Runner On 1st Base (Only)
2nd To 1st Double Play Mechanic
The base umpire will step up,
turn with the ball, and will stay in the approximate position
he/she started, taking no more than a step or two in any
direction. As the ball is being thrown to 2nd base,
he/she will turn with the ball and be set* for the play at 2nd.
When the decision is rendered at 2nd base, he/she
will turn and set up an angle for the play at 1st base by taking
several steps in the direction of the foul line (individual
agility and speed will determine how many steps are possible).
The base umpire should be completely stopped and set* for each
play. It is also important that the base umpire NOT drift
towards 1st base more than a step or two as the ball is
originally fielded and thrown to 2nd base so as not
to be too far from the play at 2nd base when it
occurs. (The intent is to have the base umpire remain in good
position for potential "problems" at 2nd base,
including, but not limited to: bobbled balls, dropped balls,
close plays, possible interference, etc.).
As the ball is being originally fielded, the base umpire must recognize that there are several possibilities other than the double play that could occur in this situation. These would include the ball being fielded and thrown directly to 1st base instead of 2nd; the ball being fielded by the 2nd baseman and a possible tag on the runner from 1st; the ball getting past the infielder and going into the outfield, as well as several other possibilities. Therefore, it is again important that the base umpire not drift too far from his/her original position and that he/she let the ball take him/her to the play. For example, if the 2nd baseman muffs the ball to begin with and it becomes apparent that his/her only play is at 1st base, as the base umpire recognizes this he/she should then move several steps in the direction of the 1st base foul line for his/her "only" play. However, after the initial play at 1st base, the base umpire must be aware of potential plays elsewhere and immediately and rapidly "bounce back" to the other runner after the initial play is completed, always keeping the ball in front of him/her. The base umpire must also keep in mind that the plate umpire may be covering 3rd base on a potential 1st-to-3rd play (plate umpire would communicate loudly that he/she has 3rd in this situation). Therefore, the bottom line for the base umpire on ground balls to the infield with a runner on 1st only is to remain in his/her approximate original position and then to react with the development of the play.