Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Passed ball

Passed ball

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Passed ball'
Start a new discussion about 'Passed ball'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
In baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, a catcher
Catcher
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. This is a catcher's primary duty, but he is also called upon to master many other skills in order to...

 is charged with a passed ball when he fails to hold or control a legally pitched ball
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

 that, with ordinary effort, should have been maintained under his control. When, as a result of this loss of control, the batter or a runner on base advances, the catcher is thereby charged with a passed ball. A runner who advances due to a passed ball is not credited with a stolen base
Stolen base
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate...

 unless he breaks for the base before the pitcher begins his delivery.

A passed ball may be scored when a runner on first, second, or third base reaches the next base on a bobble or missed catch by the catcher, or when the batter-runner reaches first base on an uncaught strike three (see also Strikeout).

A closely related statistic is the wild pitch
Wild pitch
In baseball, a wild pitch is charged against a pitcher when his pitch is too high, too short, or too wide of home plate for the catcher to control with ordinary effort, thereby allowing a baserunner, perhaps even the batter-runner on strike three or ball four, to advance.A wild pitch usually...

. As with many baseball statistics, whether a pitch that gets away from a catcher is a passed ball or wild pitch is at the discretion of the official scorer
Official scorer
In the game of baseball, the official scorer is a person appointed by the league to record the events on the field, and to send the official scoring record of the game back to the league offices...

. Typically, pitches that are deemed to be ordinarily catchable by the catcher, but are not, are ruled passed balls, while pitches that get by the catcher that are thought to have required extraordinary effort by the catcher in order to stop them are wild pitches. If the pitch was so low as to touch the ground, or so high that the catcher has to rise out of his crouched position to get to it, or so wide that the catcher has to lunge for it, it is usually then considered a wild pitch and not a passed ball.

A scored run due to a passed ball is not recorded as an earned run
Earned run
In baseball, an earned run is any run for which the pitcher is held accountable . Any runner who tags his base and reaches home plate is scored against the pitcher as an earned run...

.

Passed balls and wild pitches are considered to be part of the act of pitching rather than fielding. Thus they are kept as separate statistics and are not recorded as errors.

There tends to be a higher incidence of passed balls when a knuckleballer
Knuckleball
A knuckleball is a baseball pitch with an erratic, unpredictable motion. The pitch is thrown so as to minimize the spin of the ball in flight. This causes vortices over the stitched seams of the baseball during its trajectory, which in turn can cause the pitch to change direction—and even...

is pitching. The physics that make a knuckleball so difficult to hit make it similarly difficult to catch. While teams with a knuckleballer on their pitching staff often employ a special "knuckleball catcher" who is equipped with a knuckleball mitt, similar to a first baseman's glove, it is still extremely difficult to catch.

External links