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On 7/1/2018 at 7:46 AM, Jakester5112 said:

You are right. I missed the part about them trying for the appeal. Also, if they legally step off, there isn't an illegal pitch

 

On 7/1/2018 at 7:38 AM, Gfoley4 said:

If you step off the rubber and are attempting to make an appeal, it’s certianly not an illegal pitch and the onus is on the batter to not swing and interfere

 

On 7/2/2018 at 12:28 AM, Tborze said:

If there wasn't a pitch, how could it be batter INT

This is where it gets weird, for me, in softball.  Taking aside the intent to appeal - the DA in this case ruled there was no declaration to appeal.   So, take the appeal out of the equation for a minute.   Let's just pretend you have a batter leading off the game.

Pitching from off the rubber is an illegal pitch.

Pitching overhand is an illegal pitch.

Pitching overhand from off the rubber would be an illegal pitch.

If the pitcher is in the circle, the catcher is ready to receive a pitch, and an umpire is ready to call a pitch, and a batter is ready to hit a pitch, then the throw from the pitcher to the catcher is likely to be ruled a pitch...and then it's just whether or not it's legal.   And in softball, you can hit an illegal pitch and the offensive coach can then choose which outcome to take.

Without leadoffs, pickoffs, or balks, this becomes different from baseball, where a pitcher can step off, for example, and throw home on a runner stealing, and a batter can't swing at it.   In softball, since the runner can't leave until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, this element of the game doesn't exist.

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2 hours ago, kylehutson said:

Because of 8-2-6f:

f. More Than One Appeal. Multiple appeals are permitted as long as they do not become a travesty of the game.

Appealing "everything at once every play" falls into that latter category.

I had forgotten about that.  Thank you.  

Appealing what percentage of the touches would be, in your opinion, a travesty?

 

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1 minute ago, basejester said:

I had forgotten about that.  Thank you.  

Appealing what percentage of the touches would be, in your opinion, a travesty?

 

This becomes judgment and tolerance, does it not?   I'm sure your mood will change after the sixth missed base appeal through the second inning.   Whether it's a coach appealing every tag up play, and every base crossed by the opposing team.   Or appeals every called ball for a check swing.   I'm thinking you'd find a reason to dump him.

At the same time, if on a grand slam one of the base runners did miss third base, and you know it, and coach says "every runner missed every base" the power is in your hands to simply give the safe mechanic.  And dump him if he argues.   Nobody knows you saw it.  Hell, nobody really knows if the coach saw it.   If he saw it, he'd tell you exactly which runner missed exactly which base.   This is a coach talking here, and I have no problem with the FU call.

On a side note - I did have an appeal once where  the runner missed first, second and home...and the only reason she touched third was she slid into it, and then ran home on the overthrow - so don't completely dismiss multi-base appeals.  Once you get into multiple runners missing the same base on the same play, or consecutive runners missing multiple bases, you probably have a travesty.

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51 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Does Little League Softball not allow verbal appeals? 

It does not.

51 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

Or did it not meet the threshold of a verbal appeal?

It also hadn't yet met the required verbal component, in this case, of specifying which of the two runners.

51 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

For Softball Canada...and I think ASA...the actions you described in the OP would have likely been taken as a verbal appeal.

This is the rule from International play - Official Rules of Softball:

DEAD BALL APPEAL. Once the ball has been returned to the infield and "Time" has been called, or the ball becomes dead, any defensive team member in the infield, with or without possession of the ball, may make a verbal appeal on a runner missing a base, or leaving a base too soon on a caught fly ball. The administering umpire should acknowledge the appeal, and then make a decision on the play. No runner may leave his base during this period, as the ball remains dead until the next pitch

EXCEPTION: A runner who has left a base too soon on a caught fly ball, or who has missed a base, may attempt to return to such base while the ball is dead.

NOTE: (a)If the ball goes out of play, the dead ball appeal cannot be made until the plate umpire places a new ball into the game.

(b) If the pitcher has possession of the ball and is in contact with the pitching plate when making a verbal appeal, no Illegal Pitch is called.

(c) If the umpire has declared “Play Ball” and the pitcher then requests an appeal, the umpire would again call “Time” and allow the appeal process.

I believe, also, the coach can request the verbal appeal during the dead ball, but must be on the field - not on the bench.

Unless LL Softball has rewritten this rule for their set, this should have been ruled on before the ball was made live, no?   Or, after it became clear the pitcher was appealing, call time to allow the appeal process.

