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2021 LLWS (WA/TX)


SeeingEyeDog

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Greetings brothers,

     Sawyer Todd pitching for WA was altering his delivery on every pitch. Sometimes he would pause while standing on one foot, sometimes he would add a shoulder shake/shimmy to that, sometimes he would do the shimmy/shake from the set position and other times he would windup and deliver with no pauses. In my opinion, this was all being done deliberately to disrupt the hitters' timing, of course. There were no balks called. There were no quick pitches called.

Pardon my ignorance, I only work 2 or 3 LL juniors or seniors games a year...are there no rules for 12U LL restricting this kind of varied pitching motion?

~Dawg

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49 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings brothers,

     Sawyer Todd pitching for WA was altering his delivery on every pitch. Sometimes he would pause while standing on one foot, sometimes he would add a shoulder shake/shimmy to that, sometimes he would do the shimmy/shake from the set position and other times he would windup and deliver with no pauses. In my opinion, this was all being done deliberately to disrupt the hitters' timing, of course. There were no balks called. There were no quick pitches called.

Pardon my ignorance, I only work 2 or 3 LL juniors or seniors games a year...are there no rules for 12U LL restricting this kind of varied pitching motion?

~Dawg

What codes do you call where you would call this, which I haven't seen. But have you seen MLB pitcher Stroman do his magic? Rarely gets called, as I would not most of the time. If they can throw a strike while winding up "a la Japonese" or other freak deliveries, without a QP I will happily rule on the pitch. If you want to read the rule book literally that pitcher who pitches overarm and switches to side arm can't do that. Do you penalize that?

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According to the 2020 Little League Rules Instruction Manual it is a balk/illegal pitch when a pitcher pauses in his delivery. I understand that to mean that even in a windup the pitcher is not allowed to pause a la the “Japanese way.” Since LL rules are based on OBR it is also a balk/illegal pitch when a pitcher pauses in the Set position, i.e., he suspends his lift leg.

2020 LL rule 8.05 –With a runner or runners on base, it is an illegal pitch–Major/Minor League [a balk in Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior League] when-

(a) the pitcher, while touching the plate, makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch and fails to make such delivery;

INSTRUCTOR’S COMMENTS:

➔ If the pitcher starts his/her delivery, in any way, and stops, the pitcher has violated the rule. Call a balk or illegal pitch.

From the 2013 Wendelstedt rules interpretation manual (section 6.3, p. 102):

It is a balk when…

The pitcher suspends his foot in the air (he stopped his delivery) in an attempt to hold a runner.

Play 132:  R1, no outs, no count. The left-handed pitcher, after coming stopped in the set position, raises his non-pivot foot off the ground and suspends it in the air, freezing R1. He then steps and throws to first base in an attempt to pick-off R1. Ruling:  This is a balk.

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Watching the game live this instantly caught my attention as well.

Going forward it's going to be a tough argument between the rules @Senor Azul so graciously referenced and whatever everyone just saw at the highest level of the organization.

LL umpires can deflect arguments citing Johnny Cueto (I'm in the SF Bay Area), Stroman, etc. Feels like it's tougher to deflect arguments citing this without throwing the guys on tv under the bus. Those are my initial thoughts. Hey, @RichMSN  you see this game? Would love to hear your thoughts given your experience.

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

According to the 2020 Little League Rules Instruction Manual it is a balk/illegal pitch when a pitcher pauses in his delivery. I understand that to mean that even in a windup the pitcher is not allowed to pause a la the “Japanese way.” Since LL rules are based on OBR it is also a balk/illegal pitch when a pitcher pauses in the Set position, i.e., he suspends his lift leg.

2020 LL rule 8.05 –With a runner or runners on base, it is an illegal pitch–Major/Minor League [a balk in Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior League] when-

(a) the pitcher, while touching the plate, makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch and fails to make such delivery;

INSTRUCTOR’S COMMENTS:

➔ If the pitcher starts his/her delivery, in any way, and stops, the pitcher has violated the rule. Call a balk or illegal pitch.

