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ljvavs

Defensive Shift and NFHS Question

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Myself and other fellow umpires are taking the Ohio Baseball Veterans test and ran across a conundrum. Here it is:

"With a runner on first base, a pull hitter is up and the defense puts on an infield shift.  The shortstop moves behind second base and the third baseman moves into shallow right field.  The batted ball is fielded by the third baseman who scoops it up and tries to get BR at first base.  At the time of the throw, the runner from first had reached second base and the throw goes into the dugout.  Where do you place the runners?

 A) Second and third since it was first play by an infielder.

B) Home and third since it was a play from the outfield.

C) Home and second since it was a play from an outfielder"

What makes this difficult to answer is how to we consider the shifted 3rd baseman? Is he an infielder or an outfielder? We've been told that in MLB rules, shifted players should be considered IF or OF depending on where they were respectively placed before. Unfortunately, we cannot find a specific rule in place directing us how to treat defenders when shifted. When this question was posed to other veteran FED trained umpires, we got a mix of answers.

Any thoughts or opinions from others? Is there a NFHS rule that clears up whether the shifted 3rd baseman is an IF or OF? Thanks for any feedback.

 

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24 minutes ago, ljvavs said:

Myself and other fellow umpires are taking the Ohio Baseball Veterans test and ran across a conundrum. Here it is:

"With a runner on first base, a pull hitter is up and the defense puts on an infield shift.  The shortstop moves behind second base and the third baseman moves into shallow right field.  The batted ball is fielded by the third baseman who scoops it up and tries to get BR at first base.  At the time of the throw, the runner from first had reached second base and the throw goes into the dugout.  Where do you place the runners?

 A) Second and third since it was first play by an infielder.

B) Home and third since it was a play from the outfield.

C) Home and second since it was a play from an outfielder"

What makes this difficult to answer is how to we consider the shifted 3rd baseman? Is he an infielder or an outfielder? We've been told that in MLB rules, shifted players should be considered IF or OF depending on where they were respectively placed before. Unfortunately, we cannot find a specific rule in place directing us how to treat defenders when shifted. When this question was posed to other veteran FED trained umpires, we got a mix of answers.

Any thoughts or opinions from others? Is there a NFHS rule that clears up whether the shifted 3rd baseman is an IF or OF? Thanks for any feedback.

 

Yes, there is. I'll give you a hint--by definition, there are exactly three outfielders.

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I’ll give you a better hint--from the 2016 BRD (section 279, p. 180):

FED:  Official Interpretation:  Hopkins:  A player throws a ball to DBT. It is the first play following the batted ball. He is: (1) an outfielder stationed in the infield; or (2) an infielder stationed in the outfield. In (1), award two bases from the time of the pitch. In (2), award two bases from the time of the throw.

2009 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 19: Having scouted the opposing team, the defensive coach brings the left fielder in to assume an infield position between the second baseman and the first baseman. The batter hits a ground ball to the "additional" infielder who throws the ball into the dugout on the first play. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to runners on base from the time of the pitch. The left fielder is considered at the time of the play to be an infielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3) 

SITUATION 20: Having scouted the player coming to bat, the defensive coach moves the second baseman to the outfield, thereby having four fielders equally spaced in the outfield. The second baseman, now playing in the outfield, takes a batted ball on the bounce and throws it into a dead-ball area. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to the runners from the time of the throw. The second baseman is considered at the time of this play to be an outfielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3)

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3 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

I’ll give you a better hint--from the 2016 BRD (section 279, p. 180):

FED:  Official Interpretation:  Hopkins:  A player throws a ball to DBT. It is the first play following the batted ball. He is: (1) an outfielder stationed in the infield; or (2) an infielder stationed in the outfield. In (1), award two bases from the time of the pitch. In (2), award two bases from the time of the throw.

2009 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 19: Having scouted the opposing team, the defensive coach brings the left fielder in to assume an infield position between the second baseman and the first baseman. The batter hits a ground ball to the "additional" infielder who throws the ball into the dugout on the first play. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to runners on base from the time of the pitch. The left fielder is considered at the time of the play to be an infielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3) 

SITUATION 20: Having scouted the player coming to bat, the defensive coach moves the second baseman to the outfield, thereby having four fielders equally spaced in the outfield. The second baseman, now playing in the outfield, takes a batted ball on the bounce and throws it into a dead-ball area. RULING: Two bases will be awarded to the runners from the time of the throw. The second baseman is considered at the time of this play to be an outfielder. (8-3-5, 2-13-3)

This is in direct conflict with 2-31.

