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Let Them Play - Events that Allow Play to Continue - Part II

Let Them Play - Events that Allow Play to Continue - Part II

Almost all interference results in an immediate dead ball, but for some acts though, play continues until action ceases – the so-called delayed dead ball. Additionally, there are other events which cause umpires to stop play after action ceases and take action. Umpires must know which acts keep the ball live as well as how to enforce the penalty. There are 14 such acts among the three codes. Acts where the ball is not immediately dead and the umpire must allow play to continue. Here is the second of four installments. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. Detached equipment. A fielder may not throw his glove at a ball, nor may he use his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person to touch the ball. The ball remains...
Good Vision Can Prevent Rule Violations

Good Vision Can Prevent Rule Violations

One of the most common causes for two-car accidents is that one driver did not see the other car. There’s a parallel here when it comes to baseball players and rules violations. “I didn’t see it,” is often the popular cry. There are many different types of plays each year that result in rule violations because of poor vision habits. A wise umpire will pick up on this. Let’s start with passing the runner. This normally occurs when a runner is retreating to a previous base while another runner is advancing to his next base. Both runners are usually oblivious to each other and then Bingo! We have a passing the runner mishap. As an umpire you should get a read on this by keying the players’ body language. Anticipation can be an umpire’s enemy but in certain situations it can be an ally. ...
Handling Extra Inning Tie Breakers

Handling Extra Inning Tie Breakers

The Tie Breaker Rule is unique to softball. It is a rule that has never been and probably never will be considered by any rules organization for the game of baseball. The rule’s origin goes back to the 1970s where it was originally adopted by the International Softball Federation as a way of bringing a faster end to the often scoreless pitching duels of that era. Many softball followers still call it the “International Tie Breaker” or for short the “ITB” even though it has been an ASA rule and part of the American game for over 30 years. Very simply, the ASA rule (Rule 5-11) kicks in when the game goes into extra innings or when a time limit is used beyond the regulation time. Starting in the top of the eighth inning, and in every half inning forward, the offense starts its time at bat with...
Refs Sad But Not Shocked After Soccer Homicide

Refs Sad But Not Shocked After Soccer Homicide

Credit: WILX.COM -- Joe Gazda chooses which referees will officiate each game for the Greater Lansing Area Soccer Referee Association. He loves the sport and he loves his job as a referee. So you can imagine how he was feeling after learning John Bieniewicz, the referee who was punched after ejecting a player in a men's rec league game in Livonia, had died from the assault. "It's tragic that something like that has to happen in a game," said Gazda. "We read about it in referee magazines and it just seems like we hear about it more and more. And it needs to stop." Referees are only human, Gazda said, and they do make mistakes. He says unrest can start with unruly fans that like to get on the case of a referee. Coaches and players can get hot under the collar too. "It's easy to be a referee...
Let Them Play - Events that Allow Play to Continue - Part I

Let Them Play - Events that Allow Play to Continue - Part I

Almost all interference results in an immediate dead ball, but for some acts though, play continues until action ceases – the so-called delayed dead ball. Additionally, there are other events which cause umpires to stop play after action ceases and take action. Umpires must know which acts keep the ball live as well as how to enforce the penalty. There are 14 such acts among the three codes. Acts where the ball is not immediately dead and the umpire must allow play to continue. Here are the first three. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. Batter interferes with catcher. When a runner is attempting to steal a base, the batter is guilty of interference if his bat hits the catcher on the follow-through, unless the catcher jumps up and moves into the swing....
Play Follows Balk

Play Follows Balk

Although a balk creates a dead ball immediately playing under NFHS rules (5-1-1-K), such is not true playing under Pro rules. Since many who read this column will probably be involved in summer leagues that play under Pro rules, I decided to share the following question I recently received with you.  Q.  There are runners on first and second and no outs. The runner on second breaks early to third base. The lefty pitcher attempts a pickoff to first base and is called for a balk. His throw is in the dirt to the first baseman who blocks the ball but the ball gets by the first baseman and travels several feet behind the base. Meanwhile the runner from second continues around third to home plate safely.  The runner on first base stayed there. Does the offense get a choice to take the play and the...
NFHS Questions

NFHS Questions

Before many umpires around the country close the book on the 2014 high school season let’s take a look at some questions that have come up during tournament games around the nation. While the high school season is over for many of us there are several states that play high school softball either during the summer or fall months. For those who have wrapped up the season these are good topics to study when we open up the books and attend meetings for the 2015 season. 1. Question - With bases loaded and one out we had a dropped third strike. The batter is out because first base is occupied. She was told to run by her coach and the catcher threw the ball down to first. After she threw the ball to first the runner on third took off for home. I know what it says in rule 8-6-16c but could this be...
21 Rulings - Part II

21 Rulings - Part II

If we had 21 different plays each involving a separate rule, we’d have 21 separate rulings. But we can get 21 separate rulings with only seven plays because each level of play has a separate rule. There are many instances where the three have separate and distinct rules, but for these seven rules there are three different rulings for a particular play. Last month we looked at three such scenarios. Here are the remaining four. Charging an opponent. Play 1: F1’s fastball sails and hits B1 in the elbow. B1 flings his bat toward the mound and approaches it yelling obscenities. F2 tackles B1 and a melee ensues. Ruling 1 The umpires will determine all the guilty parties. In NFHS, the umpires as a minimum will eject B1 and F2. Others may be restricted or ejected as the umpires deem appropriate....