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Everything posted by maven

  1. maven

    Fair or foul?

    A batted ball before it reaches 1B or 3B is fair or foul depending on where it is first touched, regardless of where it lands. If the entire ball is over foul territory when first touched, that's a foul ball. If any part of the ball is over fair territory when first touched, that's a fair ball. A batted ball beyond 1B or 3B is fair or foul depending on where it first lands, regardless of where it is touched.
  2. When F3 receives the ball, it's not a CATCH under the rulebook definition. For one thing, a CATCH must involve a batted ball in flight, but the throw to F3 can bounce in. Instead, it must satisfy the rulebook definition of TAG (which includes tagging the base or tagging the runner). And this term includes secure possession in hand or glove, but does NOT include voluntary release. Many tags are preceded only by a fielder fielding a ground ball. The fact that many tags involve gaining possession of a thrown ball does not entail that the definition of CATCH now applies to a tag. It does not. That's why 'voluntary release' is not part of the definition of TAG. All that said, if a fielder does voluntarily release the ball, that's evidence that the ball was held securely through the tag. And secure possession IS necessary (hence the NCAA guidance).
  3. If F3 fielded the throw and was subsequently in touch with 1B—even accidentally—that's a tag of the base, and the BR is out. Nothing else matters. If F3 came off 1B to field the throw and then attempted to tag the runner without first tagging 1B, and if the ball came out of the glove during the tag, then that's no tag, and the runner would not be out. The ball coming out of the glove during the tag is evidence that it was not held securely. Thus it's no tag by interpretation, all codes.
  4. I can't tell exactly what happened on the far right edge of that video, over 100 feet away from the camera, through a fence. But it looks like F3 fields the batted ball, runs right at the BR, and crashes him deliberately instead of stopping and tagging. Tagging the runner instead of the bag is a legal choice, and a smart choice when F3 fields the ball in front of the base. But intentionally crashing him is not a legal way to make a tag. If that's what happened, I'd probably rule MC: the fielder is ejected, and the BR awarded 1B. That's the applicable rule and how it would apply. But I can't say with much confidence that it's the correct call for this play without better video.
  5. First, you should be aware that the batter's foot is out of the box only if his entire foot is on the ground outside the box and not touching the line. If that were truly the case, then the umpire should not allow a pitch, as the batter has not assumed legal position in the box. So perhaps the batter's foot was touching the line, or that's what the umpire saw. That puts him legally in the box. And at that point, CI is back on the table. The other relevant rule is the possibility of an illegally batted ball. One way for that to happen is if the batter's foot is on the ground completely outside the box AND he hits a pitch. This is not a call that any PU is likely to make in this kind of situation, as he should be tracking the pitch, and cannot possibly see the position of the foot at contact.
  6. The batted ball was already fielded. After that, wherever a live ball is — outside of a player's hand or glove — it's a thrown ball. So, yes, the OP still involves a thrown ball and falls under the rule. This is not a rule in OBR or FED, so I'll infer it's not in LL either. Folks sometimes say things like, "Let's not reward the defense for erring." And that's fine, but it does not allow us to make up rules. Instead, it can influence the judgment component of the call. In the OP, R3 scores and doesn't move fast enough to avoid hindering the defense. Did he have the opportunity to move? That's the question where we can consider the context, and give a bit more leeway to the offense. But there will still be obvious instances of INT that we have to call, where R3 clearly did have time to move and made no attempt to do so. "Not rewarding the defense" cannot nullify the call we need to make there.
  7. Well, he was a member of it before. But after he scores he loses his status as a runner (which confers certain privileges), so now he's merely a member of the offensive team.
  8. We can't really judge the correctness of judgment calls without video. The video in our heads isn't sufficient. I, too, say "as I'm picturing this..." and then judge. But that's useful for the application of a rule, not for assessment of a judgment call. That approach can also clarify the description of a play. But any call we make is contingent on the adequacy of the picture. What if our head video is off, and now some umpire goes around announcing that he's right, when he isn't? We need to be careful there. Some newer umpires treat our forum as more authoritative than it is. And I apologize for picking on this particular post of yours—it just reminded me of a trend here that I had wanted to address. Not trying to pile on.
  9. The relevant rule requires retired/scored runners to attempt to vacate any area required by the defense to make a play. So, if R1 had time to do so and failed, then INT is the correct call (dead ball, BR out for R1's INT, score R1's but not BR's run). If it was bang-bang, then play the bounce.
  10. As I'm envisioning this, it's almost certainly a start/stop balk in pro ball. For amateur baseball, it would depend on the age level. Sub-varsity, it's almost certainly nothing (though I'd mention it to the coach). HS varsity, he should know better, and 50-50 it's a balk (depending on how pronounced it is).
  11. No. There's no hindrance by F2, and no hindrance = no OBS. I have R3 running into foul away from F5 with the ball in fair, not running around F2. Watch it again and check where R3 is looking, back at F5 to see him decide not to throw to F2. Looking back like that, he can't possibly by trying to avoid F2 (though it seems to occur to him after the tag to say something like that).
  12. Pro umpiring has inexplicably insisted on using the same mechanic for missed 1B that they employ at other bases (most notably HP). They require pro umpires not to signal for this play, thus tipping the miss to the defense. Perhaps they think it looks odd to rule safe on the play and a moment later out on the appeal (though of course that's exactly what in fact happened). To me, the current pro mechanic fetishizes consistency and provides no obviously superior result. FED still uses the proper mechanic here: rule on whether the ball beat the runner. When the BR passes 1B, he is credited with beating the ball whether or not he touches the base. So we have to make a ruling on that play; not to rule on it is to signal the defense that they can appeal the missed base. So this is an appeal play. F3 receiving the throw does not constitute an ("automatic") appeal: appeals must still be intentional and clearly signaled by word or act. Some additional word or act by the defense must occur before we can rule on a missed base appeal. The RULE is the same for both OBR and FED, only the mechanic is different. We are not required to use pro mechanics for OBR games (or for anything else), though in most instances their evidence-based approach makes it advisable for us to do so. In this instance, however, I have not adopted the pro mechanic, and for the reasons sketched above. This might be the only instance where I have not adopted the pro mechanic—it's the only one I can think of at the moment.
  13. He needs to vacate any area needed by the defense to make a play. If he makes any effort to get out of the way, he's good, that is, he is not liable for INT with a fielder. This is similar to a wild pitch with R3 trying to score. He's liable for INT with the ball only if he intentionally knocks it down.
  14. I agree with this except for the last sentence. In particular, I would emphasize that a fielder-runner collision during a batted ball is always something, never nothing. As I'm envisioning the play (in the hypothetical circumstance that F1 muffs the ground ball and F6 subsequently fields it), we have the muff and the F6/R2 collision at approximately the same time. In that case, I'm not transferring protection to F6 until after the collision, even if he ultimately fields the ball. And so it's still OBS on F6, as he was not protected (from OBS) when the collision occurred. In all codes this OBS will be penalized the same way: wait until the end of playing action, and award R2 3B. If the defense retires the BR, that out will stand (unaffected by the OBS against R2). This award is mandatory in FED, and expected in OBR. In some TWP version of this play, we might theoretically fabricate a way to allow an out at 3B to stand, but you won't find me calling that, on any planet.
  15. That's all you need right there. Ball 4. What would calling CI here add, other than an annoyed coach? CI/CO is called when the batter hits F2's mitt, or on a play at the plate where F2 moves in front of the plate to take the pitch (he's allowed to move if F1 disengages first and throws home). Hitting the mitt is sometimes hard to get if it's small; if B hits F2's hand through the back of the mitt, it's hard to miss. Like all forms of INT, we want to get the obvious ones, and only those. Don't be a pioneer.
  16. maven

