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Something that I noticed happening in almost every game is the following: The hitter grounds out and the defense has an easy out on first. The defense takes the out on the first base and the hitter, who has since become a runner, hasn't even made it halfway to the first. Yet he continuous to jog to first, he steps on it and then he retires.

Why does he continue to run, although he is out? Does it have any effect on statistics whether the runner made it to first or not? Or maybe it is a way of the hitter to gain some confidence or even get into the pitchers/defense head. "You didn't get me this time because you beat me to the first. Next time I will be there in time". Is this the case?

  • It may a formality - out for leaving the baseline knowing that the BR is effectively out already, as opposed to reaching the base after the ball and therefore being out at the base. – Nij Aug 6 '17 at 4:42
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There is no benefit within the rules of the game or from a statistics perspective to touching first after the out is completed.

However, there is a strong social component ("unwritten rule") that the batter should be running with hustle to first during all plays, in case the defense makes a mistake. It is generally expected (at least in the US) that the concept of running out the play includes touching the base even after the out is made.

From a preparation standpoint, if you're running knowing that you're going to go all the way to first anyway, you don't have to stop and think about the play in front of you (and make a mistake with your interpretation). Errors are rare on routine grounders in the major leagues, but they happen and if you're used to not bothering to touch the base on an out, you can start to anticipate the out.

I wasn't able to find a source, but I recall listening to a team reporter discussing a Japanese player that came to the US that was chastised for not running out a ground ball. The player apologized, stating that it wasn't something expected of him prior to joining his MLB team. So this concept may not be universal.

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