I was at an independent league game watching the Humboldt Crabs, when my roommate, a gymnastics coach and avid adventurist, leans over to me and asks, “Are there any rules about running the bases? Do you have to run?” I knew instantly that what she was implying was “Can I do cartwheels between the bases? Can I skip? Can I tumble?”
I told her that running between the bases, although it may look the plainest, is the best way to do it, and the most practical, especially if the goal is speed, agility, and perhaps even going into a slide.
However, I was unsure if there actually are any so-called “rules” about how one must approach base running, and if there are certain “illegalities” regarding specific allowed non-running movements between the bases.
Certainly, we as baseball spectators and fans all know the “unwritten rules” about base running, which basically state:
“You must run between the bases.”
“Yes, even if you get a walk, you must run.”
Now these “unwritten rules” are handed down as an oral tradition of good sportsmanship. If there was no baseball sportsmanly code of conduct, just imagine how long games would be if they included the time it would take for every sophisticated self-righteous slugger to perform his own elaborate choreography each time he shot one out of the park?
The sport would be very different.
So, because I knew no better, and wanted to answer my roommate’s question as accurately as possible (sadly, I am the unworthy token baseball fan around these parts), I tweeted:
My friend wants to know if there are specific rules against doing cartwheels between the bases.