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Fog


Guest Greg

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1st HS game of the season and weather was cold and damp. By mid game the fog was really getting low, but still well above the light poles, Horizontal visibility was good well beyond the fences. Starting the top of the 6th inning the visiting team is down a run and they rally to score 9 runs. The home team of course starts saying that they can’t see the fly balls for the fog, but more likely the lights in their eyes prevented them from seeing above the lights. They want the game called, which would give them the win. 

My question is when would you call a game due to fog, given the importance of the game on the line and so close to the end. 

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Well, here’s what a college umpire did just last season in a game between USC Trojans and Loyola Marymount Lions. In an article written by Matt Monagan for mlb.com titled “An umpire halted a college player's at-bat and had him hit balls into the sky to test the fog” he described the scene as follows—

“A game between the USC Trojans and LMU Lions was getting foggy on Tuesday night. But just how foggy was it? Could the fielders still see the ball? Could the hitters still see the outfield? How would the home-plate umpire determine whether play could go on? Well, he'd halt an at-bat and do this, of course:

“Home plate umpire William Van Raaphorst asks Dillon Paulson to pelt a fly ball to RF to test the fog….Conclusion: Take ‘em off the field.” I think you need to hit the ctrl key and click on the following link for video--

https://twitter.comi/status/973749062930333697

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2 hours ago, Guest Greg said:

visiting team is down a run and they rally to score 9 runs. The home team of course starts saying that they can’t see the fly balls for the fog, but more likely the lights in their eyes prevented them from seeing above the lights

This argument would imply that the visiting team hit in the neighborhood of 15 consecutive fly balls - no grounders, no K's, no liners...but, regardless, even if you don't happen to observe at least one of the fly balls in action and judge for yourself it entered the fog, if you see several plays in the same inning that indicate the fielders are losing the ball, it's probably a good chance it's the fog.

The issue of not being able to see above the lights is not a factor on a clear night...unless you are looking directly at the lights you can indeed see a fly ball that goes above the lights at night time - otherwise you'd have to call every game once it got dark and it would be pointless to invest in lighting.  If they're losing several fly balls in the same inning, it's highly unlikely they're losing all of them in the lights.   You can go several games without that happening - seeing it happening more than once in the same inning should raise some suspicion.

Anyway, safety issues aside, if the home team can get out of the inning they're going to have the same advantage when they go to bat, if what they claim is true.

Beyond that, if the inning went on long enough, wouldn't it have to be stopped and give the HT the win to the last complete inning anyway?  Or would it have to continue at a later date?  I'm thinking at some point it's VT's best interests to get out intentionally and take the field to shut down the HT and end the game.   Because I'm suspecting the most likely event that occurred is VT put up a rally, scored four or five runs, not fog-related, but were up to bat long enough for the fog to become a factor later in the inning...and the last few runs probably were fog-related.

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2018 NFHS rule 10

SECTION 2 UMPIRE-IN-CHIEF

ART. 3 . . . His duties include those listed in 10-2-1, 2 and the following:

e. Call the game if conditions become unfit for play.

2018 NFHS rule 4-2

ART. 3 . . . If weather or darkness interferes with play so that the game is called (ended) by the umpire, it is a regulation game:

a. if five full innings have been played, or if the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four or four and a fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns at bat; or

b. if play has gone beyond five full innings. If the game is called when the teams have not had an equal number of completed turns at bat, the score shall be the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; except that if the home team in its half of the incomplete inning, scores a run (or runs) which equals or exceeds the opponent’s score, the final score shall be as recorded when the game is called.

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13 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

even if you don't happen to observe at least one of the fly balls in action and judge for yourself it entered the fog, if you see several plays in the same inning that indicate the fielders are losing the ball, it's probably a good chance it's the fog.

This.

Once I see a fielder look utterly confused on a fly ball, I'm going to be a lot more mindful on the next one.

With rain, we're also taught to watch the pitcher and runners. If you see a slip around a base or plate, then it's probably time to pull them off the field.

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