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HS rules fair/foul


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HS Rules. Ground ball over 3B. Umpire has a fair ball, but points foul with no verbal. BR rounds 1B and umpire realizes his mistake and points fair. BR gets to 3B.  It probable would have been a double without the confusing call. In HS rules, you can't change a foul ball to fair. Does this situation apply ? Foul ball ? 

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First, the rule: "In HS rules, you can't change a foul ball to fair" is mostly true, but the rule adds, "after the ball touches the ground." So, for example, a HR or caught fly incorrectly called foul can be corrected to fair.

In your case, yes, the rule applies. Pointing is sufficient to "declare" the ball foul. 2-16-1e 

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On a bounding ball like the OP suggests, there's no changing that.  Only thing to do is swallow pride and hope you don't have to dump a coach for an admitted kicked call.   Learn from it and burn the proper timing  - pause, read, and react, then give the foul mechanic as "Dead ball", verbal "FOUL!",  then point.

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The FED is pretty emphatic about this—here are the two rules that cover this question and case plays as well--

2019 NFHS rule 2-16-1e ART. 1 . . . A foul is a batted ball:

e. that touches the ground after inadvertently being declared foul by an umpire.

2019 rule 5-1-1h ART. 1 . . . Ball becomes dead immediately when:

h. the umpire handles a live ball or calls “Time” for inspecting the ball or for any other reason, including items in Section 2 or gives the “Do Not Pitch Signal” or inadvertently announces “Foul” on a ball that touches the ground; or

2004 NFHS Baseball Rule Interpretations SITUATION 10: With 1 out and R1 on first and a count of 2-1, B2 hits a bouncing ball along the first base foul line. U1 mistakenly declares “Foul!” as F1 picks up the ball in fair territory. RULING: The ball is dead immediately. R1 returns to first. B2 continues at bat with a count of 2-2. (5-1-1h)

Also see current case book plays 5.1.1 situations A, B, and C.

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On 3/10/2021 at 11:42 AM, maven said:

First, the rule: "In HS rules, you can't change a foul ball to fair" is mostly true, but the rule adds, "after the ball touches the ground." So, for example, a HR or caught fly incorrectly called foul can be corrected to fair.

In your case, yes, the rule applies. Pointing is sufficient to "declare" the ball foul. 2-16-1e 

But the declaration for a foul ball is both hands up in the air and a verbalized "Foul".  Pointing with no verbalization is the mechanic for a fair ball.  2-16-1e does not specifically mention pointing, only that it is 'declared' foul.  

Unless you've got a spefic case play that says the 'fair ball' mechanic is sometimes going to mean 'foul ball', I've got a fair ball.

Frankly, I don't know how you can justify the 'fair ball' mechanic as meaning a foul ball.  That opens a bigger can of worms than pointing the wrong way does, IMO.

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6 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

But the declaration for a foul ball is both hands up in the air and a verbalized "Foul".  Pointing with no verbalization is the mechanic for a fair ball.  2-16-1e does not specifically mention pointing, only that it is 'declared' foul.  

Unless you've got a spefic case play that says the 'fair ball' mechanic is sometimes going to mean 'foul ball', I've got a fair ball.

Frankly, I don't know how you can justify the 'fair ball' mechanic as meaning a foul ball.  That opens a bigger can of worms than pointing the wrong way does, IMO.

What "fair ball" mechanic? 

The mechanic for a foul ball is to point foul. Putting both hands in the air is the "time" mechanic. There are plenty of foul balls where one only points, and there are plenty of foul balls where one says nothing. 

Keep in mind that mechanics communicate to the participants. Once that ball has been pointed foul, it has been communicated that it is foul. Unlike OBR, you cannot unring that bell in FED if no one reacts. 

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10 minutes ago, Matt said:

What "fair ball" mechanic? 

The mechanic for a foul ball is to point foul. Putting both hands in the air is the "time" mechanic. There are plenty of foul balls where one only points, and there are plenty of foul balls where one says nothing. 

Keep in mind that mechanics communicate to the participants. Once that ball has been pointed foul, it has been communicated that it is foul. Unlike OBR, you cannot unring that bell in FED if no one reacts. 

