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What happens if a base runner attempts a steal right before the pitch, then the batter hits a foul ball. Since the ball is dead, I would assume the base would not get stolen. I also know that on a strike or a ball a player can also steal a base, but the catcher throws the ball to the appropriate base to get the player tagged.

What is the cut-off as far as telling what base a player should be on after a foul ball?

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What happens if a base runner attempts a steal right before the pitch, then the batter hits a foul ball? What is the cut-off as far as telling what base a player should be on after a foul ball?

There is no cut-off. If it is a foul ball, the ball is dead and the runners return to their base. This is covered under Rule 5.06(c)(5) of the 2016 MLB Rule Book.

The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when:

  • A foul ball is not caught, in which case runners return to their bases.

If a foul ball is caught, the runner must return to his base (ie, retouch) or is at risk of becoming out. This is covered under Rule 5.09(b)(5).

Any runner is out when:

  • He fails to retouch his base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught before he, or his base, is tagged by a fielder.

Since the ball is dead, I would assume the base would not get stolen.

Exactly.

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    So for it to be a valid stolen base, would runner have to reach the base before the throw is initiated or the batter hitting the ball? This is essentially what lead me to this question. – Yousend Jun 1 '16 at 18:10
  • It doesn't matter if the runner reaches the base before the batter hits the ball (which is very unlikely), if it is a foul ball, the runner returns to his base. Rule 9.07 covers the criteria of stolen bases and being caught stealing. Edit based on Joe's comment below: If the runner reaches the base before the pitch, it can be ruled a stolen base (eg, if a pickoff is attempted and the runner reaches the base), but can also be ruled as not a stolen base if it is determined the defense is indifferent (ie, lets the runner advance). Note that this is a different question than originally stated. – user527 Jun 1 '16 at 18:14
  • @ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ I'm not sure you're entirely right there: if the runner reaches the next base before a pitch is thrown, he would have stolen the base. This happens periodically when a pitcher attempts a pickoff while a very fast runner is going; Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman could steal on the pickoff (so they'd be on second before the first baseman could throw to second). That's a steal "before the [pitch] is initiated", effectively. – Joe Jun 1 '16 at 21:46
  • @Joe That's fair, so I reworded my comment. However, Rule 9.07(g) states, "The official scorer shall not score a stolen base when a runner advances solely because of the defensive team’s indifference to the runner’s advance." If the runner reaches the next base and there is no attempt to putout the runner (ie, no pickoff attempt) or the pitcher is oblivious to the steal taking place before the pitch (and doesn't attempt to throw the runner out), wouldn't that be indifference, and thus, not counted as a stolen base? – user527 Jun 2 '16 at 0:10
  • The specific scenario originally stated is "a base runner attempts a steal right before the pitch, then the batter hits a foul ball." This is why I stated it is very unlikely for the runner to have reached the next base before the pitch or the ball being hit if the attempt takes place "right before the pitch" which I am reading as "immediately before the pitch." – user527 Jun 2 '16 at 0:13

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