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Tborze

Hybrid

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This seems to be a hot topic by most in my area. 

I was curious as to how other chapters/associations are handling this. 

With no runners on, are you enforcing this?  How?

With a runner or runners on, are we to assume he is in the stretch?  Wind up?  Neither, and balk it on first movement?  

Using two man mechanics would you agree it would be difficult to identify which position he is in based on U1's position?  

Are you calling it an illegal pitch when he takes this position, or after he begins his motion?  Or are you calling time and correcting it?

Is there an advantage to the hybrid?  

A lot of mounds are not very well constructed to say the least. Should this be taken into consideration when enforcing this position?

Is there a CP on this?  If there is I can't find it. 

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58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

With no runners on, are you enforcing this?  How?

Yes, it's an illegal pitching position. My state wants this enforced in every game at every (HS) level. I teach a 2 step procedure:

  1. 98% of the time, we can address the problem in warmups: let coach know he's in the "hybrid" (in my state, all coaches have heard about this ad nauseam), and have coach address it (usually, "get back on the rubber, Bubba").
  2. If he suddenly starts using the hybrid, address it when you see it. It's not illegal until the pitching motion begins (often a rocker step), at which time we kill it and award a ball to the batter.
58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

With a runner or runners on, are we to assume he is in the stretch?  Wind up?  Neither, and balk it on first movement?  

We don't have to assume. The set position is clearly defined and requires the pivot foot to be (completely, entire foot) on the rubber OR in front of, touching, and parallel to the rubber. In either case, the entire foot (more or less) needs to be within the 24" length of the rubber. The hybrid does not satisfy either requirement. But yes, if he's not legal, first motion is an illegal pitch, and with runners on that's a balk.

58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Using two man mechanics would you agree it would be difficult to identify which position he is in based on U1's position?  

I get this question all the time. The answer is: I can see his feet. If he's not clearly illegal, then he's legal. PU/BU is immaterial, no protractor required.

58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Are you calling it an illegal pitch when he takes this position, or after he begins his motion?  Or are you calling time and correcting it?

I've already addressed this, but since you asked, it's worth adding that the position is not illegal until he pitches from it. Being on the rubber in the hybrid is not in itself a violation. If he disengages and fixes it, then he's legal (no matter what the opposing coach says). And the time for me to fix it expires when the ball becomes live.

58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Is there an advantage to the hybrid?  

In theory, yes: the windup (let's say) yields a better pitch, and the set yields a better pick (in FED, the only legal pick). If F1 gets to have both, or the appearance of both, then that's an advantage. Why bother with 2 pitching positions in the first place?

58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

A lot of mounds are not very well constructed to say the least. Should this be taken into consideration when enforcing this position?

Could be: usually the issue is a huge hole in front of the rubber, and they end up not completely inside the length of the rubber. I let that slide, but there's no prospect of ending up in the hybrid from doing that.

58 minutes ago, Tborze said:

Is there a CP on this?  If there is I can't find it. 

On what? You've asked about several dimensions of the pitching restrictions.

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Handle it in warmups when you can. As a point of emphasis in NJ for the last 4 (?) years, most coaches and pitchers have at least heard of it. If you address it the first time you see it, it will be less of a deal when you call it.

Using two man mechanics would you agree it would be difficult to identify which position he is in based on U1's position? 

  • It does not really matter where U1 is. In many cases, U1 has a better look than PU because his angle allows him to see the non-pivot foot in front of the rubber.

With no runners on, are you enforcing this?  How? With a runner or runners on, are we to assume he is in the stretch?  Wind up?  Neither, and balk it on first movement?  Are you calling it an illegal pitch when he takes this position, or after he begins his motion?  Or are you calling time and correcting it?

  • Assume nothing. Call it when F1 starts his motion from the illegal position similar to how you would call a balk. Like any other violation, tell him what he did wrong, but do not have a clinic at the mound. Answer the questions they have professionally and completely. Typically this call is PU's.

Is there an advantage to the hybrid?

  • By not defining which position he is in, F1 can put runners at a disadvantage. Windup and set have different restrictions and runners should know how the pitcher is approaching each pitch.

As with many aspects of umpiring, player age, the field, and skill levels affect your umpiring.  In all cases I would suggest using the rules to solve problems rather than using the rules to create problems.

My .02. YMMV

 

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8 minutes ago, maven said:

 

In theory, yes: the windup (let's say) yields a better pitch, and the set yields a better pick (in FED, the only legal pick). If F1 gets to have both, or the appearance of both, then that's an advantage. Why bother with 2 pitching positions in the first place?

 

Hybrid or sideways pitchers in codes that allow that foot position don't usually use it for that theoretical advantage. @Rich Ives or @beerguy55 would have to explain why hybrid or sideways pitchers feel more comfortable doing it that way. I think it's less rotation from the perpendicular windup foot position to the sideways pivot foot position that results as the windup concludes. 

In my neck of the woods we actually have hybrid looking pitchers that comply with FED requirements. Because they do not want to change how they have pitched in Mexico, select, PONY or LL they put the slanted  pivot foot on the back part of the rubber and put the staggered foward pivot foot heel on the front line of the rubber.

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7 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Hybrid or sideways pitchers in codes that allow that foot position don't usually use it for that theoretical advantage. @Rich Ives or @beerguy55 would have to explain why hybrid or sideways pitchers feel more comfortable doing it that way.

A practical advantage might explain why pitchers adopt it, but such an advantage (which I certainly don't deny) would not provide a reason to prohibit it by rule. That's what we need to answer Tborze's question.