 

Wait - I'm really confused.  All my training over several years and in all the rule books I've read - a fair ball is indicated by pointing and no words.  A foul ball is indicated by indicating dead ball (hands in the air) and verbalizing "Foul!" or "Foul Ball".  I have NEVER seen or heard that a foul ball is indicated with a point.   I have never done it and I have never seen any other umpire do it.  

2020 NFHS Rule Book pages 69 and 70.

2021 and 2022 NFHS Umpires Manual pages 37 and 38.

Again, there is no way I am going to make a point mean foul ball.  The point without hands in the air is "play on".  You only get a dead ball when an ump raises their hands and calls "Time!" or "Foul!".

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27 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

 

Wait - I'm really confused.  All my training over several years and in all the rule books I've read - a fair ball is indicated by pointing and no words.  A foul ball is indicated by indicating dead ball (hands in the air) and verbalizing "Foul!" or "Foul Ball".  I have NEVER seen or heard that a foul ball is indicated with a point.   I have never done it and I have never seen any other umpire do it.  

2020 NFHS Rule Book pages 69 and 70.

2021 and 2022 NFHS Umpires Manual pages 37 and 38.

Again, there is no way I am going to make a point mean foul ball.  The point without hands in the air is "play on".  You only get a dead ball when an ump raises their hands and calls "Time!" or "Foul!".

You can lead a horse to water...

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From the Austin Umpires website at

https://www.austinumpires.org/documents/Umpire Communications.pdf

 

SIGNAL – Start from the standing position with your feet straddling the foul line. With your arms fully extended above your head and in front of your body line – The palms of your hands should be facing away from you with your fingers fully extended and together. (Not a fist but open and flat) (See Figure 1) – Then with your arm fully extended shoulder high, point with the thumb tucked in and the index finger extended point into foul territory (See Figure 2)

CALL – A verbal call “FOUL” should be made at the precise time the hands reach their maximum height – This is known as proper timing – This signal is used for all dead ball situations to kill play – Before any play can resume, the ball must be put into play – After all dead ball situations the ball must be put into play.

From the 2016 BRD (section 544, p. 356): 

FED:  Bases empty. B1 lifts a high fly ball just past first. The first baseman tries for the ball but drops it. The plate umpire “signals fair,” but the base umpire “signals foul.” Ruling:  This would not be considered a double call. The foul ball call of the first-base umpire would prevail and B1 would return to the plate. (Adapted from FED 5.1.1B)

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14 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

From the Austin Umpires website at

https://www.austinumpires.org/documents/Umpire Communications.pdf

 

SIGNAL – Start from the standing position with your feet straddling the foul line. With your arms fully extended above your head and in front of your body line – The palms of your hands should be facing away from you with your fingers fully extended and together. (Not a fist but open and flat) (See Figure 1) – Then with your arm fully extended shoulder high, point with the thumb tucked in and the index finger extended point into foul territory (See Figure 2)

CALL – A verbal call “FOUL” should be made at the precise time the hands reach their maximum height – This is known as proper timing – This signal is used for all dead ball situations to kill play – Before any play can resume, the ball must be put into play – After all dead ball situations the ball must be put into play.

From the 2016 BRD (section 544, p. 356): 

FED:  Bases empty. B1 lifts a high fly ball just past first. The first baseman tries for the ball but drops it. The plate umpire “signals fair,” but the base umpire “signals foul.” Ruling:  This would not be considered a double call. The foul ball call of the first-base umpire would prevail and B1 would return to the plate. (Adapted from FED 5.1.1B)

Yup.  But the OP is the opposite, the ump points foul on a fair ball and says nothing.  That is a fair ball. The poinitng does not declare the ball foul.  The only thing that declares a ball foul is a verbalized call with the dead ball mechanic.  What am I missing?

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5 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Yup.  But the OP is the opposite, the ump points foul on a fair ball and says nothing.  That is a fair ball. The poinitng does not declare the ball foul.  The only thing that declares a ball foul is a verbalized call with the dead ball mechanic.  What am I missing?

I already told you, but you aren't listening.

Neither of those are required. Do you say or do anything on a ball hit over the backstop? Any one of the three can indicate foul on their own. A point foul or saying "Foul" ALWAYS indicates it.

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4 hours ago, Matt said:

I already told you, but you aren't listening.

