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Umpire in Chief

Baseball Rules Myths - Busted

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Before I get nit-picky: I like the graphics and the intro music/logo combo. Those look sharp!

One typo, though. "pate" instead of "plate" at about the 5:12 mark.

...and you missed my favorite myth ("the hands are part of the bat"), but if you put everyone's favorite here, you'd probably have an hour-long video.

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Well done! I will add I would have liked to have seen a little about the FED rule difference on RLI. At least a mention that in HS a poor throw can still be deemed RLI

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I have given thought about some vids that highlight some of the differences between NFHS & OBR. I have so many ideas and just not enough time, damn this full time job stuff ;)

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Great video

For the record - the softball rule about bunt/strikes is the same as baseball.   In fact, I find it is more common in softball, especially at the lower levels, for a batter to be taught to leave their bat in bunt position, and not pull the bat back if the pitch is out of the strike zone...and as long as they don't move the bat to the ball it will not be called a strike (provided it didn't enter the strike zone)...and with very few exceptions umpires call it this way.  Especially with the very common softball practice of running bunts and running slaps, if the batter does not strike at the ball it won't be called a strike....merely running up the batter's box with a bat in bunting position is not automatically a strike.

I think this myth comes from the somewhat related myth about breaking your wrists or crossing the plane of the plate to determine a swing - people think that if your bunt position brings the bat across the plane of the plate it must be "swing"

 

 

However, to the "tie" myth...your statement about the one rule ignores two other instances in OBR that are the most likely sources of the myth.

 

Rule 7.01 A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. 

Rule 7.08e Any runner is out when he or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced

The first requires the runner to beat the defense...the second requires the defense to beat the runner....meaning in the second scenario a tie would go to the runner.

 

As well, Rule 6.05j "A batter is out when, after a (dropped) third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base", would also suggest that the defense must beat the batter/runner.

So it would seem we have two rules that indicate a tie goes to the runner, and one where a tie goes to the defense.

HOwever, I would go one further as 7.01 does not say before he is "tagged"...it says before he is "out" (I literally have only noticed this now, for the first time).   And 7.08 and 6.05 say that to be out he must be tagged before he touches the base.  That would seem to indicate that, even under 7.01, a tie does indeed go to the runner.

I think we have to go back to that infinite number of decimal points argument and just accept that there are no ties....it's a more precise and clean argument....or maybe the myth I've always thought was a myth, isn't.

 

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Last year, we had a couple LL games where a strike was called because the batter didn't pull back the bat. Considering that most of the batter's are in the bunt stance, I don't know how that meets the definition of a strike. 

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1 hour ago, Mister B said:

Last year, we had a couple LL games where a strike was called because the batter didn't pull back the bat. Considering that most of the batter's are in the bunt stance, I don't know how that meets the definition of a strike. 

I have been told by some umps and coaches that while in the bunt stance the bat was across the plane of the plate, making it a strike...which, of course, is it's own myth.

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3 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

For the record - the softball rule about bunt/strikes is the same as baseball.   In fact, I find it is more common in softball, especially at the lower levels, for a batter to be taught to leave their bat in bunt position, and not pull the bat back if the pitch is out of the strike zone...and as long as they don't move the bat to the ball it will not be called a strike (provided it didn't enter the strike zone)...and with very few exceptions umpires call it this way.  Especially with the very common softball practice of running bunts and running slaps, if the batter does not strike at the ball it won't be called a strike....merely running up the batter's box with a bat in bunting position is not automatically a strike.

Not with NFHS softball rules. Maybe that's where the confusion comes in?

Rule 2-8-2:

Attempted Bunt. Any non-swinging movement of the bat intended to tap the ball into play. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn - pulled backward and away from the ball.

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35 minutes ago, kylehutson said:

Not with NFHS softball rules. Maybe that's where the confusion comes in?

Rule 2-8-2:

Attempted Bunt. Any non-swinging movement of the bat intended to tap the ball into play. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn - pulled backward and away from the ball.

Interesting - definitely seen Softball Canada, NSA and ASA all let this go.

