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MadMax

Oddest / Most Unique Ground Rule?

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Since baseball is played on such a wide variety of fields and parks, there have to be a wide range of "features" and travails that become part of our Plate Meeting reviews of the Ground Rules. What are some that you've encountered?

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I'll go first...

The field in question is the "JV" field of a local high school. It is situated in one corner of a large, rectangular field that hosts three football fields side-to-side-to-side used for practice (only). The 1BL fence actually ends and the imaginary line continues to become the back of the football end zone. A set of uprights are on that line. It turns out that the 1B-2B line is the sideline for the nearest practice field, and therefore, there is a faint, vaporous line extending from 2B into LF. In a moment of foresight, a set of uprights was _not_ placed 120 yards away, opposite the 1BL DBT fence uprights, but to make matters even more challenging, about 10 feet beyond the end zones is a formidable drainage ditch. Not too abrupt, but about about four foot deep at its deepest point, shaped like a bowling alley gutter, running parallel with the 1BL.

Got all that?

Here's the fun part. Like a true sandlot game, there are blocking / tackling sleds (plural... 1-man, 3-man and 5-man) in right field and center field. We're about to have a 13U game on that field, and its a tournament game ta boot... which means neither team is responsible for these obstructions in the outfield, or their removal. Since I'm a "big tough guy" and former "football player", I summon my rusty strength and wrap-and-drive the 1-man sled off the field of play, careful not to reveal to the youth that I may have forgotten a degree of form and technique, or may have thrown out my back doing so. There is no time to even consider moving the 3-man and 5-man sleds, so they have to stay where they sit, about 350 - 400 ft. away from home plate in right-center field, and we address it like this...

"Ground Rules... Fully enclosed backstop, with a gap under it there, and two doorways for the dugouts there and there. Fence line extended that way (3BS), and fence line extended that way (1BS) for dead ball territory. Those uprights are Out of Play. Contact with them is an immediate dead ball. Through the uprights are 3 points (we had a mild chuckle about this). Now, here's where the fun starts (I actually said that)... There is no chalk line defining the first base line beyond the bag. Those lines you see are not our lines. Therefore, my partner and I have the call on fair or foul beyond the bag, and it is our judgement. Next... (and at this point I gesture towards right-center field, and everyone starts chuckling and groaning)... we have our Adventure Baseball Course. Please caution your players, but as much as we don't like those sleds being there, there's nothing we can do about 'em. If a ball hits one on the fly directly, it is a home run. If it hits one off the bounce or the roll, it is a dead ball, as if it hopped an outfield fence. Lastly, the trench... Yes coach, there is a trench out there. If the balls rolls to the trench, we are going to consider it live until we see the fielder go to retrieve it. If the fielder goes down into the trench, the ball is dead. Our judgement. If a ball lands in or beyond the trench on the fly, it is a home run."

We had 4 games on that field that Saturday, and we had 4 home runs that were called / deemed as such. We had 3 "live ball" home runs off some cannon shots to deep center. But no, no-one got three points on a field goal. ;)

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Flag pole in play in center field. If it hits above the blue line, then homerun, hit below it is a live ball and play it. The ball can also get behind the pole.

The pole is 400' away as this stadium has MLB dimensions, and I have never seen the pole come into play in all of the games I have worked there. I have talked to the grounds crew, and they don't remember the pole being hit but.......... Never say never right?

This field is used by HS teams, JR & SR divisions of Little League, American Legion and some colleges play games there. The Senior League World Series is held there every August as well.

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If the ball is hit into the cornfield in flight over fair territory it is a HR

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Frenchs-Common-home-of-Braintree-High-ba

 

This photo doesn't do it justice but that building (city hall) is only about 200ft from home plate... and there are stairwells that go down to the basement level in play. There is also a fire escape that is in foul ground but in play that the ball goes under at least once per game.  

 

Typically the right fielder will play way into right center and the second baseman is responsible for playing the ball off the building (happens about once per inning)

 

They try to play with a fair ball over the building as a HR and one off the roof as a triple... kills me! 

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Coached a game last fall where beyond right field (230 yds) and right center there was a graveyard (no fences).  Balls hit into the graveyard on a fly were automatic HR's.  Ball that rolled into graveyard amongst the tombstones were ground rule doubles.  Talk about an eerie feel to the field.  There also was some odd odor, couldn't tell if it was coming from the graveyard or the compost piles from down the road.  :shrug:  :WTF      

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Adair-Kennedy Park. High school field. Trees come in over the outfield fence. If the ball lands in the tree, it's a dead ball no matter what.

