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We had a weird call overturned after a play in a little league game 9-10 years old, Cal Ripken rules.

We had a runner score a run, everything seemed normal. The pitcher got the ball back, our on deck person walking up to plate, when someone shouts out he never touched home. Manager walks out to the umpire and after quite sometime he yells out tag home, the pitcher tags home and the umpire calls the out. Is this part of the rules. I believed if the umpire didn't see if the runner crossed the plate or not, it couldn't be overturned.

Thanks for any clarification on this.

  • Is it possible that the umpire did see whether the runner crossed the plate or not? Do you know what specifically the manager and umpire were discussing? – user11569 May 22 at 16:49
  • Umpire said he didn't see if he did or not, they counted the run on the scoreboard. – Jason78 May 22 at 19:40
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    Putting the run on the scoreboard doesn't really mean anything. – GreenMatt Jul 29 at 17:40
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There are limited circumstances where it would be justified for an umpire to overturn their own call - for example an a tag out play if it was called safe and then the defensive player drops the ball immediately, that could be immediately reversed by the umpire who made the call.

In the scenario you described, unless the bases were loaded, tagging the base doesn't put the runner out anyway, its a tag play.

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    "In the scenario you described, unless the bases were loaded, tagging the base doesn't put the runner out anyway, its a tag play." In the full scenario described, it has become an appeal play, not a tag play, and tagging the base would put the runner out if the ruling is that he had not touched home. – GreenMatt Jul 29 at 17:42
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Firstly, this isn't really what it referred to as overruling a call. This situation describes an appeal - a play has ended, but the defense claims that the offense did something wrong. Making such a ruling is something an umpire is allowed to do. In my experience, an appeal always comes about as an attempt to get a base runner out for failing to tag up properly on a fly ball or missing a base when advancing to the next one. This sort of thing happens fairly frequently, especially in youth games where players may not be accustomed to the rules, are overly anxious to advance on the bases, or are just poor running the bases.

Admittedly, I don't have a detailed knowledge of the rules, but I believe it's only convention that an umpire must see a play to make a ruling. While the convention is nearly always followed, it's not hard to imagine a situation where an umpire would make a ruling without seeing something happen. One such example: At a game with a single umpire, let's say there is a runner at third base with less than two outs and a fly ball is hit to deep right field. The umpire watches the ball to see if it is caught. The ball is caught and the runner almost immediately touches home plate. The defensive team throws the ball to third base. Now, even though it wasn't possible for the umpire to literally see the runner leave the base before the ball was caught, should the umpire call the runner out because he obviously left the base early, or should he allow the run to score? The reasonable thing is for the umpire to call the runner out.

It would be unusual (in my experience) for an umpire to call a runner out on appeal if he (the umpire) had not seen whether the runner touched the base and there wasn't an obvious violation (as in the example above). Thus I would think that either the manager presented some sort of convincing evidence, or the runner (or his manager) admitted that the plate had not been touched.

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The umpire did exactly what he is supposed to do. He never made a call so he didn't overturn. I am assuming that he did not signal "safe" with his hands - as that would not be normal unless there is a close play.

When a player misses a bag and is either in the dugout or on another bag there is no ability for the defensive team to tag him out. These plays must go through an appeal process much like a defensive player asking for the home plate umpire to appeal a check swing to a field umpire.

You understand if the defensive player touches the plate, it means nothing right? The player could run towards the dugout to tag the player (but doesn't have to). At that time after I saw the player move to where ever the player was, if that player did not take a direct route to home plate to retag it, you would call them for running out of baseline. Really the only way they could be safe is if the defensive player dropped the ball during tag.

The tone of your question displays an annoyance that this happened. This is one of the few areas of baseball where an on the field event can be directly affected by coaching. A good coach would have seen his player miss home plate - one of the coaches should be looking at this for 9-year olds (and they should know better at that age). That player could retreat at any time back to retag home until the umpire calls time or they actually step into the dugout (this is a bit controversial). At the same time the defensive manager/coach should have told his player to go tag yours. Either way your team was outcoached. It is a runner error if he misses and tries to go back, coach's error to not pay attention.

However in this process for an appeal once the offensive player goes to dugout - is for the pitcher to step off the mound and throw to the bag(s) in question after ball is dead. If done correctly the pitcher should have called time, walked to mound, stepped off of it, and then threw to the catcher. The umpire at this age should guide the player to do a correct appeal - really you have unlimited time to appeal as long as you don't throw another pitch, so there is no getting around making the call. At the same time as a coach for 9-year-olds you probably have a junior umpire - coaches should be helping them explaining what they are appealing.

The fact is this is a good question to have at the moment. It is troublesome that you had to go to this site to get an answer. Your coach should have explained to the parents that the other coach appealed the runner scoring and why the runner was out. Not "whoa is me, how can the umpire do that?!" This bit of ineptitude in coaches, especially at a youth level not only hurts the team but creates negativity in player's attitudes towards umpires/officials.

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