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9 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

Great video

For the record - the softball rule about bunt/strikes is the same as baseball.   In fact, I find it is more common in softball, especially at the lower levels, for a batter to be taught to leave their bat in bunt position, and not pull the bat back if the pitch is out of the strike zone...and as long as they don't move the bat to the ball it will not be called a strike (provided it didn't enter the strike zone)...and with very few exceptions umpires call it this way.  Especially with the very common softball practice of running bunts and running slaps, if the batter does not strike at the ball it won't be called a strike....merely running up the batter's box with a bat in bunting position is not automatically a strike.

I think this myth comes from the somewhat related myth about breaking your wrists or crossing the plane of the plate to determine a swing - people think that if your bunt position brings the bat across the plane of the plate it must be "swing"

 

 

However, to the "tie" myth...your statement about the one rule ignores two other instances in OBR that are the most likely sources of the myth.

 

Rule 7.01 A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. 

Rule 7.08e Any runner is out when he or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced

The first requires the runner to beat the defense...the second requires the defense to beat the runner....meaning in the second scenario a tie would go to the runner.

 

As well, Rule 6.05j "A batter is out when, after a (dropped) third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base", would also suggest that the defense must beat the batter/runner.

So it would seem we have two rules that indicate a tie goes to the runner, and one where a tie goes to the defense.

HOwever, I would go one further as 7.01 does not say before he is "tagged"...it says before he is "out" (I literally have only noticed this now, for the first time).   And 7.08 and 6.05 say that to be out he must be tagged before he touches the base.  That would seem to indicate that, even under 7.01, a tie does indeed go to the runner.

I think we have to go back to that infinite number of decimal points argument and just accept that there are no ties....it's a more precise and clean argument....or maybe the myth I've always thought was a myth, isn't.

 

You do know that OBR/MLB had wording a while ago where the tie went to runner at one base (forced or 1B I can't remember) and the tie went to the fielder at the other. They changed the wording to semantically make a tie go to the runner at all bases except for an appeal throw.

You have done an excellent job parsing the MLB rule and now your homework is to parse the NFHS and NCAA rules. Where a tie does not always go to the runner. I did it once and forgot it. I've always relied  on your last sentence but I like to make sure that an umpire who thinks the tie does not go to the runner in OBR, except an appeal, does not say the wrong thing to @Rich Ives when asked what did you see on a force or out at 1B. "The ball did not beat the runner" is safe to say semantically except for appeals. "The runner did not beat the ball" is not safe to say except I never have heard of any protest over that semantic error. Do you want to be the first?

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10 hours ago, Jimurray said:

You do know that OBR/MLB had wording a while ago where the tie went to runner at one base (forced or 1B I can't remember) and the tie went to the fielder at the other. They changed the wording to semantically make a tie go to the runner at all bases except for an appeal throw.

You have done an excellent job parsing the MLB rule and now your homework is to parse the NFHS and NCAA rules. Where a tie does not always go to the runner. I did it once and forgot it. I've always relied  on your last sentence but I like to make sure that an umpire who thinks the tie does not go to the runner in OBR, except an appeal, does not say the wrong thing to @Rich Ives when asked what did you see on a force or out at 1B. "The ball did not beat the runner" is safe to say semantically except for appeals. "The runner did not beat the ball" is not safe to say except I never have heard of any protest over that semantic error. Do you want to be the first?

I think it's simpler to say "the ball beat the runner" or "the runner beat the ball".   If HC says "it was a tie" I think rather than getting into the philosophical/mathematical argument "there are no ties" (you can do that in the beer garden afterwards), I think a simple "I didn't see a tie" would end it, even if it is a white lie.

My overall point in the context of the video is this is one myth that can't simply be dispelled by pointing to a single rule...there are too many instances of semantically conflicting language across multiple rule sets.  The only way to really counter it is to say there are no ties, which is effectively how it was explained to me by my (believe it or not) coach almost 40 years ago.

I've always seen it as a guideline - like breaking the wrists or crossing the plane are guidelines...not rules...that some people use to determine if there was a swing - to follow on close plays...basically putting the onus on the defense and giving the benefit of the doubt to the runner....something meant to make things a little easier at the younger levels...or in the playground.

