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Senor Azul

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  1. Senor Azul

    Appeal needed?

    From the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 5.42, p. 70): referencing rules 5.09(b)(5), 5.09(b)(12), 5.09(c)(2) If home plate is missed during a time play, the umpire should immediately rule on the time play even if the runner misses the plate. The defense is required to recognize that the plate has been missed. If the defense properly appeals, the umpire should then reverse his prior decision and cancel the run. Even if the runner has returned to touch the plate prior to the appeal, the defense’s appeal is sustained because no run may score after the third out is made.
  2. From the 2016 BRD (section 269, p. 174): FED: When no eligible substitute is available, a team may finish the game with eight players. PENALTY: for fewer than eight players: The short-handed team shall forfeit the game. (4-4-1f) Official Interpretation: Hopkins: If a player at bat (B1) must be replaced because of illness, injury, or ejection, when there is no eligible substitute, the batter is declared out. B2 is the next batter. (Website 2010, #12) 2010 Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 12: With no outs, B1 has a 2-1 count when his nose begins to bleed. He is not able to get it stopped and as a result cannot finish his at-bat. The team has no substitutes available. His coach believes that the batter next up in the order can assume his count. RULING: B2 cannot assume B1’s count. With no substitutes available, B1 is declared out and B2 will come to bat with one out. An out will be called each time that spot in the batting order comes to bat. When an eligible substitute becomes available, the team may return to playing with nine players. (4-4-1f, Note 1, Note 2)
  3. Under high school rules (FED or NFHS) a so-called emergency substitute would be allowed to replace the injured player. It is based on FED rule 4-4-1f Note 1 and there is a case book play to illustrate: 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 4.4.1 SITUATION B: B1 is injured (a) before reaching first on ball four, (b) sliding safely into second base or (c) while running to third base. Team A has no eligible substitutes available. RULING: Team A can continue playing with eight players. The most recent batter not on base may serve as a courtesy runner for the injured B1 in (a) and (b) but not in (c) if he is tagged, provided he is not awarded a base. An out will be called out whenever B1’s turn is reached in the batting order. Depending on the circumstances, time is normally not called when a player is injured. 2019 OBR rule 7.03(b) A game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine players on the field. Official Interpretation: Wendelstedt: If a team does not have nine eligible players remaining, the game is forfeited when the short-handed team: (1) on defense, is on or must take the field; or (2) on offense, reaches a vacant position in the batting order.
  4. OBR (Definitions) A BATTER is an offensive player who takes his position in the batter’s box. OBR Official Interpretation: 2018 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual: A batter’s time at bat begins the moment the preceding batter is put out or becomes a runner. From the 2016 BRD (section 52, p. 56): Note 70: The definition affects balks at all levels. Question: Can a pitcher balk when a batter is not in the box? Answer: Yes. For NCAA their current rule 9-4a-5 actually states “…a player becomes the batter as soon as the previous batter reaches base, or is put out. The new batter does not have to enter the batter’s box to be considered the batter.”
  5. High school softball does consider a bat left over the plate to be a bunt attempt—so the myth is actually true at least some of the time. 2020 NFHS Softball rule 2 SECTION 8 BUNT, ATTEMPTED BUNT, DRAG BUNT ART. 2 . . . Attempted Bunt. Any non-swinging movement of the bat intended to tap the ball into play. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn – pulled backward and away from the ball.
  6. There is an official interpretation for OBR given to us by Harry Wendelstedt found in the 2016 BRD (section 51, p. 56). High school baseball has two case plays telling us it is not an attempt to hit the pitch simply because the bat is not pulled back. A bat left in the strike zone is not, in itself, an offer at a pitch. However, the intent of the batter should declare whether he offered at the pitch. NOTE: The perception of his actions should be taken into account as well. The NCAA adopts this as its official interpretation also. 2003 NFHS Baseball Rule Interpretations SITUATION 16: As the pitcher delivers his pitch, the batter squares to bunt, placing the bat in the strike zone. The pitch is high and the batter does not make any movement with the bat. RULING: This is a ball. In bunting, any movement of the bat toward the ball when the ball is over or near the plate area, is a strike. The mere holding of the bat in the strike zone is not an attempt to bunt. (7-2-1b, 10-1-4) 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.2.1 Situation B: B1 starts to swing at the pitch but attempts to hold back on it or it appears as though he attempts to bunt the ball. In either case, B1 misses the ball. How does umpire determine what to call the pitch? RULING: A call of that nature is based entirely upon the umpire’s judgment. Therefore, the umpire must, in order to be consistent, have criteria to guide him in making the decision. The rule that most umpires follow is that if the bat is swung so it is in front of the batter’s body or ahead of it, it is a strike. In bunting, any movement of the bat toward the ball when the ball is over or near the plate area is a strike. The mere holding of the bat in the strike zone is not an attempt to bunt. (10-1-4a)
  7. Senor Azul


