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Everything posted by maven

  1. maven

    NFHS Pitching

    If the coach is complaining about a garden variety "rocker step," he's just wrong. Black letter rule permits one step. I will sometimes hear a coach complain about the pivot foot stepping: F1 will turn the pivot from perpendicular to parallel with the rubber, sometimes adjusting it in the hole in front of the rubber. This step is allowed by interpretation in all codes, as it confers no advantage. When action is allowed by interpretation, it's sometimes challenging to convince the coach. One remark I've used—after my best answer to his questions—is: "Coach, just like the courts interpret the law, my job here is to interpret the rules. My training tells me that this rule should be interpreted this way. You're welcome to disagree [or "protest," where that's allowed], but that's what we're going with. Now let's play ball."
  2. I apologize for taking this remark more seriously than it might have been intended. But we see this complaint from time to time. Boundary lines receive various names. Football and basketball have sidelines and end lines, both of which are out of play. Soccer has the same lines, but they're in play. Baseball has foul lines (and, sometimes, poles) that mark the start of foul territory, and they're in play. Baseball also has boundary lines that mark dead ball territory, and those are out of play. What's odder is that the rules for calling fair/foul change as the ball passes 1B/3B. My recommendation to those who have this bugaboo: chalk it up to baseball's charm.
  3. TL;DR: Yes, we can wait. We can and should wait. Hasty judgment is unreliable. The key point (and you know this, but the post is for others too) is to watch for hindrance. When we see a runner (or fielder, for that matter) do something unexpected and "not baseball," we often process the irregularity without being able to put it in a box. That's nothing yet, and we shouldn't be calling anything yet. Once the runner's actions have clearly hindered the defense—and runner INT should always be clear to everyone watching—then we call it. The speed with which we call INT should be as slow as required. This will vary with an umpire's experience. And most conversations with coaches should be of the "correct grasp of the rule" variety, not questions about what the players did (should be obvious)—"No, coach, contact is not required to call INT, the key idea is hindrance." Newer umpires try to be as fast as the pros, who have decades of experience crammed into their years of training. The window for making these calls varies with level. Calling these infractions too slowly is rare (I've seen runner INT called too slowly only once, where an umpire insisted on talking to me (partner) first before he called it, and that did not go well for either of us when the coach thought I talked him into it). OTOH, once we're focused on hindrance rather than (mere) contact, getting INT and OBS calls right becomes rather easier. IME, hindrance is harder to miss than (slight) contact. And, don't forget to signal a ruling of no INT too: we're there to communicate.
  4. I disagree. Play 1: runner blows up catcher intentionally, lowering his shoulder and trucking him. Play 2: runner blows up catcher unintentionally, trying but failing to avoid F2 who had moved into his path at the last minute. In these 2 plays, the contact is identical, with identical consequences. I'm ejecting for MC in the first one, and I'm explaining it to coach in the only way that makes sense: the only relevant difference is the intent of the runner. Coach might disagree with the judgment component of my call and deny that his runner intended to crash F2. He's entitled to his opinion. That's not a reason to redescribe my call, any more than I would redescribe a close play on the bases simply because coach might dispute my judgment. Being too concerned about coach disagreement here might be rooted in the thought that we can't read minds. I addressed that mistaken notion as well in my March post above.
  5. "Component" of what? I posted this back in March: There is no intent to injure "component," at least not in the sense that it's criterial. That's just one kind of MC, and there are others.
  6. On this play, as folks are understanding, R3 has committed 2 infractions. (1) Failure to retouch ("tag up"), and (2) missing HP on the way back to 3B to correct #1. (For a short time, as he's on his way back to 3B, he is liable to be appealed for either one (but not both!)). Once R3 is back on 3B, he has corrected his failure to retouch. He may do this even when the ball is dead. But missing HP may still be appealed. The question of whether the miss of HP on the return satisfies FED's definition of 'egregious' is doubly moot, as the game was a LL game, and the runner made no effort to correct that error.
  7. If the granted appeal is not the third out, the trailing runner's run scores. The penalty for a granted appeal is an out only. No additional penalty, as with INT, where we do return runners. The rationale for the INT penalty is that the offense is getting an unfair advantage by the INT; a missed base confers no (further) advantage, so no further penalty beyond the out.
  8. Perhaps your question is: can F2 "accidentally" appeal the missed base, merely by catching the ball while in contact with it? The answer is no: an appeal must be a deliberate act by the defense, and F2 must communicate not only that he intends to appeal the missed base, but which runner missed it. And, if this is the third out, the trailing runner's score is nullified when the umpire grants the appeal of the lead runner's missed base at HP.
  9. They're remarking on your use of the word 'overturn'. In amateur crews generally, no umpire has authority to overturn another's call (unilaterally). It doesn't sound as if you did that, so it's not a critique of your umpiring so much as your diction. The only thing I don't quite see is who signaled the changed call. "We got it right" isn't enough. The changed call should be signaled by the calling umpire.
  10. Thank you for bothering to clip this and send it. The best proof that something is possible is to demonstrate that it is actual.
  11. Still not correct. The pitching restrictions apply to F1 once he engages the rubber. Nothing turns on whether he has come set (though of course he can't "no stop" balk after he comes set). This isn't really worth explaining much, because the legal move I'm trying to describe is one that most umpires never see.
  12. I'll also mention that a quick glance at YouTube pickoff videos shows a substantial percentage still claiming that F1 may pick to 1B only after disengaging. Ugh.
  13. This statement is incorrect, even if amended to include the jab step. It is legal for a RHP to step and throw to 1B from the rubber. It starts like the "outside move" to 2B, but stops at 1B. The free foot has to start toward 1B immediately, which turns the hips and shoulders. It follows that lifting the knee straight up, drawing the foot back toward 2B, without turning the hips and shoulders, and then picking to 1B is a balk, as discussed. As I said, it's slow and obvious, which is why pro RHP never use it.
  14. Right. I should also add: RHP can pick up his foot and knee, but it has to include a simultaneous turn to 1B, so that it clearly satisfies the requirement to step directly to a base. This move is slow and obvious, which is why pro RHP use a jump turn or jab step.
  15. Yes, this is a balk. Setting aside whether he stopped, when a RHP picks up his leg and brings it straight up, he has committed to pitching to the batter (or, with R2, picking/feinting to 2B). It's a step balk, and fails the test of "stepping and throwing directly to a base." Only a LHP can pick up his knee and still have an option to pick to 1B or pitch. Same ruling in all codes.
  16. maven

