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Hands part of the bat Myth

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OK. Again. I'm beyond bewildered.

Yesterday, for the fourth time in this calendar year, I had a kid strike out by swinging at a pitch up and in (with two strikes), and the pitch hit his hands. 

Yesterday, the kid actually turned around and smiled and said, "Ouch!  That actually hit BOTH Of my hands" (as I was quietly displaying an out sign and the defense was running off the field.

i don't get bewildered that the 18-year-olds don't know the rules … I never read a rule book either when I was in HS, but every coach came to me for an explanation  they said everything that we laugh about among our umpire buds:

— That's a foul ball

— Hands are part of the bat

— Doesn't matter if he was swinging, because if it hit his hands, which are part of the bat, and if it even accidentally hits the bat, it's a foul ball 

These teams are usually coached by former pro players who are paid to coach one or more age groups in a "program," or "Academy" where I've seen as many as 10 teams.

Yesterday's incident was the first of the four where the HC told his assistants to get off the field, he brought the batter to me, and very kindly asked me by name (I'd only had him once before with a 16u team), "Can you explain that rule to both of us so we can really understand it please?"

Official's dream.

i gave the example of how a batter swings at an inside ball in the dirt, the ball hits the batter's leg even on the bounce, and TIME is called ... no matter what the count  From there I explained that it is an immediate dead ball whenever a pitch touches a player's person, attached equipment, or clothing — and he finally got it.  I admitted that the "Hands are part of the bat" myth is very pervasive, but it's really not hard to understand when you look at the other examples.  Then he asked, "So why did I have a batter jump out of the way last week, the pitch hit him on the hand, and the ump ruled it a foul ball?"

(I began to tremble)

i asked, "Did the ump say it touched the bat?"

"No ... he said it's the same call, since he was still holding the bat ... and that made sense to me at the time."

i said, "Coach, without being there, I hate to say my brother made a bad call, but AS YOU describe it, that is a HBP.  Sounds like the wrong call."

He thanked me for the explanation, said he understands now, and the 18-yr-old kid who starts college ball in one month shrugged and said, "I still don't get it."

I'd love to hear ANYTHING from you gentleman that may shed some light on why this myth won't die ... not even among umpires (other than the obvious — not studying the rules Book).

 

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I had this pop up yesterday with a little twist.  Pitch up and in hits the batter's hand.  I award him the base and DHC comes out and asks where this pitch hit him.

"It hit his hand"

"But the hand's part of the bat!"

"No Joe, that's not correct."

It went back and forth like this for a bit and finally Joe walked back to the dugout convinced I didn't know the rule.   Whatever, he went back to the dugout and life went on.  His team got blasted 20-1.

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I always ask them if the bat comes wrapped from the store with hands attached to it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

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It comes from the popular basketball phrase, "hand is part of the ball" and is an attempt to translate a similar action to baseball. The play happens fairly often in basketball, but relatively seldom in baseball, so the basketball rule prevails in the public lexicon such that when a similar baseball play occurs, the colloquialism is fairly automatic. Further complicating the ruling is the dead ball strike aspect of the play, which has the same result as an ordinary foul ball with a zero- or one-strike count. Since statistically two-thirds of pitch-hits-hand plays will occur with less than two strikes, simply seeing a "Time" mechanic followed by a strike added to the count suggests that a much more common event, a foul ball, has taken place.

http://www.closecallsports.com/2013/12/close-call-of-week-hand-part-of.html

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Speculating here - I think it's a confused reversal of the glove being part of the hand.   And, that the ball is part of the hand/glove for the purposes of making a tag - in that, with the ball in hand/glove you don't actually have to touch the player with the "ball".   The ball is an extension of the hand, so, they incorrectly try to apply this same extension to the bat.

The only other thing I can think of is I'm guessing it would make officiating much easier if you didn't have to determine if it hit the hand or the bat (or both at the same time) - it wouldn't matter.

Anyway - I got tossed from a game once when I told the umpire that I didn't get a free pair of hands when I bought the bat.

The demonstration I give to players who think this - I say "drop the bat"...."now, are your hands attached to the bat or your arms?"