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For Matt--you may want to edit your last post. Federation rule 2-31 defines a sacrifice and has nothing to do with this question.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

This is in direct conflict with 2-31.

In FED, we don't know what the infield is. They do give a diagram 2 which does not help much as to what the outfield is. They do say that there are only 3 outfielders. I'm calling it the first play by an infielder. Caseplays do not supercede rules, but I've certainly used them to clarify rules. In this case I am not.

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50 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

For Matt--you may want to edit your last post. Federation rule 2-31 defines a sacrifice and has nothing to do with this question.

Whoops. 2-13.

(I don't believe in editing posts that have responses.)

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Case book plays are not developed and published to supersede any rules. But they do come from the rules committee and they are official. What case book plays are is stated in the Foreword of each annual book. Here’s what it says in the 2018 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

“The play situations and comments are based on questions that have been raised in administering the many thousands of interscholastic games played each season. State associations and allied groups conduct a series of baseball meetings at the beginning of each season and directors of these meetings have contributed reports, summaries and digests of discussions.

“Interpretations:  Rulings in this book are approved by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee. They are official for situations as outlined.”

The following text introduces the online case plays that the NFHS releases each season:

“Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.”

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11 hours ago, ljvavs said:

Is [F5] an infielder or an outfielder? Any thoughts or opinions from others? Is there a NFHS rule that clears up whether the shifted 3rd baseman is an IF or OF? 

Senor Azul posts are correct.. 

Players physically positioned in the outfield at the TOP are outfielders. 

NFHS 2-13-2 allows multiple fielders to play outfield, not just three.  NFHS 2-13-3 describes all other fielders as infielders. 

If F5 were in shallow (or deep) RF at the TOP, then he's an outfielder and his overthrows are ruled accordingly..  

OHSAA's DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1 (February 23, 2015) clarified this play almost verbatim.       

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1 hour ago, Cav said:

 

Senor Azul posts are correct.. 

Players physically positioned in the outfield at the TOP are outfielders. 

NFHS 2-13-2 allows multiple fielders to play outfield, not just three.  NFHS 2-13-3 describes all other fielders as infielders. 

If F5 were in shallow (or deep) RF at the TOP, then he's an outfielder and his overthrows are ruled accordingly..  

OHSAA's DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1 (February 23, 2015) clarified this play almost verbatim.       

Thanks to all who have put in their 2 cents on this question. I'm still a bit unclear, though.

NFHS 2-13-2 states "The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders"

NFHS 2-13-3 states "The others are infielders" 

When I read these, there's an assumption being made by you, Cav, that's not clearly stated in the rules.Rule 2-13-2 doesn't explicitly state you can have more than 3 outfielders. If anything, it's limiting it to 3 because they're specifically listed by position. The way 2-13-3 reads actually is the catch-all I'm leaning towards since it states "the others . . ." which accounts for those not in the outfield (and not part of the battery).

I'm intrigued by the OHSAA DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1 you referenced. I checked my personal e-mail archives and couldn't find it. Could you post or send me a copy of it since you said it clarifies this issue almost verbatim?

P.S.- Thanks to all who have thusfar piped in on my inquiry. I love perusing this sight and have learned much reading all these different posts. It's made me a better umpire, that's for sure.

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I agree that it's based on the position of the fielder -- but that's still judgment as to whether he's deep enough to be an outfielder or shallow enough to be an infielder.

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5 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Case book plays are not developed and published to supersede any rules. But they do come from the rules committee and they are official. What case book plays are is stated in the Foreword of each annual book. Here’s what it says in the 2018 NFHS Baseball Case Book:

“The play situations and comments are based on questions that have been raised in administering the many thousands of interscholastic games played each season. State associations and allied groups conduct a series of baseball meetings at the beginning of each season and directors of these meetings have contributed reports, summaries and digests of discussions.

“Interpretations:  Rulings in this book are approved by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee. They are official for situations as outlined.”

