Glad You Asked: Does the tie go to the runner?
It's one of the most overused and misunderstood phrases in baseball, 'the tie goes to the runner.' Does it?
Glad You Asked.
"The tie does not go to the runner." said Steven Kurkowski, a veteran umpire and Wisconsin Umpire Association trainer. "There is no rule in any of the rulebooks that are used for baseball whether it's MLB or college or high school or little league that specifically states that the tie goes to the runner.
Here's what it says in the 2018 MLB rulebook:
5.09 Making an Out
(a) Retiring the Batter A batter is out when:
(10) After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base;
5.06 Running the Bases
(a) Occupying the Base
(1) A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out.
Kurkowski says in a game the "tie" does not go to the runner because in an umpire's mind (the ones who decide safe or out) there are no ties. No matter how close it looks, the runner is either safe or out.
"I, as the umpire, have to make that decision." Kurkowski said. "But there is no such thing as tie goes to the runner."