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Yankeetilidie

Number of Batters Warming Up

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What is the rule regarding the number of players that can be out of the dugout warming up/timing a new pitcher? I have seen whole teams out of the dugout swinging during the first inning and when a new pitcher comes in. I have never gotten a clear answer. This is for USSSA baseball. Thank you in advance.

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USSSA baseball is played using Official Baseball Rules (OBR). And according to the 2016 Baseball Rules Differences by Carl Childress there is no OBR rule or interpretation that covers your question about players out of the dugout during dead ball situations. All three codes do have a rule or an interpretation telling us that a batter cannot warm up anywhere near the catcher during warmup pitches from his pitcher.

There are, however, a couple of case plays from high school showing that their players are allowed out of the dugout during at least a couple of dead ball situations-- 

2020 NFHS Case Book play 3.3.1 Situation BBB:  Between innings, the non-playing players of Team A run in foul territory toward the outfield fence to stay loose. The coach of Team B protests that this is not legal and is delaying the contest. RULING:  The coach of Team B is incorrect. It is legal provided this activity does not delay the start of the next half-inning.

2020 NFHS play 3.3.1 SITUATION AAA:  A player from Team A (who has been previously warned) hits a 3-run home run out of the field of play and wins the game by one run. The teammates of Team A rush out of the dugout and excitedly cheer for their teammate.The coach from Team B wants the players' violation of the rule to be the second violation and have the game forfeited to Team B because Team A failed to comply with the previous warning. RULING: Incorrect interpretation. By rule, no one should be out of the dugout/bench area or bullpen if not a batter, runner, on-deck batter, in the coach's box or one of the nine players on defense during a live ball. The home run is an exciting element in the game of baseball. Since the ball is dead, the teammates of the batter are permitted to be out of the dugout to celebrate. However, precautions should be taken not to interfere with the umpire's ability to see the batter touch all the bases. In fact, the players should be behind the umpire until the runner scores.

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This also applies at the beginning of an inning - Typically (if not always) only the lead off batter is allowed to be out warming up...I've seen cases where the ODB is also allowed, but not sure if that is technically "correct" to allow it.     Never more than that though.

If the field/facility permits it (and if the rule set doesn't forbid it) other warmup batters may be in a Dead Ball area, like behind the dugout....I do not believe USSSA specifically forbids this.

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:sarcasm:   I guess in using CSFP, the term is on deck batter, not (plural) on deck batterS.  To me, that would imply ....... 1.

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You're probably asking because an umpire limited you to one batter in between innings, which is the Little League rule. 

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13 minutes ago, flyingron said:

At the beginning of the inning, is the "due up" batter really the on deck batter?

 

A player doesn't become a batter until they enter the box to receive the pitch, or are entitled to do so.

Until the inning starts there can be no batter because no player is entitled to enter the batter's box....so the guy leading off is the ODB until shortly after the final warmup pitch.

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I think a better designation would be the first batter just as the rule book calls him in 2019 OBR rule 5.04:

(3) The first batter in each inning after the first inning shall be the player whose name follows that of the last player who legally completed his time at bat in the preceding inning.

And Little League uses the same terminology in its rule 1.08:

NOTE 2: Only the first batter of each half-inning will be permitted outside the dugout between half-innings in Tee Ball, Minor League, or Little League (Major) Division.

Another thing to consider is on deck refers to being next in line to bat which is conditional. Being first batter guarantees the plate appearance. Being on deck only guarantees the batter will get a chance to bat in the inning if there are fewer than two outs, and the number of outs plus the number of baserunners (including the one at bat) adds up to fewer than three because a double or triple play could occur. Additionally, the manager reserves the right to pull the on-deck hitter for a substitute at his discretion.

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22 hours ago, kylejt said:

You're probably asking because an umpire limited you to one batter in between innings, which is the Little League rule. 

You are correct. I actually had a coach complain that I had too many batters out of the dugout. The umpire agreed with the coach and had me put all of my batters but one back into the dugout. The coach referenced that we were playing by OBR rules and this was not allowed. It appears, based on everyone's feedback, that he was wrong...which doesn't surprise me.

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hey Yank, look at it this way, the fewer players swinging a bat (at the same time), the less likely they are to cause an injury or harm another player.

 

Honestly, I wouldn't want to give a banged up, bruised or bloody player back to mom after the game, would you?

