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How come the rules of baseball cant have one blue print?


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#1 umped up

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 06:53 PM

I ask this in all seriousness. Why is it that "whoever" thinks it's necessary to have different rules for different organizations, FED,NCAA, MLB, MSBL, USSSA and so on? I understand a few rules need to be altered but My God. What is the reason for all the changes? Why can't we just have the rules of baseball be the rules of baseball widespread?
In MLB, I think it was the Yankees playing and there was a smash up the middle, F1 swiped at it and it lodged in between the fingers of his glove, he pulled off the glove and threw it to 1B for the out. In FED it's considered lodged and BR is safe and additional bases are rewarded to the runners. Why? Why cant this just be the same? What is the advantage of changing so many rules in all these different organizations? Besides making it difficult for the umpires, I have no clue. I've read so many post on here where someone states the rule and someone else states "well in the FED is states this or in the "fill in the blank" it states this. Why is this necessary?

Seriously?

Baseball rules need to be understood "why" it's the rule besides simply just knowing the rule. Example: pitcher shall be on the rubber when taking signs from the catcher. (I know theres no penalty) but the reason is to eliminate the quick pitch. I get that. IFF is to protect the offense, I get that and so on and so on. Maybe I'm ignorant here but why all these different rules for a game thats an american past time????????
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#2 mstaylor

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 07:34 PM

Believe me, I would love a single rulebook for all levels but it will never happen. First, OBR is written for professional men. As a result the goals are singular and they could care less what happens at other levels. Most youth leagues use some form of OBR with age appropriate changes. Some have additional rules like pitch counts and bat rules. To me Pony does it best, they use straight OBR and print a separate age level rulebook. FED and NCAA have different rules for a variety of reasons. First, both levels use student/athletes so their goals are different. Some are participation, some are sportsmanship, some are safety, in the case of college they have different levels of competition.
I work multiple sports and each have the same problem. I don't do softball but I help run tournaments and you have LL,Pony, USSSA,ASA, ISA and others I can't remember. Soccer, tennis, football, volleyball and most others have at least three sets of rules.
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#3 UmpJM

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:01 PM

I think Michael has hit the essential point.

While it is a common aphorism that MLB is grown men playing a game meant for little boys, it's actually quite the opposite. It is a game designed for (fairly "rough and tumble") grown men that children commonly play.

I would say that the primary motivations for modifying rules for non-professional players are:

Increased safety.
Increased participation.
Increased consistency of application by removing certain elements of umpire judgement.

Other than the "increased participation" part, my opinion is that the results of most rules differences fail to meet the motivating objective. And the people who make them are derelict in thinking through the "unintended consequences" of the modifications they make.

Hey, it is what it is, and, in the end, it's not really that big a deal.

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#4 mstaylor

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:26 PM

I agree it's not a big deal, pain in the butt sometimes, but not a big deal.
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#5 sdix00

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:30 AM

I call these the seven "S"s

95% of rule mods fall in to one of seven categories:
  • Safety - Think FPSR, MC, etc.
  • Sportsmanship - Obvious
  • Simplicity - FED claims to make rules simpler, but fails in most cases because it takes more brainpower to process the difference in the first place.
  • Substitutions - Starters can usually re-enter
  • Size of the field - think runner leaving before the pitch on a 60ft field
  • Skill - think 1 base on an overthrow, closed HP, hitting from a tee, etc. for very young players
  • Silly Rules - Actually ground rules, but I couldn't think of anything else that starts with an "S", but yes, most of them are silly.

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#6 Pops

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

I get what everyone is saying about the need for different sets of rules for the various age groups. However, I believe that FED and other groups have gone overboard and made their rule sets more confusing than they need to be.

And I'll bet we could all come up with a list of changes that would bring these rule sets parallel with OBR which would not affect safety, sportsmanship, etc. But we won't see this happen, and we'll have to live with it even if it's fun to rant about it once in a while.

#7 mstaylor

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

As somebody that is local rules interpreter and gets phone calls on all the different levels, I would love to simplify the levels. That's why I like Pony, they seperate their's completely instead of overwriting OBR like BR and LL.
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#8 Pops

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:43 PM

Our local youth league use to follow PONY rules. The league added multiple safety rules each year until recently when they went entirely to FED rules! Many of the youth league officials are not HS umpires and have no idea how many differences there are now. They better hit the rule book hard and follow U-E online!

#9 Umpire in Chief

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:31 AM

I agree with what has been said. And like Mike I think PONY gets a gold star for the way they do it at a national level.

BUT, Their gold star tarnishes quickly as they give free reign to local organizations to modify the rules.

My VA association works a dozen different PONY leagues and it is a pure fustercluck among their local rules.

I just so happen to have the first game 3-4 years ago where 2 PONY orgs who were shrinking in size made inter-league play.

