Jump to content

Windup continuous motion illegal pitch


SeeingEyeDog

Recommended Posts

Ok, so we are 2man, FED, championship game of a Perfect Game 15U tournament. (Perfect Game has some mods to FED, none of which impact this situation...) The starting pitcher is going from the windup but he is starting, stopping, and starting again. It's not a continuous motion. After F2 brings it down, I step up to the top of the dirt circle and say to the pitcher, "You are stopping once you start. Your motion needs to be continuous or it's an illegal pitch."

He nods, the batter comes to the plate and...F1 starts, stops and starts again. I call time and say, "That's an illegal pitch. It's a ball on the count. The count is 1-0."

The defense's coach comes out and says to me, "No! No! We don't call that! There's nobody on base! It's not a balk! No! C'mon! Get the TD! This is wrong! You are so wrong on this!"

I put up my hand and say, "Coach, I know there's nobody on base. This is the first batter of the game. That's why I called an illegal pitch and not a balk. The count is 1-0."

By this time my partner has come down to the plate and the coach is still asking for the TD. It's a championship game so, I begrudgingly allow it. I've got this call nailed. We're only prolonging the inevitable. Fine...whatever...something, something..."customer service"...where's my fries? The TD comes over. He's a recent college graduate. We explain the situation and he simply says, "Perfect Game has no modification on this. Coach, the umpire is telling you it's an illegal pitch and we are accepting and respecting that call." So, coach goes and talks to his pitcher and fixes the problem and there's no further problems.

What do you have here, brothers? I like where I ended up but, I didn't like "having" to consult the TD when I knew I was right. I feel like the journey could have been shorter...thoughts, please?

~Dawg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. SeeingEyeDog, of course you are right. NFHS is the only code that prohibits any pause during a windup delivery. And you know the correct penalties. 

The FED issued a reminder on this question in 2011 in its online interpretations (play #20). I cannot copy it and paste it here but I am sure someone will. The 2016 BRD referred to this kind of start/stop as the "Japanese pause." 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

Mr. SeeingEyeDog, of course you are right. NFHS is the only code that prohibits any pause during a windup delivery. And you know the correct penalties. 

The FED issued a reminder on this question in 2011 in its online interpretations (play #20). I cannot copy it and paste it here but I am sure someone will. The 2016 BRD referred to this kind of start/stop as the "Japanese pause." 

Here it is from 2011:

"SITUATION 20: With R1 on third base, the pitcher is in the windup position. At the top of his motion, he pauses for two or three seconds and then delivers. RULING: The umpire shall declare a balk and score R1 from third base. After a pitcher starts his motion to pitch, he must continue the motion without interruption or alteration. (6-1-2)"

But the question is why would you or @SeeingEyeDog dog call it in that setting? It's not called in my neck of the woods even at HS Varsity. I don't know which Japanese pitcher first showed up with this delivery, but MLB and NCAA decided it gave no advantage and would not be called as a violation of the windup wording. Do you think FED thinks the batter is put at a dissadvantage and that's why they didn't change as OBR and NCAA did?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Jimurray said:

But the question is why would you or @SeeingEyeDog dog call it in that setting? It's not called in my neck of the woods even at HS Varsity. I don't know which Japanese pitcher first showed up with this delivery, but MLB and NCAA decided it gave no advantage and would not be called as a violation of the windup wording. Do you think FED thinks the batter is put at a dissadvantage and that's why they didn't change as OBR and NCAA did?

And therein lies the problem.

The question shouldn't be: Why would you call it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Jimurray, I'm not sure I understand your question...If you are asking me just as a general baseball question, do I think a full stop after a windup has begun puts the offense at a disadvantage? No. No, I do not think it puts the offense at a disadvantage...at any level of baseball. But, like balks being immediate dead balls and the 3-1 move and on and on...you know The Job is not to enforce only the rules with agree with. Here's the verbiage and, respectfully I nailed this.

NFHS RULE 6, Section 1, ART. 2 - ...He is limited to not more than two pumps or rotations. After he starts his movement to pitch, he must continue the motion without interruption or alteration.

My question was...Mechanically, would anyone do something different here? Are we going to the TD on this or just shutting the coach down and returning him to the dugout? Or something else even?

~Dawg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, The Man in Blue said:

And therein lies the problem.

The question shouldn't be: Why would you call it?