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

Anyway - I got tossed from a game once when I told the umpire that I didn't get a free pair of hands when I bought the bat.

I think this is great .... but rather odd coming from someone who has chided me for being sarcastic with ignorant coaches.

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1 hour ago, VolUmp said:

I think this is great .... but rather odd coming from someone who has chided me for being sarcastic with ignorant coaches.

I never said I was perfect.   Plus, I said YOU were supposed to be the bigger man, not me. :)

But yes, that was my own dick measuring moment and I got (appropriately) slapped for it.   My AC protested the call, UIC came in and reversed.  Problem solved.  I could have avoided the ejection by just asking to protest.  My ego got in the way.

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It's not just the coaches.

One of my own assigners brought this up as "fact" in a newbie training-session. I called him out on it (perhaps I should have been more subtle, but that's never been my specialty). I still don't think I completely convinced him, though.

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This was asked in our 20 Questions training Session one year ... 130 officials ... largest in the state ... it was split roughly 50-50. 

So sad.

And we revile coaches for not knowing it????

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On 7/24/2017 at 11:57 PM, VolUmp said:

This was asked in our 20 Questions training Session one year ... 130 officials ... largest in the state ... it was split roughly 50-50. 

So sad.

And we revile coaches for not knowing it????

Yep.  And we should.

To get around the moral dilemma you present, it's simple:  you ALSO revile the roughly 65 dudes in your group who don't seem to know it, either.

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On 7/24/2017 at 10:57 PM, VolUmp said:

This was asked in our 20 Questions training Session one year ... 130 officials ... largest in the state ... it was split roughly 50-50. 

So sad.

And we revile coaches for not knowing it????

"We" don't. Perhaps you and others do. I do not blame coaches for not knowing the rules. It's not their job -- that's mine and yours and every other umpire's job. Coaches should coach and if they don't understand a call we make, they should listen with an open mind... but they don't. And since they never have, I'm not going to get worked up about now, a hundred and seventy something years later. What I can't get my head around is how so many umpires never seem to learn this simple lesson: Coaches do not and will not know the rules like we do. They do not and will not listen with an interest in learning something new. Perhaps you think it's sad. Personally, I think it's funny because it's one part of the game that has never changed and is as natural as a rainy day.

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4 minutes ago, ElkOil said:

"We" don't. Perhaps you and others do. I do not blame coaches for not knowing the rules. It's not their job -- that's mine and yours and every other umpire's job

Been participating in fora for decades. Coaches get reviled for not knowing the rules.

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14 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Been participating in fora for decades. Coaches get reviled for not knowing the rules.

Oh, I know. I think it's misdirected, though. I've seen it in other fields I've been in. When I was a career EMT, I was amazed how others EMTs put non-EMTs down for not knowing medical stuff. When I had an IT career, so many help desk people had no patience for customers who called asking for help because they had trouble with "obvious" issues. And the same is true in umpiring. Once some guys learn stuff, they automatically hold everyone else to the same standard for some reason. 

If there are any psychologists among us, I'd be interested in a professional opinion as to why this is. I'm sure the phenomenon has a name. Well, I can think of some names for it, but I meant something sophisticated and classy-sounding.

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8 hours ago, ElkOil said:

but I meant something sophisticated and classy-sounding.

"noumpere"

 

Although I'm not sure it meets your other criterion

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10 hours ago, ElkOil said:

Oh, I know. I think it's misdirected, though. I've seen it in other fields I've been in. When I was a career EMT, I was amazed how others EMTs put non-EMTs down for not knowing medical stuff. When I had an IT career, so many help desk people had no patience for customers who called asking for help because they had trouble with "obvious" issues. And the same is true in umpiring. Once some guys learn stuff, they automatically hold everyone else to the same standard for some reason. 

If there are any psychologists among us, I'd be interested in a professional opinion as to why this is. I'm sure the phenomenon has a name. Well, I can think of some names for it, but I meant something sophisticated and classy-sounding.

I've heard it called "Background of Obviousness" - not sure if that's a Steven Covey thing, but it's from that space.  People don't establish that background/baseline with others, it almost always gets assumed.  People assume others know what they know, and they assume others will act as they would.