Neither of those are required. Do you say or do anything on a ball hit over the backstop? Any one of the three can indicate foul on their own. A point foul or saying "Foul" ALWAYS indicates it.

Let's go back to the OP.  An umpire never killed the play, never said "Foul" or "Time": the ball is live.  There was no foul ball.

And I challenge you to find me a rule or an umpire's guide from any level that says pointing foul with no verbalization kills play and indicates a foul ball. 

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1 hour ago, agdz59 said:

Let's go back to the OP.  An umpire never killed the play, never said "Foul" or "Time": the ball is live.  There was no foul ball.

And I challenge you to find me a rule or an umpire's guide from any level that says pointing foul with no verbalization kills play and indicates a foul ball. 

Dude, relax. Call it your way. Whatever.

You're entitled to your opinion. And you're right: the rule says "declare," which it leaves undefined. It's an interpretation to say that pointing alone counts as "declaring" it foul. It's my interpretation (pointing is enough to "declare" a ball fair, and FED doesn't rely on proper mechanics to dictate the content of a call), and apparently Matt's. But we're just some guys on the internet.

If you call FED ball and it matters that much to you, contact your state interpreter with this question. That's the only authoritative opinion that matters. 

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Here's the frustrating thing about learning this gig. You go through post after post of it's got to be this way and quoting chapter and verse. 

Now here's something where I've done just that but now the chapter and verse doesn't matter?  On something as fundamental as stopping play? 

It's not like bases were empty.  There was a runner on base.  It's not like it was clearly foul, it was close enough the umpire had to signal fair or foul.

I mean really, how can a ball be dead without a verbal indication? Coaches tell their players to play until they hear "time"  or, in other sports, a whistle. And now you're telling me a ball is dead without any verbal indication?  How is your partner supposed to know the ball is dead if he's watching the runners? 

Really, this is absolutely fundamental. But no it's ok to overlook it if that's how you want to do it? What association is telling their umpires it's ok not to verbalize a dead ball?

I don't get it.

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24 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Here's the frustrating thing about learning this gig. You go through post after post of it's got to be this way and quoting chapter and verse. 

Now here's something where I've done just that but now the chapter and verse doesn't matter?  On something as fundamental as stopping play? 

It's not like bases were empty.  There was a runner on base.  It's not like it was clearly foul, it was close enough the umpire had to signal fair or foul.

I mean really, how can a ball be dead without a verbal indication? Coaches tell their players to play until they hear "time"  or, in other sports, a whistle. And now you're telling me a ball is dead without any verbal indication? 

Really, this is absolutely fundamental. But no it's ok to overlook it if that's how you want to do it? What association is telling their umpires it's ok not to verbalize a dead ball?

I don't get it.

Pro school, for one...hence my question about a ball fouled over the backstop. It's never signaled and it's never verbalized. Should we then just assume that it's in play until we make it not so? 

This is going into "A Few Good Men" territory, but if we're also going to take your comment about manual mechanics literally, then there's never a call to be made in college--there's no CCA manual with signals. 

This is the problem with FED rules and mechanics...it creates robotic umpires who find themselves in trouble because they are dictated not to deviate from the black-and-white, in a sport where it isn't so.

It will serve an umpire well to realize that unfortunately, there are things that are rigid and things that are non-rigid in how we approach officiating, and the wisdom comes in understanding where the differences are. To bring this full circle, if you have a situation with a foul point in FED and no one reacts, then you may pretend it never happened because that is a better game-management solution than the converse (no harm, no foul, no pun intended.) However, if you have the same situation and someone reacts, trying to say it wasn't a foul call and the ball remained live is not going to go over well. You are literally going to have to consider the point to be opposite things depending on the situation--that's where the skill comes in.

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I don't know, I see this as pretty solidly in the HTBT camp. I really don't think it's as black and white as accidentally pointing it foul always or never results in a foul ball. If I have a fielder pull up and not get to the ball resulting in a triple, I'm probably kicking myself all the way back to the plate, where I'm going to have an irate batter who just got robbed of a double. If the fielder nor batter runner immediately react, I'm probably triple pumping my corrected fair mechanic and living with the verbal assault that is about to come my way. 

