“Ask Sam” – Your Baseball Questions Answered By MLB Coach Sam Perlozzo September 2014

Ask Sam Perlozzo - Twins

Sam Perlozzo is the current minor league infield and baserunning coordinator for the Minnesota Twins. A former manager and coach at the major league level, Sam is also one of Professional Baseball Instruction’s Major League Advisors. Each month, Sam answers your baseball-related questions.

Have something you’d like to ask? Email Sam directly – AskSam@baseballclinics.com. Here’s the latest from the “Ask Sam” mail bag.

Q: Sam – I have a rules question. I was umping a little league game and a kid hit it foul In foul territory past 1st base. No one touched it and the ball took a weird bounce back into fair play before 1st base. I called it foul but a coach came out and argued and the fans booed. Is it foul or fair? – Sam in NJ
A: Hey Sam in NJ – I read your rules question and was a little confused at first. I got the crux of the question now. Here’s is the interpretation: If a ball is hit in foul ground and stays in foul ground after it passes first or 3rd base, then it is a foul ball no matter what happens after that. If the ball starts in foul ground and and spins back into fair territory before it gets to first or third base, then it is a fair ball. That is why you see players touching a ball in foul territory before first base so the umpire can call the ball foul. Otherwise you may get that tricky hop you are talking about and the ball jumps back in fair territory.

Just remember, a ball can be called fair or foul before it gets to first or third and is touched or stopped by a fielder. Once by the bags at first or third in foul territory, it will always be foul. And one more thing, a ball that is hit down either line and goes over the base, not beside it but over it, is fair ball even if it lands in foul territory. So booing or no booing, the ball is fair ball since it hadn’t gone by the bag yet. Hope this helps. Keep plugging. I learn something everyday!! Sam

Q: Sam – In the 7th inning today, Cleveland had a man on 1st. The batter hit the ball and the runner on first started for 2nd and then the batter was called out because Viciedo caught the ball meanwhile runner returned to first. Viciedo threw the ball to Garcia, who stepped on 2nd. The call that the ball was caught was overturned. Why was the runner on first, who went back to the base not called out at 2nd since the bag was tagged and would had to wait to tag up just in case? – Jean
A: Jean – I’m not sure I understand the question completely. I’m assuming it was a fly ball or a questionable line drive that may or may not have hit the ground. Either way, I’m not sure where the runners were, who challenged the call, and what the outcome was. With the new rules these days it’s hard to figure anything out. If you can give me a little better description of the play, I’m sure I can get you the correct answer. Sorry! Sam

Q: Sam – If a pitch hits the playing field before it crosses home plate, is the ball still in play? Can the batter swing and put the ball in play? Len
A: Len – Any pitched ball that crosses the plate is a live ball. The hitter can hit it, he can swing and miss it, he can take it, and it is live. It’s a real good question. There are plenty of pitches thrown that don’t make it to the plate. That’s why we sometimes say he threw a 55 foot curveball, because the plate is sixty feet six inches from the mound and it landed in front of the plate. So yes, the ball is live and in play. I have seen balls that hit the dirt first and the batter swung and hit the ball!! Whatever works for ya!! Sam

Q: Sammy – I was a season ticket holder when you were 1st base coach for the Reds. In my memory (at 57 years old now) was that you sprinted every inning to your 1st base coaching position. That’s 9 short sprints per game. I was always impressed. At 57, I’m still playing serious (but fun) softball and my warm-up is always short sprints. I think of you every game I play, and say that “ya just gotta keep running every chance you get” just as you did at a Reds coach. Thanks for the memory, accurate or inaccurate as it may be. – Jeff in West Chester, OH
A: Jeff – Well, you are batting .500 now with that question. Yes it was me that was running out to coach, but I was coaching third base and not first. A mere technicality. I appreciate you watching that and actually use it as something good for yourself. You know, a lot of people asked me about that over the years, and I really never knew why I started it at first. Then, I realized why I did do that. We as coaches ask a lot from our players during the season, and I figured if I expect them to hustle all the time, why shouldn’t I? So I continued to do it my whole career. It became a big deal to fans that would come to the games and was a big deal to me. You are right, it kept me in good shape, and it sounds like it is doing the same for you. one of my favorite sayings to my friends is that “growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional”….And I REFUSE TO GROW UP!!! So keep running, I’m sure people are seeing the same thing in you that you saw in me and if we can just help one person, then it was all worth it. Thanks for your observation and keep on runnin’!! – Sam

Thanks again for the great questions. I always enjoy talking baseball with people. Send your questions to me via email at AskSam@baseballclinics.com.


  1. Jeff Helmick says:

    Question. A catcher tags a runner about to cross the plate. On the tag the ball pops up in the air. The catcher then catches the ball again while it was in the air. The runner crossed the plate while ball was in the air. Is the runner safe or out?

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