Tie doesn't go to the runner. There are no ties.

I think almost all Americans have heard the baseball phrase "tie goes to the runner" at some point in their lives. It means that if a runner and the ball arrive at the base at the exact same time, then it is ruled that the runner wins, and is safe.

I've heard it cited as gospel at every level in the sport, from children playing sandlot baseball, to ex-MLB players announcing games as broadcasters.

But there's no such rule. In the Official Baseball Rules, the rule for a play at first base , 5.09(a)(1), 5.09(a)(10), says that "a batter is out when" … "after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base."

A batter is out if the ball beats him. So he's safe if it doesn't.

Rule 5.06(a) says, "A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out."

A batter is safe if he beats the ball. So he's out if he doesn't.

These are contradictory, and the interpretation of the rulebook is that there is metaphysically no such thing as a tie in baseball. Ties in game play are never mentioned in the Official Baseball Rules.

Former Major League umpire Tim McLellan answered this question in an "Ask the Umpire" feature on MLB.com (cited in this UmpireBible post).

I am an umpire for Little League. The coach told me that ties go to the runner. I said the batter has to beat the throw to first because there are no such thing as ties. Who is right?
– L.M.F.

McClelland: That is exactly right. There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner. But the rule book does say that the runner must beat the ball to first base, and so if he doesn't beat the ball, then he is out. So you have to make the decision. That's why umpires are paid the money they are, to make the decision on if he did or if he didn't. The only thing you can do is go by whether or not he beat the ball. If he did, then he is safe.

A play may look like a tie, even in super slo-mo replay, but there must have been some microscopic, even quantum, victory in the race to the base, and it's the umpire's responsibility to make that call.