Matt, I'm interested in your comment about pro school. It's not entirely clear which comment it is meant to address, but when I went this year, they had us verbalize every single foul ball (which, no, I don't do that, but I did for the duration of my time at school), and they never had us point without first giving the "eirily similar to a time mechanic" mechanic. I suppose some teaching must have changed?

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30 minutes ago, agdz59 said:

Here's the frustrating thing about learning this gig. You go through post after post of it's got to be this way and quoting chapter and verse. 

Now here's something where I've done just that but now the chapter and verse doesn't matter?  On something as fundamental as stopping play? 

It's not like bases were empty.  There was a runner on base.  It's not like it was clearly foul, it was close enough the umpire had to signal fair or foul.

I mean really, how can a ball be dead without a verbal indication? Coaches tell their players to play until they hear "time"  or, in other sports, a whistle. And now you're telling me a ball is dead without any verbal indication?  How is your partner supposed to know the ball is dead if he's watching the runners? 

Really, this is absolutely fundamental. But no it's ok to overlook it if that's how you want to do it? What association is telling their umpires it's ok not to verbalize a dead ball?

I don't get it.

To be fair, you make an interesting point. Your argument hinges on whether a point foul without a verbal is a "declaration" of the ball being foul. I've always been taught that a point foul without a verbal is a foul ball. But in all honesty, I don't really know if that is the intent of the rule, or if that is actually "declaring" the ball foul. I'm in the camp that it is foul, but I can see where you are coming from.

I haven't been able to find a case play or interpretation that proves or disproves your argument. Maybe someone has something they could post.

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2 minutes ago, JonnyCat said:

To be fair, you make an interesting point. Your argument hinges on whether a point foul without a verbal is a "declaration" of the ball being foul. I've always been taught that a point foul without a verbal is a foul ball. But in all honesty, I don't really know if that is the intent of the rule, or if that is actually "declaring" the ball foul. I'm in the camp that it is foul, but I can see where you are coming from.

I haven't been able to find a case play or interpretation that proves or disproves your argument. Maybe someone has something they could post.

I'm of the opinion that we should entirely get rid of pointing foul balls. On a close fair/foul (the type that needs an umpire), you never see JUST a point to call it foul. The only time you see a ball pointed foul with out the raised hands first I'd when it's obvious to everyone, or the umpire has just killed the ball by raising their hands. It's always superfluous.

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8 minutes ago, Biscuit said:

I don't know, I see this as pretty solidly in the HTBT camp. I really don't think it's as black and white as accidentally pointing it foul always or never results in a foul ball. If I have a fielder pull up and not get to the ball resulting in a triple, I'm probably kicking myself all the way back to the plate, where I'm going to have an irate batter who just got robbed of a double. If the fielder nor batter runner immediately react, I'm probably triple pumping my corrected fair mechanic and living with the verbal assault that is about to come my way. 

Matt, I'm interested in your comment about pro school. It's not entirely clear which comment it is meant to address, but when I went this year, they had us verbalize every single foul ball (which, no, I don't do that, but I did for the duration of my time at school), and they never had us point without first giving the "eirily similar to a time mechanic" mechanic. I suppose some teaching must have changed?

He made a comment about not knowing anywhere where it was not ok to verbalize a dead ball. That is the example I used to point out that sometimes we don't do a single thing and it's still deceased. I also remember the criteria I learned being foul balls outside the coaches boxes--don't call the obvious.

I also would point out (again, no pun intended) that I do not consider the point by itself to be a proper mechanic--but it does convey a call in itself when the question is if the ball was fair or foul.

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13 minutes ago, Biscuit said:

I'm of the opinion that we should entirely get rid of pointing foul balls. On a close fair/foul (the type that needs an umpire), you never see JUST a point to call it foul. The only time you see a ball pointed foul with out the raised hands first I'd when it's obvious to everyone, or the umpire has just killed the ball by raising their hands. It's always superfluous.

I'm going to disagree slightly--there are times where the cause of a "time" signal could be ambiguous (such as potential ball/runner contact) or it provides a necessary temporal cushion.

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3 minutes ago, Matt said:

I'm going to disagree slightly--there are times where the cause of a "time" signal could be ambiguous (such as potential ball/runner contact) or it provides a necessary temporal cushion.

