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NFHS Rule Changes for 2015

NFHS Rule Changes for 2015

The NFHS Baseball Rules Committee made four changes for the 2015 season and issued one clarification. Video. In recognition of the advances made in video technology and the abundance and affordability of mobile devices, teams will be permitted to record and watch video in their dugouts. The video can be used for coaching purposes and will enhance the educational ability to provide real-time instruction. It is now legal for a team to record the game from anywhere in dead-ball territory and to view that video during the game (3-3-1). It does not matter what type of video equipment is used or who uses it. A logical place to film from is the dugout. A player in uniform is not permitted in the stands so he cannot film from there. It is still illegal for a coach to have any recording or viewing...
Questions for the 2015 Season - Fick's Fast Pitch

Questions for the 2015 Season - Fick's Fast Pitch

It’s hard to imagine that softball is being played in the south.  Many of us in the Midwest are dealing with record cold temperatures and the amount of snow in New England and elsewhere in the Northeast is unprecedented.  With all the bad weather it seems that umpires must have more time to study the 2015 rules changes and points of emphasis which causes many of us to get creative with our questions and what might happen this year. Let’s review some of the changes and questions that are being discussed between our trips out to shovel the snow.  First, the Federation actually had one significant rules change this year.   Batter’s and catcher’s helmets 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...
No-Hitter Preserved on Appeal Plays

No-Hitter Preserved on Appeal Plays

I recently ran into an old timer who asked the following question. “How can a pitcher hurl a no-hitter despite relinquishing a triple and a home run?” I said, ‘No way. By the letter of the scoring rules it’s impossible.’ He smirked and gave his answer. “I was pitching for Milford High School in Connecticut against Derby High in 1944 and gave up a triple and a home run,” recalled the old timer, a1953 Yale alum. “And on both occasions the batter missed first base. We appealed the missed base both times and would you believe each time the appeal was upheld.” Wow! Of course the question is a trick question since the batter is not credited with a hit when he fails to touch first base but I was astonished to learn that not only were two different players called out on appeal but the appeals...
NCAA Rule Changes for 2015

NCAA Rule Changes for 2015

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee made a variety of changes and editorial revisions for the 2015 season. Here they are in the approximate order of significance. Video review. Umpires may now conference or use video evidence to change a call of “catch” to “no catch” and vice versa. That change is an effort to keep the game current and emphasize “getting the call right.” The conferences may request through the rules committee to use the video instant replay rule and its limitations. Conferences will be able to request through the rules committee to use the experimental video replay rule in regular season games in addition to conference tournament games. The video replay rule has been in effect at the Men’s College World Series since 2012 and is expected to last another two seasons. The...
Batting Order

Batting Order

Probably the most significant ASA 2015 rule change applies for umpires working Girls Fast Pitch Championship play. In pool play games, teams will be permitted to bat more than nine players and can bat up to all players present (often called roster bat). The intent of the rules change was clear and now allows all players present to bat during pool play games if a team wishes to take advantage of this provision. The rule passed added a clause for how the shorthanded rule would be handled. The new rules involved read as follows: Rule 4, Section 1D[2A] Exception: In all Junior Olympic Fast Pitch Pool Play Only; When a team elects to bat more than nine batters the game will continue with the skipped batter being recorded as an out whenever a player leaves the game for any reason other than an...
Rules Challenge

Rules Challenge

It’s time for my annual rules challenge. All answers will apply to Pro, NCAA and NFHS rules. You will be asked to answer 10 True and False questions. If you get 10 correct responses, your major league assignment is on the way; 8-9 right answers places you in Triple-A and 6-7 proper answers puts you in the low minors. Anything less suggests you have a serious rules awareness problem and need to seek professional help ASAP by taking a course in Ruleball 101. Number your papers from 1-10. Good Luck! Remember, you’re on the honor system. 1. With a runner on third base, Dustin Pedroia receives a base-on-balls and sprints to first base. He rounds the base and heads for second for the purpose of drawing a throw from Tigers’ catcher Alex Avila so the runner on third can score. Pedroia wants to lengthen...
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...