It's the same mentality that leads to the instruction "Please insert this DVD to learn how to use your DVD player".

 

There certainly SHOULD be an expected baseline, but in this case I'm not sure who generates the consensus to where that baseline lies. In the IT space, I've watched the baseline shift in the 20+ years I've worked it - from rolling out Windows 95 and introducing the concept of a Start Menu for people who've only ever used dumb terminals, to now expecting anybody in the workplace to know how to navigate their desktop to find the applications they need.  Going from "do you have e-mail" to "you don't have e-mail?!?!?"  To now balancing a workforce who started working before the home computer was a novel idea, with a new workforce who has never known life without smartphones and high speed internet.   So, though I don't expect everyone to know the basics of texting or how to update their phone - I do expect someone to understand that their phone isn't going to charge if the power is out.

I think the baseline has (or should have) shifted for coaches too - the information is simply more accessible.  There are rules coaches SHOULD know, and be expected to know. And this might shift - coaches in community will know far less than club coaches.   There are other rules that only an umpire is going to understand.   Umpire associations need to agree on what a coach should know...and then that should be advertised to sporting and coaching associations to establish that Background of Obviousness.

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27 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

I've heard it called "Background of Obviousness"

[deletia]

I haven't heard that particular term, but I think you're on the right track.

Being an IT guy, I see the same things you do, and as someone who can speak English as well as geek, it frustrates me.

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There was a reply earlier in this thread that roughly half - HALF - of umpires thought that hands were part of the bat.

If that many umpires are thinking this and applying the rule incorrectly, then why should umpires expect that coaches should also know the rules, especially the more complex and/or arcane rules?

We need to right our own ship first.

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2 hours ago, BrianC14 said:

There was a reply earlier in this thread that roughly half - HALF - of umpires thought that hands were part of the bat.

If that many umpires are thinking this and applying the rule incorrectly, then why should umpires expect that coaches should also know the rules, especially the more complex and/or arcane rules?

We need to right our own ship first.

For the same reason we expect people to know that the e-mail telling them that their cousin's, brother's friend woke up in a bathtub without his kidneys is fake, or that there is no rich Nigerian prince wanting to borrow your bank account.    The knowledge is out there for anyone willing to listen or notice.

I can use google (or any other search engine, past or present) and validate whether or not the hands are part of the bat in under 30 seconds.   Other rules not so much.

Though you might have a higher standard on umps than coaches, just because half of umpires don't know this rule, I'm not ready to forgive coaches, parents or players for not knowing this particular rule....I'm  simply resetting my expectation that if half of umps don't know the rule then probably 3/4 of coaches don't know it.

But it's not gonna stop me from shaking my head or reviling them for their ignorance.

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

For the same reason we expect people to know that the e-mail telling them that their cousin's, brother's friend woke up in a bathtub without his kidneys is fake, or that there is no rich Nigerian prince wanting to borrow your bank account.    The knowledge is out there for anyone willing to listen or notice.

I can use google (or any other search engine, past or present) and validate whether or not the hands are part of the bat in under 30 seconds.   Other rules not so much.

Though you might have a higher standard on umps than coaches, just because half of umpires don't know this rule, I'm not ready to forgive coaches, parents or players for not knowing this particular rule....I'm  simply resetting my expectation that if half of umps don't know the rule then probably 3/4 of coaches don't know it.

But it's not gonna stop me from shaking my head or reviling them for their ignorance.

Problem is that there is apparently a 50% chance that if you ask the person you believe to be a rules expert that you will get the wrong answer.

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5 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

Problem is that there is apparently a 50% chance that if you ask the person you believe to be a rules expert that you will get the wrong answer.

The odds go down when a veteran is paired with a journeyman who can learn something from listening.

The odds go up when the two umpires have been calling for 30 years and each have 1 year's experience thirty times.  They won't be willing to listen or learn.

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7 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

For the same reason we expect people to know that the e-mail telling them that their cousin's, brother's friend woke up in a bathtub without his kidneys is fake, or that there is no rich Nigerian prince wanting to borrow your bank account.    The knowledge is out there for anyone willing to listen or notice.

