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Questions

Questions

Below are nine questions that I received during my spring training tour in Florida and Arizona. The answers provided are from Pro rules. I have noted, when necessary, where there is a difference between the Pro rule and theNFHS and NCAA rule. 1.  Infield Fly Rule situation. The bases are loaded and one out when the batter hits a pop fly near first base in fair territory. The umpires invoke the IFR. The runner on first base, who is several feet off the bag, is tracking the fly ball instead of locating the first baseman who is about to make the catch. The runner unintentionally runs into the first baseman who makes the catch in fair territory. Should a double play be called? A. Yes. The batter is called out under the Infield Fly Rule and the runner is called out for interference because he...
How Rules Are Made

How Rules Are Made

Last month we talked about a “fake rule”. This happened on April Fools’ Day when in the words of USA Softball’s Managing Director of Communications, Codi Warren, “an individual unknown to us spread false information on their social media account regarding USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) play requirements that made it seem as if it came from USA Softball’s official Twitter account…our Twitter account was not hacked and the tweet did not come from the USA Softball National Office.  It was simply an altered image that the individual inserted into a post for the purpose of impersonating the USA Softball Twitter account.” The tweet stated that both USA Softball and USSSA had adopted a rules change, to be effective almost immediately, that would require certain defensive players to wear face masks.  This...
Gloves

Gloves

Gloves were not part of the original game of baseball and they did come in vogue until around 1920. It then took another 30 years for size restrictions to appear in the rules. NCAA and pro rules address four types of gloves: pitcher, catcher, fielder and first baseman while the NFHS code omits the latter category. In addition to size, the color of gloves (pitcher only) is addressed. There are no weight restrictions on any of the gloves; however gloves can only be used in the intended manner – as an extension of and for the protection of the hand.   Catcher.The pro catcher’s glove is limited to a 38” circumference, but there are no limits on NFHS or NCAA catchers. Under pro rules, catchers cannot use a fielder’s or first baseman’s glove at any time (NFHS 1-3-6; NCAA 1-13a; pro 3.04, PBUC 3.13).   Before...
Everything Could Be Fake – Even The Rules

Everything Could Be Fake – Even The Rules

It’s not unusual now that we hear reports about fake news and of course each individual must make their own decisions about the validity of what they read and hear.  But, what about a “fake rule?”  Earlier this month, an issue arose where USA Softball was hit with reports of a “fake rule.”  Not surprisingly, this occurred on April Fools’ Day when according to USA Softball’s Managing Director of Communications, Codi Warren, “an individual unknown to us spread false information on their social media account regarding USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) play requirements that made it seem as if it came from USA Softball’s official Twitter account…our Twitter account was not hacked and the tweet did not come from the USA Softball National Office.  It was simply an altered image that the individual...
The Catcher as an Infielder

The Catcher as an Infielder

The catcher is positioned in the infield, but is he an infielder? That’s a question the Rules Books don’t answer clearly and the truth is sometimes he is and sometimes he isn’t. NFHS rules do state the catcher is an infielder (2-13-3), but he is sometimes treated differently than the other infielders. NCAA and pro rules only include as infielders those players who occupy positions between the pitcher’s mound and the outfielders (NCAA 2-49, pro Infielder Definition). In all codes, the rules specifically refer to the catcher as the unique fielder that he is and that makes the infielder question a moot point. Here are the scenarios where it may not be clear as to whether to treat the catcher the same as any other infielder. Position. First of all, the catcher is the only defensive player...
Runner Abandonment

Runner Abandonment

Thanks to Pro rule 5.09 (b) (2), one of the strangest triple plays ever recorded occurred on April 19 at Safeco Field where the Mariners hosted the Astros. The rule covers all playing codes. Here is what happened. In the top of the fourth inning the Astros had Jose Altuve on second and Carlos Correa on first and no outs when Evan Gattis hit a hard grounder to Kyle Seager at third. Seager stepped on the bag and threw to second baseman Robinson Cano for a 5-4 double play. Gattis made it to first base, but he thought the inning was over and walked off the bag toward the middle of the infield. The Mariners started pointing at Gattis, and first baseman Daniel Vogelbach tagged him for the third out. But the tag was irrelevant because first base umpire Brian Gorman had already called Gattis out...
Uncommon Plays for High School Umpires

Uncommon Plays for High School Umpires

Here are recent plays from prep games that don’t happen every day. The umpires didn’t get everything right, but two of three plays were ruled correctly. Passing a Runner. With no one out, R1 is on first. B1 hits a trouble ball to right center and R1 plays it halfway. B1 “knows” it is going to drop and runs hard passing R1. The ball drops and B1 realizes his error and retreats to first. The throw goes to second and beats R1 (he is not tagged); B1 is standing on first when the subsequent throw arrives at that base. The umpires allow the play stand with R1 out at second and B1 remaining at first. The net result was sort of correct in that an out was recorded and a runner was on base, but the wrong runner was left on at the wrong base. In reality, B1 was out when he passed R1. That removed he...
The Molitor-Barrett Double-Switch Flap

The Molitor-Barrett Double-Switch Flap

"What we've got here is failure to communicate.” That was the famous quotation from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, spoken in the movie first by Strother Martin (as the Captain, a prison warden) and later, abridged, by Paul Newman (as Luke, a stubborn prisoner). In the game of baseball, when a manager or coach is making a substitution/s, it’s imperative that he properly verbally communicate the change/s to the plate umpire. Likewise, the plate umpire should do the same with the manager or coach making the substitution/s. Then the plate umpire must properly communicate the change/s to the opposing manager or coach. When any of the parties fail to properly communicate the change/s, this is a recipe for disaster. When it comes to multiple substitutions, the communication between manager/coach...