We’ve all been to baseball games and we understand what’s going on, right? Baseball is full of little quirks and some of them might surprise the most knowledgeable of players. We’ve compiled a list of the weirdest rules in baseball to make it into the MLB’s set of official rules. For a full list of MLB’s rules, please visit MLB’s 2019 Official Baseball Rules.
1) A runner can advance “Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person.” - 5.06(b)(4)(B)
- Yep, you read that correctly. A runner can advance three bases if a fielder throws their glove, mask, or cap at a fair ball and that part of their uniform hits the fair ball. Technically, a batter could get a triple without the ball ever leaving the infield.
2) “Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only” - Rule 5.05(a)(9)
- Time to get out the measuring tape for this rule. If you want to hit a home run then you better be sure your ball flies at least 250 feet.
3) “A pitched ball lodges in the catcher’s mask or paraphernalia, or in or against the umpire’s body, mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, runners advance one base” - Rule 5.06(c)(7)
- Catchers beware - if you miss the ball and the ball gets stuck you’re giving up a base. Baseball games have actually ended because of this rule.
4) “The Designated Hitter may not sit in the bullpen unless serving as a catcher in the bullpen” - Rule 5.11(a)(15)
- Designated Hitters beware - why are you even in the bullpen in the first place?
5) “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”” - Rule 5.07(c)
- Believe it or not, this rule has been around for a few years to help speed up the game. It’s also one of those rules you’ve probably never seen enforced.
6) A batter can receive an RBI (Run Batted In) “by reason of the batter becoming a runner with the bases full (because of a base on balls, an award of first base for being touched by a pitched ball or for interference or obstruction)” - Rule 9.04(a)(2)
- It may be common knowledge that a batter receives an RBI when walking with the bases loaded, but you have to admit it’s still weird to receive a “Run Batted In” in this scenario.
Bonus: Weirdest way to get on base
Thought the above rules were weird? Check out this scenario to get on base: imagine you’re a bench player in the dugout and your team has been making a comeback. Your team is down by one run and you have a runner on first base. The rain starts to pick up and the umpire decides to suspend the game until a later date. When this game picks up a few weeks later, it turns out your teammate who was on first base was recently traded and he’s no longer able to resume his position at first. So what happens? Your manager puts you in to take your former teammate’s spot on first base and voila! You’ve successfully made it to first base without having an official at-bat! (Courtesy of ESPN Magazine Presents)