Let’s say I asked a question last year about why you would call a jewelry violation. Let’s say I asked why you would balk going to the mouth on the rubber but not going to the hat. Let’s say I asked why you would ball a stopped delivery with no one on but would not ball it if if the ball was dropped without going over the foul line. You are free to be a literal umpire. I am free to apply Evan’s  advise to not apply rules or interps that would not be a practical way to umpire. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

@Jimurray, I'm not sure I understand your question...If you are asking me just as a general baseball question, do I think a full stop after a windup has begun puts the offense at a disadvantage? No. No, I do not think it puts the offense at a disadvantage...at any level of baseball. But, like balks being immediate dead balls and the 3-1 move and on and on...you know The Job is not to enforce only the rules with agree with. Here's the verbiage and, respectfully I nailed this.

NFHS RULE 6, Section 1, ART. 2 - ...He is limited to not more than two pumps or rotations. After he starts his movement to pitch, he must continue the motion without interruption or alteration.

My question was...Mechanically, would anyone do something different here? Are we going to the TD on this or just shutting the coach down and returning him to the dugout? Or something else even?

~Dawg

Yes you applied a FED rule properly. You should not have entertained him calling the TD without the Protest word. Did you go along with the party because you knew the this was a stupid FED interp of the same rule wording that exists in OBR and NCAA but those codes do not apply it literally to the “Japanese windup”? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

My question was...Mechanically, would anyone do something different here? Are we going to the TD on this or just shutting the coach down and returning him to the dugout? Or something else even?

 

For a 1-0 count?  I'm shutting him down and moving the game along.  If the coach wants to send somebody to summon the TD (who should have been fairly handy if it was the championship game), that's on the coach.  I'm not holding the game up for that.

If there was a clock on the game, I hope you kept it running.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the 2016 BRD, the rationale given by the NCAA for allowing a pause in the windup is the rule was called inconsistently--not all umpires were enforcing it by calling a balk when a delivery was not continuous.

My SF Giants had the first Japanese player in 1964 (I think). About 30 years later the Dodgers signed Hideo Nomo. He had a very brief pause in his delivery but the one I remember as having an exaggerated pause was Daisuke Matsuzaka.

By the way, part of Nomo's success was due to his strange windup motion--i think it was called The Tornado. It took a couple of seasons before the hitters solved it. Oh yeah, the Giants Japanese pitcher was Masanori Murakami.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Jimurray, I "went along with the party..." because my association had a pre-tournament meeting and I received direction from association leadership that (...and I am paraphrasing...) if we have an application of the rules situation in these PG tournaments, we can engage the TD. So, I'm following orders. Perhaps your market differs...

@The Man in Blue, PG has a "no new" after 2 hours and some mercy rules but, for a championship game, they remove the game clock. But, yeah...if it wasn't a championship game, they are on the clock the entire time. If they want to use their game clock with a rules clinic well...it's not how I would prefer to spend my time but, we're paid the same way, I guess...

@Senor Azul, after many years of providing us with so many clear and concise citations, interpretations, etc...please allow me to return the favor. Wikipedia tells us that Masanori Murakami was indeed the first Japanese born player to play in MLB. He indeed played for your SFG in 1964. His story has some interesting twists and turns, he is still very much alive at age 79: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanori_Murakami

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Thunderheads said:

I'm not saying the rule isn't there, because, well, ....it's been posted.

However, that said, I must say I've never called this, nor do I know anyone who has 🤔

All three codes require motion without interruption or alteration. What the writers meant as alteration we don't know but we allow the delivery to vary. In 2011 NCAA recognized that MLB and numerous practical NCAA umpires had been allowing a "pause" in the delivery without it being called a violation of motion without interruption. They added the approved ruling to allow a pause that year. For some reason NFHS did not harmonize with MLB and NCAA and reinforced the literal wording with the interp. But perhaps that still allows an umpire to not ball a windup pitcher with no runners on. Maybe a pause in the windup with R3 being a balk is only what they wanted in spite of advantage to the runner with a longer windup. The good news is that the prior year they revised the caseplay that made adjusting the cap or waving off the sign from a balk to not a balk. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

@Jimurray, I "went along with the party..." because my association had a pre-tournament meeting and I received direction from association leadership that (...and I am paraphrasing...) if we have an application of the rules situation in these PG tournaments, we can engage the TD. So, I'm following orders. Perhaps your market differs...

