Smitty from Lexington asks:
Runner on second, pitcher throws the ball in the dirt, catcher catches it, reaches back to the ump for new unscuffed ball and the catcher drops the ball behind his back in the transfer to/from the ump. Can the runner on second steal third or is it a dead ball?
The result of this incident depends on the umpire's actions before the dropped ball. Whenever a ball is taken out of play and a new ball has to be put in play, the umpire has to call time before removing the ball and then must resume play when the new ball is put in. Between calling time and putting the new ball in play the runners are not allowed to advance.
In this scenerio, if the catcher dropped the ball before the umpire called time, then the runner is allowed to advance at his own risk. However, if the umpire called time and then the catcher dropped the ball, then the runner must stay put.
Answered by: Jonathan Bravo