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This is a perfect case in point where I WISH coaches would get into the rule book.  I ask coaches at plate meetings to police their own dugouts, so we don't have to.  We always look like the aggressors when we have to enforce rules like this, but it's our jobs.  JUCO regional last year I ran way too many players back into their dugouts as an in-the-hole hitter timing up pitchers beside the on-deck guy (during a live ball even), despite me previously asking an assistant coach to address it.  After several warnings they asked, "what are you gonna do, eject us?"  My response, "By rule, YES, the next offender will be ejected."  

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4 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

hey Yank, look at it this way, the fewer players swinging a bat (at the same time), the less likely they are to cause an injury or harm another player.

 

Honestly, I wouldn't want to give a banged up, bruised or bloody player back to mom after the game, would you?

Agreed. I'm not a strong proponent of having all of the players out of the dugout. I saw a team do it once and began to do it myself. My guys are always spaced out properly and wearing their helmets. I could live without doing it, though. I was more curious about the actual rule because I've been trying to get more into the rule book. There have been several instances where coaches from the other team try to call the game and I've known they were incorrect (e.g., head first slides and being out of the baseline).

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On 1/14/2020 at 11:14 AM, Yankeetilidie said:

roponent of having all of the players out of the dugout. I saw a team do it once and began to do it myself. My guys are always spaced out properly and wearing their helmets. I could live without doing it, though. I was more curious about the actual rule because I've been trying to get more into the rule book. Thee have been several instances where coaches from the other team try to call the game and I've known they were incorrect (e.g., head first slides and being out of the baseline).

Be careful, you might learn the rules too well and decide to become one of us! :P

"The rule book is a pathway to an enjoyment of sports some consider to be... Unnatural" -Sheev Palpatine, probably.

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On 1/14/2020 at 10:47 AM, humanbackstop19 said:

This is a perfect case in point where I WISH coaches would get into the rule book.  I ask coaches at plate meetings to police their own dugouts, so we don't have to.  We always look like the aggressors when we have to enforce rules like this, but it's our jobs.  JUCO regional last year I ran way too many players back into their dugouts as an in-the-hole hitter timing up pitchers beside the on-deck guy (during a live ball even), despite me previously asking an assistant coach to address it.  After several warnings they asked, "what are you gonna do, eject us?"  My response, "By rule, YES, the next offender will be ejected."  

There should not be more than one warning. If you informally ask, that's different, but even that needs to be limited. By your own words, you ran too many players back in. That would be an indicator that an actual warning should have been used earlier.

You won't look as aggressive if you get this taken care of in three steps and one-two innings as opposed to going back and forth all game.

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WAIT!

Is there actually a USSSA rule that states that you can only have one offensive player out of the dugout on the change over? (that was the original question)

 

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7 minutes ago, kylejt said:

WAIT!

Is there actually a USSSA rule that states that you can only have one offensive player out of the dugout on the change over? (that was the original question)

 

It's my understanding from the responses to my original post is that the answer is, "No. There is no USSSA rule that dictates the maximum number of batters that can be out of the dugout on the change over."

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Yet one more reason OBR should not be used for youth sports.

 

For NFHS, isn’t this a case play or point of emphasis?  

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1 hour ago, Yankeetilidie said:

It's my understanding from the responses to my original post is that the answer is, "No. There is no USSSA rule that dictates the maximum number of batters that can be out of the dugout on the change over."


But there are rules that give the umpire authority to take action.

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This was a simple question that got derailed by the injection of other rule sets. 

 

I always find it amusing when someone brings FED to the party, as they rarely get invited. 

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As many of us work multiple rule sets, I find it valuable when additional rule sets are brought to the table even if the original question was specific.  Personally, I think it helps to provide context — both as an understanding of why a misinterpretation could happen and to help me explain to a coach why he or she is incorrect.  I find it very helpful when I can say, “Coach, you would be correct if we were playing Rules XYZ.  However we are playing ABC and there is a difference between the two on this one.”

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On 1/9/2020 at 11:31 PM, Yankeetilidie said:

What is the rule regarding the number of players that can be out of the dugout warming up/timing a new pitcher? I have seen whole teams out of the dugout swinging during the first inning and when a new pitcher comes in. I have never gotten a clear answer. This is for USSSA baseball. Thank you in advance.

