NCAA rules (i.e. no dead ball appeals)
While the ball is dead, the defense attempts to make an appeal ("runner left early" or "runner missed the base"whatever - the play is immaterial to this question).
Does the umpire responsible for the call a) make a "soft" safe signal (not indicating judgment on the playing action, but denying the appeal, without saying he is denying the appeal), or say something like "the ball is dead" and making no signal or further comment?
Little League Major Softball tournament. Ball is dead. Defense wishes to appeal a runner missed home. Coaches are yelling instructions regarding the appeal process across the field. Offensive coach tells his batter to swing if it's a strike. Pitcher toes the rubber. Home plate umpire puts the ball in play.
Pitcher steps off and then moves about 3' to her left of the rubber and throws the ball overhand toward home. (None of the players speak during the play.) The catcher moves forward toward the pitcher. The ball comes in near the outside corner of the plate. The batter swings at the ball and hits the catcher's mitt and hand. The catcher is unable to catch the ball. No runners attempt to advance. Home plate umpire calls time for injured catcher. What's your ruling?
Opening day is tomorrow for NJ HS. Here is part of an email from our association interpreter, a very opinionated individual...
We do not go to our partner on a check swing because the coach has requested it. We can go to our partner IMMEDIATELY if needed. We all must be consistent in this mechanic all the time. Coaches have told me and umpires that some umpires still go when requested by coach. Please stop that and be consistent and the coaches will understand better and not ask.
While I know that we are not required to in HS, but I have always done it as long as the coach hasn't been a d!ck about it.
R1, R2, 1 out. OT has been running the bases like a merry-go-round for the past inning, and has racked up 5 runs. 1B to 3B, 2B to plate, the works.
Towering fly ball to F8. Flat sky, so nearly everybody loses sight of it (this umpire, as PU, included), but figure it has to be somewhere towards centerfield. R2 figures that, based on F8's previous body of botched catch attempts work, he'll take his chances and reaches 3B and rounds it towards HP. R1 follows suit, and is nearly to 2B when F8 actually... holy crap how'd he find it?... catches it. "Catch!" voices my BU.
Now panic ensues. R1 taps on R2 (never breaks the plane of it, just touches on the front edge), then retreats to 1B in a mad dash while F8 throws a... oh no... pond-skipper to F3, who can't field it cleanly and can't secure it before R1 arrives at 1B, touches it, then at the pleading of his coaches and fans heads to 2B (it turns out, these pleas and promptings were to R2 to return to 2B). While this is going on, R2 suddenly figures out he has to head back and tag up, so retouches 3B, and heads back towards 2B. F3 now throws to 2B, but R1 has already "safely" arrived there, and is sitting on it after sliding into it. F6 catches throw with his foot on the bag, and then tags R1.
Who is (technically) out?
FWIW, we called R2 out on the touch of 2B by F6 in possession of the ball. I made a point of saying, "That (point at) runner is out!" Was there an out sooner that we missed? Is R2 the one who is the third out or is R1 the third out?
We all Most of us know about the "Skunk In the Grass" play, yes? I had a team set one up during a MLK Day Weekend Tournament here... R1 and R3, and R1 started leading off down the 1BL to RF, but the pitcher never looked over and the batter wasn't disciplined enough to resist swinging at a fairly fat pitch and popped out. The entire crowd in attendance didn't get a chance to see the play (stand-off) develop to its full potential, but it got several buzzing and twittering (no, not actually on Twitter).
It got me thinking of other time-bleeding "legal" plays and "stand-off" situations where a team is trying a trick at scoring R3 at the accepted risk of losing R1. So here's what I came up with...
R2. 2 outs or less (inconsequential, but more likely with 2 outs because a sac fly or squeeze bunt won't work). Batter lays down a bunt, and beats the throw to 1B. He touches the base, but keeps right on going down the 1BL some 30-to-40-perhaps-more feet. Meanwhile, R2 arrives at R3, rounds it, and stays off the bag in a threatening-to-score position. R1 (perhaps at the cue of his 1BC) then makes a definite move towards 2B, drawing the attention of nearly the entire DT and the BU (PU is, of course, still watching the plate and now-R3). Because R3 has not returned to the 3B, and is instead in a posture to attempt to go to HP, a knowledgeable umpire is not going to just ambiguously call "Time!" (there are no injuries or technical failures (dislodged base)).
So how does this go? Obviously, R1 has negated his right to return to 1B unaffected ("directly") because he made that move towards 2B. What limitations are now on him? Also, nothing has occurred to make the ball Dead. R1 did visibly touch 1B, so he can't be out on Appeal. A play has to be made somewhere... right?