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Most obscure/rare rule you had to enforce this year?


SH0102

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I am just curious as to what rule(s) were enforced this year that would be considered unusual or rare?  For example, force play slide rule, while always contentious, is not rare (in my opinion).  I am talking about things that are in the rule book, but rarely have to be called.  And if a funny story accompanies this (reaction by coach, etc), feel free to share.

Probably my most unusual was I had a "reapplied force play".  Runner on 1st, I was base umpire in a 2-man system.  Runner was stealing on the pitch and the batter hit a flare job behind F3/F4.  Close play at first, batter was safe.  I am making the call from working area at 1st when I hear "get back, get back!"

So in my mind, I would guess that R1 was heading to third and they are saying get back to 2nd.  F3 snaps a throw to 2nd base, I turn and pivot and get set.

Wait a minute....R1 is sliding into 2nd as if from first base.

So here we go...rule book says if for some reason, a forced runner reaches their base and then goes back, the force is applicable again.  I called him out, no argument but a question from the coach because "he wasn't tagged".  I explained the rule and he accepted it, but in all the games I have umpired or watched, I have never seen that play/rule come into play.

Edit:  I was still near the coach when he asked R1 who was heading to the dugout why he was going back towards 1st and he said "I thought he caught it".  I thought to myself, even if it had been caught, you weren't running 90 feet back in the time it took them to lob the ball 8 feet, but I digress...

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I had the retreat reinstates the force rule as well (technically my partner did). Maybe not so obscure after all... :D 

LL 10U/AAA. R1, 1 out. Grounder that F3 fields clean, R1 freezes 15-20 feet off 1B, BR touches 1B and then backs up directly on the baseline towards home as R1 and F3 come back to 1B. R1 is back on the bag, F3 tags R1, and steps on 1B. PU* meekly gives out mechanic (arm only). I'm at the 30 foot line. Everyone is looking at each other.

Me:"What do you have [PU]?"

PU: "Both out(?)"

Crickets from everyone (I knew no one really followed but silence is assent and works for me) so I turn back to home plate for the next inning. 1B coach looked at my as he walked past with a question in his eye. I gave him the "yeah, he got it right" nod.

* PU is a league coach filling his teams volunteer slot (not a regular umpire). I explained the rule and how he got it right later.

My pay for the day: Overhear the Offensive Manager (was in the far dugout) who asked his 1B coach: "Did Rob (that's me) say that was the right call?" "Yep" "Ok then". Gotta love that.

Compliments to all you and this site I (maybe) knew that rule but I know I had recently seen it/been prompted to look it up from being on here so "Thank you much".

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2 hours ago, Velho said:

I had the retreat reinstates the force rule as well (technically my partner did). Maybe not so obscure after all... :D 

LL 10U/AAA. R1, 1 out. Grounder that F3 fields clean, R1 freezes 15-20 feet off 1B, BR touches 1B and then backs up directly on the baseline towards home as R1 and F3 come back to 1B. R1 is back on the bag, F3 tags R1, and steps on 1B. PU* meekly gives out mechanic (arm only). I'm at the 30 foot line. Everyone is looking at each other.

Me:"What do you have [PU]?"

PU: "Both out(?)"

Crickets from everyone (I knew no one really followed but silence is assent and works for me) so I turn back to home plate for the next inning. 1B coach looked at my as he walked past with a question in his eye. I gave him the "yeah, he got it right" nod.

* PU is a league coach filling his teams volunteer slot (not a regular umpire). I explained the rule and how he got it right later.

My pay for the day: Overhear the Offensive Manager (was in the far dugout) who asked his 1B coach: "Did Rob (that's me) say that was the right call?" "Yep" "Ok then". Gotta love that.

Compliments to all you and this site I (maybe) knew that rule but I know I had recently seen it/been prompted to look it up from being on here so "Thank you much".

I'm gonna have to look at that. We know that a forced runner can reinstate a force, but a batter-runner at 1B is not a force play...if they step off towards home, does the same concept apply?

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9 minutes ago, Matt said:

I'm gonna have to look at that. We know that a forced runner can reinstate a force, but a batter-runner at 1B is not a force play...if they step off towards home, does the same concept apply?

Matt, I too don’t know that answer, but if it does NOT apply, then the batter is running in reverse order intentionally and would be out no ?

Its not like he can safely retreat to the previous base as you could argue at other bases.

