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Unread 08-02-2018, 08:19 PM   #1
Richard_Siegel
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Default 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

The elimination of the requirement for the entire pivot foot to be in contact with the pitcher’s plate is among the changes approved for the 2018-19 high school baseball season.

This revision in Rule 6-1-3 was one of three changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 3-5 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“We are very fortunate that the state of high school baseball is in an excellent position, which is indicative of the few rules changes that were passed,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball. “We appreciate the hard work of dedicated coaches who, in addition to minimizing risk associated with the sport, teach the game in a way that makes our young people enjoy playing for their high school. We must also acknowledge the highly professional and responsible game umpires. Without their thorough knowledge and implementation of NFHS rules, we would not be able to enjoy the small injury rate and increase in player participation.”

The rationale behind the change to Rule 6-1-3 is a result of the difficulty for pitchers to consistently make contact with the pitcher’s plate when pivoting. Before starting the delivery, the pitcher shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with the pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate.

“The committee concluded that many pitching mounds are such that it is problematic for a pitcher to have his entire pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate,” Hopkins said. “Therefore, no advantage is gained by having some of the pivot foot not in direct contact with the pitcher’s plate.”

The committee also approved two new umpire signals. The two new signals, indicating calls for “Correct Rotation” and “Information Available,” were approved to further improve communication between partners.

“It is always wise to be able to communicate clearly with your partner(s) during a game,” Hopkins said. “With so many moving parts (defensive players, base runners, umpires), it is imperative that umpires communicate easily and inconspicuously from players and fans. These mechanics say a lot without brining attention to the signaling umpire.”

The “Correct Rotation” signal comes when in a three- or four-man mechanic, the umpires indicate to their partner(s) where they are rotating to a specific base for coverage of an anticipated play. The umpire(s) points with both hands in the direction of the base that they are moving toward.

To assist in providing pertinent information between partners, the “Information Available” signal occurs when the game umpire is indicating that he/she has some information that is relevant to their partner by tapping two times over the left chest (heart).

Additionally, the NFHS Rules Review Committee extended the implementation date to January 1, 2020, for baseballs to meet the NOCSAE standard. According to the 2016-17 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 491,790 boys participating in baseball at 15,979 schools across the country, and 1,145 girls playing the sport in 269 schools.

A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Baseball.”
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Unread 08-02-2018, 08:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

The new umpire to umpire signals make no sense.

The “correct rotation” signal is a waste of time because everybody is supposed to know where everybody supposed to go all the time. That’s what you’re trained for. Why do you have to point it out each time before you do it.

The “Information Available” signal is supposed to be a secret signal? Well it’s not a secret anymore! Every coach is going to know it and when they see you do it it’s only going to cause trouble.
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Unread 08-02-2018, 10:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

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Originally Posted by Richard_Siegel View Post
The new umpire to umpire signals make no sense.

The “correct rotation” signal is a waste of time because everybody is supposed to know where everybody supposed to go all the time. That’s what you’re trained for. Why do you have to point it out each time before you do it.

The “Information Available” signal is supposed to be a secret signal? Well it’s not a secret anymore! Every coach is going to know it and when they see you do it it’s only going to cause trouble.
Seems like something that should have been put in the mechanics manual, not really a rules change.

The NFHS rulebook has a section for "official signals." Umpire-to-umipre signals don't belong there.

I'm not wild about "informational" signals. There needs to a clear distinction for when they are appropriate.

There should also be a "I don't have any information" signal, like when your partner is getting beat up and they're asking him to get help, and you already know you're not going to flip his call.

Last year, I had a scenario with no runners. Pitcher starts to pitch and clutches up. "That's nothing!" I say. and we play on. But my partner has his hand out with his index finger up. Apparently a secret signal. So I call time and ask what he's got. "That's an illegal pitch" he says, "ball one". Well, now what do I do? I already made the call that it was nothing. If I do nothing, everyone will wonder what we were discussing. If I change the call, I'd be wrong. Seems like a misuse of the signal. It wasn't "information", it was just a rules quibble. I was sorry I paid any attention to it.
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Unread 08-02-2018, 11:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

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Originally Posted by typikon View Post
Seems like something that should have been put in the mechanics manual, not really a rules change.

The NFHS rulebook has a section for "official signals." Umpire-to-umipre signals don't belong there.

I'm not wild about "informational" signals. There needs to a clear distinction for when they are appropriate.

There should also be a "I don't have any information" signal, like when your partner is getting beat up and they're asking him to get help, and you already know you're not going to flip his call.

Last year, I had a scenario with no runners. Pitcher starts to pitch and clutches up. "That's nothing!" I say. and we play on. But my partner has his hand out with his index finger up. Apparently a secret signal. So I call time and ask what he's got. "That's an illegal pitch" he says, "ball one". Well, now what do I do? I already made the call that it was nothing. If I do nothing, everyone will wonder what we were discussing. If I change the call, I'd be wrong. Seems like a misuse of the signal. It wasn't "information", it was just a rules quibble. I was sorry I paid any attention to it.
If it was in fact an illegal pitch it should have been corrected. Granted, you made a "that's nothing" comment, so what, it can still be corrected. Just state that your commented in error in haste and that it is in fact a rules violation.

