is not a force out because the batted ball was caught and the B/R never forced R1. This is a time play and R3 scores before R1 is out on appeal for failing to tag.
The umpire crew scored the run three innings later.
R3, two outs. Sharp hit to F9 who throws to F3 for the third out. This is a force play, not a time play, so the run does not score.
If a runner is forced to advance, the runner may be tagged for a force out. For instance, bases loaded, two outs. Batter hits a ground ball to the third baseman who tags R2 after R3 crosses the plate. No run. This is a force play, not a time play.
Once the following runner is put out, the preceding runner is no longer "forced" to advance. One of the most famous removed force play situations occurred in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. In the top of the ninth, Pittsburgh led 9-8 with one out. The Yankees had pinch runner Gil McDougald on third and Mickey Mantle was at first. Yogi Berra hit a sharp ground ball to Pirate first baseman Rocky Nelson, who stepped on first for the second out. Mantle dove back to first ahead of Nelson's tag and was ruled safe by umpire Nestor Chylak. McDougald scored on the play to tie the score.
|Mantle dives in safely ahead of tag|