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If the ball hits the water tower in far right automatic grand slam, if it hits a teeball kid on connected field coach of the hitters team has to buy make up ice cream or snow cone for the hit teeball kid

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As a player several seasons ago in a men's league, played one game on a very makeshift field. The backstop fence was almost nonexistent, barely going as far as the extended base lines. It was the only fence bordering dead ball territory, and there were no lines marking it out either. There may not have been any foul lines marked either, but that may just be a poor memory. The field - or really, the "oddly shaped, open, grass-covered area" - was on a high school's property, and I'm pretty sure the backstop was removable to allow rugby/soccer to be played. It was rotated into the field to take advantage of extra space in what would have been foul ground on the left field side.

Now that I think about it, there was actually a fence in left field, but it was a short one that bordered the school property - the other side of the fence was a busy highway. We didn't lose any balls there because it was so deep, and because there were trees lining the fence on the field's side, meaning the tree line was the "fence" for our game.

It's the only time I can remember the second paragraph of 6.09d coming into play. Right field "fence" was a 30-45degree hill up to cricket nets that was very shallow (partly because of the "rotation" of the field). There were plenty of ground/book rule doubles that landed on or beyond that hill. A few were probably deep enough to qualify as home runs but that's not how the rule works.

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:notworthy: I did a HS game where there is a power line running across the cent field and they wanted it to be a home run if the ball hit it.  The line was so high that if a ball did hit it, it would have traveled at least 400 feet if the line had not been there.  The HTC said that it had been hit at least once that he could remember.  This is Xenia, Ohio. :hi5:  

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:notworthy: I did a HS game where there is a power line running across the cent field and they wanted it to be a home run if the ball hit it.  The line was so high that if a ball did hit it, it would have traveled at least 400 feet if the line had not been there.  The HTC said that it had been hit at least once that he could remember.  This is Xenia, Ohio. :hi5:  

 

Xenia Lives!

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Neighborhood field.....houses all around...all foul balls land in someones yard....and some folks dont appreciate it.....corner of right field is a Bar....if you hit the bar its in play as if it came off the green monster........if it hits the roof of the bar its a HR......legend says the drinks are free if the ball hits the roof.....

 

HS field which is tucked into the corner of the football field........goal posts are in foul territory to the right of 1st base and a light tower is in fair territory in right field......goal posts- dead ball.......light tower- in play....

 

A number of rural fields where cows wander in now and then and farm fields where the farmer doesn't appreciate ballplayers roaming around in his bean field....

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:notworthy: I did a HS game where there is a power line running across the cent field and they wanted it to be a home run if the ball hit it.  The line was so high that if a ball did hit it, it would have traveled at least 400 feet if the line had not been there.  The HTC said that it had been hit at least once that he could remember.  This is Xenia, Ohio. :hi5:  

 

There's a similar sounding one to that my way. Except we've got both the lines and one of those massive stanchions. The stanchion forms part of the right field fence, though its quite deep and don't remember seeing any balls get to it. If they go into the tower its two bases. If the ball hits the lines - which run from the RF corner to the 3BL, probably going the closest to the infield where the dirt would meet the grass behind 2B - its one base for the batter and runners advance if forced. You can go months without seeing one hit them, then you'll get 3 or 4 in one game.

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Back in the early 1970s my high school team (from NW Ohio) took an extended road-trip over spring break...and one of our stops was in Frostburg Maryland.  Their field was, quite literally, a cow pasture.  The entire field sloped down from home plate to a wooded ravine and creek beyond center field.  The slope was so severe that when you stood at home plate all you could see of the center fielder was his head and shoulders.

 

There was a fence around the outfield, except for a gap of about 40 feet at the very center.  It was a LONG way out there, probably 480'...and they told us nobody had ever hit one there on the fly...but that any ball that bounced or rolled through that gap was a 'ground rule triple'.

 

There was also no fence enclosing foul territory along the LF line.  The field was open from the 3rd base bench to the foul pole, and there was practically NO grass in left field, especially from that gap in center to the left field line.  About the 3rd inning we started hearing a loud bell ringing...like a church bell...but there was no church.  The sound seemed to be coming from a very large barn-like structure that was a couple hundred yards beyond the left field foul line.  We were at bat when this bell started ringing, and were puzzled when the umpire called "time" and the defensive players all headed to their bench.

 

Several minutes later dairy cattle started coming up the ravine, through that gap in center field and heading across left field on their way to the barn.  This went on for 15 minutes or more, we lost count at about 300 cows.  I can still see our head coach just standing there in the third base coach's box with his arms crossed, shaking his head in disbelief.  The umpire explained that this happened every afternoon at 5:30.

 

After the parade was over, 4 or 5 of the home team's players (I'm guessing this job was reserved for freshmen) grabbed shovels and buckets.  They spread out in a line and walked along the worn out patch scooping up fresh cow patties.