The following text introduces the online case plays that the NFHS releases each season:

“Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.”

Does that statement also refer to yearly interps? There are quite a few that are out of date in years past.

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1 hour ago, ljvavs said:

NFHS 2-13-2 states "The players who play left field, right field and center field are out-fielders"

NFHS 2-13-3 states "The others are infielders" 

When I read these, there's an assumption being made by you, Cav, that's not clearly stated in the rules.Rule 2-13-2 doesn't explicitly state you can have more than 3 outfielders. If anything, it's limiting it to 3 because they're specifically listed by position. The way 2-13-3 reads actually is the catch-all I'm leaning towards since it states "the others . . ." which accounts for those not in the outfield (and not part of the battery).

I'm intrigued by the OHSAA DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1 you referenced. I checked my personal e-mail archives and couldn't find it. Could you post or send me a copy of it since you said it clarifies this issue almost verbatim?

P.S.- Thanks to all who have thusfar piped in on my inquiry. I love perusing this sight and have learned much reading all these different posts. It's made me a better umpire, that's for sure.

If clarity is what you seek, then a baseball rules book, the NFHS' in particular, is the last place you would want to look for it.

A point of clarification: The players comprising the battery at NFHS 2-13-4 are infielders, too.  (Special infielders if you were to ask them.)  The rules govern their overthrows the same as those from all other infielders.  

Smarter umpires than me have stated something to the effect, if it's not in the rules, then it's not against the rules.  

Linguists can argue the use of the plural noun "players" and how it applies to the words "left field, right field and center field" because that science is well above my pay grade.  I'm sticking with the interpretation below from OHSAA DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1:             

 

Being 99% of the time a pull hitter, the defense puts on an infield shift when the batter comes up to bat with a runner on first base. The shortstop plays almost behind second base, with the second baseman 2/3 of the way to first base from second. The third baseman goes into shallow right field, between the second baseman and the right fielder. True to form, the batter hits a soft "Texas Leaguer" just over the second baseman. The third baseman, playing in right field, runs in to scoop the ball on one hop and throws to first base in an attempt to put out the runner. At the time of his throw, the runner from first base (off on a steal attempt) has touched second base, but the batter has not yet reached first. The throw sails into the dugout. Next comes an argument from both coaches as to the proper awards. The offense says it is two bases from the time of the throw and so the runner who had touched second should score. The defense says the award is two bases from the time of the pitch, so no run should be scored. There is nothing illegal with this formation, and we as umpires just have to recognize that, in this play, the third baseman is now really an outfielder. So, when he throws the ball into dead ball territory, the award is two base, from the time of the throw. So, for this play, we will score the runner from first who had rounded second at the time of the throw, and place the batter-runner at second base. That is what the umpires did in this game, and then had the opportunity to explain that the third baseman was not really an infielder to the coach. If we allowed this, then all a coach would have to do is list his right fielder as the first baseman on the lineup card, and then play him in right field; any throw of his (for the most part) would be 2 bases from the time of the pitch. Not legal, but nice try.

 

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2 hours ago, ljvavs said:

When I read these, there's an assumption being made by you, Cav, that's not clearly stated in the rules.Rule 2-13-2 doesn't explicitly state you can have more than 3 outfielders. If anything, it's limiting it to 3 because they're specifically listed by position. The way 2-13-3 reads actually is the catch-all I'm leaning towards since it states "the others . . ." which accounts for those not in the outfield (and not part of the battery).

That's a natural reading, but not the only one possible. The language of the rule clearly defines three FIELDS (left, center, and right), but not necessarily three FIELDERS ("The players in..." those three fields....).

I disagree with the rationale for the interpretation: coaches usually shift in order to position another infielder to make a play on the BR at 1B, not in order to have another outfielder. Where they want another outfielder, he's placed much deeper (as in 2009/SITUATION 20 posted above), and he typically has no play on the BR at 1B.

One way to finesse the issue is to judge the play by action on the field. In the case from the DOD bulletin, we have an extra outfielder backing up an infielder on a batted ball over his (F4's) head. His (F5's) throw out of play should be a TOT award.