 

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Gentlemen, we discussed whether a batter-runner could reinstate a force at first in a thread titled Interesting Play found currently on page 42 of the Ask the Umpire forum. I said no at the time and I was the only one to provide any authoritative opinion on the question. Here’s the link--

 

 

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I had interference by an on deck hitter in the most bizarre way I can imagine. 
 

Fly ball to left. Runner on third is going to tag. Catch. Here comes the throw. It’s going to bounce 10 or so feet short but this might be a close play. It..hits the on deck batter who was coming out (way late) to try to pick up the bat and move it out of the way. 

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I'm not sure how rare these for veteran umpires, but I had follow-through interference and backswing interference in separate games this year. In the case of the former, the coach against whose team I made the call thought I was MSU when I made it. It felt good to check the rule book after the game and see I got the call and its enforcement correct.

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Fortunately, I think I have had a pretty quiet season myself ... some of my partners though ... 

I didn't agree with this "technically correct" one, but I worked with a PU who struck a kid out who never came to the batter's box.  The kid just stayed in the on-deck circle facing the dugout the whole time.  (The first baseman later told me the batter thought he was out of order and was trying to get the coach's attention.  The batter didn't even know what was happening.)

What I didn't agree with was that the PU seemed (to me) to allow the pitcher to rush and quick pitch after the first called strike.  Thinking back now ... I don't think he should have instructed the pitcher to pitch -- he should have just called the strikes.

Strangely, I saw something similar happen in a championship game in the Midwest League (A) a few years back.  The batter had been stepping out and taking his time during his first at bat (or two, I forget).  The umpire kept telling him to get in the box.  During his next at bat, with one strike on him, the batter wandered off.  The umpire called a strike.  The batter was, of course, pissed.  The next pitch was a ball and the batter wandered off again.  The umpire told him to get back in the box, waited, and rung him up.  (The ejection followed, of course.)

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LL Game Minors ( they call them AAA here ) 8-10U

3rd inning runner on third base fly ball to the outfield runner stands there waiting to tag up F7 catches ball and tosses home. I see that and the 3rd base coach reach out and shove not once but 2 times the runner towards home, telling him "go-go"

That's Interference! Runner is OUT!  I yell..

Turn and look at his team dugout as he's crossing home plate.  That run does not score the base coach assisted the runner. 

Look at the other teams dugout and say that run does not score and the runner is out, they are all like I had 8 heads. Only the 1st base coach is like Yep yep yep and he hollars over to his 3rd base coach and says "he's right you cannot touch the runners Jim"

 

Heh last night I had a fan Baberuth game sitting just right of center of the backstop, after a foul ball to the backstop. "guys guys that ball is live still remember" cause the catcher was slow getting to it.  

The 3rd base coach says "No Rob it is not, ball is dead on a foul ball"

 

Same game, same coach  R1 no out 1st pitch to this batter foul tip catcher caught it cleanly.  I call strike make a brush movement on my arm.  catcher never even tried to throw to 2nd and R1 is now R2. Coach I hear in my left ear hey wasn't that foul... Time Time  Blue TIME

I call time turn and look at him. He foul tipped that right.  I said Yes he did

I said had he dropped it then its a foul ball but he did not he held onto it so a foul tip is correct and its a live ball.

Now .. I got that right didnt I or did I kick that? 

 

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26 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

LL Game Minors ( they call them AAA here ) 8-10U

3rd inning runner on third base fly ball to the outfield runner stands there waiting to tag up F7 catches ball and tosses home. I see that and the 3rd base coach reach out and shove not once but 2 times the runner towards home, telling him "go-go"

That's Interference! Runner is OUT!  I yell..

Turn and look at his team dugout as he's crossing home plate.  That run does not score the base coach assisted the runner. 

Look at the other teams dugout and say that run does not score and the runner is out, they are all like I had 8 heads. Only the 1st base coach is like Yep yep yep and he hollars over to his 3rd base coach and says "he's right you cannot touch the runners Jim"

 

Heh last night I had a fan Baberuth game sitting just right of center of the backstop, after a foul ball to the backstop. "guys guys that ball is live still remember" cause the catcher was slow getting to it.  