If your association said you "can" you didn't have to. If your association said you should have voiced " I didn't like "having" to consult the TD when I knew I was right" at the meeting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So ... it had nothing to do with play ... again ... but poorly trained umpires or umpires who decided to "legislate from the bench."

Rogue (I'm being a little overly-dramatic) umpires weren't calling it (willingly? unknowingly?) so we just decide to toss it out.  This is what is going on in many softball codes currently and a good part of the reason I am gradually (not so gradually?) moving back to baseball.  Pitching is quickly becoming the Wild West.

So what rules do we get to decide if we want to enforce or not?  (I am not saying I am not guilty of this!)

I'm sorry coach, but that fence is too short for kids this age, so I'm only going to give him a ground rule double.  I know it cleared the fence by 20 feet.  OR ... the fence is too long; I saw it bounce but I'm giving him a home run because, damn, that was just impressive!

Play cards on the belt?

Legal equipment?

Obstruction/interference?

Other pitching rules?

The benefit to the pitcher pausing in the windup may not be evident, but it could throw batter's timing off or give a runner the thought that he has a little more time since we don't know if he will pause or for how long.  How long are you going to let him pause?  Are you going to allow the batter time during a pause in the windup?  Why not?  I know these are seemingly miniscule things, but the little things become the big things. 

(If I was a pitching coach, I wouldn't want my pitcher stopping to think that long.  More of a chance for him to brain-fart and try to throw to a base.)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The HS association I work for here in TN does not call this. Most of the guys will go by the "something was moving, therefor there is not a call to be made". IMO, that is the words they use to get out of making these tough calls. 

Rules like this one, enforced in some areas and not others are one of the hard parts about umpiring baseball. Some regions want the "letter" of the rule called, and some regions are more "spirit" of the rule.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, so we are 2man, FED, championship game of a Perfect Game 15U tournament. (Perfect Game has some mods to FED, none of which impact this situation...) The starting pitcher is going from the windup but he is starting, stopping, and starting again. It's not a continuous motion. After F2 brings it down, I step up to the top of the dirt circle and say to the pitcher, "You are stopping once you start. Your motion needs to be continuous or it's an illegal pitch."
He nods, the batter comes to the plate and...F1 starts, stops and starts again. I call time and say, "That's an illegal pitch. It's a ball on the count. The count is 1-0."
The defense's coach comes out and says to me, "No! No! We don't call that! There's nobody on base! It's not a balk! No! C'mon! Get the TD! This is wrong! You are so wrong on this!"
I put up my hand and say, "Coach, I know there's nobody on base. This is the first batter of the game. That's why I called an illegal pitch and not a balk. The count is 1-0."
By this time my partner has come down to the plate and the coach is still asking for the TD. It's a championship game so, I begrudgingly allow it. I've got this call nailed. We're only prolonging the inevitable. Fine...whatever...something, something..."customer service"...where's my fries? The TD comes over. He's a recent college graduate. We explain the situation and he simply says, "Perfect Game has no modification on this. Coach, the umpire is telling you it's an illegal pitch and we are accepting and respecting that call." So, coach goes and talks to his pitcher and fixes the problem and there's no further problems.
What do you have here, brothers? I like where I ended up but, I didn't like "having" to consult the TD when I knew I was right. I feel like the journey could have been shorter...thoughts, please?
~Dawg


I’d be careful instructing the pitcher. OHC may have a beef with you. We all know the drill, dust off the plate, talk to the catcher & have him go out, etc etc.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/1/2023 at 3:19 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

What do you have here, brothers? I like where I ended up but, I didn't like "having" to consult the TD when I knew I was right. I feel like the journey could have been shorter...thoughts, please?

Look at it this way:  What is the spirt and intent of the balk rule?  To protect the base runners against illegal deception by the pitcher. No base runners, no deception.  However, NFHS rules provide that the balk/ illegal pitch rule, in this case, must be enforced with or without runners.  What rules set were you using?  And, having to consult the TD is no reflection on you.  If you were the coach and you absolutely thought you were correct, wouldn't you also ask for a decision by the TD? Also, looking at this from a practical standpoint, you did resolve the problem because the coach did talk with his pitcher and got it fixed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

Not a balk, an illegal pitch.  Everybody wants to forget about the batter … 

We allow the pitcher to put the batter at a disadvantage by varying the speed and type of delivery. We even allow a pitch without a windup as long as it is not a QP. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve read this thread through, several times. I hear (er… read) all the perspectives, from “rogue” to (ironclad) rules. 

