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Bunt - Batter didn't pull bat back but made no attempt to make contact


Guest Glen Roy

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Guest Glen Roy

I'm sure this has been asked a million times but is it an automatic strike if the batter fails to pull his bat in baseball?

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6 hours ago, Guest Glen Roy said:

I'm sure this has been asked a million times but is it an automatic strike if the batter fails to pull his bat in baseball?

No.  See below, .... go to number 11.  Reading all of them is interesting as well.  Others will post here w/ rules citings as well.

https://www.umpirebible.com/index.php/rule-myths

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Part of the reason this myth stays around is that in most rule sets in Softball, failure to pull the bat back is a strike. People confuse the two sports/rule sets.

 

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3 hours ago, Mudisfun said:

Part of the reason this myth stays around is that in most rule sets in Softball, failure to pull the bat back is a strike. People confuse the two sports/rule sets.

 

Even that is a myth...I have yet to run across a softball rule set in Canada nor the US where this is true (I'm sure it is somewhere, but I don't think it's "most").  You still have to offer at the pitch, and keeping your bat still while the ball crosses the plate isn't an offer, even in softball.   The language in most rulesets, including the International rules, uses the term "struck at" just like baseball does.  "For each legally pitched ball struck at and missed by the batter"

Having said that, having seen some of my players had been previously taught by coaches to just keep their bat in place, I taught them that to do so may lead to strikes being called...that they were not making the ump's job any easier, and any kind of movement or flinch could lead the umpire to conclude they offered at the pitch.

So, in either sport, leave the bat over the plate at your own peril.

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31 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

So, in either sport, leave the bat over the plate at your own peril.

Exactly.  Why make me decide.  Just pull it back.

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There is an official interpretation for OBR given to us by Harry Wendelstedt found in the 2016 BRD (section 51, p. 56). High school baseball has two case plays telling us it is not an attempt to hit the pitch simply because the bat is not pulled back.

A bat left in the strike zone is not, in itself, an offer at a pitch. However, the intent of the batter should declare whether he offered at the pitch. NOTE: The perception of his actions should be taken into account as well.

The NCAA adopts this as its official interpretation also.

2003 NFHS Baseball Rule Interpretations

SITUATION 16: As the pitcher delivers his pitch, the batter squares to bunt, placing the bat in the strike zone. The pitch is high and the batter does not make any movement with the bat. RULING: This is a ball. In bunting, any movement of the bat toward the ball when the ball is over or near the plate area, is a strike. The mere holding of the bat in the strike zone is not an attempt to bunt. (7-2-1b, 10-1-4)

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.2.1 Situation B:  B1 starts to swing at the pitch but attempts to hold back on it or it appears as though he attempts to bunt the ball. In either case, B1 misses the ball. How does umpire determine what to call the pitch? RULING:  A call of that nature is based entirely upon the umpire’s judgment. Therefore, the umpire must, in order to be consistent, have criteria to guide him in making the decision. The rule that most umpires follow is that if the bat is swung so it is in front of the batter’s body or ahead of it, it is a strike. In bunting, any movement of the bat toward the ball when the ball is over or near the plate area is a strike. The mere holding of the bat in the strike zone is not an attempt to bunt. (10-1-4a)

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High school softball does consider a bat left over the plate to be a bunt attempt—so the myth is actually true at least some of the time.

2020 NFHS Softball rule 2

SECTION 8 BUNT, ATTEMPTED BUNT, DRAG BUNT

ART. 2 . . . Attempted Bunt. Any non-swinging movement of the bat intended to tap the ball into play. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn – pulled backward and away from the ball.

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You guys beat me to it.

As @beerguy55 warned his players though, I am likely to judge a bat in the zone is an attempt to bunt.  If it wasn't, then why did you put the bat out there in the first place?  I see only two purposes: to bunt or to interfere with the catcher.  (I dare you to answer that way, coach.  I dare you!)

If the pitch is crazy, no, I'm probably not going to ding you.  If it is anywhere near the zone though ... yeah, you put it out there for a reason.

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9 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

You guys beat me to it.

As @beerguy55 warned his players though, I am likely to judge a bat in the zone is an attempt to bunt.  If it wasn't, then why did you put the bat out there in the first place?  I see only two purposes: to bunt or to interfere with the catcher.  (I dare you to answer that way, coach.  I dare you!)

If the pitch is crazy, no, I'm probably not going to ding you.  If it is anywhere near the zone though ... yeah, you put it out there for a reason.

Actually pulling the bat back can be interference. I had a team years ago who would show bunt on a steal and pull the bat back to put the barrel in the catcher’s vision. 

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On 6/29/2022 at 5:06 PM, Senor Azul said:

High school softball does consider a bat left over the plate to be a bunt attempt—so the myth is actually true at least some of the time.

2020 NFHS Softball rule 2

SECTION 8 BUNT, ATTEMPTED BUNT, DRAG BUNT

ART. 2 . . . Attempted Bunt. Any non-swinging movement of the bat intended to tap the ball into play. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn – pulled backward and away from the ball.

 

On 7/1/2022 at 3:40 PM, Rich Ives said:

NCAA Softball - must pull bat back.  "11.7.2.1 Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered a bunt attempt. In order to take a pitch, the bat must be withdrawn — pulled backward away from the ball."

I can certainly understand why these would be in place - with fastpitch also comes a lot of running slaps...and without the "pull back" rule you do get a lot of arguments about whether or not the girl who just runs forward with their bat straight out is offering at the pitch.  (ie. the bat is only moving with the runner - the bat's position is not changing otherwise)   IMO, if the bat is moving (even if it's only moving because the runner is moving) that's an "offer" - but I'm betting you had both umps and coaches saying "well, she was moving, but the bat wasn't...and we were told she doesn't have to pull the bat back"...

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