I can use google (or any other search engine, past or present) and validate whether or not the hands are part of the bat in under 30 seconds.   Other rules not so much.

Though you might have a higher standard on umps than coaches, just because half of umpires don't know this rule, I'm not ready to forgive coaches, parents or players for not knowing this particular rule....I'm  simply resetting my expectation that if half of umps don't know the rule then probably 3/4 of coaches don't know it.

But it's not gonna stop me from shaking my head or reviling them for their ignorance.

You deal with parents often? (As an umpire?)  WTH?    The point is (to reiterate, since you clearly missed it) is that umpires need to be better before they laugh at some coach - who may or may not be a volunteer.   That "standard" is only so much higher.  It's not rocket science, but the difference could probably be measured with a micrometer.

 

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On 7/23/2017 at 9:10 AM, VolUmp said:

OK. Again. I'm beyond bewildered.

Yesterday, for the fourth time in this calendar year, I had a kid strike out by swinging at a pitch up and in (with two strikes), and the pitch hit his hands. 

Yesterday, the kid actually turned around and smiled and said, "Ouch!  That actually hit BOTH Of my hands" (as I was quietly displaying an out sign and the defense was running off the field.

i don't get bewildered that the 18-year-olds don't know the rules … I never read a rule book either when I was in HS, but every coach came to me for an explanation  they said everything that we laugh about among our umpire buds:

— That's a foul ball

— Hands are part of the bat

— Doesn't matter if he was swinging, because if it hit his hands, which are part of the bat, and if it even accidentally hits the bat, it's a foul ball 

These teams are usually coached my former pro players who are paid to coach one or more age groups in a "program," or "Academy" where I've seen as many as 10 teams.

Yesterday's incident was the first of the four where the HC told his assistants to get off the field, he brought the batter to me, and very kindly asked me by name (I'd only had him once before with a 16u team), "Can you explain that rule to both of us so we can really understand it please?"

Official's dream.

i gave the example of how a batter swings at an inside ball in the dirt, the ball hits the batter's leg even on the bounce, and TIME is called ... no matter what the count  From there I explained that it is an immediate dead ball whenever a pitch touches a player's person, attached equipment, or clothing — and he finally got it.  I admitted that the "Hands are part of the bat" myth is very pervasive, but it's really not hard to understand when you look at the other examples.  Then he asked, "So why did I have a batter jump out of the way last week, the pitch hit him on the hand, and the ump ruled it a foul ball?"

(I began to tremble)

i asked, "Did the ump say it touched the bat?"

"No ... he said it's the same call, since he was still holding the bat ... and that made sense to me at the time."

i said, "Coach, without being there, I hate to say my brother made a bad call, but AS YOU describe it, that is a HBP.  Sounds like the wrong call."

He thanked me for the explanation, said he understands now, and the 18-yr-old kid who starts college ball in one month shrugged and said, "I still don't get it."

I'd love to hear ANYTHING from you gentleman that may shed some light on why this myth won't die ... not even among umpires (other than the obvious — not studying the rules Book).

 

Had to eject a college head coach once when his batter swung at a pitch up and in with a 3-2 count and it went off his hands.  The plate umpire was blocked out by the catcher jumping up to catch the ball and came to me for help.  I said he swung, the ball hit his hands and now it's a dead ball and the batter is out.  The coach went bonkers and said if I didn't know that the hands were part of the bat then I need to get back in the rule book.  After I ejected him my partner and I just gave each other the did that really come out of his mouth look.

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11 hours ago, BrianC14 said:

You deal with parents often? (As an umpire?)  WTH?    The point is (to reiterate, since you clearly missed it) is that umpires need to be better before they laugh at some coach - who may or may not be a volunteer.   That "standard" is only so much higher.  It's not rocket science, but the difference could probably be measured with a micrometer.

 

Yes and no.   This is true of anything - worry about the log in your eye before you worry about the splinter in mine.  But if YOU, singular, do you have your yard clean, YOU should have the right to revile umpires and coaches alike....you don't need to wait for your brethren to improve collectively.