The home team had a local rule where all players helmets must have chinstraps, the visiting team didn't have such a rule.

First visiting team batter comes up and the HC calls time and reminds me of their chinstrap rule. Home League official #1 arrives at the field to get clarification, and says yes chin straps are mandatory, but they can purchase them from the concession stand for like $5.00. But only one or 2 of their players even had snaps on their helmet, so that didn't solve the problem.

Home League official #2 comes up and is wishy washy. He wants the players to play but does not have the fortitude to be decisive. I then threaten to forfeit the game because we're pushing 20 minutes, no pitch has been thrown, and we're getting nowhere. So they called the League presidents of both leagues and come to the decision to let them play. They only got to play 4 innings because of the time limit and the following games.

PONY & LL both need to get a better grip on what they allow for local rules.

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#10 mstaylor

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:53 AM

I agree with local rules. "Local rules are made by fools!" I don't know who coined that phrase but it is very true. Pony nor LL say it is legal to willy nilly make up rules. They do allow some modifications and certain administrative mods. What happens is well meaning, ill advised parents start making up stuff. Chin straps are a prime example of a well meaning safety rule. The problem comes when you interleague and don't reconcile local rules. I have seen this more than once, usually they default to the home league's rule. In this case it is hard to invent more equipment at gametime. I would say we are playing without them and have the leagues hash it out. Or, if the chin strap league insists, kick the game. I am not standing there forever deciding. It is simple, play without and make a ruling later or we go home. I have pissed off more than one coach/league official for insisting on compromise or go home. I haven't lost that argument yet.
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#11 Pops

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:11 AM

Another problem is when players play games under these "local rules" during league play and then turn around and play "travel teams" which play with whatever rules they want (e.g. OBR). No one can keep this straight, including the umpires.

Also, one of the main reasons why local rules are manufactured is because they want to satisfy the parents safety concerns. I suppose they also fear getting sued if the game is played too rough. Right or wrong, we have to wrestle with it.

#12 sdix00

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:08 PM

When I joined the BoD of my local LL 6 years ago, the ground rules were 4 pages. They are now 1/2 a page.

Last year, we interleagued with the league next door and their groundrules were 4 pages. I reviewed them befor the season and advised the president that 4 of his rules were illegal and most of the rest were redundant.

The presidents never got together to solve the issue and that meant they had to be reconciled on the field by umpires who couldn't care less what the groundrules said. I was furious that the presidents dismissed the issue and let it get to the field. It is one of 6 reasons I finally left the BoD.

I think the only ground rule any umpire really cared about was a time limit.

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#13 yawetag

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:13 PM

A local organization I used to work with had a chin strap rule for the younger kids (8-10 year olds, I think). One night, a coach came to me between innings:

Coach: Blue, that team doesn't have chin straps on their helmet.
Me: Okay.
Coach: I want you to forfeit the game.
Me (looking at him with, I'm sure, a "you can't be serious" look): Coach, you want me to forfeit this game -- in the middle of 3rd inning, mind you -- because that team doesn't have chin straps on their helmet?
Coach: Yep.
Me: Coach, I'm here to let these kids play baseball and have an evening of fun, and you're asking me to forfeit a game halfway through because those kids aren't wearing chin straps?
Coach: Yep.
Me: If you'd like, I'll accept a protest at this point and we can play under the protest. Other than that, let's play ball.
Coach: How much is the protest fee?
Me: $25
Coach: I was just kidding with you.
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#14 mstaylor

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:22 AM

I don't get hung up on local rules. If a coach asks me to enforce a local rule, I ask to see it in writing. If he can't then we move on. If the league has a problem with my handling of the situation I get them to give me a copy of the rule. If they can't then I tell them I won't be enforcing it or I will go somewhere else to umpire. It really has never been an issue. I have enforced local rules and most of them I will tell them are stupid.
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#15 Ump29

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:14 PM

This is why I like my situation in Canada - one set of rules for the whole country - modified OBR.

#16 mstaylor

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:10 PM

This is why I like my situation in Canada - one set of rules for the whole country - modified OBR.

I believe one set for each province not always the whole country. I'm fairly certain there some oddities province to province.
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#17 dumbdumb

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:04 PM

To have their own fiefdoms and lord it over everyone.

Fiefdom and job security.

#18 Ump29

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:02 PM


This is why I like my situation in Canada - one set of rules for the whole country - modified OBR.

I believe one set for each province not always the whole country. I'm fairly certain there some oddities province to province.


There is very little difference province to province.

#19 cyclonehokiece

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:10 PM

I hate to say it, but what about money. I know not every organization charges for the rules, but I know FED makes a bunch of money off of selling rule books.
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#20 mstaylor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:31 PM

HS charges for the rulebooks and casebooks. NCAA only produces new rulebooks every other year.
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