From the 2013 Wendelstedt rules interpretation manual (section 6.3, p. 102):

It is a balk when…

The pitcher suspends his foot in the air (he stopped his delivery) in an attempt to hold a runner.

Play 132:  R1, no outs, no count. The left-handed pitcher, after coming stopped in the set position, raises his non-pivot foot off the ground and suspends it in the air, freezing R1. He then steps and throws to first base in an attempt to pick-off R1. Ruling:  This is a balk.

There is no doubt that a total pause after starting delivery from the set is a balk with runners on. If you consider him a sideways windup pitcher I would allow a '"Japanese" windup as does MLB. But from the LL video clips of him I would say he is pitching from the set as he repositions his free foot when bringing hands together. If he didn't reposition you could say he's in the windup. That being said the clips I saw always had something moving even if you consider him in the set.

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Personally, I don't call it illegal pitch but do understand those who do. The quick pitch (which I didn't see Todd do) is across the line for me. It is judgmental (vs slide step for example - call it a 'rapid delivery from a relaxed state' if you like) is an unsportsmanlike action imo and I call illegal pitch in LL Major/Minor. 

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I noted the same.  But with no runners on--which was usually the  case--it's nothing.  

If I were doing the LLWS, I would call it immediately if there were runners on and award a ball.  But no runners?  Nothing!

That being said, I remember many years ago there was a kid who did a conventional windup, and as he rocked back, he disengaged his pivot foot, mule kicked it back, re-established, and then pitched.  Not once did this kid get called.  I posted such a question about it on ETeamz, and I got a bunch of weird answers.

Methinks LL says "Don't go looking for trouble!"

My $0.02 worth!

Mike

Las Vegas

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21 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

If I were doing the LLWS, I would call it immediately if there were runners on and award a ball.  But no runners?  Nothing!

[friendly tone as if over a beverage - i'm buying ;) ] This is Majors with no leaving the base until the ball reaches the batter... so Mike, why differentiate with or with out runners on base? The batter is the only one potentially hurt by the shimmy shimmy shake, no?

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Ok, brothers...help me out here...the LLWS is LL baseball at its highest level. Allegedly, we have the best players, teams, coaches and umpires on display.
As [mention=2845]Senor Azul[/mention] has properly cited, if this is a rule and there was such an obvious and repeated infraction...why was it not being called?
~Dawg
 

In reality, because of the runner being pinned to the base till the ball reaches the batter, we let the pitchers do just about anything on a small diamond.

And I have zero problem with that unless they gain some advantage not intended by the rules.


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49 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Ok, brothers...help me out here...the LLWS is LL baseball at its highest level. Allegedly, we have the best players, teams, coaches and umpires on display.

As @Senor Azul has properly cited, if this is a rule and there was such an obvious and repeated infraction...why was it not being called?

~Dawg

 

I would treating it as a legal windup or if the set I would see some continuous motion such as the shimmy. 

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19 hours ago, Velho said:

[friendly tone as if over a beverage - i'm buying ;) ] This is Majors with no leaving the base until the ball reaches the batter... so Mike, why differentiate with or with out runners on base? The batter is the only one potentially hurt by the shimmy shimmy shake, no?

Because there are pitching rules that must be enforced.  Do you give a batter two strikes then call him out?  Do you give a batter a walk after only three balls?  Probably not.  Because the rules say differently.  This kid is in for a big surprise when he gets to 90' if he keeps these habits!  He is illegally pitching.  Where were the umpires during his regular season?  His Districts?  His Regionals?

Mike  (Enjoying the beverages too!)

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3 minutes ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Because there are pitching rules that must be enforced.  Do you give a batter two strikes then call him out?  Do you give a batter a walk after only three balls?  Probably not.  Because the rules say differently.  This kid is in for a big surprise when he gets to 90' if he keeps these habits!  He is illegally pitching.  Where were the umpires during his regular season?  His Districts?  His Regionals?

Mike  (Enjoying the beverages too!)

