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  1. Putting the ball in play

    Should you put ball in play immediately upon a pitcher having a ball and touching the rubber, regardless of readiness of batter, catcher, runner, and fielder? What if the runner is tying his shoe, the catcher is walking back to the plate from retrieving the foul ball, and the batter is out of the box doing warm-up swings and watching the third base coach. I don't protect the runner or fielders, but I wait until I have pitcher, batter in box, and catcher all attending to the ball. I may also put up the stop sign until we're ready to play.
  2. Runner

    But presuming R1 did not move more than three feet away from a straight line between first base and himself, which line is established at the time of an unmentioned tag attempt by the fielder on R1, R1 is safe. Runner chooses his own base path prior to a tag attempt on him, and once the batter-runner is out, the force is off and R1 need not attempt to reach second base.
  3. Insurance null and void IF?

    A few years ago when I was still a lawyer, I looked into this casually as a follow-up to a discussion my association had about not continuing to officiate after the game ended on a runs-ahead rule. I tracked down the actual policy, which said something like it covered all umpiring activity, with no express exclusion for any "not-a-real-game" umpiring. My opinion thus was that the policy did cover any umpiring activity, even "not-a-real-game" umpiring. Also, I believe courts construe ambiguous language, especially in insurance policies, against the drafter (i.e., the insurance company), strengthening my opinion. But don't quote me. I also knew that my state supreme court had some years earlier spelled out a strong assumption-of-the-risk rule for participants in any sports activity, so I felt doubly protected from liability. (If I recall correctly, the case was a gung-ho jerk in a Super Bowl party halftime touch football game caused grievous bodily injury to a non-athletic woman; held: he was not liable because she assumed the risk of all injury by participating in the game). Your state's mileage may differ. In fact, I believe that at least in my state, umpire insurance premiums are essentially donations to the insurance company, except for paying for a defense lawyer and for a satisfying superfluous sense of security. Of course, I'm a cynic. Disclaimer: Insurance coverage was never my specialty, I relied only on superficial research and law school knowledge, and I am no longer a lawyer. But I still believe my opinion is correct. I would like to hear of any final trial verdicts (not settlements) holding umpires liable for any umpiring activity. Preferably with citations to an official source, and not to friends of cousins. But it is a foolproof way of declining to continue to umpire games that are going to come unglued because the participants no longer consider them for real.
  4. Ball thrown in dugout

    BTW, time of throw is when the ball leaves the thrower's hand.
  5. Rizzo/Hedges

    Looks like a model violation of the rule to me. Catcher has possession of the ball and not blocking the plate, runner deviates from his path and initiates avoidable contact while still on his feet. Out. At the levels I work (below college), the out mechanic and the eject mechanic would be almost one motion.
  6. Balk Questioning by nice (ignorant) coach

    Not funny. Offensive.
  7. Gaining Ground toward 2nd

    Or MidAmUmp, for that matter.
  8. Gaining Ground toward 2nd

    Because the pivot foot is in the second base quadrant? I personally would accept a step that cleared the pivot foot, but who am I to argue with Jim Evans?
  9. Gaining Ground toward 2nd

    Well, if you don't step "to" second base, you have not balked "to" second base. IIITBT2B lives!
  10. Gaining Ground toward 2nd

    Jim Evans' balk video: "Failure to step toward 2d base when throwing or faking a throw is a balk. If the pitcher's free foot does not land behind the rubber when throwing or faking to 2d, he has balked." [emphasis added]
  11. I know, foul ball but...

    In law, a maxim of jurisprudence holds that a specific exception takes precedence over a general rule. The same principle applies here. The specific exception stated in the definition of a foul tip takes precedence over the rule for catching a typical foul line drive.
  12. HS Sitch

    Surgeon, looking glum, approaches his patient's wife in the waiting room. Wife: "Did he not make it?" Surgeon: "He made it." Wife: "Oh thank God, Thank you doctor. You saved his life!" Surgeon: "Well, he died on the table, but he made it to the OR."
  13. Attempted Steal of Home, Catcher's Interference.

    Can someone please cite the OBR rule or interpretation that says catcher's interference on a steal of home is a balk? I neither see a balk here nor see an umpire calling a balk. The ball did not slip out of the pitcher's hand, he was not giving an intentional walk. Seems like straightforward CI, batter gets first, and all other runners advance as forced. Then the coach has an option to take the play instead of the penalty. Since the runner was out, the coach would take the penalty that forces his R3 to score.
  14. Fair or foul

    Reread the definitions of fair and foul balls. Once the ball has touched the ground before passing third or first base untouched, its fair/foul status depends on whether any part of the ball is on or over fair territory as it bounds past the base. Umpire judgment as to when the ball passes the base, and where the ball is in midair as it passes. The fielder's position, or the ball's position when the fielder touches it, is irrelevant. If the ball touches the ground and then touches the fielder, including his glove, before bounding over or past the base, then the fair/foul status depends on the ball's position when it first touches a non-ground object. So if the fielder was leaning forward with his foot on third base, and the ball touched his glove while partially or wholly over fair territory before passing the base, the ball is fair, even if it ticks off the glove and passes the base in foul territory. But if the fielder is leaning behind the base, and the ball passes the base before touching his glove, then the position of the glove does not matter; only the position of the ball at the instant it passes the base matters. I notice both the FED and OBR definitions of fair and foul balls use the phrase "on or over". If a ball is adjudged to be partially over foul territory and partially over fair territory at the time of determining its fair/foul status, it is fair.
  15. Youth Baseball Balk Warnings

    One balk warning per pitcher is a common local rule in my youth ballgames below age 12, and is discussed in the plate meeting. The rule is rarely written, and never deals with the nuances of not enforcing balks. I tell the coaches that if I think the balk affects a play, I'll place the runners, sort of like obstruction. (In my mind, "sort of" does not include an automatic one-base award.) They often get an oh-yeah look in their eyes, confirming that the issue never occurred to them. They then agree. Most balks do not involve a runner advancing or being put out, and I am surprised at how little I have to get involved. And I never have had an argument about runner placement on a balk warning. I do urge a "see a balk, call a balk" rule as being a more effective teaching tool, but most dad coaches feel that is too harsh.