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Situation Positioning
60' Field

A Position

No Runners On Base

Swipe Tags

 

 

   When the base umpire moves in to take his/her position for plays at 1st base, he/she should remember that he/she is not "cemented" to the ground at that spot. For example, after the base umpire has watched the infielder field the ground ball (with his/her head turned towards the ball and his/her body already squared to the base), he/she will watch the throw released by the infielder. If the umpire sees the throw is not "true", that is, if he/she anticipates a high or wide throw at 1st base, then he/she must be ready for a possible swipe tag at 1st base. To be in position for the swipe tag, the base umpire must step around to his/her left or right, depending where the throw is, in order to see the swipe tag. If the fielder comes off the bag at 1st base but the fielder tags the batter-runner before he/she reaches the base, the mechanic by the base umpire would be an emphatic, "On the tag!" (while pointing at the play with his/her left arm) and then followed by "He/she's out!" (while giving the out signal). Should the throw pull the fielder off the bag and the swipe tag miss the runner as well, the terminology by the base umpire would be, "Safe! You missed the tag! Safe!" or "Safe! No tag! Safe!" Should the throw pull the 1st baseman off the bag but no tag attempt is made, then the mechanic by the base umpire would be, "Safe!" (giving the safe mechanic); followed by "He/she's off the bag!" (giving a sweeping motion away from the bag with both arms). All of these types of mechanics need to be given very forcefully and emphatically by the base umpire.
   With no one on base, should the batter hit a ground ball up the 1st base line, the plate umpire will come up the foul line and be responsible for the fair/foul decision (provided the ball becomes fair or foul before reaching 1st base). The plate umpire will also be responsible for four items; interference - out of the lane, overthrows, help with swipe tags and pulled foot). If the ball is fielded, for example, by the pitcher up the 1st base line and the pitcher tags or attempts to tag the batter-runner, the responsibility for the tag is based upon the field location of where the batter-runner is tagged. If the tag (or attempted tag) is made before the 30-foot line, the responsibility belongs to the plate umpire. If the tag is made past the 30-foot line, the responsibility belongs to the base umpire. This would be one occasion when a swipe-tag appeal could be legitimately used. (For example, the base umpire could ask for help if he/she doesn't see a swipe tag made just past the 30-foot line.) Otherwise the swipe-tag appeal is rarely used.