I think the DA got it wrong two ways.

Not only in overruling your decision, but...

IF he did declare this a non-appeal, then you have an illegal pitch, with catcher's interference, not a do over.   The appeal is lost.

 

As well, any softball rule set I've coached would have just allowed any player with the ball to go touch the plate during the dead ball for a proper appeal.

The pitcher certainly could have walked up to the plate and done the appeal.  I assume people would agree that hitting her with the bat would warrant a penalty.

 

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In my personal opinion (I umpire ASA softball), I would not rule this an illegal pitch, because the intention to pitch is simply not there. However, there is no need for the pitcher to throw home because a dead ball verbal appeal can be made. This whole situation could've been avoided had the players and coaches known the rules.

The interference ruling is a bit trickier. The rulebook says it's interference if the batter interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by making a movement which hinders action at home or the catcher's attempt to play on a runner.

I do not believe there is a play being made on the runner because 1) it is a dead ball and 2) dead ball appeals don't need a physical play. My ruling would be based on whether I deemed the interference intentional. If yes, the batter is out and ejected for malicious contact. If no, dismiss it as incidental and award no penalties.

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20 minutes ago, Jakester5112 said:

In my personal opinion (I umpire ASA softball), I would not rule this an illegal pitch, because the intention to pitch is simply not there. However, there is no need for the pitcher to throw home because a dead ball verbal appeal can be made. This whole situation could've been avoided had the players and coaches known the rules.

The interference ruling is a bit trickier. The rulebook says it's interference if the batter interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by making a movement which hinders action at home or the catcher's attempt to play on a runner.

I do not believe there is a play being made on the runner because 1) it is a dead ball and 2) dead ball appeals don't need a physical play. My ruling would be based on whether I deemed the interference intentional. If yes, the batter is out and ejected for malicious contact. If no, dismiss it as incidental and award no penalties.

Keep in mind, as basejester answered me above, verbal appeals aren't allowed in LL Softball.  As well, the ball was made live in the OP.

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Yes, that is correct. In this case, since the catcher is making a play on the fielder by appealing, interference by the batter would make them out. That does make me wonder, if the pitcher is switching balls for whatever reason and the batter hits the catcher, would you rule that interference?

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On 6/30/2018 at 9:11 PM, basejester said:

Offensive coach tells his batter to swing if it's a strike.

I don't know if all of us just missed this in the description, but this is a blatant instruction to thwart or prevent an appeal. Then when you factor in the context – Little League Majors (12U's) softball – you just know that little Sally is going to make her coach happy and SWING! And that swing (especially if it makes contact with the catcher, like it did) is Interference. Plain as day.

Here's another thing I'm not understanding... why didn't F1 just stand on the rubber, receive the "Play!" command (making the ball Live), and then disengage (like she did) and trot to HP to conduct the appeal herself?

Or, better yet... why was Time called in the first place??!! Leave the ball Live! Even in a LL environment, with OBR (thus, no verbal Dead-ball appeals like Fed), you can certainly talk through an appeal! We as umpires have gotta stop being so mysterious and cryptic, and start understanding the context we're operating within. 

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13 hours ago, MadMax said:

Or, better yet... why was Time called in the first place??!! Leave the ball Live! Even in a LL environment, with OBR (thus, no verbal Dead-ball appeals like Fed), you can certainly talk through an appeal! We as umpires have gotta stop being so mysterious and cryptic, and start understanding the context we're operating within. 

I actually ran into this in a local Babe Ruth tournament recently. I did everything humanly possible to keep the ball live so we wouldn't have to go through the whole circus. It didn't work.

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On 7/3/2018 at 9:13 PM, MadMax said:

 And that swing (especially if it makes contact with the catcher, like it did) is Interference. Plain as day.

 

But it isn't a play so the appeal can still be made.

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On 7/3/2018 at 7:13 PM, MadMax said:

why was Time called in the first place??!!

Right or wrong Time is called much more frequently in softball (it might even be by rule or direction), once action is relaxed and the ball is near or in the circle.  Since there are no leadoffs it usually doesn't matter, and it reduces the shenanigans with base runners two feet off the base and the pitcher at the circle.   Even reading the ORS clip above it seems to indicate that it is either normal or expected to call Time once the ball is returned to the infield.

 

Pitcher (and coaches) likely didn't know they can touch the plate...or, they don't want to risk the runner on first going while pitcher is running to step on home plate (which could have also been done while the ball was dead...where there would be no worry of the runner leaving...the ball is dead - unless LL Softball doesn't allow dead ball appeals).

