|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
A rundown, informally known as a pickle, is a situation in the game of baseball that occurs when the baserunner is stranded between two bases and is in jeopardy of being tagged out. When the base runner attempts to advance to the next base, he is cut off by the defensive player who has a live ball and attempts to return to his previous base before being tagged out. As he is doing this, the defenseman throws the ball past the base runner to the previous base, forcing him to reverse directions again. This is repeated until the runner is put out or reaches a base safely. If the runner safely returns to his original base, the defense is not charged with an error. However, if the defense allows the runner to advance to the next base in order (e.g., second base to third base), then the defense is charged with an error.
A rundown can be escaped if either a fielder makes a throwing error, the runner manages to get around the fielder without running out of the baseline, or the runner manages to sneak by the fielder without the ball while the other fielder involved has the ball and there is no other fielder involved to cover at the runner's destination base.
The word rundown in sports broadcasting has overtaken the word pickle throughout the years. Pickle is moreso used to describe the children's yard game where two fielders must tag the runner before the runner reaches a base or objective, which, although a fundamental part of baseball, is a game in and of itself. The use of the term "pickle" originated with the phrase "in a pickle", which means to be in a pickling (difficult or troubling) situation.