On 8/1/2023 at 11:13 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

My question was...Mechanically, would anyone do something different here?

Yeah… not call it. 

On 8/1/2023 at 5:19 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

championship game of a Perfect Game 15U tournament. (Perfect Game has some mods to FED, none of which impact this situation...)

Yes, they do impact the situation; they affect – nay, define – the situation, especially its context

Perfect Game’s entire business model (and it is a business) is built around showcasing amateur skills, and all the stats and metrics that comprise the amateur ballplayer’s potential for a collegiate or professional program. The games are more akin to stages or vehicles than they are contests; the end score is only marginally important, and only really signify which teams advance should it be a bracketed tournament. Umpires are never (rarely, if else) required to maintain the score. In fact, in my extensive experience with Perfect Game, the umpires don’t even maintain lineup cards, pitching regulations (eligibility, innings pitched, pitch count, etc.), substitutions, or game-time clock. All of those are handled by the TD’s staff, oft merely a teenager sitting at a makeshift table with an iPad. However this manifests, the point is that Perfect Game handles these aspects. 

This is for a reason. This is not only to showcase and put more of the focus on players’ skills and plays – and less on rules-adherence – but to also allow umpires to concentrate much more of their attention to the core elements of the game: balls & strikes, fair-foul, catch-no-catch, safe-out. Get those “right” first & foremost, the rest of the game will “take care of itself”. In the PG ecosphere, coaches are much more true coaches and developers than the glorified chaperones at other tournament events. Example – a PG base coach is going to concentrate much more on a pitcher’s time-to-plate split or the catcher’s pop-time than on the minutiae of whether or not the loose lace on the pitcher’s glove constitutes a distraction, or if an idiosyncratic glove-flap by the right-handed pitcher, away from R1, truly is “coming set and pause”. 

In the grand scheme of the (Perfect Game) game… who cares? PG’s target audience are scouts, recruiters, and agents, and the last, most “meddlesome” entity that they want to see is an umpire affecting the game over a technicality or at best, a triviality. 

Being that this was the championship game, this pitcher has likely pitched at least 2 or more games prior. Thus, at least 4 other umpires didn’t call this either. Now, I’m one that calls out “viral umpiring” when it happens, and reminds us of its viral (hence the name), rippling effects when a rule is misinterpreted, misapplied, missed, or made-the-f*€k-up. However, if it’s something that fellow umpires – in this very PG ecosphere, at that very event – aren’t calling, then… 🤷🏽‍♂️

Perfect Game, like other tournament series across the land, does not allow Protests. The TD and their staff are completely empowered to make any rulings or mitigations necessary to facilitate the game(s). And, don’t let that seeming-naïveté of the “recent college grad” TDR fool you – he adjudged what was necessary to mitigate the situation (umpire being particular, coach being aggrieved, first pitch of the game… ) for the successful completion of the game. He understands – or at least operates within – the context. 

Yeah, you “nailed it”. As a fellow umpire, I can commend you on your accuracy and correct interpretation of the rule. However, even as an evaluator, there aren’t merit badges or ribbons for us to hand out for calls like this. 
 

Was that first pitch a ball or a strike (zone -wise)? 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Was that first pitch a ball or a strike (zone -wise)? 

I killed it on the stop. He ended his delivery on the leg lift and never delivered. For a 15U playing in a PG championship game, he had average stuff. Little to no movement on his breaking pitches, lots of cement mixer stuff that hung. My suspicion was, given this was deep in the tournament and they rigorously enforce their pitch counts...this team was not deep at the F1 position and this was not someone who sees lots of innings. He had above average control and the opposition had excellent zone discipline so, most strikes were getting swung on and knocked around the yard. They left him in there for 4 innings and he gave up 9 or 10 runs and not all of those were on the pitcher...

~Dawg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because it is what I do, I'm going to take exception with some of the things @MadMax said ... not Max, but with tournaments in general.  I have worked PG before, and some were done well and some were not.

I have no issue with the showcase nature of some of these organizations and tournaments, but the handling of them is something that bothers me. 

Why are you moving into a "bracket" if you are a showcase?  Either be a showcase or be a tournament.  There should be no "championship game" in events like this.  You cannot have a fair competition if you are sporadically and arbitrarily picking and choosing what rules you are following or enforcing.  