    It is a balk if a pitcher suspends his lift (lead or front) leg during his pitching motion after his set—it is a start/stop balk. Here are two interpretations for OBR and then a case play for high school ball. From the 2013 Wendelstedt rules interpretation manual (section 6.3, p. 102): It is a balk when…The pitcher suspends his foot in the air (he stopped his delivery) in an attempt to hold a runner. Play 132: R1, no outs, no count. The left-handed pitcher, after coming stopped in the set position, raises his non-pivot foot off the ground and suspends it in the air, freezing R1. He then steps and throws to first base in an attempt to pick-off R1. Ruling: This is a balk. From the 2017 Jaksa/Roder rules interpretation manual (Chapter 18, p. 144): It is a balk if a pitcher who is in-contact…hesitates in or interrupts his motion to join hands, pitch, throw, or disengage. R1. A left-handed pitcher lifts his free foot and suspends it, unmoving, for a split second before proceeding in his motion to throw: hesitation, balk. 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 6.1.3 Situation H: With R1, F1 is in set position in a wide stance. He lifts his nonpivot foot to shorten his stance and then returns to his wide stance (a) during his stretch and before his stop or (b) after his stop. Ruling: This is legal in (a), but is a balk in (b). If the nonpivot foot is lifted after the stop, he must immediately pitch or step directly toward a base and throw to that base.
  8. I think it is a start/stop balk in the OP. Even if it isn’t a balk, the following case plays seem to indicate that the reason given by Mr. The Man in Blue for it not being a balk is not correct. 2019 NFHS rule 6-1 ART. 3 . . . For the set position, the pitcher shall have the ball in either his gloved hand or his pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or behind his back… 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 6.1.3 Situation Q: With a runner on first, Team A right-handed pitcher is in the set position, bent at the waist and his pitching arm naturally hangs down slightly in front or to the side away from his body. As he looks to the catcher for a signal, (a) the pitcher’s arm is stationary or (b) the pitching arm rocks slightly from side to side. RULING: In (a), the position of the arm is natural and can be considered by his side in meeting the rule. Any movement would then start the pitch. In (b), any movement of the arm is considered the start of the pitching motion and a pitch must be delivered to the plate so this motion results in a balk. 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 6.1.3 Situation F: With R1 on first, F1 receives the ball from F2 and with his feet in set-position stance and in contact with the pitcher’s plate (a) nervously tosses ball in glove two or three times, or (b) removes the ball from his glove. RULING: This is a balk in (a) and (b). Restrictions on F1’s movements begin when he intentionally contacts the pitcher’s plate with his pivot foot.
  9. To answer Mr. JonnyCat’s question—a pitcher does not have to step off the rubber to make an appeal throw to a base. He does have to step off to make an appeal throw to the plate. Here’s why--from the 2017 Jaksa/Roder manual (pp. 148-149): Pitch versus Throw to Home If an in-contact pitcher steps toward home, there cannot be a throw--there can only be a pitch or balk (or both). E.G.: R3 is stealing home. Without disengaging, the pitcher steps forward and pitches, whereupon the batter swings and contacts the catcher: defensive interference. Moreover, if a pitcher who is not in-contact (or has disengaged) steps and throws home, there cannot be a pitch (unless there is deceptive imitation of a motion to pitch). E.G.: The pitcher is in the windup position, his hands apart, and the batter is prepared to bat. As R3 dashes for home, the pitcher properly disengages the rubber and throws home. The batter swings at the ball, contacts the catcher (who is standing over home plate) and R3 slides into home without being tagged: the pitcher has not balked. The batter has interfered with the catcher's try to field the throw, and an out must be declared for his interference.
  10. As Mr. Jimurray pointed out earlier, the Little League rule book instructs the umpire to make the ball live as soon as the pitcher has a game ball and is on the rubber. Since the umpire did not follow this rule I would say that he contributed to the error made by the defense in the appeal process. In fact, according to the OP, the defense actually would have performed the appeal process correctly the first time if the ball had been made live properly (especially considering the fact that there were no runners). 2022 RULES INSTRUCTION MANUAL Rule 5.11 – After the ball is dead, play shall be resumed when the pitcher takes position on the pitcher’s plate with a new ball, or the same ball in said pitcher’s possession and the plate umpire calls “Play.” The plate umpire shall call “Play” as soon as the pitcher takes position on the plate with possession of the ball. INSTRUCTOR’S COMMENT Play shall be resumed when: the pitcher takes a position on the pitcher’s plate with a new ball or the same ball in the pitcher’s possession and all fielders, other than the catcher are in Fair Territory. If a foul ball has occurred, all runners additionally must have returned to and re-touched their bases. In the special case when the ball must legally be put back into play at the end of a half inning or at the end of the game in order to appeal a base running violation (Rule 7.10), the only condition required is for the pitcher to take a position on the pitcher’s plate with a new ball or the same ball in said pitcher’s possession and have the Plate Umpire call “Play”. The Plate Umpire shall call “Play” as soon as the pitcher takes a position on the pitcher’s plate with the ball.
  11. A cautionary note—in order to give protection to a fielder he has to be considered in the act of fielding. From the 2016 BRD (section 295, p. 195): OBR Official Interpretation: Wendelstedt: When a runner or batter-runner hinders a fielder’s attempt to catch a fly ball, it is not interference if the fielder had no chance to field the ball because the ball is so far away, or so out of play, that the fielder could not be considered in the act of fielding. FED: No provision. Treat as in OBR. The 2017 Jaksa/Roder manual describes it as “it is interference by a runner (batter-runner included) if…such runner hinders a protected fielder during a fair or catchable batted ball.”
  12. Senor Azul