They were enforcing MLB rules as copied by LL. The kid will have to comply with FED rules and NCAA ( which has backtracked to current OBR but doesn’t like some of the pro shenanigans). But when he gets to MLB he will be treated the same as Cueto, Stroman and a few others, mostly legal. I would suspect he and his coach will adapt to FED without problem if that is his next stage. I see kids coming to play FED after playing OBR in another country. They easily change whatever their delivery was to a FED compliant one. 

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Because there are pitching rules that must be enforced.  Do you give a batter two strikes then call him out?  Do you give a batter a walk after only three balls?  Probably not.  Because the rules say differently.  This kid is in for a big surprise when he gets to 90' if he keeps these habits!  He is illegally pitching.  Where were the umpires during his regular season?  His Districts?  His Regionals?
Mike  (Enjoying the beverages too!)

Following the same philosophy.


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There is no such thing as "consistency" within LL (Williamsport) Umps from any starting point. eg, regular season thru LLWS. I don't care if they've been trained at LL Clinics. You will ALWAYS hear: "They're VOLUNTEER Umpires" has become a lame excuse for many of them.  

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1 hour ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Because there are pitching rules that must be enforced

I totally follow now. The rules explicitly differentiate between

[A] what I called ‘rapid delivery’ before but found has a proper name (I knew it was somewhere):

A QUICK RETURN is a pitch made with obvious intent to catch a batter off balance. It is an illegal pitch. (See Penalty – 8.05)

Which doesn’t (appear to) differentiate between men on base or not because it is explicitly about protecting the Batter

AND,

[B] the pitching delivery from OP which, by rule, only applies when runners are on base.

We enforce the rules as written, so I’m with you. [clink] :)

Now (haughty, lecture voice), since both ‘quick’ and ‘slow’ can be used to deceive the batter, the argument could be made that they should apply without runners on base. What’s the phone number for the Williamsport Rules Committee? I’ll let them know I found this logical inconsistency.

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5 hours ago, Jimurray said:

They were enforcing MLB rules as copied by LL. The kid will have to comply with FED rules and NCAA ( which has backtracked to current OBR but doesn’t like some of the pro shenanigans). But when he gets to MLB he will be treated the same as Cueto, Stroman and a few others, mostly legal. I would suspect he and his coach will adapt to FED without problem if that is his next stage. I see kids coming to play FED after playing OBR in another country. They easily change whatever their delivery was to a FED compliant one. 

He is likely already complying with FED...just not during LL games. It's my understanding that an overwhelming majority of kids who play on LL All-Star teams and certainly those on teams that make it to Williamsport (even in a U.S. only year) are also playing on a travel baseball team. Most (not all) travel teams in this country play under some form of modified FED rules. The theory being "we are getting EVERY single one of these players ready for high school ball!"

A few years ago LL instituted participation rules qualifying players for All-Star team selection. A player must play in 60% of their team's regular season games to be eligible for an All-Star team, exempted only for medical reasons with an accompanying letter from a doctor. https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/tournament-team-player-eligibility/

My neighbor's kid plays travel. The agreement they made with his LL team was he starts every game, plays 6 defensive outs, bats once...and then he goes home, usually after two innings. He also only plays the minimum 60% of games so, from the start of the season, once they hit that mark...he doesn't come to games. But, since he's an elite, two tool player...they select him for the All-Star team. He's meeting Williamsport's requirements but, I'm sure this is not how they want their programs run locally.

~Dawg  

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15 hours ago, Velho said:

A very high percentage, if not 99.99%, play travel - during LL off-season at least (how they step off the rubber is a tell). 

Your neighbors arrangement makes me sad.

Where I am...LL and travel baseball run concurrently! This creates real schedule drama for those families. LL is 2 games and 2 practices per week. Travel can be 4 practices and 3+ games per week. These families are baseball 7 days a week...nobody asked me but, kids need balance.

Nobody likes to talk about this and Williamsport won't acknowledge it publicly but, travel baseball is eating away at LL participation altogether. If it weren't for the LLWS and the ESPN TV deal, I'm not sure LL would even exist anymore.

Truly, @Velho...sad.

~Dawg

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