If you don't want umpires making "the right calls" in these things, you have two options:

1.) Communicate up front what the expectations are of the contract.  Make it known to your umpiring staff what you do and do not want called.  I have worked showcases where we have been told: strikes/balls, outs/safe, and anything that could be a safety issue (obstruction and interference), but don't call anything beyond that (balks).  

2.) Don't use umpires.  You don't want them making calls, you don't need them for a showcase.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@The Man in Blue, I could not agree more. It may not be an equitable comp but, do HS coaches get to call the AD or other outside agencies over for "further review"? Not in my market they don't. We don't even allow protests in HS ball until the playoffs and typically there is a state athletic association rep on site to handle those but, outside of a protest review? No. The umpires on the field, right or wrong are the final authority.

I've spent a lot of my adult life in various areas of the service industry so, I do applaud PG for having TDs on site. Given what they are charging these families, it's good to have an on-site person attending to team, family and player needs, concerns and issues.

If anyone has a contact within upper PG administration, I would enjoy hearing if they really want their on site TDs "hearing rule discussions between umpires and coaches and then rendering final rulings." If so, again...I applaud my TD for essentially backing us up. I'm going to talk it over within my association. We have been handling 1 or 2 PG tournaments/showcases per month. We are an attractive market for reasons outside of baseball so, their events are well attended. The tournament in question had 55 teams total participating. I'm sure this is going to big an important client for many years to come.

In closing, I'd also like to hear from anyone who has been in touch with their assigners regarding PGs administration of schedules and just overall engagement with local assigners. My assigner is very, very good at his job. He plows through thousands of slots annually across many levels of baseball. Like all assigners around the globe, he handles all kinds of scheduling problems of varying degrees. He's a total professional and I have never heard him come unhinged the way he came unhinged this year over handling PG's schedules. We have been pushing 110 degrees on our turf fields here and he had 5 or 6 teams that an hour before game time said they "weren't playing due to the heat". A compromise was then worked out to where games were shifted to grass fields. And this is simply one example...

~Dawg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with any organization, I think it highly depends on the local people running the tournament.

While I was in Mississippi, I left working for PG and never looked back.  Found another org paying almost twice as much for much better and higher quality ball.  Lots of little things, but the straw that broke the camel's back was this:

Was contracted for 5 games with a partner that I liked working with.  We arrived at 7:00am and noticed there were 6 games on our field.  My partner and I discussed it and were both in the same boat: we both had evening plans based on the schedule we were given, but could alter them.  We both went to the TD and asked, "Do you have somebody coming in for the last game of the night?  We were only contracted for 5 but noticed there is a 6th game on our field.  We both have evening plans, but we can change them if we know now."

The TD blew us off and said he would take a look at it.  OK.  Games 1, 2, and 3 all finished up ... We ask him again, "What is going on with game 6?"  He blows us off again.

Game 4 finishes ... game 5 finishes ahead of schedule ... and we walk off the field.  The TD is there and walks with us to the umpire area.  He asks, "Are you guys changing out again?"

"No ... we're done for the day."

TD -- "But there is another game on this field."  

Me -- "Yep, we told you that at 7:00 this morning and asked then if you needed us.  We told you we could change our plans and stay, but you said you had it under control."

Partner -- "If I call my wife at this point, it needs to be worth my time to explain it to her.  We gave you a chance all day and you didn't tell us you needed us to stay.  What are you offering?"

TD -- "A game check."

Partner -- "It needs to be 2 for me to call her and cancel our plans."

TD scoffs and acts like a horse's ass for a short time.  "Why would I pay you double?"

My partner and I shrug and get undressed.  Two more umpires come into the area at that point.  The TD turns to them and says, in front of us, "I've got one more game I need covered, would you guys do it if I pay you double for that game?"

 

Yep ... Nope.  No more PG in that area for me.  

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@The Man in Blue, mannnnnnnnnn...you and your partner played that absolutely perfectly. And I don't know about your wife but, even with a double check for that final...she is still not going to be pleased. Especially not when I've been out of the house for 12 hours and perhaps we had plans that evening...But, yeah, this is the kind of scheduling chicanery that me assigner was dealing with.

I'm surprised to hear about the fees in MS but, local experiences are going to vary I guess. We get $90 for PG games which is in line with our local travel league contracts.

~Dawg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...