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Stealing Signs - Little League Rules

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Guest NJ Coach

Rhode Island baserunners tipping off batters to pitches against NH team in regionals, and apparently as a regular practice. 

When I first heard of this controversy earlier today I had no issue.   It's baseball. But after reading more, I learned this is now against LL rules and cause for player and manager ejection.    After being alerted to and seeing this in the game , which RI won, the ump called time and discussed with both coaches.  But no ejections.

I suppose he gave a warning, rather than follow the letter of the rule.    Is this how you would handle ?   In such a high profile game, I figure the HPU didn't want to eject anyone and be a major part of the outcome.   But rules are rules, no ?

If no balk warnings, no head first slide warnings, then no sign stealing warnings, right ?

 

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Unrelated x2
I also coach...Junior baseball these days (open bases)
I have a separate set of signs and the coach that i have worked with for years has a separate set.
He tells the batter to hit/bunt, i tell them where to hit the ball to in the field. He tells the runnwr to steal, i tell them what i see the pitcher doing and what to look for in his motion.
We look like a couple of psychotic solid gold dancers.
I try to make it fun for the players and will often "talk" signs to them. It sounds like i am chastising them, but the batters understand and make appropriate adjustments.
Go ahead and try to read some of my signs and jibber-jabber...good luck. Sometimes my boys do not know what i am asking them to do, so I will (on occasion) tell them to "bunt and steal" out loud. Ha ha ha.

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On 8/16/2019 at 12:50 PM, Rich Ives said:

There are no balks.

Head first slides have been banned for years and everyone knows it.

No sign stealing is new and 97% of the participants think it's a nonsense rule.

I would hope, Rich, that you're estimate is too LOW.  But having met other people before, I'm also afraid it's not.

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Wow I go away for a couple of days and this is still brewing...

I stick with my statements from the prior thread. But wow who would have thought it would still be discussed.

All this is going to do is make them come up with more clever and innocuous signals. But even at this level how much control do 12-13 y/o have ; none is anywhere near a Maddux and can put the ball exactly where they want it. 

  • If I adjust my helmet with both hands, its inside; one hand outside; brim middle. 
  • If I have 1 hand on my knee its inside, 2 hands outside, no hands middle. 
  • You get the idea.

They will become more clever, making the rule impossible to enforce. 

From the article I actually agree with Keener:

  • You don't want to EJ a kid at this level
  • Unless the umpire is 100% sure, a warning is appropriate.

So I stand on my original thought. It will have to be ridiculously blatant for me to touch that. They may be relaying signals, but ow do I know what they mean or they're tipping pitch locations?  Maybe it's some sort of other offensive signal? 

Then whats to keep the catcher from setting up inside and getting the pitch over the middle (might not work on the opposite side - at lease for a called strike).

Still a whole lot to do about nothing. 

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Guest Coach

On a related note about cheating, I coached a travel team against another town still alive in the LLWS as of today (Tuesday). Same league different age group and different coaches.  Coaches I faced purposely cheated because the (aging) solo umpire could not keep up with the action. Runners were clearly told not to tag up on outfield flies but just run to the next base while the ball was in the air .... and then they'd argue with me and the ump that the runners did in fact tag up..outright lies they got away with.   And other kinds of cheating taking adv of the overwhelmed ump.  Is that also Ok since they were able to get away with it ?  

Suffice to say, I am rooting for my home-state team to lose because of the actions of other coaches in that league.

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1 hour ago, Guest Coach said:

On a related note about cheating, I coached a travel team against another town still alive in the LLWS as of today (Tuesday). Same league different age group and different coaches.  Coaches I faced purposely cheated because the (aging) solo umpire could not keep up with the action. Runners were clearly told not to tag up on outfield flies but just run to the next base while the ball was in the air .... and then they'd argue with me and the ump that the runners did in fact tag up..outright lies they got away with.   And other kinds of cheating taking adv of the overwhelmed ump.  Is that also Ok since they were able to get away with it ?  

Suffice to say, I am rooting for my home-state team to lose because of the actions of other coaches in that league.

Well, you're not the ump so why are they arguing with you?

Cheating is only cheating if you get caught...if they get away with it, they get away with it.  Right, wrong or indifferent the history of baseball involves what you can get away with in plain sight of the umpires.

Watch the Ken Burns Baseball documentary - this statement is made in the first 30 seconds to set the tone:

At its heart lie mythic contradictions: a pastoral game born in crowded cities, an exhilarating democratic sport that tolerates cheating, and has excluded as many as it has included. A profoundly conservative game that often manages to be years ahead of its time

 

It's not OK, but what are you going to do about it?   If not only those coaches, but those parents, encourage that activity, that's on them.   That's an administrative issue, not an umping one.

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On 8/18/2019 at 12:07 PM, The Man in Blue said:

Unrelated ... but the last year I coached rec I gave up and did this.  I just yelled “steal” and “bunt”.  The play was so bad that it didn’t matter if the defense knew.  It was 14u.  :shakehead:

But did you yell "Fastball on the hands" of "curve in the dirt"?

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Guest Coach

Beer...didn't say it was an ump issue...it was a sportsmanship/integrity outright, intentional cheating and baldface lie denials.   Still bothers me two years later  This was 8u ball.   Another thing they did was have runners run on pitcher windup rather than 'when ball crosses plate'....and denied that too....deny, deny, deny and the ump just couldn't keep up. 

I am rooting hard against that league. 

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20 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

But did you yell "Fastball on the hands" of "curve in the dirt"?

Why would I bother?  :shrug::D

This was a team that won a game 18-16 and only got one hit that game.  It was baaaaaddddd.

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