Had the fielders lined up the same way and the batter grounded directly to a shifted F5, who made a wild throw to F3 in plenty of time to retire the BR (had the throw been good), then I'd have it as the first play by an infielder and make a TOP award.

This approach uses a functional definition of 'infielder' rather than a positional definition, given the ambiguity of the latter in this case. It also yields the "right" rulings for the 2009 interps.

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Sorry... don't mean to hijack. 

Would I be correct in believing this is in contridiction to both NCAA and OBR? Don't both of those rule sets determine the fielder by where he is normally positioned? 

Thus... F5 would still be F5 even if positioned out in short right like in the OP?

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2 hours ago, noumpere said:

I agree that it's based on the position of the fielder -- but that's still judgment as to whether he's deep enough to be an outfielder or shallow enough to be an infielder.

Would that be the pre-pitch position? It appears that F4 made an outfielder play in this caseplay. If F9 had made the play I think we would have no problem calling it the first play by an outfielder:

2018 Casebook

*8.3.5 SITUATION F: 

With R2 on second and R1 on first base, B3 hits a fly ball in shallow right-field area between F3, F4 and F9. All three players converge on the ball as it falls safely but is fielded on the bounce by F4. R2 is beyond third, R1beyond second and B3 is beyond first when F4 throws to home base (or third base). Ball bounces into stand. 

RULING: Though F4's throw was the first play by an infielder following a pitch, award each runner (including batter-runner) two bases from the base he occupied when the ball left the hand of F4, since all runners already have advanced one base. If B3 had not reached first base, award all runners two bases from their location at the time of the pitch.

 

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11 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Would that be the pre-pitch position? It appears that F4 made an outfielder play in this caseplay. If F9 had made the play I think we would have no problem calling it the first play by an outfielder:

2018 Casebook

*8.3.5 SITUATION F: 

With R2 on second and R1 on first base, B3 hits a fly ball in shallow right-field area between F3, F4 and F9. All three players converge on the ball as it falls safely but is fielded on the bounce by F4. R2 is beyond third, R1beyond second and B3 is beyond first when F4 throws to home base (or third base). Ball bounces into stand. 

RULING: Though F4's throw was the first play by an infielder following a pitch, award each runner (including batter-runner) two bases from the base he occupied when the ball left the hand of F4, since all runners already have advanced one base. If B3 had not reached first base, award all runners two bases from their location at the time of the pitch.

The 2009 interps use the phrase, "considered at the time of the play," which suggests something like the functional definition I was proposing.

This case play describes a batted ball that is neither clearly in the outfield, nor clearly in the infield. An infielder (positioned normally at TOP) gets to it first, and makes the first play. I'm good with the ruling (TOP award) on that basis.

I agree with your statement that, if F9 instead had reached it first, we'd go with a TOT award. Often infielders allow outfielders to get these, as their momentum vector is directed better for fielding and a subsequent throw (coming in, rather than running out).

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22 minutes ago, maven said:

The 2009 interps use the phrase, "considered at the time of the play," which suggests something like the functional definition I was proposing.

This case play describes a batted ball that is neither clearly in the outfield, nor clearly in the infield. An infielder (positioned normally at TOP) gets to it first, and makes the first play. I'm good with the ruling (TOP award) on that basis.

I agree with your statement that, if F9 instead had reached it first, we'd go with a TOT award. Often infielders allow outfielders to get these, as their momentum vector is directed better for fielding and a subsequent throw (coming in, rather than running out).

I like your functional definition but Hopkins uses "stationing" when he is quoted regarding the, in my 2011 BRD, 2009 website #19, #20. So normal stationed players retain their status as infielders or outfielders. I would say the umpire would have to judge non normal stationing and could call it either way using your criteria which I like. But Ohio umps can't do that.

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No, Mr. BT_Blue, it does not contradict the OBR or the NCAA. From the OBR rule 9.00 (The Official Scorer):

Rule 9.03(a) Comment: When a player does not exchange positions with another fielder but is merely placed in a different spot for a particular batter (for example, if a second baseman goes to the outfield to form a four-man outfield, or if a third baseman moves to a position between the shortstop and second baseman), the official scorer should not list this as a new position.

And from the OBR Definitions of Terms:

An INFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the infield

An OUTFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the outfield, which is the area of the playing field most distant from home base.

