Here is a great trivia question that will mystify your baseball fan friends.  You might learn something in the process!  There are thirteen different scored plays that result in a batter reaching first base or beyond safely.  The plays are shown below, along with their official scoring decision in parenthesis.  Use this information as a trivia question or to stump your friends.

1) Hit (1B)
If you don’t know what a hit is, I’m not quite sure why you’re reading this article.

2) Double (2B)
A double occurs when a ball is hit fair and the baserunner reaches second base without being tagged or forced out.  The runner has to touch 1st base in order to reach 2nd.

3) Triple (3B)
Same as above, except replace “second base” with third base.

4) Home Run (HR)
Swinging for the fences requires the baserunner to reach 1st base on his ‘round the path tour.

5) Ground Rule Double (AD)
This occurs when a ball is hit into the outfield, bounces, and then goes over the wall.  A Ground Rule double can also be called when a ball hits designated stadium implements on the roof, or becomes lodged in the outfield fence.

6) Base on Balls (BB)
A Base on Balls occurs when the pitcher delivers four pitches outside of the strike zone that are not swung on.  Walks happen as many as 10 times per game, but there are two special cases where a walk is a little more complex.  Batters may be intentionally walked by the pitcher to gain a defensive advantage.  The scorer records this as IBB.  Certain balks (BALK) results in a ball awarded to the batter.  If this is the necessary fourth ball, the batter is due a base on balls.

7) Hit by Pitch (HBP)
If a batter is hit by a pitch, he is awarded a free base.  The batter cannot move his body in front of the pitch in order to be hit.

8) Fielder’s Choice (FC)
When a batter hits the ball and reaches first, we often call it a “hit” by default.  However, this is not always correct.  If the defensive player decided to make a different out instead of the play at first base, the batter is scored as having made the base by fielder’s choice.  Here is an example: runners on 2nd and 3rd, with no outs.  The batter hits a grounder to short.  The shortstop must decide between making a force out a 1st or defending against a run at home plate.  If the shortstop throws home, the play is scored a fielder’s choice.   If the play that is chosen by the fielder does not result in an out, the first baserunner is awarded a regular hit.

9) Error (E-Position Number)
An error is awarded by the official scorekeeper when a play could have resulted in an out but did not because a player made a performance mistake.  Errors are not awarded for mental errors; such as when an infielder cleanly fields a ball but delays making a throw due to confusion.  Errors are somewhat subjective.

10) Catcher Interference (I-2)
The catcher may move very close to the batter, especially if he is expecting a steal attempt.  In the course of a swing, if the bat touches the glove or any other part of the catcher, it is ruled Interference.  The batter is awarded a free base.

11) Fielder Obstruction (I-Position Number)
Fielder Obstructions are infrequent, and almost always occur when the batter bunts toward first base.  The catcher may jump in front of the now-baserunner, impeding his path to first base.  If the ball is near the basepath, the pitcher or the firstbaseman may obstruct the runner.  Obstruction is only called if the fielder does not have the ball or is not in the direct process of fielding the ball.

12) Umpire Interference (I-U)
Umpire Interference is when the umpire obstructs the baserunner, fielder, or the ball itself.  Usually this comes from the home plate umpire during a bunt play.  This is an extremely rare situation.

13) Uncaught Third Strike (K; E-2; 2-3 or K;E-2; 2)
If the catcher drops the pitch that results in the third strike, the hitter immediately becomes a baserunner.  This circumstance is only allowed when there are no base runners on first or there are two outs. The batter must be tagged out or forced out.  The catcher is credited with an error and almost always involved with the defensive play.  Usually the catcher will tag out the runner or throw to the first baseman for a forceout.  The likelihood of reaching first base after an uncaught third strike is very low.

The pitching matchup is over, and the pitcher receives a strikeout (K) statistic.  If the baserunner reaches first, no out is recorded.  Therefore, it is possible for a pitcher to actually throw more than three strikeouts in a single inning.  This has occurred eleven times in Major League history, most recently by Seattle’s Kazuhiro Sazaki on April 4th of 2004. 


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