A situation from a youth league game: A runner was on 2nd, and the ball was hit to the outfield. Runner touched third and ran home. There was no throw home, but the runner didn't touch the plate. His momentum carried him past the out of play line; after teammates and coaches told him that he missed the plate, he went back and touched home without being tagged and before an appeal could be made. However, the umpire called him out for leaving the field of play. Was the umpire correct?

The league plays under Cal Ripken rules, but I don't have access to their rulebook, and have been unable to find the rules online (other than ordering a copy of the rulebook).

  • 1
    How far past the plate before attempting to return? 1 foot? 20 feet? Into the dugout?
    – BowlOfRed
    Aug 4, 2017 at 5:25
  • The out of play line is about 15 feet from the plate. It was the other side of the field from the player's dugout, so definitely not in that.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 4, 2017 at 13:24
  • When did the umpire call him out? Was it when he attempted to retouch the plate, or was it as soon as he crossed the (unknown) line of no return? If the former, it calls into question when the umpire planned to call him out had he not tried to return to the plate.
    – chepner
    Oct 3, 2017 at 17:57
  • @chepner: It's been a while now, but it was after he touched the plate, IIRC.
    – GreenMatt
    Oct 3, 2017 at 18:37
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    That's fishy to me. Either the player was out regardless (for leaving the field of play) and the umpire just failed to call him out in a timely fashion, or the umpire overstepped by calling him out without the other team attempting to make an out. If the player hadn't tried to correct the error, it sounds like the run would have counted and play would have continued.
    – chepner
    Oct 3, 2017 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Youth leagues may have rules different from MLB baseball, often to do with minimizing contact between players. I particpated in a youth league where a runner would be called out for touching home plate (to avoid runner/catcher collisions).

MLB doesn't have a "out of play line", only a general concept of "abandoning the effort to touch the next base". A player is not automatically out for overrunning the plate. The runner would be called out when tagged with the ball or if the runner subsequently leaves the field, obviously not trying to touch the plate.

Was the runner a step away when he tried to retag, 10 steps away, or possibly even a foot in the dugout?

I suspect you would need the specific rules for this youth league (especially related to an out of play line) to know if there was a problem with the call.

  • As I have edited the question to say, the league uses Cal Ripken rules.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 4, 2017 at 13:26
  • I didn't find anything in Cal Ripken rules that address this directly, but neither do they seem to specify an out of play line. I would imagine the out of play line is specified by the league elsewhere than that ruleset. 15 feet is quite a long way from the play. I can see a league using that to grant objectivity to "abandoning the effort".
    – BowlOfRed
    Aug 6, 2017 at 0:16

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