3 men in a flub


Top of the 8th inning; Yankees batting at Fenway Park; bases loaded and one out.

The batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, hits a screeching line drive left center and he’s thinking triple all the way, as he makes his turn toward Second base, he is into full speed gear.

The runner who was on Third trots home.

The runner on second, a rookie pitcher inserted as a pinch runner, takes a wide turn at Third and, mistaking the Third base coach’s waving arms as a sign to not try to score, he hits the brakes half way to the plate and scurries back to Third.

The runner who started on First base has rounded Second and sees the Third base coach waving him to Third.  He is digging in with his head down and gets the palms-down  “slide” signal from the Third base coach.

Assuming that the pinch runner, who started on Second has passed by him and already scored, the Third base coach is watching the throw come in from the OF.

Ellsbury has been thinking triple all the way and is shocked when he starts his slide into Third:  the runner from First base is just popping up from his slide into Third and the rookie pitcher, who misread the sign, has returned to Third base.

Just as Ellsbury slides safely into Third, joining the other two runners on the bag, the Third baseman takes the relay throw from the SS.

"Unsure of what to do, the Third baseman tags all three runners."

Who’s safe?  Which of the three runners on the bag should be called “OUT!”?


Since it was not a force play at Third, the rookie pitcher pinch-runner, who started on Second base is the only runner entitled to the base, because, he got there first.

The runner who started from First base and the batter, Ellsbury, are both out and the inning is over.

Cue, “Sweet Caroline.”