    Wacky play

    I thought it was odd that the FED did not even have a case play to address this question so I did a little research. It turns out that they did have a case play but, sadly, they deleted it about 20 years ago. The following play entered the FED case book in 1972 and as far as I can tell remained in the case book until 2001. 1972 NFHS baseball Case Book Play 254—How are awards determined when a fielder carries or throws a live ball into a dugout or any dead ball area? Ruling: When a batted ball is caught in flight and then carried into a dugout or other dead ball area, the award is one base. Any other time a live ball is carried or thrown into dead ball area, except for a pitch or a throw by the pitcher while in contact with his plate, the award is 2 bases. (8-3-3d)
  13. In your scenario, R2 is not considered to have advanced on the pitch because he did not attain third base before the time of pitch. As soon as the pitch is caught by the catcher call time and enforce the balk. From the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (p. 122): “When a balk is made on a pitch that is a fourth ball it shall be ruled the same as when the batter hits a balk pitch and is safe on a hit or error, provided all runners advance at least one base on the play. Therefore, with a runner on first, first and second, or first, second and third, when a balk is called on the fourth ball, the batter goes to first base and all runners advance at least one base. If they attempt to advance more than one base, they do so at their own risk. “However, if first base is not occupied and all other runners do not advance at least one base on the play, the balk penalty prevails. The ball is dead; the batter returns to the batter’s box and assumes the same ball and strike count as before the balk pitch; and all runners are allowed to advance one base as penalty for the balk.” …If the balk is followed by “Ball Four” delivered to the batter and is caught by the catcher, call “Time” and enforce the balk unless all runners advance one base because of “Ball Four.” In that situation, play proceeds without reference to the balk.
  14. Here is the actual rule that answers your question-- 2021 OBR rule 5.09c… An appeal is not to be interpreted as a play or an attempted play. Successive appeals may not be made on a runner at the same base. If the defensive team on its first appeal errs, a request for a second appeal on the same runner at the same base shall not be allowed by the umpire. (Intended meaning of the word “err” is that the defensive team in making an appeal threw the ball out of play. For example, if the pitcher threw to first base to appeal and threw the ball into the stands, no second appeal would be allowed.) And here is the official interpretation of the rule (from the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual, p. 71)— “If the pitcher or any member of the defensive team throws the ball out of play when making an appeal, such act shall be considered an attempted play. No further appeal will be allowed on any runner at any base. (This refers to an appeal being made after a definite break in action.)” High school baseball rules are different on this—the defense may still appeal after throwing the ball to DBT.
  15. Senor Azul

