Reading Eagle - May 7, 1980

Kutch’s Korner:  Batting Order Controversy


The Philadelphia Phillies’ faux pas in catching the Los Angeles Dodgers batting out of turn Sunday has been a major topic of discussion among baseball fans this week.


It will be remembered that the Dodgers reversed their fifth and sixth batters in the first inning when Dusty Baker batted ahead of Ron Cey instead of after him.


Phillies manager Dallas Green promptly brought the improper batting order to the attention of the umps and a runner who had scored when Baker hit into a force out was sent back to third.  Cey, the proper batter, was called out.


But the Phillies’ strategy backfired because Baker, who followed Cey in the order, got another turn and smashed a three-run homer.


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Barrel of Strategy


The batting-out-of-order rule involves a barrel of strategies for both teams.


The only time the defense may get an out by appealing the opposition’s batting out of order is after the incorrect batter has finished his turn and before the first pitch to the next batter.


If the mistake is discovered before the incorrect batter finishes his turn, the correct batter may take his place and assume his ball and strike count.


If the incorrect batter has completed his turn, the correct procedure is to call out the batter who should have batted and bring the batter who occupies the position after that of the batter to the plate.


Fans keeping these basics in mind will shine the next time they are at a game in which a batting-order infraction occurs.


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Quiz Time


Assume the following batting order:  1.  Rose; 2.  McBride; 3.  Schmidt; 4. Luzinski; 5.  Boone.


Who is the proper batter in each of the following situations?


(A)   – With two balls and two strikes on McBride, his team discovers that McBride is the wrong batter and that Rose is the proper batter.  McBride’s manager asks the umpire for “Time,” sends Rose to the batter’s box, Rose assumes the ball and strike count on McBride and play proceeds.  McBride is the proper batter after Rose.


(B)   – McBride, the wrong batter, hits a fair ball for three bases, scoring all runners except himself.  Schmidt comes to bat and a pitch is delivered to him.  The defensive team now discovers that McBride batted out of turn but, since a pitch had been delivered to Schmidt, McBride’s hit is legal and the runs count.  If, however, any player other than Schmidt had come to bat after McBride and if before Rose, Luzinski, or Boone had become a base runner it had been discovered that that batter was the wrong batter, the proper batter could have replaced this wrong batter by assuming the ball and strike count.  But since Schmidt legally followed McBride in the batting order, he finishes his time at bat and is followed by Luzinski.


(C)   – Player McBride hits a triple, scoring all runners except himself.  But, before the next pitch, the defensive team discovers that McBride is the wrong batter.  The umpire shall declare Rose (the proper batter) out, shall declare that all runners who scored on McBride’s triple must return to their bases and that no runs shall be scored on McBride’s hit.  McBride is the proper following batter.


(D)  – Player McBride strikes out, or flies out.  If McBride was the wrong batter, and it is discovered after the first pitch to the following batter, then if Schmidt was the following batter the game proceeds, but if any other player followed McBride’s at bat, Schmidt would take improper batter’s place, his ball and strike count, and the game would proceed.  If McBride was discovered to be the wrong batter before Schmidt received the first pitch, then Rose, the proper batter, would be declared out, and McBride would be the following batter.


(E)   - Player Luzinski bats in place of Rose, who is the proper batter.  If the error is discovered before Luzinski becomes a base runner, Rose takes his proper place at bat assuming the ball and strike count created by Luzinski.  But if the error is discovered after Luzinski becomes a baserunner and before a pitch is delivered to the following batter, then Rose is declared out and McBride is the proper following batter.  If Luzinski finished his time at bat and is on base, and if a pitch has been delivered to the batter who followed him, then that batter, Boone, is the proper following batter and the game proceeds.


(F)   – Player Luzinski bats in place of McBride, the proper batter, and walks.  Schmidt bats and singles.  Luzinski is now the proper batter, but he is on base as a result of the opponents’ lack of alertness when he batted out of turn.  The proper batter is Boone.


If you figured the six situations correctly, you’re ready to take your umpire’s test.  And even if you don’t have the time for umpiring, you’ll shine when such a situation develops.

Rose Out of Rut In Phils’ Victory


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Pete Rose insists he doesn’t believe in the word “slump.”


But until Tuesday night when Rose came up with two doubles and a single, he had been giving a pretty good imitation of the word’s definition.


Rose, one of the game’s all-time greats and almost a certain Hall of Fame occupant one day, opened the game hitting .203.  Some were asking if the first baseman was beginning to show his 39 years.


Rose tried to put his performance in perspective after helping the Philadelphia Phillies rally from a first inning four-run deficit to a 10-5 victory.


“What I’ve been in is a rut,” said Rose.  “Slumps are for long periods of time, and when you never hit the ball hard.”


Rose has 19 hits in 83 at bats for a .229 average counting the three hits against Atlanta.  That’s the area other hitters would call slump territory.


“I got some new bats today and used one of them tonight,” Rose said.  “I hit the ball good in batting practice.  And when I’ve got that, I usually hit the same way in the game.”


Rose said he has had no trouble seeing the ball, and said that it was too early to make any judgment.


“We’ve only played 21 games.  I throw a four-for-five night and I’ll be up to .260.  Wait until I’ve had 100 at bats then it’s time to worry if you’re not hitting,” Rose said.


Rose said what concerned him most was not his three hits, but the fact they Phillies came back from four runs down and won easily.


“Our team has showed a lot of character this week,” he said, referring to Sunday’s comeback to tie a game they trailed 9-0 against Los Angeles, even though they lost 12-9.


In addition to Rose’s contribution, Mike Schmidt batted in four runs, three with an eighth-inning, bases-loaded triple.  He scored when the relay was wild for an error, completing the 10-5 triumph.  Bake McBride had a pair of hits and two RBI.


Rookie second baseman Ramon Aviles had one of those up and down games.  His first-inning error set up four unearned Atlanta runs.  But later, he had a single, walk, and double that turned out to be the winning run.


Aviles also made two fine defensive plays, one on a sharp grounder by Chris Chambliss that the second baseman turned into a double play and bailed starter and winner Dick Ruthven out of a potential fifth-inning disaster.


The Phillies got one run back in the first on doubles by Rose and McBride, the first two of seven doubles.  They got four more in the third for a 5-4 lead.


Aviles’ sixth-inning double, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly produced a sixth run.


Ruthven (2-2) lasted until the seventh when he walked pinch-hitter Mike Lum.  Ron Reed relieved, gave up a pair of singles, including an RBI hit by Dale Murphy, and was yanked in favor of Dickie Noles, who held the lead and earned his second save.


Atlanta’s four first-inning runs came on Aviles’ two-out error, a single by Chambliss, a walk, Brian Asselstine’s base-clearing three-run double, and Bruce Benedict’s single.


Back to Rose.


Phillies’ manager Dallas Green suggested to writers that they bet their houses that the first baseman isn’t a .203 hitter, or whatever he was hitting after the game.


“You can bet and somebody is going to pay,” Green said.


As for Atlanta, manager Bobby Cox said he didn’t think Aviles would get to Chambliss’ ball in the fifth, that starter Doyle Alexander had excellent stuff but got behind too many hitters, that the Phillies hit Alexander almost as if they knew what was coming, and Schmidt played third base as good as Brooks Robinson and had a better arm.