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Umpire in Chief

Putting the ball in play

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Should you put ball in play immediately upon a pitcher having a ball and touching the rubber, regardless of readiness of batter, catcher, runner, and fielder?  What if the runner is tying his shoe, the catcher is walking back to the plate from retrieving the foul ball, and the batter is out of the box doing warm-up swings and watching the third base coach.  I don't protect the runner or fielders, but I wait until I have pitcher, batter in box, and catcher all attending to the ball.  I may also put up the stop sign until we're ready to play.

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1 hour ago, MooseLoop said:

Should you put ball in play immediately upon a pitcher having a ball and touching the rubber, regardless of readiness of batter, catcher, runner, and fielder?  What if the runner is tying his shoe, the catcher is walking back to the plate from retrieving the foul ball, and the batter is out of the box doing warm-up swings and watching the third base coach.  I don't protect the runner or fielders, but I wait until I have pitcher, batter in box, and catcher all attending to the ball.  I may also put up the stop sign until we're ready to play.

Other than starting the game, by rule, OBR only requires a pitcher on the rubber with the ball, NCAA requires F1 engaged with the ball and batter in the box, and FED requires all three. MLBUM does not currently address this but older copies of PBUC require a batter also but that is an interp. I believe the WUM recommended all three but you can use your own judgement as to how  MLB umpires do or do not put it in play. All codes will allow you to say "play" with none of the criteria met if someone is being recalcitrant and you need a live ball to rule on something. If you are at a level where the pitcher is going to let loose without the batters attention, saying play probably won't help stop that. But the stop sign and "play" without runners might be needed at some levels.

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