Fair enough, but I'd say that the pointing foul should be relegated to just those occasions. Even then, there is the verbal disambiguation, though that doesn't work if you have a loud environment so the point still probably is necessary.

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10 hours ago, agdz59 said:

Here's the frustrating thing about learning this gig. You go through post after post of it's got to be this way and quoting chapter and verse. 

Now here's something where I've done just that but now the chapter and verse doesn't matter?  On something as fundamental as stopping play? 

It's not like bases were empty.  There was a runner on base.  It's not like it was clearly foul, it was close enough the umpire had to signal fair or foul.

I mean really, how can a ball be dead without a verbal indication? Coaches tell their players to play until they hear "time"  or, in other sports, a whistle. And now you're telling me a ball is dead without any verbal indication?  How is your partner supposed to know the ball is dead if he's watching the runners? 

Really, this is absolutely fundamental. But no it's ok to overlook it if that's how you want to do it? What association is telling their umpires it's ok not to verbalize a dead ball?

I don't get it.

It's not a matter of whether it's taught to be OK...it's not...it's a recognition that umpires are human beings and mistakes get made.   You telling me you've never pumped your fist and said "safe"?

In the moment, maybe there's a brain cramp.   The reality is, if you point foul, you've told all the players it's foul...if a single player sees you, he's now at a disadvantage.   You are verbalizing to make your communication more clear.   The lack of verbal communication does not change the facts of the call...it just means the ump didn't do his job properly in that moment...and it's going to happen.  I see it on IFF's all the time.

A ball is dead because it's dead...not necessarily because the ump says so.  If the pitch hits the batter, it's dead.   If the ball goes 50 feet over the fence, it's dead.  Doesn't matter what the umpire says or doesn't say.

I would also argue that once you raise your hands you have declared "time"...before you actually say it.

 

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10 hours ago, Biscuit said:

I'm of the opinion that we should entirely get rid of pointing foul balls. On a close fair/foul (the type that needs an umpire), you never see JUST a point to call it foul. The only time you see a ball pointed foul with out the raised hands first I'd when it's obvious to everyone, or the umpire has just killed the ball by raising their hands. It's always superfluous.

After thinking about it, it dawned on me, we actually do sometimes just point foul without a verbal. In the case of a caught foul fly ball, we signal foul without a verbal as the ball is still live. 

Now this brings up another issue. In the case of a caught foul fly, even though an umpire points foul without a verbal, the ball is not dead. 

So, is a point without a verbal automatically a dead ball? In the case of a caught foul fly, it clearly isn't.

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3 minutes ago, JonnyCat said:

After thinking about it, it dawned on me, we actually do sometimes just point foul without a verbal. In the case of a caught foul fly ball, we signal foul without a verbal as the ball is still live. 

Now this brings up another issue. In the case of a caught foul fly, even though an umpire points foul without a verbal, the ball is not dead. 

So, is a point without a verbal automatically a dead ball? In the case of a caught foul fly, it clearly isn't.

NO -- but the "caught fly" (and a home run and anything else where the ball doesn't hit the ground) is the exception to "you can't change a foul ball to fair" rule

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11 minutes ago, noumpere said:

NO -- but the "caught fly" (and a home run and anything else where the ball doesn't hit the ground) is the exception to "you can't change a foul ball to fair" rule

You're referring to the "inadvertently announces “Foul” on a ball that touches the ground" provision of the FED rule, I presume. Good point. (no pun intended!)

Even though the mechanic is the same, in one situation the ball is dead, and the other it is live. I guess you could extrapolate that into meaning that a foul point without a verbal on a ball that touches the ground, is a "declaration" of foul.

I wonder how that rectifies with OBR rules. Interesting.

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1 hour ago, JonnyCat said:

After thinking about it, it dawned on me, we actually do sometimes just point foul without a verbal. In the case of a caught foul fly ball, we signal foul without a verbal as the ball is still live. 

Now this brings up another issue. In the case of a caught foul fly, even though an umpire points foul without a verbal, the ball is not dead. 

So, is a point without a verbal automatically a dead ball? In the case of a caught foul fly, it clearly isn't.

I actually thought about this, and considered commenting on it. Even in this case, we don't aren't calling foul. If the ball falls, we raise our hands, call foul, and then point again.

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