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Gaining Ground toward 2nd


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5 hours ago, MidAmUmp said:

Oh...look! That's NCAA Secretary/Rules Editor Randy Bruns and 2 time CWS Umpire Steve Mattingly going over pitching rules at our 2016 Mid-American Advanced Umpire Clinic. 

That's HOW I know what they want called. 

IMG_0560.JPG

Dang it. Steve needs a shave.

 

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On 6/3/2017 at 0:50 AM, MidAmUmp said:

2nd pic is borderline.

3rd pick is a balk. 

He has to clear the rubber. 

Aside from having guidance directly from the folks responsible for writing and interpreting the rules, I agree with this view.

I define "gaining ground" not with respect to an individual BODY part, but rather the complete pitching position.  The "controlling" body part (non-pivot foot in this case) has to be closer to the base he is throwing to than when he started.  Picture 1 satisfies this criteria, by the slimmest of margins so does 2, however 3 does not.  In pic 3 was his free foot closer to 2B than when the foot started? Yes, but not relative to his pivot foot, so in my definition, he did not gain ground.

It seems that clearing the rubber is a good guideline to minimize those gray areas.  How much has to clear? Toes, instep, complete foot?  If the interpretation/guidance is complete foot, it actually makes the call somewhat easier.

Just my $0.02.

 

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It goes back to how concisely the rule is written and even then, without exact examples of foot placement in pictures like were provided in the OP, words/phrases like "gaining ground" leave much to be desired on the editorial end, even though that might be the only way to correctly word a particular rule or situation. We also need those "real life" in person or video examples that help us visualize the the pictures drawn like the OP.

How much ground-----1/16 of an inch for those who can still see that well, 1 inch, 1 foot, 2 feet?????, Just how much without those pictures for guidance are we to interpret as "gaining ground". That becomes the pulling your hair out conundrum.

MAU has given us some great guidance from those involved on the written/communication and interpretation end of the situation using resources that he has access to, more so than the rest of us many times.

And, no matter how great/super/unquestionable/concise the rule is written, to those who write the rules, we still have a need for guidance, even if it appears we seem to be on the anal end of things many times.

Also, no matter how great a rule is written, just as MAU has mentioned, and more times than anyone would like to admit, there is not always a killer word or phrase you can use to explain to every coach imaginable that will satisfy the coach and keep you out of the dreaded ejection. Some times you just got to umpire and let the chips fall where they may, and hope that you catch the eye of that person who can help and move your career along.

Once again-sometimes you just gotta umpire. There will never be an exact answer to every question imaginable out there.

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MLBUM (for OBR): In stepping to a base, the pitcher must lift his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.

When I read things like this, I have to shake my head in bewilderment. Did the pitcher gain ground by an inch or a fraction of an inch, or did he bring his foot down in the same spot? Especially working two-man, with all that we have to watch for, I'm simply not good enough to see that precisely. "Clearing the rubber" has the virtue of being more discernible.

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28 minutes ago, LRZ said:

MLBUM (for OBR): In stepping to a base, the pitcher must lift his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.

When I read things like this, I have to shake my head in bewilderment. Did the pitcher gain ground by an inch or a fraction of an inch, or did he bring his foot down in the same spot? Especially working two-man, with all that we have to watch for, I'm simply not good enough to see that precisely. "Clearing the rubber" has the virtue of being more discernible.

It's the same standard for all bases. Are you going to make up something similarly "more discernible" for the other bases, too?

Sometimes, you just gotta umpire.

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3 hours ago, maven said:

It's the same standard for all bases. Are you going to make up something similarly "more discernible" for the other bases, too?

Sometimes, you just gotta umpire.

My point, exactly: I'm simply not such a precision instrument to apply the MLBUM directive. I do, in fact, "just umpire." I had never heard of "clearing the rubber" before reading MAU's posts, but I can appreciate that NCAA made up a guideline that provides clearer guidance on judging "gaining ground." I see nothing wrong with a principle that makes it easier for us to make judgments.

