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Hidden ball trick that wasn't?


Mudisfun
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HS varsity game, 3 man mechanics.

R1/R2, less than 2 outs. F6 walks the ball back to F1 who is a couple feet from the mound/circle. Watching, I notice that when F6 hands F1 the ball, there is no ball in his hand. I also notice that his mitt is swollen like it may be cradling something... 🤯

Trying not to to tip anyone off, instead of turning chest to ball and staring at the fielder, I just opened up and watched... quick head turn to the right I notice F1/F2 a few feet from the mound talking (so no balk potential there). I look back and F6 is chatting with R2 (who happens to be one his BFF's I later learn) when R2 decides that stepping off the base is a good thing. 6 inches from the bag F6 applies the tag which I immediately call as an out.

1/2 the stands are cheering, the other 1/2 is stunned. VTHC asks for time, granted and comes running out to me. No way, no way! Time was out! OK... if time was out, why did you ask for time to come out here? 

Coach, I didn't call time, BUT since I was watching what I should have ben watching, maybe one of my partners called time and I missed it. If that's the case, no harm. Go back to the dugout and we are going to chat.

U1, did you call time? Nope...
I know I didn't call time since I recognized what play was on...
PU guy? Umm... well F2 and the batter asked me before the tag play happened if we had time and I said yes, I think we have time.
 

Ok... so you told both the offense and defensive player(s) you had time, so here's the deal: You get to go tell the HTHC, who is about to lose his mind why we're taking the out away. U1, you are going to be ready to play rodeo clown if this gets out of hand. I am going to signal the runner safe.

Couple of minutes of fun, no ejections and my PU let the coach have his say since he recognized he spoke out of turn.

Got the game moving again and finally ended in a walk off in the 7th.

Moral of the story? A) always know the location and status of the ball. B) If you are going to call time, make sure you at least do the mechanic so people can see what you are doing. Makes selling that you called time a lot easier than double secret probation, err, secret timeouts. C) don't call time unless there is a reason to actually call time.

Anyhow, my little slice of odd stuff from the ballfield.

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I had one last year in 14U NFHS rules, but I was one of only 3 people who knew what was gong on!  Pitcher was covering 1B on a play at 1st, but the throw from F3 never happened.  They also faked the handoff, convincingly enough that everyone but me didn't realize it.

I let it go for a little bit (I was only 90% sure about the 5 feet rule, and not in a position to judge exactly 5 feet, so I wanted this one DEAD on), and let the pitcher get astride (I DID 'give it up' a little by staying in A instead of moving to B so I could see the tag less obviously, but no one seemed to notice me).  I called a balk, and everyone looked at me like I had 3 heads.  After the award, the DHC came out to me to discuss.  His voice was a funny mix of angry-for-me-calling-a-balk mixed with increasing confusion, so it was getting louder and more shocked through the whole discussion.

DHC: "Why was that a balk?!"

Me: "He was within 5 feet of the rubber, but didn't have the ball."
DHC: "He didn't have the ball?!?"

Me: "No, he did not."
DHC: "Why?"
Me: "I believe they were trying the hidden ball trick."
DHC: "The wuah... they were doing wuah?!  Why were they doing that?"
Me: *shrugs*
DHC: "So he was within 5 feet?"
Me: "Yes, in fact, I let it go a bit further than that, he was astride the rubber."
DHC: "I've never heard of that rule, 5 feet?"
Me: "Yep, thats the rule."
DHC: "I've never heard of that..." *mumbles and walks off*

I then heard him discussing it with the assistant coach in the dugout, who ALSO didn't know, then the two of them flipping through the rule book.  About 6-7 minutes later I hear a "Holy SH*#... " followed by a "Well I'll be damned..."

My partner came up to me after the game and asked what the balk was, as he didn't see it.  I explained it was a failed HBT, and he was amazed and said he didn't realize it!

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I actually had the hidden ball trick successfully executed earlier this season... ball hit over F8. B/R gets to 2nd and F4 fakes the throw, but really, the B/R (now R2) was not paying attention. Steps off, tagged out. F1 no where near the mound.

If you are a player reading these threads... take a clue. When the field umpire is literally facing the outfield and the play is over, there is a clue there for you. Stay on the base.

 

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Had a situation come up this year along these lines. I was in C with runners on (R1 and R2).

Ball hit to F8, throw comes in to F1, but F6 jumps up and pretends he caught the ball (note:  at no time did he fake a tag). Play ends. OTHC asks for and is granted time. He comes out and says "they just faked a cut! They can't fake a cut!"

"No coach, they can't fake a tag. There was no fake tag."

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23 minutes ago, 834k3r said:

Had a situation come up this year along these lines. I was in C with runners on (R1 and R2).

Ball hit to F8, throw comes in to F1, but F6 jumps up and pretends he caught the ball (note:  at no time did he fake a tag). Play ends. OTHC asks for and is granted time. He comes out and says "they just faked a cut! They can't fake a cut!"

"No coach, they can't fake a tag. There was no fake tag."

Blue! They faked a swing! They cannot fake a swing! 

...coaches most likely

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3 hours ago, 834k3r said:

Had a situation come up this year along these lines. I was in C with runners on (R1 and R2).

Ball hit to F8, throw comes in to F1, but F6 jumps up and pretends he caught the ball (note:  at no time did he fake a tag). Play ends. OTHC asks for and is granted time. He comes out and says "they just faked a cut! They can't fake a cut!"

"No coach, they can't fake a tag. There was no fake tag."

 

Coaches fake knowing the rules all the time.  I don't see the issue.

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War stories aside: many amateur umpires are too close to their own experience coming up as a solo umpire. They're used to knowing whether time is out because they called it (or not).

With more than 1 umpire, we have to be clear at all times whether time is out. If the batter is getting ready and all eyes are on the plate, sure, PU can put his hand up to call time.

Any other time, all umpires must verbalize "Time!" loud enough for all the umpires to hear and register. Failing to do so creates shît shows like the OP.

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