    Top of the zone

    Don't get caught up trying to figure out what MLB umpires are doing. It's complicated by the facts that we see the "square" superimposed by TV, and that the "square" is slightly different for each broadcaster. On top of that, the strike zone is 3 dimensional, and the "square" is 2 dimensional. And it's often in the wrong place for taller or shorter batters. If we're assessing an umpire's calls based on the square, we're bound to be puzzled. Many veteran (HS) umpires call an egg-shaped zone, bigger top and bottom over the plate, and wider just below the belt. Alternatively, we can think of it as allowing F1 to "miss" in one dimension (up/down, in/out) but not two. This might not help much regarding mechanics of calling the top of the zone—I do what Rich does, setting my eyes near the top of the zone (works for HS players, not so much for yoots, at least, not with my back). It's tricky, because of the 4 directions we might miss, up is probably hardest for the batter to reach. I also don't go crazy stretching up and down, because those directions are easy to read from the dugout. Having the eyes where we want to call it makes consistency at the top easier, which is the key.
  17. Hope he gets suspended so we can enjoy a playoff game or two without him. ...I mean Harper, but could apply just as well to the other guy...
  18. That's kind, Jeff. I just figured everyone had absorbed my wisdom. The BEST way to improve play in a baseball game—any level—is... Call more strikes. Pitchers get more confident, get to their secondary pitches more (so they're better), and starters (the better pitchers on any team) stay in the game longer. Better pitching is the best way to improve pace and quality of play. Batters have to swing the bat more, putting the ball in play more, keeping the fielders in the game, leading to more outs on the bases and fewer errors. Every walk adds 5 minutes to a baseball game. Fewer walks yields quicker baseball, and quicker baseball is better. Pitching is hard. Every borderline pitch should be a strike. If we call a ball a strike, coach tells his batter to swing; if we call a strike a ball, coach is after us, not F1.
  19. Hm. It's been nearly a week, and nobody is going to bite on this? Man, this board is slipping.... Either that, or my job is done here?
  20. That's a different kind of time limit. A game limit merely ends a game early if reached. It doesn't affect pace of play, so it has little impact on the quality of play. It simply assures the umpire that the misery will have a definite end. An inning limit improves the pace of play, as does the batters box rule. These are the second and third best ways to improve the quality of play.
  21. This is exactly how we train. I personally have allowed an especially slow F1 just 1 warmup pitch. Funnily, he jogged out the next inning and immediately started warming up. Time between innings is the biggest time waster in HS baseball. Umpires who allow each team just 2 extra minutes per inning end up adding almost half an hour to their game's run time (2 minutes x 2 teams x 6 innings after the first = 24 minutes). Guys jibber-jabber with everyone and his mother between innings and then bîtch about their game taking 2:45. Lah me.
  22. maven

    Catch or no catch

    If you want to know the relevant rule and not merely the correct answer (as helpful as that always is), look up the definition of "in flight" in your rule book.
  23. Correct. A persistent myth is that the only way to record a force out is by tagging a base.
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