The 3rd base coach says "No Rob it is not, ball is dead on a foul ball"

 

Same game, same coach  R1 no out 1st pitch to this batter foul tip catcher caught it cleanly.  I call strike make a brush movement on my arm.  catcher never even tried to throw to 2nd and R1 is now R2. Coach I hear in my left ear hey wasn't that foul... Time Time  Blue TIME

I call time turn and look at him. He foul tipped that right.  I said Yes he did

I said had he dropped it then its a foul ball but he did not he held onto it so a foul tip is correct and its a live ball.

Now .. I got that right didnt I or did I kick that? 

 

You got it right

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(NFHS) Lodged batted ball in F6 jersey...funny thing about my enforcement of that was I think both teams, my partner, & the entire stadium, would've been completely fine with F6 ending the half inning by forcing out R1 at 2B with the batted ball lodged in his jersey. 

 

 

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I had a lodged ball in the backstop the other day.  Coach came out to argue since his catcher pulled the ball from the lodged position.  I told him the rule and he said 'You should have said the rule in the pre-game conference.'  like it was a local rule or something. As if I am just applying the rule against their team only that lives 3 hours away from me and I have a grief against them.  I just bit my tongue.

I also had a running lane interference and as I was explaining it, two coaches argued that the runner 'had three feet on either side of the line.' A stern no was given.

 

I guess not everyone get's Gil's Close Call sports articles... <sarcasm>

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2 hours ago, SH0102 said:

You got it right

Odd thing is I am 99.9% positive this coach has been in and around the local leagues for decades and even umpired. So I was really wondering.  Is he pulling my leg trying to test me or is he serious?

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53 minutes ago, ArchAngel72 said:

Odd thing is I am 99.9% positive this coach has been in and around the local leagues for decades and even umpired. So I was really wondering.  Is he pulling my leg trying to test me or is he serious?

It could be either. Umpires need not to overthink the cause of the coach's argument. 

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@ArchAngel72, if you ever get that situation again...just tell the coach, "Coach, when did I call or signal foul? When did I kill the play? I didn't...we use a specific mechanic to indicate the pitch was a foul tip. If you'll recall, I made a brush motion with my hands followed by a strike motion. This is how you know it's a foul tip and a live ball. If the catcher doesn't catch that pitch off the bat before it hits the ground, then as soon as it hits the ground or the backstop you would hear me say foul and put my hands up and the ball is now dead."

~Dawg

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1 hour ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

@ArchAngel72, if you ever get that situation again...just tell the coach, "Coach, when did I call or signal foul? When did I kill the play? I didn't...we use a specific mechanic to indicate the pitch was a foul tip. If you'll recall, I made a brush motion with my hands followed by a strike motion. This is how you know it's a foul tip and a live ball. If the catcher doesn't catch that pitch off the bat before it hits the ground, then as soon as it hits the ground or the backstop you would hear me say foul and put my hands up and the ball is now dead."

~Dawg

Eh that's a lot more than I went into with him.  I just explained it was what he asked a foul tip and not a foul ball  and explained a foul tip IS a live ball.

 

But your picture made me recall this.  I had my eyes checked the other day and got a pair of these to go home with. I almost tossed them on again that night when I showed up to the game as a gag. but I did not have a walking stick to use so eh..

 

20210604_161922.jpg

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On 6/1/2021 at 8:34 AM, SH0102 said:

I am just curious as to what rule(s) were enforced this year that would be considered unusual or rare?

I had a team wearing green jerseys and green shorts.  The libero was wearing a yellow jersey and yellow shorts.  But the rule is that the jersey must contrast and the shorts must match.  So, we made him change.

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For the first time in my umpiring career, this year I called a pitched baseball lodged in player equipment. Coach was skeptical of the call, but came to me after the next 1/2 inning and said "My assistant looked that up, and you nailed it, Blue. I've never heard of that before."

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11 hours ago, johnnyg08 said:

(NFHS) Lodged batted ball in F6 jersey...funny thing about my enforcement of that was I think both teams, my partner, & the entire stadium, would've been completely fine with F6 ending the half inning by forcing out R1 at 2B with the batted ball lodged in his jersey. 

 

 

“There’s no hugging in baseball!” (Sorry, set up was too easy)

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Had one last night.  I was U3 in a 3-an crew.  I was in C at the time.

LL Majors.  R1.  B2 hits a hot grounder right up through the middle.  I come running in to get the touches from the ostensible base hit.  But F8 was playing in and threw to 2B 8-6 for a force out!  What's important is that R1 did not slide into 2B;  he came in standing but ducking down.  (He didn't have a clue that a play was being made.)