    Wacky play

    From the 2016 BRD (section 28, p. 35): FED: The ball is dead if a fielder with a batted ball caught in flight steps or falls with both feet into a dead-ball area. (5-1-1i) PENALTY: Each runner is awarded one base. (8-3-3d) Note 32: If the defensive player fields a fair ball on the bounce and then steps into DBT—an unlikely but not impossible occurrence—the award would be two bases from the time the ball goes dead. Play 30-29: R1, R2. B1’s short fly is maybe fair, maybe foul. The right fielder is charging hard as the runners go halfway. F9 cannot make the catch, and the ball deflects off his glove. Finally he gains possession of the ball and intentionally steps with both feet into DBT. At the time he enters DBT, each runner and BR have advanced one base. Ruling: Both runners score and BR goes to third.
  16. The following text is taken from the front matter of the 2021 Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken rule book… 0.06 PITCHING LIMITATIONS – LOCAL LEAGUE PLAY 5. Because each game in which a pitcher pitches is considered one (1) “assignment”, a pitcher in the same game may start out as a pitcher, play another position, and return to the mound and this would still be considered as one (1) assignment. RE-ENTRY RULE AND EXPLANATION RE-ENTRY RULE (ALL DIVISIONS) Any of the starting players may withdraw and re-enter once provided such player occupies the same batting position whenever he is in the lineup. A substitute who is withdrawn may not re-enter. All pitchers are governed by the provisions of Official Baseball Rule 3.05 if withdrawn while on the mound pitching. The pitcher withdrawn while a batter or base runner may re-enter the game immediately. If the pitcher is removed from the game because of a second trip in the same inning, he may re-enter the game in any position with the exception of pitcher. NOTE: Any pitcher (starter or reliever) may leave the pitcher’s position and return as a pitcher provided he was not removed from the mound as a result of a second trip. This is true even if the player is removed from the game and later re-enters. …If the pitcher is removed from the game because of a second trip in the same inning, he may re-enter the game in any position, (with the exception of pitcher), if he was one of the nine starting players.
  17. As for the FED case play posted by Mr. noumpere, all it is telling us is that the batter (also the batter-runner) is responsible for controlling his bat. Here is a couple more— 2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.3.6 Situation: In hitting a slow roller to F5, the (a) whole bat slips out of his hands and interferes with F5 or (b) his bat breaks and hits the ball or F5 as F5 attempts to field the ball. RULING: In (a), the ball is dead immediately. B1 is declared out for interference, because B1 is responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play. In (b), there is no penalty and the ball remains live. 2020 NFHS Case Book Play 8.4.1 Situation J: B1 bunts the ball down the first-base line, the catcher comes out from behind the plate and (a) the batter/runner intentionally drops/throws his bat and contacts the batted ball prior to any fielder having an opportunity to field the ball; (b) without contacting the ball intentionally, the batter/runner drops/throws his bat or other batter/runner equipment which impedes a fielder’s opportunity to field the ball. RULING: The ball becomes dead immediately in both (a) and (b), the batter/runner is ruled out and all runners return to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch. The batter may not use a bat or any other personal equipment to hinder the defense.
  18. Here’s the official interpretation that can be found in the 2016 BRD (section 290, p. 190): OBR Official Interpretation: Wendelstedt: After ball four, a batter becomes a runner. Since the ball is not batted, any hindrance that occurs on the catcher or the catcher’s throw must be intentional for interference to be called. For the FED the BRD states that there is no provision and to treat it as in OBR.
  19. Mr. TopHat64, we have discussed this question at least twice before. Here is what I posted then that answers your current question and links to those previous threads. 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) https://umpire-empire.com/topic/73163-infield-fly-with-a-shift/ https://umpire-empire.com/topic/69717-defensive-shift-and-nfhs-question/
  20. So, why do they change baseballs when it hits the dirt? Because a scuffed up baseball has the potential of giving the pitcher an unfair advantage. The dirt may alter the baseball’s trajectory, giving it unique movement, which is a punishable offense in the MLB. Apparently, a pitcher throwing a pitch into the dirt has the potential to scuff the ball more than a batted ball. Prior to 1920 most Major League games used just one ball for the whole game. Then a player, Ray Chapman, died from injuries sustained by being hit by a pitch. To this day he is the only player to die from being hurt in a game and a huge contributing factor was the dirty baseballs were hard to see. So MLB was forced to start using more new balls during the game and rules were written that remain in the books to today. Umpires are directed by rule to keep clean, easily seen balls in play-- 4.01(e) Have in his possession at least two alternate balls and shall require replenishment of such supply of alternate balls as needed throughout the game. Such alternate balls shall be put in play when: (1) A ball has been batted out of the playing field or into the spectator area; (2) A ball has become discolored or unfit for further use; (3) The pitcher requests such alternate ball. It has become almost automatic for a catcher to hand a ball that was just pitched into the dirt to the umpire and he then hands a new ball to the catcher. So the average life of a ball in a Major League game is only about 5-8 pitches.
  21. Mr. JonnyCat, the BRD does, indeed, give examples of visual interference except they are shown in the section titled Obstruction: Visual: Defensive and is in section 376 of the 2016 BRD. Also, here are a couple of examples found in another interpretations manual-- From the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 6.22, pp. 114-115): Runner on third base, one out. Batter hits a fly ball to right-center field and the runner goes back to third base to tag up. Third baseman approaches the runner, faces him, and jockeys back and forth, intentionally trying to block the runner’s view of the fielder catching the ball. Ruling: This is obstruction under Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(2). The umpire should call the infraction when it occurs and award bases, if any, in the appropriate manner. With a runner on first base, the first baseman—rather than holding the runner in the traditional manner—jockeys back and forth in front of the runner, several feet to the second base side of the bag. In the umpire’s judgment the first baseman is doing this intentionally to block the runner’s view of the pitcher. Ruling: While Official Baseball Rule 5.02(c) allows a fielder to position himself anywhere in fair territory, if the umpire deems the fielder’s actions are a deliberate effort to block the runner’s view of the pitcher, it is illegal and clearly not within the spirit of the rules. The first baseman should be warned to stop, and if he persists, he is subject to ejection.
  22. Senor Azul

