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  1. Since baseball is played on such a wide variety of fields and parks, there have to be a wide range of "features" and travails that become part of our Plate Meeting reviews of the Ground Rules. What are some that you've encountered? ---- I'll go first... The field in question is the "JV" field of a local high school. It is situated in one corner of a large, rectangular field that hosts three football fields side-to-side-to-side used for practice (only). The 1BL fence actually ends and the imaginary line continues to become the back of the football end zone. A set of uprights are on that line. It turns out that the 1B-2B line is the sideline for the nearest practice field, and therefore, there is a faint, vaporous line extending from 2B into LF. In a moment of foresight, a set of uprights was _not_ placed 120 yards away, opposite the 1BL DBT fence uprights, but to make matters even more challenging, about 10 feet beyond the end zones is a formidable drainage ditch. Not too abrupt, but about about four foot deep at its deepest point, shaped like a bowling alley gutter, running parallel with the 1BL. Got all that? Here's the fun part. Like a true sandlot game, there are blocking / tackling sleds (plural... 1-man, 3-man and 5-man) in right field and center field. We're about to have a 13U game on that field, and its a tournament game ta boot... which means neither team is responsible for these obstructions in the outfield, or their removal. Since I'm a "big tough guy" and former "football player", I summon my rusty strength and wrap-and-drive the 1-man sled off the field of play, careful not to reveal to the youth that I may have forgotten a degree of form and technique, or may have thrown out my back doing so. There is no time to even consider moving the 3-man and 5-man sleds, so they have to stay where they sit, about 350 - 400 ft. away from home plate in right-center field, and we address it like this... "Ground Rules... Fully enclosed backstop, with a gap under it there, and two doorways for the dugouts there and there. Fence line extended that way (3BS), and fence line extended that way (1BS) for dead ball territory. Those uprights are Out of Play. Contact with them is an immediate dead ball. Through the uprights are 3 points (we had a mild chuckle about this). Now, here's where the fun starts (I actually said that)... There is no chalk line defining the first base line beyond the bag. Those lines you see are not our lines. Therefore, my partner and I have the call on fair or foul beyond the bag, and it is our judgement. Next... (and at this point I gesture towards right-center field, and everyone starts chuckling and groaning)... we have our Adventure Baseball Course. Please caution your players, but as much as we don't like those sleds being there, there's nothing we can do about 'em. If a ball hits one on the fly directly, it is a home run. If it hits one off the bounce or the roll, it is a dead ball, as if it hopped an outfield fence. Lastly, the trench... Yes coach, there is a trench out there. If the balls rolls to the trench, we are going to consider it live until we see the fielder go to retrieve it. If the fielder goes down into the trench, the ball is dead. Our judgement. If a ball lands in or beyond the trench on the fly, it is a home run." We had 4 games on that field that Saturday, and we had 4 home runs that were called / deemed as such. We had 3 "live ball" home runs off some cannon shots to deep center. But no, no-one got three points on a field goal.
  2. Dale Scott (where's the title edit button ) was one of the speakers at our Officiate Oregon Day a few weekends ago. I was amazed at his height - about 5'7" and umpiring pro ball. Cool. Question came up about how often, if ever, MLB umpires use humor during a game. Dale shared two stories: When he first broke into the majors, he was working a game with catcher Rick Cerrone. Cerrone wanted to feel out the rookie umpire. With Cerrone catching, Dale balls a close, low pitch. Cerrone: Come on, we gotta have that pitch. Dale: No, that's down." Another borderline pitch, "ball." Cerrone: That's right there, come on. Dale: No, that's down. A few innings later, Cerrone comes up to bat. Sure enough there's a similar borderline low pitch." "Strike!" Cerrone: "Oh come on, that pitch is low!" Dale: "That's what I've been trying to tell you!" --------------------- Another umpire was working an MLB game where the starting pitcher gave up FOUR consecutive home runs to the home team. They're at a stadium where a ship cannon is "fired" after a home-team HR. First HR - boom! cannon shot. Next batter, HR, boom! cannon shot. And so on. After the fourth HR, the home plate umpire decides to walk the ball out to the pitcher. He gets to the mound and the pitcher asks him what he's doing out there. "Well, with the crap you're throwing today, I figured I'd give them time to re-load the cannon."
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