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Back in the early 1970s my high school team (from NW Ohio) took an extended road-trip over spring break...and one of our stops was in Frostburg Maryland.  Their field was, quite literally, a cow pasture.  The entire field sloped down from home plate to a wooded ravine and creek beyond center field.  The slope was so severe that when you stood at home plate all you could see of the center fielder was his head and shoulders.

 

There was a fence around the outfield, except for a gap of about 40 feet at the very center.  It was a LONG way out there, probably 480'...and they told us nobody had ever hit one there on the fly...but that any ball that bounced or rolled through that gap was a 'ground rule triple'.

 

There was also no fence enclosing foul territory along the LF line.  The field was open from the 3rd base bench to the foul pole, and there was practically NO grass in left field, especially from that gap in center to the left field line.  About the 3rd inning we started hearing a loud bell ringing...like a church bell...but there was no church.  The sound seemed to be coming from a very large barn-like structure that was a couple hundred yards beyond the left field foul line.  We were at bat when this bell started ringing, and were puzzled when the umpire called "time" and the defensive players all headed to their bench.

 

Several minutes later dairy cattle started coming up the ravine, through that gap in center field and heading across left field on their way to the barn.  This went on for 15 minutes or more, we lost count at about 300 cows.  I can still see our head coach just standing there in the third base coach's box with his arms crossed, shaking his head in disbelief.  The umpire explained that this happened every afternoon at 5:30.

 

After the parade was over, 4 or 5 of the home team's players (I'm guessing this job was reserved for freshmen) grabbed shovels and buckets.  They spread out in a line and walked along the worn out patch scooping up fresh cow patties.

Funny!

You cant make this stuff up!

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Years ago I played with a vintage baseball team that played under the Massachusetts Rules of 1860.

 

Batted balls were judged FAIR or FOUL by where they FIRST touched the ground, regardless of where they might later go.

There were no fences, and NO such thing as dead ball territory...wherever the ball went, the defense bad to chase it.

 

A popular offensive tactic was to hook-chop down on a pitch so it would land just in front of the plate (FAIR) then bounce off into the woods, parking lot or picnic area. 

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No fence in RF and a corner of the running track "cuts into" RF.  A ball that lands ON or OVER the track was considered a HR.  A ball that rolls onto or over was considering a ground rule double. 

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Years ago I played with a vintage baseball team that played under the Massachusetts Rules of 1860.

 

Batted balls were judged FAIR or FOUL by where they FIRST touched the ground, regardless of where they might later go.

There were no fences, and NO such thing as dead ball territory...wherever the ball went, the defense bad to chase it.

 

A popular offensive tactic was to hook-chop down on a pitch so it would land just in front of the plate (FAIR) then bounce off into the woods, parking lot or picnic area.

The defense should have known that under those rules they could play in foul territory to defend this! :smile:

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On one of the fields at a local complex here home plate faces directly in to the setting sun.

From about June 15 to the end of July there's about 30 minutes right before sundown that the ball is coming right out of the sun as the pitcher releases.  We shut the games down on that field unless it's cloudy.

 

Two weeks ago I had a 645/845 12u double header scheduled on that field.  Not a traditional double header, one team playing single games against two different opponents.  The first game ended about 8:20, and the opposing team for the second game was all there and ready to play.  Home team's manager suggested we wait till after the 'sun delay' and start after sunset (9:10, I think).  He didn't think it made sense to start the game, then stop in the 2nd inning and sit around for 20-30 minutes.  I was OK with it, but the visiting manager threw a conniption fit.  "we've got a 40 minute drive to get home, these kids are only 12, my pitcher is already loose, blah, blah, blah."

 

Against my better judgment, we started the game.  In the top of the 2nd inning, batter took strike three right down the gut.  Daddy coach is reaming him out all the way back to the bench  "How can you take that pitch?  If you don't want to play, I'll put somebody else in."  But dad, I can't see. 


On one of the fields at a local complex here home plate faces directly in to the setting sun.

From about June 15 to the end of July there's about 30 minutes right before sundown that the ball is coming right out of the sun as the pitcher releases.  We shut the games down on that field unless it's cloudy.

 

Two weeks ago I had a 645/845 12u double header scheduled on that field.  Not a traditional double header, one team playing single games against two different opponents.  The first game ended about 8:20, and the opposing team for the second game was all there and ready to play.  Home team's manager suggested we wait till after the 'sun delay' and start after sunset (9:10, I think).  He didn't think it made sense to start the game, then stop in the 2nd inning and sit around for 20-30 minutes.  I was OK with it, but the visiting manager threw a conniption fit.  "we've got a 40 minute drive to get home, these kids are only 12, my pitcher is already loose, blah, blah, blah."

 

Against my better judgment, we started the game.  In the top of the 2nd inning, batter took strike three right down the gut.  Daddy coach is reaming him out all the way back to the bench  "How can you take that pitch?  If you don't want to play, I'll put somebody else in."  But dad, I can't see. 