Umpires are always encouraged to get the rule right at all levels...put the pride aside and get the call right. Even NCAA has been hot on this...

Aloha,
Mike
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Unread 08-03-2018, 02:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

That "I have information" signal is going to cause problems. It's an unfortunate fact that there are minimally or poorly trained umpires out there who will use that signal in purely judgmental situations. And if the complaining coach sees it, then he's going to use it as leverage to insist that the calling umpire ask for help from his partner.


A fellow seasoned umpire once told me this story:


While he was pre-gaming with an umpire he had never worked with before, a young and eager umpire, his partner said, "If I tap the top of my cap twice, that means I think you made a bad call and if you come to me I can help you correct it."



The seasoned umpire replied back, "Okay. And if you see me raise a hand with my middle finger extended, you'll know where you can go and what you can do with yourself."
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Unread 08-03-2018, 02:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

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Originally Posted by kengibes View Post
That "I have information" signal is going to cause problems. It's an unfortunate fact that there are minimally or poorly trained umpires out there who will use that signal in purely judgmental situations. And if the complaining coach sees it, then he's going to use it as leverage to insist that the calling umpire ask for help from his partner.


A fellow seasoned umpire once told me this story:


While he was pre-gaming with an umpire he had never worked with before, a young and eager umpire, his partner said, "If I tap the top of my cap twice, that means I think you made a bad call and if you come to me I can help you correct it."



The seasoned umpire replied back, "Okay. And if you see me raise a hand with my middle finger extended, you'll know where you can go and what you can do with yourself."
BR state tournament playoff game...I was U3...quick turn on a DP, called the out. DP ended the inning.

As U1 was walking to his position he casually gave me an "off the bag" movement with his hands asking if it was close...

Turned out, the AC seen that, told the HC who came out wanting to go to him for help on the play. We came together, confirmed that it was my call, etc. Play stands. HC continued to ask what my partner had. I ended the conversation stating, it's my call.

Our group likes to use the hat in the hand signal...I don't like it, haven't used it and don't look for it when speaking with a HC.

Aloha,
Mike
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Unread 08-03-2018, 03:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

Quote:
Originally Posted by kengibes View Post
That "I have information" signal is going to cause problems. It's an unfortunate fact that there are minimally or poorly trained umpires out there who will use that signal in purely judgmental situations. And if the complaining coach sees it, then he's going to use it as leverage to insist that the calling umpire ask for help from his partner.


A fellow seasoned umpire once told me this story:


While he was pre-gaming with an umpire he had never worked with before, a young and eager umpire, his partner said, "If I tap the top of my cap twice, that means I think you made a bad call and if you come to me I can help you correct it."



The seasoned umpire replied back, "Okay. And if you see me raise a hand with my middle finger extended, you'll know where you can go and what you can do with yourself."
I adjust my cup

I've said this on another site, This mechanic will NOT be used by me! It tells coaches, if they read a rule book, you missed it. Tapping my chest has meant for my P to come talk to me between innings for years, and I pre game it. I guess I've been ahead of the curve. If I have some info for you, I will stand there for a second and give you a look if I have something different. If I turn and walk away, stick with your call.
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Unread 08-03-2018, 03:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

Quote:
Originally Posted by mturman View Post
BR state tournament playoff game...I was U3...quick turn on a DP, called the out. DP ended the inning.

As U1 was walking to his position he casually gave me an "off the bag" movement with his hands asking if it was close...

Turned out, the AC seen that, told the HC who came out wanting to go to him for help on the play. We came together, confirmed that it was my call, etc. Play stands. HC continued to ask what my partner had. I ended the conversation stating, it's my call.

Our group likes to use the hat in the hand signal...I don't like it, haven't used it and don't look for it when speaking with a HC.

Aloha,
Mike
I'm just curious, how many umpires are there in Hawaii? You lucky dog you!
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Unread 08-03-2018, 04:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

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Originally Posted by mturman View Post
If it was in fact an illegal pitch it should have been corrected. Granted, you made a "that's nothing" comment, so what, it can still be corrected. Just state that your commented in error in haste and that it is in fact a rules violation.

Umpires are always encouraged to get the rule right at all levels...put the pride aside and get the call right. Even NCAA has been hot on this...

Aloha,
Mike
But it's not an illegal pitch.
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Unread 08-03-2018, 04:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

Quote:
Originally Posted by mturman View Post
BR state tournament playoff game...I was U3...quick turn on a DP, called the out. DP ended the inning.

As U1 was walking to his position he casually gave me an "off the bag" movement with his hands asking if it was close...