 

This problem gets solved if LL Softball simply follows the International Official Rules of Softball rules for appeals and allows dead ball verbal appeals - as ASA and NSA do, Softball Canada does, and I'm betting Fed Softball does too. 

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10 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

But it isn't a play so the appeal can still be made.

Unless it's ruled an illegal pitch (which would negate the appeal), which in softball this can be - especially if it is determined that no appeal was declared.

  • Pitcher in circle with the ball, and in this case at one point on the rubber
  • Catcher ready to receive a pitch
  • Batter ready to hit a pitch
  • Umpire ready to call a pitch

At that point, a throw from the pitcher to the catcher can be ruled a pitch, even with the step off...and then it's just a matter of whether or not it's illegal.  

  • A pitch from off the rubber is an illegal pitch
  • A pitch thrown overhand is an illegal pitch
  • An overhand pitch from off the rubber is an illegal pitch

Softball has a few conditions for a "no pitch" - none of them are met here.

Softball doesn't have step-off-the-rubber-to-get-the-runner plays like baseball does, as the runners can't leave until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand.  The only time would be an appeal that occurs after the continuing action of the previous play is complete - and that's why most softball codes not only allow dead ball appeals, but once the action is relaxed, even if the pitcher is on the rubber and the play is live again, the umpire will make the play dead again if it's evident the defense wants to appeal.

The sticking point in the OP is whether or not this is an obvious appeal - it appears obvious to you, me and I think everyone else here, but for reasons known only to himself the DA ruled it was not.   Because it was ruled a non-appeal, "illegal pitch" is on the table, and then CI is on the table, and losing the right to appeal is on the table.

 

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On 7/3/2018 at 3:34 PM, Jakester5112 said:

Yes, that is correct. In this case, since the catcher is making a play on the fielder by appealing, interference by the batter would make them out. That does make me wonder, if the pitcher is switching balls for whatever reason and the batter hits the catcher, would you rule that interference?

Since the play is dead when a pitcher is switching balls, I would rule it some form of MC (probably) if the batter hit the catcher in that scenario - at least a warning.   Even if the play was "live" - eg. there's only the batter, no runners, and the pitcher was tossing the ball to the catcher to switch balls, it's not going to be a "pitch" as neither the catcher nor umpire are ready to receive/call a pitch - I'd have to wonder why the batter is swinging at an overhand throw, and lean towards an ejection or a warning....there can't be any interference here.

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On 7/3/2018 at 2:22 PM, beerguy55 said:

Does Little League Softball not allow verbal appeals?   Or did it not meet the threshold of a verbal appeal?

For Softball Canada...and I think ASA...the actions you described in the OP would have likely been taken as a verbal appeal.

This is the rule from International play - Official Rules of Softball:

DEAD BALL APPEAL. Once the ball has been returned to the infield and "Time" has been called, or the ball becomes dead, any defensive team member in the infield, with or without possession of the ball, may make a verbal appeal on a runner missing a base, or leaving a base too soon on a caught fly ball. The administering umpire should acknowledge the appeal, and then make a decision on the play. No runner may leave his base during this period, as the ball remains dead until the next pitch

EXCEPTION: A runner who has left a base too soon on a caught fly ball, or who has missed a base, may attempt to return to such base while the ball is dead.

NOTE: (a)If the ball goes out of play, the dead ball appeal cannot be made until the plate umpire places a new ball into the game.

(b) If the pitcher has possession of the ball and is in contact with the pitching plate when making a verbal appeal, no Illegal Pitch is called.

(c) If the umpire has declared “Play Ball” and the pitcher then requests an appeal, the umpire would again call “Time” and allow the appeal process.

I believe, also, the coach can request the verbal appeal during the dead ball, but must be on the field - not on the bench.

Unless LL Softball has rewritten this rule for their set, this should have been ruled on before the ball was made live, no?   Or, after it became clear the pitcher was appealing, call time to allow the appeal process.

I think the DA got it wrong two ways.

Not only in overruling your decision, but...

IF he did declare this a non-appeal, then you have an illegal pitch, with catcher's interference, not a do over.   The appeal is lost.

 

As well, any softball rule set I've coached would have just allowed any player with the ball to go touch the plate during the dead ball for a proper appeal.