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As I've pointed out before, the need to clear the rubber makes a differentiation between coming set twice and a step to second. If, say, F1 comes set with his non-pivot foot 12 inches in front of his pivot foot, lifts it and brings it down 3 inches in front of his non-pivot foot, is that coming set twice or a step to second?

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4 hours ago, MooseLoop said:

Jim Evans' balk video: "Failure to step toward 2d base when throwing or faking a throw is a balk.  If the pitcher's free foot does not land behind the rubber when throwing or faking to 2d, he has balked."  [emphasis added]

I'll drink to that!

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59 minutes ago, DVA7130 said:

That's an obvious no step but are we going to worry about possible heel contact with the rubber on a proper step to 2B as in this: http://m.mlb.com/video/v1434097283/sdwsh-richard-catches-werth-to-end-the-inning/?query=picks+to+second

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2 hours ago, Jimurray said:

That's an obvious no step but are we going to worry about possible heel contact with the rubber on a proper step to 2B as in this: http://m.mlb.com/video/v1434097283/sdwsh-richard-catches-werth-to-end-the-inning/?query=picks+to+second

This is why this 'must clear the rubber' is a bit out there, I think.    

Pick to first:  gain ground to 1B.  Gaining ground could be a tiny distance, as long as the foot doesn't land in the same spot it started.

Pick to third: gain ground to 3B.  Gaining ground, as above. 

Pick to second:  gain ground AND clear the pitcher's plate, which we know to be 6" wide.   

So why the additional requirement on picks to 2B ?

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  • 2 years later...
On 6/3/2017 at 8:34 AM, Rich Ives said:

All three illustrations have the pitcher doing just that.

MLBUM (for OBR):

In stepping to a base, the pitcher must lift his entire non-pivot foot off the ground and bring it
down in a location different from where it started and toward the base. The entire non-pivot foot
must move in a direction and distance to the base. This will constitute a step. The pitcher is not
allowed to lift his non-pivot foot up and bring it back down in the same spot where it started. In
stepping, the heel of the pitcher's free foot may not end up in the same spot it started.

On the third pic he is no closer to second base then when he began.  If the pivot foot is still between the non pivot foot and second base he didn't gain distance.

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  • 2 years later...
On 6/3/2017 at 10:37 AM, MidAmUmp said:

You guys do understand sometimes you have to just umpire, correct??? Not every scenario is specifically covered in the rule book.

This is yet another example of why upper echelon college and professional umpires do not post on message boards...they get sick and tired of providing proper answers relayed to them from those in charge, only to have internet experts telling them they are wrong because "it's not in the book". Oh, they still lurk and read for laughs. I know because several ask me why I still do it. Sometimes I wonder.

The rules I've given you, when pieced together indicate that the pitcher must clear the rubber to throw to 2nd. That's how you umpire when the book isn't specific.

Call it your way, I'll call it mine. Again, I know how they want it called, and that's how I'll call it.

Here's a video of Jeff Nelson balking a pitcher for not clearing the rubber. Guess he's wrong, too?

 

 

Not arguing about the OP.  To me on this Jeff called a balk because he did clear the rubber and then threw to third.  When he cleared the rubber he could only feint or throw to second or pitch.  At least I believe that's the rule.

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2 hours ago, umpstu said:

Not arguing about the OP.  To me on this Jeff called a balk because he did clear the rubber and then threw to third.  When he cleared the rubber he could only feint or throw to second or pitch.  At least I believe that's the rule.

If you say he cleared the rubber and stepped to 2B then he became an infielder and could run to 3B. The step qualifies as a feint if it cleared the rubber.

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1 hour ago, Jimurray said:

If you say he cleared the rubber and stepped to 2B then he became an infielder and could run to 3B. The step qualifies as a feint if it cleared the rubber.

His non pivot foot cleared the rubber.  He did not step off towards 2nd with his pivot foot.  

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37 minutes ago, umpstu said:

His non pivot foot cleared the rubber.  He did not step off towards 2nd with his pivot foot.  

Where the trail/pivot foot goes doesn't matter. As per Jim Evans at a clinic, a legal step toward a base that can be feinted to is a legal disengage. Either Nelson perceived no step/clearance to 2B or we don't know his reason for the balk. 

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