Answers to Sports Stumpers

  1. 0. A runner can get on base and then be the subject of 15 pick-off attempts, each one failing because a fielder drops the ball. The fielder is charged with an error each time even though the runner doesn't advance. Likewise, dropped foul pops count as errors, though no one reaches base.

  2. 23. Three players walk (4 balls x 3 = 12), two are picked off, two more players walk (4 x 2 = 8), and the next player gets three balls before getting out.

  3. 18. A batter swings at a third strike and the catcher drops the ball, the batter reaching first. The batter then steals second (leaving first open, since you can't go to first on a dropped third strike unless first base is open) and the next batter also gets to first on a dropped third strike. The runners then execute a double steal, advancing to second and third and again leaving first open. The next batter reaches on a dropped third strike, loading the bases. The next three batters strike out.

  4. 52. One pitch per out for 8 1/2 innings = 17 x 3 = 51. But at least one run must be scored if the game is to end, therefore, one more pitch is needed for a homerun for the hometeam in one of the first eight innings or as the first pitch of the ninth inning.

  5. The first batter hits a triple and is picked off base. The same happens to the second batter. The third batter hits a triple. The next batter hits a double with the runner on third not advancing (going back to tag up, but then the ball drops in - you get the idea). The next batter bunts and gets to first when the fielders hold the runners. Now with bases loaded and two outs, the next batter hits a ball into the left field corner. The runner from third pulls a hamstring and slowly limps toward home; the runners from second and first round third and are waiting behind their injured teammate. The batter gets to third, the ball is gotten back to the infield, and the runner who began on first is tagged out. Since no one crossed home plate before the out, no runs scored. Since the runner from first was not forced out, the batter is still credited with getting a triple.

  6. The fact that the time ran out before the play was over is irrelevant: a play in progress when the clock runs out is allowed to go to completion. However, when it's fourth down and goal to go, the line of scrimmage can be more than 10 yards from the goal line if the offensive team has lost yardage on earlier plays. For example, if the Giants had first and goal on the opponent's five yard line, and then lost 10 yards on each of the three subsequent plays, the line of scrimmage for the fourth down play would be at the 35 yard line, with goal to go. In this case a 12 yard gain would leave the Giants on the 23 yard line when the game ended, and the score would remain 35-31 against the Giants.

  7. If your racquet never touches the ball, then you will lose your serve every time it is your turn to serve. But your side can win every game that is not served by you. When your partner serves, he or she can serve four aces. And when either of the opponents serve, they can double fault every time.

    If the other team serves first, then your side can win the first three games, lose the fourth game when you serve, and then win the next three, to end the set 6 games to 1.

    However, you cannot repeat this 6-1 victory in the second set, because if their side served the last game of the first set, your side must serve the first game of the second set. So the best you can do is win two sets to none, 6-1, 6-2. Note that if you start the first set by serving first, you will win the match 6-2, 6-2.


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