Two people have just learned something. Me, and Vinnie Catricala of the Midland RockHounds baseball team. That thing? It is possible to strike out on just 1 pitch.
Turns out there’s a rule covering this, but it’s so rarely enforced that almost no one who doesn’t study these things day in and day out knows about it.
Rule 6.02 (c) If the batter refuses to take his position in the batter’s box during his time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take his proper position and the regular ball and strike count shall continue. If the batter does not take his proper position before three strikes have been called, the batter shall be declared out
Comment: The umpire shall give the batter a reasonable opportunity to take his proper position in the batter’s box after the umpire has called a strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(c) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(c).
I’m not sure that the 10 or so seconds it took for the umpire to call 2 strikes on Catricala while he was outside the box is what I’d call reasonable, but everybody has his own interpretation of what reasonable means and as long as Rule 6.02(C) doesn’t clearly define it, I guess it’s fair even if it isn’t.
You can see video of the episode at the first link in this post so you can judge for yourself, either that or you can laugh about it like the crowd and whoever decided to show the “There’s no crying in baseball!” clip on the screen seemed to be doing. Your call.