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13 hours ago, Jimurray said:

You have done an excellent job parsing the MLB rule and now your homework is to parse the NFHS and NCAA rules

Thank you for the compliment.   Here's my take on NFHS.

h. is touched by a live ball securely held by a fielder or is touched by a fielder’s glove or hand with the live ball held therein, while the runner is not touching his base. 

i. does not retouch his base before a fielder tags him out or holds the ball while touching such base after any situation (8-2-1, 2-3 and 4). or

j. fails to reach the next base before a fielder either tags the runner out or holds the ball while touching such base, after runner has been forced from the base he occupied because the batter became a runner (with ball in play) when other runners were on first base, or on first and second, or on first, second and third

It seems to delineate between tagging the runner (tie goes to runner) and tagging the base (tie goes to defense) - whether it's a force or an appeal.   Because of the language in i and j, which turns out to be redundant and circular (ie. the runner is out if he doesn't reach the base before he is tagged out, which must occur before he reaches the base), even on a force/appeal play, it seems if you tag the runner instead of the base the tie would go to the runner....based on Rule one, Section 24....following that even article one for a force out contains the language for a tag out.

ART. 1 . . . A force-out is a putout during which a runner who is being forced to advance is tagged out, or is put out by a fielder who holds the ball while touching the base toward which the forced runner is advancing

ART. 4 . . . A tag out is the put out of a runner, including the batter-runner, who is not in contact with his base when touched with a live ball, or with the glove or hand when the live ball is held securely therein by a fielder. 

.

On a side note, I think Article Four alludes to the most compelling case for "tie goes to the runner", dismissing any technical/semantic discussion, in how anyone may have struggled to word a rule for any given scenario...the words "not in contact with his base".  The premise and spirit of the game, in its purest form, has always held that if you're touching the (proper) base you are safe  - and the opposite side of the coin, if you are tagged while not touching the base you are out. 

So, if you accept the notion that there can be ties, then in a scenario where the runner and the ball/tag do arrive at the exact same time, the runner must be safe because he is in contact with the base.  In following the spirit of the game.

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Thank you all, I appreciate the comments and the ensuing discussion. 

 

A valid argument can be made for tie going to a runner ( If you fall in that category I never want to work with you, we must get outs :insertevillaughhere:

However parsing the rules and as people have done IMO is more a demonstration of how the rules are poorly written and at inconsistent. 

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47 minutes ago, Umpire in Chief said:

Thank you all, I appreciate the comments and the ensuing discussion. 

 

A valid argument can be made for tie going to a runner ( If you fall in that category I never want to work with you, we must get outs :insertevillaughhere:

However parsing the rules and as people have done IMO is more a demonstration of how the rules are poorly written and at inconsistent. 

OBR recognized the inconsistency of their rule at a forced base versus at 1B some years ago. They revised the wording for the one rule to make it the same as the other, semantically a tie goes to the runner. They could have revised the other instead to make a tie go to the defense but they didn’t. I would think they did that on purpose. 

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On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 9:37 AM, beerguy55 said:

I think it's simpler to say "the ball beat the runner" or "the runner beat the ball".   If HC says "it was a tie" I think rather than getting into the philosophical/mathematical argument "there are no ties" (you can do that in the beer garden afterwards), I think a simple "I didn't see a tie" would end it, even if it is a white lie.

or....................In My Judgment...............

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On the softball side, the language is closer to FED - ie. touching a runner not in contact with the base.   Ergo, if you're in contact with the base, as you would be in a "tie" situation, you are safe...so, tie goes to the runner.

IMO, for baseball or softball, tie should go to the runner, under that premise - if you're touching the base, you're safe.  That has always been the spirit of the game.

It just goes back to the philosophical discussion of whether there truly are ties.

And if Olympic sports, in winter and summer, can have ties, in events ranging from 50 meters to 50 kilometers, to two or three decimal places, I think baseball can have a tie covering a race of 90 feet.   Besides, I wanna see more offense.

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