    Strike or HBP

    I agree. But no more guidance is needed. It's not difficult to distinguish an offer from a dodge. And when coach complains, we say: "Coach, in my judgment, he was dodging the pitch, not offering at it." And that ends the discussion, because we never argue judgment with coaches (right?). Coach is entitled to his opinion, and it doesn't matter if he thinks we're wrong.
  17. For pro ball, I guess I'm OK with switching to OBS for this. The expectation is clearly that F5 could have gotten a glove on this, and when he didn't, he lost his protection. So, fine. But for amateur ball, I dunno. At the levels I work, with a big kid running at F5 as he's approaching a batted ball, I think I'd have INT every time. Who wouldn't be hindered by footsteps coming fast? I also regard with suspicion the policy of using slow motion on this kind of play. As with pass interference in football, if you slow play down enough things look completely different. Yes, here the ball was past F5 when the contact occurred. In slo-mo, that looks like a long time, but in real time it was a tiny fraction of a second. The pro ruling drops the protection on F5 the instant the ball gets through: he can't even land a step. Perhaps that's the price to pay for having 25 HD camera views. For amateur ball, with no slo-mo replay, I'd have had exactly what Gooch (U3) had in the video, I'd be content with the call, and I'd hope nobody was hurt.
  18. maven


    Should be considered in connection with this incident, which happened last month. I guess Germán used his suspension productively...
  19. Apologies: I thought you were speaking of the same play.
  20. This question betrays a common misunderstanding of the requirement. At 1B, we know the pitcher "cannot feint." Usually, we call this when F1 steps but fails to throw at all. But it's also a balk if he DOES throw, but F3 is playing back, not near enough to 1B to make the play. So how is that a "feint?" Remember: once F1 is engaged, he may legally do just 3 things. Pitch to the batter, disengage, or step and throw/feint to a base. Notice that 'feint' here means "feint a throw to a base." F1 can feint by not throwing at all or by throwing somewhere other than to a base. So this is the violation we call when F1 feints to 1B and does NOT throw, but also what we're calling when he DOES throw to F3 playing back. He is feinting a throw to the base, not merely failing to throw. For codes that apply the same restriction to 3B, we need to call it the same. In the OP, the umpire must judge whether F5 was close enough to the base to make a play on R3 when he receives the throw. Note that he does NOT have to attempt a play on R3, he merely must be close enough to do so. I see 2 different accounts in the thread on this point: initially, the OP says F5 was 2-3 feet from 3B, later he says 5-6 feet. The former, IMO, is legal; the latter is probably not. But, as ever, assessing a judgment call without video is not really responsible, so I wouldn't be able to provide that.
  21. A savvy coach will understand that anything other than a rule book response could in principle provide a basis for protesting the entire game. That said, I don't employ jocular responses to coach questions unless I know and like both coaches very well. The plate meeting should be as short as possible, with only the 4 items covered and no "umpire disclaimer" speeches (which generally prime coaches to expect errors). So something like noumpere's response ("I try to be fair to both teams with both the rule book and the level of play taken into consideration.") could be fine. The last clause is what most coaches are fishing for, so it doesn't hurt to give it to them—that usually comes from a coach whose pitchers have control problems, and he's hoping not to allow 15 walks in the first 3 innings.
  22. A play in the relevant sense is a tag or tag attempt. If the fielder's action doesn't put out a runner, then it wasn't a tag by definition. If it was accidental, then it wasn't a tag attempt, again by definition. Ergo, not a play (proof by exhaustion). QED That said, I've got a tag, an out, and a TOT award on the OP's play.
  23. maven

    Balks, oh ya

    If that's what he meant, then he's still wrong: the motion to come set is not constrained to two of anything.
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