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Same location 2 different fields, field one football stands are in playing and gap between rest rooms and  stands, if it hit the stands it is hr no problem there if it rolls under the stands and players go after it is in play same for gap between fences and restrooms in play if players go after it .Being I saw problems with that made it ground 2b.

  Second field tree in play left field with playground next to it, if tree hit in air hr that is the easy one, playground is better if there are kids playing in playground and they grab the ball it is umpire judgement  as to what base the runner should be put, after a long conversation and in depth conversation taking into account the position of the moon and sun (took about 5 seconds) we stated it would be 2 got love local groundrules

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There's this field that's about a 1/4 mile from a downtown hospital. It was a windy day. About the 4th inning, a policeman shows up and says that we'll have to shut down soon. As it turns out, the far center field is the alternate landing field for medevac choppers when it's too windy to land on the hospital roof. The cops shut us down and other personnel started marking off the LZ. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, the bird came in.

 

After the ambulance took the patient, the helicopter stayed on the ground. Since it was about 600 feet out (no fence), with clearance of the cops, we started back up again. But we had to make some impromptu, in-game ground rules - if by some miracle someone actually hit it anywhere near the helicopter, ground rule HR. Yea, it's not in the book - we were just hoping someone would do it.

 

No one even hit it 200 feet.

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Most recent introduction to a field on the "far reaches" of our league's domain, and subsequent return journeys always seem to be in a drizzle. Curious, as this isn't the Pacific Northwest...

The ball field is situated on a reclaimed / leftover plot of land between the backyards of a block of residential houses and a local fuels wholesaler (Diesel, propane, LP, etc.). Reasoning holds that local / state codes direct there must be a standoff distance between houses and a commercial / industrial property of this nature, so instead of standing feral, the fuels wholesaler and the town agreed upon turning the plot into a ballpark. Because it always was intended to be a ballpark from inception, there is a (relatively) large scoreboard beyond the center field fence, but with the passage of time, has become weathered to the point it looks like something featured on The National Geographic Channel regarding derelict structures of Siberia. Surprisingly, it still works, with approximately 70% 60% of its light bulbs lighting up in response to inputs from a control board, constructed of what looks to be tin and faux-wood formica, wired behind the backstop. The outfield fence is a continuous arc from foul pole to foul pole (isn't that great, folks?!) and is, of course, covered with local advertising signs ("Do you think that local diner will honor that price? Is that local diner still in business?" "Official Oil Change of <Place Name Withheld> Baseball... Do any of these 12 year olds drive?").

Skinned infield, with the predominant material being sand. At least the infield doesn't turn to mud, and it drains well. The mound erodes way too quickly, though.

The backstop was likely designed by a guy whose preferred childhood toy was Erector Set. The backstop is really close, only ten-to-fifteen feet away, and melds into the dugouts with the seamlessness of a Cubist painting (no, not Cuban... Cubism). There are angles everywhere, and once some live ball action happens, you've got ballplayers running in and out from any of three gaps per side. Strangely enough, the fence lines are far too abrupt – 1BL only gets 2 more panels and 3BL doesn't get any. Remember how this is the backyards of a block of houses? Yeah, this is on the 1BS, so once the 1BL dugout fence ends, the madness begins... There are no less than ten objects / structures / trees to point out in the ground rules between the end of the fence and the 1BL foul pole. If one of the residents has actually decided to mow to the limit of his property line, then the ball can be played all the way to his landscaped bushes... If not, then you can tell the difference between the ballpark's mowing and his long grass, and his long grass is DBT. Of extra special note is a burning barrel, situated about twenty feet behind 1B and ten feet off from 1BL. It is in play, so a ball can carom off it just about any direction.

On the 3BS, there is an absence of declarable objects, as the road forms the boundary. Because the 3BS fence and the road are not parallel, and there are no discernible landmarks with which to "line up" the fence with so as to create DBT, we are forced to declare the road as DBT.

 

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Flag pole in play in center field. If it hits above the blue line, then homerun, hit below it is a live ball and play it. The ball can also get behind the pole.

The pole is 400' away as this stadium has MLB dimensions, and I have never seen the pole come into play in all of the games I have worked there. I have talked to the grounds crew, and they don't remember the pole being hit but.......... Never say never right?

This field is used by HS teams, JR & SR divisions of Little League, American Legion and some colleges play games there. The Senior League World Series is held there every August as well.

The old Yankee Stadium had monuments and a flag pole in play in CF. Check out the beginning of this video where Bobby Mercer has to navigate these items to retrieve a ball. (The rest of the video is not related.) I suppose there were not ground rules concerning balls bouncing around among these items.

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