LL softball does not allow dead ball appeals. It appears the pitcher complied with this:

 

“In making an appeal, the pitcher shall not throw to a base while the foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate. In putting the ball back into play, after taking the pitching position, the pitcher shall step backwards off the pitcher’s plate (with the pivot foot first) to begin the appeal. PENALTY: Illegal pitch (8.05(e)).”

Excerpt From
2017 Little League Softball: Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies
Libre Digital
This material may be protected by copyright.

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42 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

“In making an appeal, the pitcher shall not throw to a base while the foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate. In putting the ball back into play, after taking the pitching position, the pitcher shall step backwards off the pitcher’s plate (with the pivot foot first) to begin the appeal. PENALTY: Illegal pitch (8.05(e)).”

Yup - what is unclear, at least to the DA, is whether or not this action alone is enough to indicate this is an appeal.  (the instructions from the coach to the pitcher aside - it seems the DA wants an explicit statement directly to the umpire - even though the umpire understood it was an appeal)  If going to first, second or third that would (should) be self-evident that this is an appeal (but maybe not to this DA).  In going to home, it seems the DA wants something more - like some kind of explicit verbal declaration that "I am appealing", to indicate that this is not a pitch, nor just a toss to the catcher for kicks.

The biggest problem in the rule is even after stepping off properly it is still possible for the pitcher to deliver an illegal pitch.

This is where I think the DA made two mistakes.  Mistake one is ruling this a non-appeal in the first place - this is an attempted appeal, and batter's interference.  Mistake two is...if this isn't an appeal, then what is it?  It has to be a (illegal) pitch IMO.   I can think of no other "softball" reasons why a pitcher is stepping off the rubber to throw to the catcher during a live play.   There's no leadoffs or pickoffs nor steals while the pitcher is holding the ball - if any runner leaves the base the ball is immediately dead.  

I would have the same question if he ruled the same play to first base, where R1 swatted F3's glove to prevent a catch, was nothing because no appeal was declared.  If stepping off the rubber and throwing to first base isn't an appeal, what is it?   It can only be an appeal.  In the OP, because it's going home, it can either be an appeal or a pitch.

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

 

The biggest problem in the rule is even after stepping off properly it is still possible for the pitcher to deliver an illegal pitch.

 

Not in LL rules.  

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58 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Not in LL rules.

If you can show me the LL Softball Rules that define the parameters for a pitch, and an illegal pitch, it would be appreciated.

Unless there is something different in LL Softball, by rule, if the batter, catcher and umpire are ready for a pitch, with the pitcher holding the ball in the circle:

1. pitching from behind and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

2. pitching from in front of and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

3. pitching from beside and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

4. pitching overhand is an illegal pitch, whether you're on the rubber or not

5. doing the fulling pitching motion/windup and failing to release the ball is an illegal pitch, whether you're on the rubber or not

 

If the pitcher steps off, and then does a full pitching motion to the plate, it's an illegal pitch, ergo it would follow that even after stepping off, any pitching motion, allowed or not, would be an illegal pitch, provide the play is not an appeal.

59 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

The DA blew it. Stop trying to rationalize his decision.

Who's rationalizing his decision?  I think everyone here agrees he blew it.  I simply think he blew it twice.

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

If you can show me the LL Softball Rules that define the parameters for a pitch, and an illegal pitch, it would be appreciated.

Unless there is something different in LL Softball, by rule, if the batter, catcher and umpire are ready for a pitch, with the pitcher holding the ball in the circle:

1. pitching from behind and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

2. pitching from in front of and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

3. pitching from beside and off the rubber is an illegal pitch

4. pitching overhand is an illegal pitch, whether you're on the rubber or not

5. doing the fulling pitching motion/windup and failing to release the ball is an illegal pitch, whether you're on the rubber or not

 

If the pitcher steps off, and then does a full pitching motion to the plate, it's an illegal pitch, ergo it would follow that even after stepping off, any pitching motion, allowed or not, would be an illegal pitch, provide the play is not an appeal.

Who's rationalizing his decision?  I think everyone here agrees he blew it.  I simply think he blew it twice.

It looks like you don't have a LL Softball rule book.

 

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42 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

It looks like you don't have a LL Softball rule book.

 

Well, I'm not sure how else you would interpret this sentence... "If you can show me the LL Softball Rules that define the parameters for a pitch, and an illegal pitch, it would be appreciated"...so, yes, good deduction.

 

It's pretty much the only softball rule book I don't have somewhere in my house.

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