Bases Loaded

Mechanics for bases loaded situations are identical to situations with R1 and R2. U1 will be in their normal position at 1B and U3 will be in a traditional 50/50 starting spot on the 3B side of the infield. On a base hit, U1 will come in and pivot, taking responsibility for the B-R up to 2B. U3 can then focus on covering R2 at 3B and R1 at 2B and 3B. If U1 goes out, U3 has all plays on all runners at all bases.

The video clip demonstrates fantastic awareness by our 1B umpire. As you see, there is a fly ball hit with all 3 runners immediately tagging. U3 steps up with the ball and begins moving towards 3B anticipating a play on R2. If R1 was not tagging, this would be perfectly acceptable, although we caution U3 from moving too far away from 2B in case they throw behind R2 and there is a play back into 2B. However, since R1 was tagging, that creates the possibility of an initial play at 2B or 3B; we need U3 to hold in the working area until it is clear where the play will go. When the play goes towards 3B, U1, who was in foul territory beyond 1B lining up R1’s tag, hustles towards 2B, covering a subsequent play at 2B. Covering this subsequent play at 2B allows U3 to move completely into the cutout at 3B to rule on the play on R2 there. If U1 does not cover 2B, U3 is responsible for multiple runners, and should therefore go no closer to 3B than the edge of the working area to make the initial call at 3B. Upon review of this video, U3 went straight to the cutout once he read the play was going to 3B – we suggest verifying that U1 is coming in before doing this.

In discussing this same mechanic, if an umpire cannot line up the tag from foul territory and get to the cutout in time for a subsequent play, the umpire is absolutely permitted to move into the infield to get a head start before the ball has been caught, and verify R1’s tag-up back over their shoulder.

If U1 goes out, U3 is responsible for everything, and must never leave the working area for any call at any base.