    Tagging Up

    According to the book A Game of Inches by Peter Morris there were newspaper accounts of outfielders juggling fly balls in 1879. The trick play did gain some adherents throughout the 1880s. But as most things in life are interconnected so too was this action. Starting in the late 1880s and becoming almost universal in the 1890s, most players started using gloves. This made the practice of juggling the ball back into the infield too difficult. Though there are accounts of it happening it wasn’t a big problem. In fact, the rules committee didn’t see fit to make a rule against it until 1920. Rule 56 Sec. 10 gave base runners the right to advance as soon as the ball was touched by a defender— “A base runner who holds his base on a fly ball shall have the right to advance the moment such fly ball touches the hands of a fielder.”
  23. Senor Azul

    Tagging Up

    2022 LL RIM rule 2 A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in the hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it before it touches the ground providing such fielder does not use cap, protector, pocket, or any other part of the uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following contact with the ball, the fielder collides with a player, or with a wall, or if that fielder falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove complete control of the ball and that release of the ball is voluntary and intentional. A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground. Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball. INSTRUCTOR'S COMMENTS: Runners may advance the instant the fly ball is touched by a defensive player.
  24. As you describe it, you made a correct call. If the runner had not been making any feints toward second base—just taking a lead from first-- then the pitcher stepping toward unoccupied second base is a balk. The umpire (you in this case) must judge that it is reasonable for the pitcher to believe he had a play at second base—here is an online case play illustrating this. 2013 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 20: With runners at first base and second base, the runner at second bluffs a steal of third by running hard to third before he stops and retreats back to second base. The pitcher, seeing the runner take off hard to third base, legally throws to the unoccupied third base. The third-base coach wants a balk called on the pitcher since the runner from second stopped. RULING: A pitcher may throw or feint a throw to an unoccupied base in an attempt to put out or drive back a runner. As long as the umpire judges that it is reasonable for the pitcher to believe he had a play at third, even though the runner stopped, it is a legal move. (6-2-4b)
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