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Thanks for the responses!

My thinking with regard to advantage and assuming which position he is in, is if we assume he is in the wind up, he can't attempt a pick off. If we assume he is in the stretch, once he brings hands together he better come set and deliver.

So, wouldn't it be the non pivot is what distinguishes between the wind up or stretch?

Make sense?  

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The hybrid pitching stance is a Point of Emphasis for the 2018 season. Here is a statement from the NFHS issued October 25, 2017--

2018 POE Proper Pitching Positions
The rules that govern the pitcher’s movement and his position on the pitcher’s plate have not varied over the years. However, modified or hybrid positions continually are developed and are attempted to be introduced into the high school game. While these creative pitcher's stances might work for advance levels of baseball, they are not appropriate for interscholastic baseball. Our rules are perfect for the age and skill level of the students for whom we write playing rules.

The pitching requirements begin once he engages the pitcher’s plate. In NFHS sanctioned baseball, there are only two positions the pitcher can possess, the windup and the set (also known as the stretch) position. The starting position of the non-pivot foot determines whether the pitcher is going to pitch from the windup or set position.

Pitchers in the windup position are required to have their non-pivot foot in any position on or behind a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate. If a pitcher’s non-pivot foot is in front of that line and he attempts to pitch from the windup, he has made an illegal pitch or committed a balk.

In the set position, he shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of the pitcher’s plate. He shall go to the set position without delay and in one continuous motion; he shall come to a complete and discernible stop, which does not include a change of direction with both hands in front of his body and his glove at or below his chin.

Umpires must be aware of the position of the non-pivot foot. These requirements provide guidance that the batter and base runner(s) know when they can swing and run and when the pitcher is in a position to deliver the ball, creating a level playing field for all involved with the game.

 

 

 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Tborze said:

So, wouldn't it be the non pivot is what distinguishes between the wind up or stretch?

Both feet are constrained by both positions.

Windup: pivot in contact with the rubber, non-pivot on or behind the front of the rubber extended.

Set: pivot either on or directly in front of and parallel to the rubber, non-pivot in front of the rubber extended.

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2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

SITUATION 6: The pitcher places his entire pivot foot on top of and parallel to the pitching plate. No part of his pivot foot is on or in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. His entire non-pivot foot is in a line with the pivot foot, on top of the pitching plate with no part of the non-pivot on or in front of the line of the front edge of the pitching plate. RULING: While this appears to be an unusual and a non-functional pitching stance, it is a legal wind-up position. (6-1-2)

SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)

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4 hours ago, Tborze said:

 

With no runners on, are you enforcing this?  How?

 

I've commented on this several times, but since you ask...

The hybrid absolutely should be addressed with no runners on.  As others said, try to correct it in warm ups if you can.  If not, then grab it as early as possible.  Here's the problem: If you let it go with no runners, what do you do when F1 uses the same stance with R3 only?  You have given implied approval that his "wind up" is legal all game, and now you are balking it when he thinks he can use the same stance with a runner on third base (or bases loaded, or R2 & R3 only)?  Not good.

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In addition to the others’ comments and insights, I adopt the concept that we (as PU) cannot put the ball in play / make it live into a balk situation. On the F1’s side of the equation, for the Windup position, I need him to be atop the rubber (pitchers plate) and ready to pitch (and by ready to pitch, I mean settled and looking at us, the home plate area). So, if he’s in the Hybrid to start the game or the inning, I will not put the ball into play until he corrects it. Sometimes, just telling him works. Others, I’ll send the catcher out with a new ball and tell the stance is illegal and needs to be corrected. The ball is currently dead, is it not? Most catchers understand immediately and gladly jog out there, get it fixed, and return appreciative.

From the Set position, I need him to be (legally) engaged to the rubber (pitchers plate), hands separated, ready to pitch. So, if I have a dead ball (HBP, BR-now-R1 asks for time to remove the 4 pounds of protective gear he’s wearing while standing on 1B, etc.), I again won’t put the ball in play until F1 is in a legal stance. Hybrid aside, I wouldn’t make the ball Live with F1 standing behind the rubber, would I? Nor would I if I didn’t have a batter fully in the box, ready to hit, no? So if I don’t have all the necessary requirements present – a legal stance by F1 being one of them – then the ball cannot be made Live (yet).

It was a High Priority POE here in Arizona last year. On a few occasions, teams were coming from out of state to play, and Arizona was insistent that “no hybrid” was enforced. However, it wasn’t like we were setting a trap for these out-of-state pitchers. If F1 assumed the Hybrid stance during Live ball play, the first time, we were directed to call “Time” and correct it (either BU telling him from B/C, or PU directly, or PU sending F2 out to correct it). Past that, if F1 resumed the Hybrid stance during Live ball play, we would observe if he realized it and corrected it himself (legally). If he didn’t, we’d have no recourse but to Balk him. It was amazing to hear F2’s ask for time because they, too, recognized their F1 had reverted back to Hybrid and they didn’t want to suffer the impending Balk.

Arizona further emphasized (and repeated this year), with no runners on, be proactive and “Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.”, and even if it’s the seventh inning with a reliever coming from the hidden bullpen, “Fix it”. This lying-in-wait to deliver a “Ha! Gotcha, you silly kid!” call of Illegal Pitch is just asinine.

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12 minutes ago, MadMax said:

This lying-in-wait to deliver a “Ha! Gotcha, you silly kid!” call of Illegal Pitch is just asinine.

As one wise brother as said repeatedly, 'use the rules to solve a problem, NOT create one.'. 

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