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Equipment Issues

Equipment Issues

While most of us have not started the 2015 high school softball season, some of the southern states are well into the season. Some questions have come up already and it seems like 2015 might be the year of the equipment issues and questions. One of the most innovative ideas I’ve seen is not legal and clearly designed to give the pitcher an unfair advantage as she delivers the ball to the plate. As we all know leaping is violation of Rule 6-1-2 and is defined in Rule 2-33 as having both feet airborne prior to the delivery of the pitch. It’s a basic requirement that pitchers must “push and drag” off the pitcher’s plate. This means that the toe(s) must be on the ground. The device we saw early this year has been called the SOFTBALL SHOE DEVICE and has an inner sole shaped device that is attached...
Five “Worst” Calls

Five “Worst” Calls

Complex Sports has published a feature entitled “Blind Fury: The 5 Worst Umpire Calls in MLB Playoff History.” One of their alleged bad calls was actually a correct call, but there is value in their chosen plays by examining the related rules and mechanics. It is also noteworthy that only one involved a routine call that occurs in every game. The others are uncommon situations that umpires must be prepared for. We’ll begin with a play that involves a high degree of judgment. Complicating the matter is the fact that the play in hand isn’t directly addressed in the rules and interpretations are scarce. Tags. We go to Game 1 of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins. After a single, Braves’ Ron Gant rounds toward second but heads back. The ball was returned...
Reader’s Questions No. 1

Reader’s Questions No. 1

During the course of a season, I handle many questions from readers. I thought I would share some with you in the next couple of issues. Q - On an appeal play, if a batter hits a triple but the defensive team thinks he missed second base, can a member of the defensive team while making a dead ball appeal walk over and tag the runner who is standing on third base instead of throwing the ball to second base? A. Under Pro and NCAA rules, the defensive team must wait for the umpire to put the ball in play if “time” is out and the ball is dead. Once the ball is put in play, the pitcher can either step back off the rubber or throw from the rubber to the base being appealed. The pitcher can run over to touch the base or tag the runner or he can throw to a fielder to do the same. Playing under...
Hall of Fame Membership Drive

Hall of Fame Membership Drive

Membership drive announced! Help the National College Baseball Hall of Fame get to 1,000 members. Become a member today, online here.
John Magnusson wins National Collegiate Umpire Award

John Magnusson wins National Collegiate Umpire Award

College Baseball Hall of Fame honors lifetime of umpiring excellence Credit: College Baseball Hall of Fame - LUBBOCK, Texas -- The National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced today the 2015 recipient of the National Collegiate Umpire Award honoring a lifetime of excellence in umpiring. The recipient of this year's award is John Magnusson, who umpired postseason college baseball for 23 consecutive years from 1984 to 2006. He worked a total of six College World Series at three different levels, and along the he way served in the evaluation, training and scheduling of umpires in Florida for 26 years. "John's career speaks for itself," said Mike Gustafson, president and CEO of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. "His peers recognized his on-field excellence as well as his professional...
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...