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Interesting Rules Situations of 2014

Interesting Rules Situations of 2014

It’s time for my annual bobsled ride through the curves and valleys of the rule book as I review some of the interesting rules situations from the 2014 season. Hold on.   March 25: The University of Florida defeated Florida State 4-1 in a game marred by a bench clearing brawl. FSU left fielder D.J. Stewart hit a slow chopper down the first base line. Gators’ pitcher Danny Young attempted to field the ball. In doing so the ball deflected off him and landed a foot or two away toward the line. Immediately following the deflection, Stewart barreled into Young and reached first base safely. Florida first baseman Zack Powers took exception to Stewart’s actions and gave Stewart a chest bump. Stewart then pushed Powers and a brawl erupted. Stewart, Young and Powers were all ejected. In my opinion...
Points of Emphasis Importance

Points of Emphasis Importance

Last month we covered the ASA and NFHS rules changes for 2015. All of these are relatively minimal but as is often the case the Points of Emphasis can be more important to umpires and the game than the actual rules changes. Let’s remember that the POEs are items that the rules makers have identified as needing attention. For those who have to take an annual NFHS rules test you can count on being asked about these items. The points come from issues brought up from those involved in the game all across the country. For 2015, the NFHS has three emphasis items: Electronic Devices, Interference and Obstruction. Of course, there were changes in the Federation rules last year that permitted additional use of electronic devices. As a result there were many questions that arose during the course of...
The Windup Position

The Windup Position

The activity of the pitcher is one of the most regulated aspects of a baseball game. The rules state how the pitcher must stand, and how he can move both his hands and feet. The rules differ based on the position the pitcher starts from. Depending on how he places his feet, he may be in either the windup or set position or an illegal position. Here are the nuances of the windup position. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. Although either the windup or set position can be used at any time, the windup position is usually used when there are no runners on base or there is no (or a very limited) possibility of a steal. The latter translates to a lone runner on third, the bases loaded or runners on second and third. Foot position. Generally, when the...
Tagging-Up

Tagging-Up

Base runners by instinct and tradition are accustomed to tagging-up on fly balls. However, line drives create a different dimension and can catch umpires, coaches and runners by surprise. Take the following hypothetical setting. There is a runner on first base and no outs when the batter hits a line drive to the shortstop for the out. The runner, who was on first base, takes off with the pitch and is between first and second base when the shortstop air mails the throw to first base into dead ball territory. The runner, who is between first and second base, knows that he will be sent to third so he continues to touch second base and reaches third base. The base umpire reinforces the award by barking to the runner, “Go to third base.” When the ball is put back in play, the defensive team alertly...
NFHS and ASA Rules Changes for 2015

NFHS and ASA Rules Changes for 2015

It seems that each year goes by faster than the previous one. While it’s hard to get used to the fact that 2015 is almost upon us, the rules changes adopted by both the National Federation and ASA/USA Softball should be fairly easy for umpires to handle the coming season. Both of these organizations continue to publish rule books but also have e-books available for your phone – for information visit: www.nfhs.org/ebooks https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.asa.umpireerulebook&hl=en https://itunes.apple.com/app/id872809412. The Federation’s most significant changes have to do with batter’s and catcher’s helmets. Both of these items must now have a non-glare finish. A non-glare finish means that the surface can not be mirror like. It’s important to note that this does not preclude...
The Set Position

The Set Position

The activity of the pitcher is one of the most regulated aspects of a baseball game. The rules state how the pitcher must stand, and how he can move both his hands and feet. The rules differ based on the position the pitcher starts from. Depending on how he places his feet, he may be in either the windup or set position or an illegal position. Here are the nuances of the set position. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. Although either the windup or set position can be used at any time, the set position is usually used when there is at least one runner on base and there is a possibility of a steal. That translates to lone runners on first or second, and runners on either first and second or first and third. In other runner configurations, only home...
The Option

The Option

Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi took the play, not the penalty in the Yanks’ 3-0 victory over the Cubs on April 16 in the afternoon game of a day-night doubleheader. Sound like football? In the bottom of the fifth, theYanks had Brett Gardner on third with one out when Jacoby Ellsbury tapped a ground ball back to the mound. Ellsbury’s bat made contact with the mitt of Cubs’ catcher John Baker. Plate umpire Jim Reynolds called interference on Baker and properly kept the ball alive. Ellsbury pointed to Baker and momentarily remained in the batter’s box area for a couple of seconds (a normal reaction) before he was tagged-out by Cubs’ pitcher Jason Hammel up the first base line. Meanwhile Gardner wisely broke for home on the crack of the bat and crossed the plate. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi...
Umpire Myths

Umpire Myths

The only sure thing about umpiring is that someone is likely to disagree with just about anything an umpire does. There are no statistics to cite, but it is highly likely that the majority of coach ejections occur when the umpires were correct. That may simply be because most umpires are more tolerant of protest when they know they did something wrong and are unable to fix it. Nonetheless, there are many misconceptions regarding what the umpires can and cannot change and the rules involving umpire participation in the play. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules.   Plate umpire decides. Perhaps the biggest myth involving umpires is that the home plate umpire can overrule the other umpires at any time. In reality, the umpire who made a call or ruling...