And here is what I consider to be the best definition of the terms infielder and outfielder-- from the Jaksa/Roder manual (2010 edition, p. 33):

Infielder:  A defensive player who positions himself at the time-of-pitch such that he will easily have a play on the batter-runner at first on a ground ball. Normally there are four fielders who are always considered infielders; first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. The pitcher and catcher are considered infielders unless otherwise specified. In rare cases, for the purpose of awarding bases on an overthrow, an infielder, due to positioning and the development of a play, may end up being considered an outfielder, and vice versa.

Outfielder:  A defensive player who positions himself far enough away in the outfield at the time-of-pitch that he will most likely not have a play on the batter-runner at first on a ground ball…

 

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Mr. ljvavs, you asked in your original post, “Is there a NFHS rule that clears up whether the shifted 3rd baseman is an IF or OF?”

There is and I provided it—an official interpretation and (what I thought reinforced that OI) two case plays issued obviously to go along with it to further illustrate how to rule on the field. The OI is attributed to Hopkins—that would be B. Elliot Hopkins who is the rules interpreter for the Fed. Here it is again and I just do not see any vagueness about the OI—to me it is clear and straightforward.

FED:  Official Interpretation:  Hopkins:  A player throws a ball to DBT. It is the first play following the batted ball. He is: (1) an outfielder stationed in the infield; or (2) an infielder stationed in the outfield. In (1), award two bases from the time of the pitch. In (2), award two bases from the time of the throw.

If one chooses to ignore the position statement of the official rules interpreter, I don’t know what could possibly answer your question.

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So I have to ask.  Where does the " former infielder "  need to be yo be considered an outfielder?  R1, LHB,  F6 plays behind 2B, F5 is near SS, and F4 is 3 feet on the outfield grass. Is F4 now an outfielder? If not, how far off the back edge of the infield dirt does he have to go before we call him a 4th outfielder??  

Personally, it makes sense to me that they're infielders unless they're playing almost 4 across the outfield. If the shifted infielder is an appreciable distance in front of the "real" outfielders, he's an infielder as far as I can tell. 

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1 hour ago, Richvee said:

So I have to ask.  Where does the " former infielder "  need to be yo be considered an outfielder? 

That's why we get paid the $65.

 

And, I agree that it's based on the general idea that BR can be thrown out -- but, especially in LL, it's not such a rare play to have F9 throw out the BR -- and we wouldn't consider F9 an infielder.

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On 2/18/2018 at 6:28 AM, Cav said:

 

Senor Azul posts are correct.. 

Players physically positioned in the outfield at the TOP are outfielders. 

NFHS 2-13-2 allows multiple fielders to play outfield, not just three.  NFHS 2-13-3 describes all other fielders as infielders. 

If F5 were in shallow (or deep) RF at the TOP, then he's an outfielder and his overthrows are ruled accordingly..  

OHSAA's DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1 (February 23, 2015) clarified this play almost verbatim.       

So then fields that are all grass with sliding pits need to have the infield/outfield line marked? 

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Sorry that I've been away from internet access for a while, gentleman.

I appreciate all of your input.

23 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

There is and I provided it—an official interpretation

Senor Azul has been of help concerning the OI of the situation. Thanks.

On 2/18/2018 at 10:52 AM, Cav said:

I I'm sticking with the interpretation below from OHSAA DOD Baseball Bulletin 15-1:              

Also, Cav was helpful in finding the old OHSAA Bulletin that does almost verbatim cover this play. Thanks.

I can see a benefit to adding a clearer definition in the FED rules of what constitutes changing from being an infielder to an outfielder, and vice versa. I'm sure that when baseball rules were written no one thought that teams would even consider having the left side of the infield completely open like they do today. For now, I'll embrace what noumpere said:

20 hours ago, noumpere said:

That's why we get paid the $65.

I'm satisfied with the feedback I've received and from all I've been provided by all of you, the answer is determined from the TOT,

C) Home and second since it was a play from an outfielder.

Thanks again all.

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8 hours ago, JSam21 said:

So then fields that are all grass with sliding pits need to have the infield/outfield line marked? 

Exactly my point. I'll stick with "if the shifted fielder is an appreciable distance in front of F9, he's an infielder as far as I'm concerned."

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