After the game, the PU said that I could have applied a rule that would have resulted in a double play on the BR, even without an attempted throw!  A type of interference by a retired runner.

R1 was probably gobsmacked that he had been put out by the Center Fielder, so he probably didn't know what to do.  According to the PU, "intent" to interfere is no longer in the text of the rule.  BR had not yet made it to 1B, so all the criteria of the rule applied.  

In the past I have called a double play when a runner clearly interfered with the play going to first. but I just didn't see it here.  So I didn't call it.  In my discussion with the PU after the game, he said that we could have supported a DP call within the rules.  I saw his point, but if I had to do it again the same way, I am not sure if I would look for trouble.

Mike

Las Vegas

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1 hour ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Had one last night.  I was U3 in a 3-an crew.  I was in C at the time.

LL Majors.  R1.  B2 hits a hot grounder right up through the middle.  I come running in to get the touches from the ostensible base hit.  But F8 was playing in and threw to 2B 8-6 for a force out!  What's important is that R1 did not slide into 2B;  he came in standing but ducking down.  (He didn't have a clue that a play was being made.)

After the game, the PU said that I could have applied a rule that would have resulted in a double play on the BR, even without an attempted throw!  A type of interference by a retired runner.

R1 was probably gobsmacked that he had been put out by the Center Fielder, so he probably didn't know what to do.  According to the PU, "intent" to interfere is no longer in the text of the rule.  BR had not yet made it to 1B, so all the criteria of the rule applied.  

In the past I have called a double play when a runner clearly interfered with the play going to first. but I just didn't see it here.  So I didn't call it.  In my discussion with the PU after the game, he said that we could have supported a DP call within the rules.  I saw his point, but if I had to do it again the same way, I am not sure if I would look for trouble.

Mike

Las Vegas

Although LL hasn't added the "continuing to run" verbiage to 7.09(e) I think the RIM shows that they abide by it. LL does not have a FPSR and if a there is a slide it should be a "bona fide" effort to reach the base. If there isn't a slide the runner can advance directly to the base.

2012 RIM:

"INSTRUCTOR COMMENTS:  When a runner is moving toward second base on a double play ball, there is no requirement for the runner to slide. The fielder must expect the runner to be there. As long as the runner is moving toward the base, there would generally be no interference.  If sliding into second base, the runner must be able to reach the base with hand or feet. If the sliding runner is not able to reach the base with his/her hand or feet, and in the umpires judgment the slide caused the second baseman not to complete the double play, call interference and get the out at 1st base also.  If the batter or a runner continues to advance after he/she has been put out, he/she shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impending the fielders.  If contact between the runner and fielder occurs after the ball is released, there would be no interference."

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In LL Majors and below, headfirst slides are outs.  I haven't called one in years; I'm up to four so far this season.

 

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NFHS rules.

The only thing remotely rare (although not altogether rare) I've had to enforce is a batter hit by pitch when leaning into the strike zone to intentionally get hit.  I called him back and assessed a strike.

Different batter, different game.  Batter leaned into the pitch that was high, out of the zone, but over the plate.  He was intentionally getting hit.  I called him back and assessed a ball.  His coach didn't  know the rule and argued that if I was calling him back, it should be a no-pitch.  Funny enough, that was the batter's coach who argued that.  But I assessed a ball because it was shoulder high.  

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On 6/4/2021 at 8:56 AM, ArchAngel72 said:

Same game, same coach  R1 no out 1st pitch to this batter foul tip catcher caught it cleanly.  I call strike make a brush movement on my arm.  catcher never even tried to throw to 2nd and R1 is now R2. Coach I hear in my left ear hey wasn't that foul... Time Time  Blue TIME

I call time turn and look at him. He foul tipped that right.  I said Yes he did

I said had he dropped it then its a foul ball but he did not he held onto it so a foul tip is correct and its a live ball.

Now .. I got that right didnt I or did I kick that? 

 

Yes, you were right.  This is a VERY important distinction to make, and TV announcers screw it up continually.  A foul tip is caught by the catcher and is a LIVE ball, meaning runners can advance at their own risk.  A foul ball is not caught and is dead; runners must return.  You would be surprised at how many coaches and players don't know this rule.

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