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Reflective Sunglasses on Pitcher (Yes, I know...)


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NFHS rules.  I know that the common myth that pitchers can't wear sunglasses is NOT true.  But I often read on this board that some umps will make them remove sunglasses if they are mirrored/reflective.  However, what rule specifies that should be done?  1-4-2 says, in part, that "a pitcher shall not wear any item on his hands, wrists or arms which may be distracting to the batter."  Interestingly, they would seem to imply that wearing distracting items elsewhere is allowed - why else would the rules specify specific body parts in 1-4-2?  So, for those who say we can make a pitcher take off mirrored sunglasses, if a coach asks what rule we are basing that on, what's the answer?  The only section I can find is possibly 10-2-3g which says the UIC can "make final decision on points not covered by the rules," but that seems like a cop-out and opens up the argument for the ump who wants to ban all sunglasses.  

I did search this at length, but I couldn't find supporting rules for those who acknowledge sunglasses are allowed, while at the same time forbidding reflective (at least forbidden them when deemed distracting).  Thanks!

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I don't have my book with me, and no longer have electronic access through Arbiter. But I can say: don't apply 10-2-3g to situations like this. It's designed to cover situations not addressed in the rules, such as a pitch hitting a bird. Equipment IS covered in the rules, so 10-2-3g doesn't apply. It's not a license to make up a rule whenever we don't like the actual rule.

The equipment rule has a general provision (not addressed to the pitcher's arm) that prohibits distracting equipment. Use that. In a pinch, get guidance from your state interpreter, which will have the force of a rule in your state.

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You may be able to apply 1-5-5

Defensive players are permitted to wear face/head protection in the field. If a pitcher or any other defensive player wears face/head protection , it's outer covering shall have a non-glare (not mirror-like) surface. 

It's not that big a stretch to call sunglasses face protection. 

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There are cases / interps / rules that batters nor defensive players can wear mirrored / reflective helmets.  Apply the same reasoning to the sunglasses.

 

SITUATION 21: As the home team prepares to take the field on defense, F2 pulls on his one-piece catcher’s mask/helmet as he sets up in the catcher’s box. Both the offensive team and umpire-in-chief notice that the catcher’s mask/helmet is one of the new ACME shiny-chrome, reflective-paint models. RULING: The umpire-in-chief instructs F2 to put on a compliant catcher’s mask/helmet, the outer cover of which shall have a non-glare surface. F2 explains that there is no other mask available; however, adding dull/matte black tape over the helmet would make the helmet less reflective, which would meet the criteria of the rule. There would be no penalty unless F2 does not comply with the umpire’s direction, then he would be ejected from the contest. (1-5-5)

SITUATION 22: R1 leads off the inning wearing a highly polished reflective batting helmet. The opposing coach inquires as to the legality of R1 wearing such a helmet as it would be distracting to his pitcher and the infielders. R1 and his coach explain that, a) the helmet meets the current NOCSAE performance standard for batting helmets; b) there is no rule prohibiting such product for use; and c) the player has a right to own and use the helmet when there is no rule preventing such use. RULING: The umpire explains that the use of such helmet presents a risk minimization issue for the team playing defense. The bright reflection of the sun off the helmet poses a dangerous situation for the defense. In a) and b), the fact that the helmet meets the NOCSAE performance standard for batting helmets is admirable and is compliant to NOCSAE standards; unfortunately, it is judged by the umpire to be unreasonably dangerous and is illegal for use. There are several rules references prohibiting the use of such equipment. (1-5-9,10) Regarding c), the player does have the right to own and use the helmet, just not for high school baseball competition. COMMENT: If the offensive team would like to use the batting helmet, it could make it less reflective by adding dull/matte black tape over the helmet in order to meet the intent of the rule.

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This question has been asked at least a couple of times before. The following post was made by Mr. LMSANS in a thread titled More insights from NJ... found in the High School forum and dated 5/2/19.

NFHS has informed NJSIAA that there is no rule forbidding the wearing of sunglasses whether they are reflective or not. Sunglasses that produce a glare that affects a defensive or offensive player's ability to see should be individually removed; not collectively as a team. If an umpire judges the sunglasses to be a danger to others they should be removed.

Officials need to use solid common sense in enforcing this directive.

And I found the following online announcement from the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association that supports that post:

February 18, 2013

Q:  Can a pitcher wear sunglasses that are prescription?

A:  There is no NFHS rule or WIAA rule preventing sunglasses, whether prescription or not, being worn by players including pitchers. Anyone may wear sunglasses. If they reflect, however, the umpire may request some adjustments.

 

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2019 NFHS rule 1-5 ART. 10 . . . Any questions regarding legality of a player's equipment shall be resolved by the umpire-in-chief.

2012 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 4: The home team’s third baseman takes his position on the infield. The visiting team’s head coach notices his glove and protests to the plate umpire that the glove is illegal. The home team’s head coach comes out and voices his belief that the glove is legal for play. RULING: The umpire-in-chief shall rule on the legality of the glove. Any questions regarding the legal use of a player’s equipment shall be resolved by the umpire-in-chief. (1-5-10)

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On 8/23/2020 at 9:37 AM, Senor Azul said:

There is no NFHS rule or WIAA rule preventing sunglasses,

Huh. Funny. Wisconsin is where I found “this myth” (that a pitcher cannot wear sunglasses, at all) to be most rife and rampant. :cool:

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Huh. Funny. Wisconsin is where I found “this myth” (that a pitcher cannot wear sunglasses, at all) to be most rife and rampant. :cool:
Relax,@MadMax, Wisconsin is not that cool if their kids are wearing sunglasses over their eyes instead of on their hat brim or the back of the cap

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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4 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

Really?   If the ball hit them would they protect or injure?

Yes, really.      Depends 100% on the material of the lens. Safety glasses lenses are  made out of the same shatter proof material (polycarbonate) as are most quality sun lenses.. And yes, I'd rather get smacked in the face with a line drive wearing my Oakley' s than not have any eyewear on. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Richvee said:

Yes, really.      Depends 100% on the material of the lens. Safety glasses lenses are  made out of the same shatter proof material (polycarbonate) as are most quality sun lenses.. And yes, I'd rather get smacked in the face with a line drive wearing my Oakley' s than not have any eyewear on. 

 

 

ABSOLUTELY!

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