I'll reiterate too, as you missed it, umpires are absolutely at a higher standard than coaches/volunteers (what the difference is can be debated for eternity) - but regardless of that difference there still is a baseline that both umpire and coach should be beyond.  

The fact that some coaches know things that some umpires don't is a different conversation, because that applies to a lot of coaches, a lot of umpires, and a lot of different rules, on any given day.

In the end I expect that most umpires will know exponentially more than most coaches, and I expect both umpires and coaches to know the hands are part of the body, not the bat.

I deal with player's parents, as a coach - and nothing drives me nuts more than seeing an umpire get the call absolutely right and then hearing one of MY parents screaming "the hands are part of the bat" especially since once of my codes of conduct are "know the rules" and I specifically use this rule as an example.

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The following is one of the many things we have posted in plain sight at our park:

 

Bats and Hands

 

 

There is a common mythical belief that the hands are part of the bat. They are not.

 1.10 -- The bat must be a baseball bat which meets Little League specifications and standards as noted in this rule. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick and made of wood or of material and color tested and proved acceptable to Little League standards.

         No hands included.

 2.00 The PERSON of a player or an umpire is any part of the body, clothing or equipment.

         Note that it says “any part”.  That includes hands.

 Confusion reigns when a player is hit on the hands. There are several things that could happen in this event.

 First, the ball is ALWAYS dead when a pitch hits the batter. Not fair. Not foul. Dead.

 5.09 -- The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases without liability to be put out, when -

(a) a pitched ball touches a batter, or the batter's clothing, while in a legal batting position; runners, if forced, advance

 If the pitch hits the batter, on the hands or anywhere else, he gets to go to first base EXCEPT:

 6.08 -- The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided said runner advances to and touches first base) when –

(b) the batter is touched by a pitched ball which the batter is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) the batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;

 Note the “not attempting to hit” part. So, if he was swinging at the pitch, he stays at the plate and it is also a strike (and a dead ball) because:

 2.00 A STRIKE is a legal pitch which meets any of these conditions -

         (e) Touches the batter's person as the batter strikes at it (dead ball);

 So the batter can go to first when hit on the hands (or anyplace else) unless he was attempting to hit the pitch, or the pitch was in the strike zone when the hit happened. Then it’s just a dead ball and a strike – maybe even strike three.

 In addition, the umpire can rule that the batter made no attempt to avoid being hit and not allow him to go to first. This almost never happens at any level of baseball. At the LL ages, many batters freeze up. All benefit of the doubt goes to the batter. The pitcher goofed – don’t reward him.

 The professional rule is the same.

 

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On 7/26/2017 at 11:18 PM, ElkOil said:

"We" don't. Perhaps you and others do. I do not blame coaches for not knowing the rules. It's not their job -- that's mine and yours and every other umpire's job. Coaches should coach and if they don't understand a call we make, they should listen with an open mind... but they don't.

And that's where the .... reviling?  revile-ation?  revile-arama? .... okay, the point at which I revile a coach.  (English is hard.)

They don't listen - yes, that's a blanket statement, one I expect Rich to address in 5... 4... 3.... - but I really don't mean they never listen.  But in the specific kind of circumstances to which we refer in some of these posts, they don't, and aren't, listening.  You've made the call;  they've chirped about it and/or come out;  you've explained it;  they've then told you you're wrong, or full of [redacted], or whatever.

What they tend NOT to do - again, in these situations - is understand knowing the rules is "not their job," and let us do our jobs.  Accept that we're right (with the exception VolUmp has mentioned), or at least accept that the call we've made, barring a protest procedure that allows to protest on the spot, is the call that's going to stand, and bloody well move on.

Thing is, for the philosophy you mention:  "coaches coach, umpires ump" - I don't buy in 100%.  Coaches DO coach, but coaching isn't just looking good in baseball pants and spitting seeds, it's teaching.  Not just the skill sets, but the rules of the game in which those skills are used.  Otherwise, you get generations of players that don't know jack about the rules of the game in which they play, and crap that like propagates.  So that's why I might "revile" coaches;  they're generally given rulebooks at the state of the season, too - maybe crack it open once in a while.  Teach the game.

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