Ah yes...where all of this BS began travel ball. (NFHS)

To my knowledge, in any rule set: NCAA or OBR, it's one player. 

In my state, it's supposed to be a max of two and one during the 1/2 inning, but it is not enforced, in fact, enforcing it is bad form b/c nobody else does in my part of the state. 

Most of the rules I've seen refer to an "on deck batter" (singular)

Again, it's one. Decide if it's worth enforcing in your part of the country. 

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10 minutes ago, kylejt said:

Where in OBR would it limit the number on the change over? 

 

"Change over" isn't really a thing...so I'm not sure where that's coming from so it's not necessarily directed at you.

Here's the interp I use when people ask about it:

2018 MLBUM

 

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 11.57.04 PM.jpg

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4 hours ago, johnnyg08 said:

Ah yes...where all of this BS began – travel ball. (NFHS)

Partly right... partly wrong. Yes, this little tidbit is borne out of travel / tournament ball. But, not every travel ball / tournament series uses NFHS. Some do, some use OBR, but most use a “weird” mash-up of the two, especially in regards to mound visits (OBR), fake to 3B (NFHS), courtesy runners for F1 & F2 (NFHS), and... you’ll love this... delayed dead ball on balks (OBR).

2 hours ago, kylejt said:

Where in OBR would it limit the number on the change over? 

It’s not in OBR, because in Major League games, this type of gamesmanship doesn’t occur. It just doesn’t. 

And gamesmanship is mostly at the heart of it. In travel ball, there are two reasons for the coaches to foster their players to all get out of the dugout, bats in hand, looking like planes warming up on a WWII aircraft carrier deck, to swing and “Time up” the pitcher.

  1. The coaches are paid a not-so-insignificant amount of money by the ballplayers’ parents to prepare and develop their precious sons’ skills for a future in baseball, whether that be a contract or a scholarship. Often, these coaches don’t have extensive track records to build these parents’ confidence and trust, so they “sell” themselves by keeping the boys active, constantly. Hitting soft-toss into screens, throwing in bullpens (or pitching lanes, like we have here in AZ), gravitating to any batting cages that are available, and in preparation of an impending game, conducting elaborate, extensive infield/outfield sessions and timing up opposing pitchers whenever possible. “Do you not see they’ve got a new arm out there? Everybody up! Get off the bench! Go Time him up!”
  2. This is the more insidious reason – among arrogantly elite teams (think 12 year olds who recently received shaving kits as gifts for Christmas), or older, college-prep teams (typically called “hitting academies”), it’s an intimidation tactic. Plays to the whole “we own this at-bat”, “we own the plate”, etc... thus “we own you (pitcher)”.

Here in Arizona, we have a cavalcade of amateur tournaments on nearly every weekend: USA Baseball, Perfect Game, Wilson Premier, UnderArmour Showcase, Prospect Wire, Showcase Baseball, Southwest Wood Bat Championship Series, TripleCrown, USSSA... each of them slightly different from the others in how they conduct business, and how much latitude they give to teams in “self-expression”. If, for example, you flex your “umpire muscles” and draw a hard line on string or silicone bracelets, or necklaces, you’re just asking for a headache. Coaches are routinely allowed to be outside the dugouts (typically in front of), defensive exchanges (between field players and bench players) can happen at will (usually because the entire roster is batting in the lineup), lineups are compressed if in the case of injury, one-time “special” courtesy runners are employed if a head injury is incurred, pool play games can end in a tie, and nearly all games have a time limit.

These are just a few of the things that are not found (or addressed, or allowed) in either OBR or NFHS Rulesets. So why be selective? Why be so... in the words of rat coaches... petty or red-assed? What I’ve found in my years of doing tournament ball, the best thing to do is to go as simple as possible. If it’s before first pitch, or if it’s at a pitching change, if there are more than one batter out of the dugout, swinging dry or timing up the (new) pitcher, my only enforced concern is that they all have helmets on. And that directive is much more civil, and fosters a better relationship than barking orders to put everyone in the dugout.

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4 hours ago, MadMax said:

 

2.This is the more insidious reason – among arrogantly elite teams (think 12 year olds who recently received shaving kits as gifts for Christmas), or older, college-prep teams (typically called “hitting academies”), it’s an intimidation tactic. Plays to the whole “we own this at-bat”, “we own the plate”, etc... thus “we own you (pitcher)”.

It is absolutely this. Regardless of what they say. 

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