Turned out, the AC seen that, told the HC who came out wanting to go to him for help on the play. We came together, confirmed that it was my call, etc. Play stands. HC continued to ask what my partner had. I ended the conversation stating, it's my call.

A wise man once said "Umpires are always encouraged to get the rule right at all levels...put the pride aside and get the call right. Even NCAA has been hot on this..."
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Unread 08-03-2018, 01:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

The best secret signal to use to imply “I have something for you,” was taught to me at a pro clinic many years ago. I was mentioned above by tborze. If you have “something” for your partner, just stand there and LOOK at him. If you agree with his call/ruling and have nothing to add, then turn away. Very simple and impossible for any coach to infer your motive.

Last edited by Richard_Siegel; 08-03-2018 at 01:55 PM.
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Unread 08-03-2018, 01:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

Umpires must always suppress the urge to help a partner by openly offering unsolicited help or advice on the field during the play. Even with the best of intentions, his “help” could cause a problem and backfire. None the least of which is that doing so could piss off your partner even if you openly correct his mistake before privately discussing it with him. It might embarrass him and few umpires will enjoy that, even if the “help” saves the partner from having made a bad call.

Here is a good example. In a game I had last week I had a pitcher fake a pick-off throw to first base that I immediately called a balk. I was I little too quick. Problem was that the instant that I was calling the balk I also realized the pitcher actually stepped off. So I was wrong to call this balk. The pitcher had a great move and, to be honest, he deceived ME. But the move was legal.

The moment I was calling that “balk” the HC, in the first base dugout hopped to his feet and excitedly told me “he stepped off!” I knew he was right and I was about to rescind the balk call and apologize for the mistake. However, before I could get the words out of my mouth, the plate umpire, Steve, (who only has a few years of experience) also stated to me out loud, “Rich, he stepped off.” I then apologized for the mistake and kept the runner on first. No complaints from the defensive head coach. I’m sure Steve felt good about helping us “get things right.”

After the game I spoke with Steve about his spontaneously giving me that help. I admitted that he was correct that the pitcher had stepped off and I was wrong. However, I explained to him that he should never offer unsolicited help to a partner. I told him that if I needed his input a would have asked him. But here is the problem: suppose I called the balk for a different reason? Suppose I had the pitcher do a double set, turn his shoulder or flinch his knee just BEFORE he stepped off? So then then I would be calling a proper balk for something he might not have seen.

If that was the case, he just put the two of us two umpires in the position of having to argue with each other, on the field in front of everybody, whether there was a balk or not. How would that look?

No good deed goes unpunished.

His “help” could have put us is a really bad situation.

By the way, I had no problem correcting my call. I always prefer to get the call right, even if it might cause some embarrassment to me.
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Unread 08-03-2018, 02:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2018-19 Baseball Rules Changes Focus on Pitching Mechanics

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Originally Posted by Richard_Siegel View Post
Umpires must always suppress the urge to help a partner by openly offering unsolicited help or advice on the field during the play. Even with the best of intentions, his “help” could cause a problem and backfire. None the least of which is that doing so could piss off your partner even if you openly correct his mistake before privately discussing it with him. It might embarrass him and few umpires will enjoy that, even if the “help” saves the partner from having made a bad call.

Here is a good example. In a game I had last week I had a pitcher fake a pick-off throw to first base that I immediately called a balk. I was I little too quick. Problem was that the instant that I was calling the balk I also realized the pitcher actually stepped off. So I was wrong to call this balk. The pitcher had a great move and, to be honest, he deceived ME. But the move was legal.

The moment I was calling that “balk” the HC, in the first base dugout hopped to his feet and excitedly told me “he stepped off!” I knew he was right and I was about to rescind the balk call and apologize for the mistake. However, before I could get the words out of my mouth, the plate umpire, Steve, (who only has a few years of experience) also stated to me out loud, “Rich, he stepped off.” I then apologized for the mistake and kept the runner on first. No complaints from the defensive head coach. I’m sure Steve felt good about helping us “get things right.”

After the game I spoke with Steve about his spontaneously giving me that help. I admitted that he was correct that the pitcher had stepped off and I was wrong. However, I explained to him that he should never offer unsolicited help to a partner. I told him that if I needed his input a would have asked him. But here is the problem: suppose I called the balk for a different reason? Suppose I had the pitcher do a double set, turn his shoulder or flinch his knee just BEFORE he stepped off? So then then I would be calling a proper balk for something he might not have seen.

If that was the case, he just put the two of us two umpires in the position of having to argue with each other, on the field in front of everybody, whether there was a balk or not. How would that look?

No good deed goes unpunished.

His “help” could have put us is a really bad situation.

By the way, I had no problem correcting my call. I always prefer to get the call right, even if it might cause some embarrassment to me.
Did your pregame include a "I have something you might need to know" signal. Balks called when the calling umpire did not see the step off are one of the things that MLB wants to get right. But, as you say, the help should not happen the way your partner did it.
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