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"Declining the Penalty" in baseball


Tog Gee

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12 minutes ago, Toggy said:

I know with catcher's interference the offense can choose to keep the outcome of the play.

Is that the only circumstance/call that allows either side to do that?

Toggy

When you say either side then we say the offense has the option to not appeal not batting on proper order. 
The defense can refuse the technical balk penalty for doctoring the ball. 
Little league allows a choice for illegal pitches under 12U. 
 

And you might run into a league that advises their umpires to give a choice on real balks due to their conceived perception of the “complicated” balk rule. 

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42 minutes ago, Toggy said:

I know with catcher's interference the offense can choose to keep the outcome of the play.

Is that the only circumstance/call that allows either side to do that?

Toggy

There are two more instances under FED where the offense can take the result of the play if that is what you’re asking. 
 

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On 11/3/2023 at 11:18 AM, Senor Azul said:

Under FED rule 1-5-7 there is an option for the offense to take the result of the play or accepting the award. The rule covers the use of an illegal glove or mitt.

In OBR rule 6.02(d)(2) gives an option to violation of rules 6.02(c)(2) through (7).

Where are we with this mechanically? Is it up to the coach to bring it to an umpire or is it up to the umpire to bring it to the coach and make them aware they have the choice?

~Dawg

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Sorry to bring up the "s" word.

In softball - in most (all?) rulesets - if an illegal pitch is hit the offense may choose the result of the play.  If I'm not mistaken it's treated the same as CI, including when it's ignored.

 

Beyond that, though it's not exactly the same, in any appeal situation (check swing, missed base, MYTAB, etc) the defense can opt to not do so where it would be advantageous to keep the result of the play, even if it's blindingly obvious the appeal would be granted (eg. poor hitter checks swing on third strike, and third out is made on R1 attempting a steal...don't appeal and poor hitter leads off - whereas, if it was a strong hitter they'd appeal to get him out then).   

Though not actively declining the infraction, the defense is choosing to ignore it, and are allowed to do so.

You could also say that the advantageous fourth out is a form of declining one outcome for another.   That is, you don't get four outs...one out is swapped for another.   The only way to get the appeal of R3, to negate a run, is by "declining" the third out you got before it.

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On 11/4/2023 at 12:44 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

Where are we with this mechanically? Is it up to the coach to bring it to an umpire or is it up to the umpire to bring it to the coach and make them aware they have the choice?

~Dawg

We enforce the penalty, it is up to them to understand that they can take the result of the play if they wish. They have a responsibility to understand the rules as well. 

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On 11/4/2023 at 12:44 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

Where are we with this mechanically? Is it up to the coach to bring it to an umpire or is it up to the umpire to bring it to the coach and make them aware they have the choice?

~Dawg

I thought we had discussed this before and most were of the opinion that you give the option to the manager, at least below the HS level. 

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Yes, we have discussed this tangential question before, Mr. GiantEngineer. I have posted the following text at least 4 times before and it is taken from the 2016 BRD (section 306, p. 204):

Both Evans and Wendelstedt indicate the correct procedure is for the umpire to enforce the penalty willy-nilly. Then, if the offensive coach requests the option, the ruling will be changed. I believe that's wrong for amateur umpires, and I am joined in that assessment by senior NCAA Division I umpires Jon Bible and Ken Allen. Simply:  When an option exists, offer it to the coach.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Yes, we have discussed this tangential question before, Mr. GiantEngineer. I have posted the following text at least 4 times before and it is taken from the 2016 BRD (section 306, p. 204):

Both Evans and Wendelstedt indicate the correct procedure is for the umpire to enforce the penalty willy-nilly. Then, if the offensive coach requests the option, the ruling will be changed. I believe that's wrong for amateur umpires, and I am joined in that assessment by senior NCAA Division I umpires Jon Bible and Ken Allen. Simply:  When an option exists, offer it to the coach.

 

 

Things change. This is a 2016 citation. Clearly, it's still valid. I've come across 2 or more things on a monthly basis since then that have changed within The Craft. Thank you for your continued service to The Brotherhood and please accept my most sincerest apologies, Herr Blau...

~Dawg 

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6 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Things change. This is a 2016 citation. Clearly, it's still valid. I've come across 2 or more things on a monthly basis since then that have changed within The Craft. Thank you for your continued service to The Brotherhood and please accept my most sincerest apologies, Herr Blau...

~Dawg 

I’m uncertain what you say is changed. Many of us will ask if the coach wants the option at out level, knowing that professional coaches need to know they have an option. But could you cite the 2016 minus 2023 times 12 things that have changed. I might have missed a bunch. 

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8 hours ago, Jimurray said:

I’m uncertain what you say is changed. Many of us will ask if the coach wants the option at out level, knowing that professional coaches need to know they have an option. But could you cite the 2016 minus 2023 times 12 things that have changed. I might have missed a bunch. 

With regards to THIS particular call...nothing has changed. Monsieur Bleu is 100% correct, as always and anyone doing anything other than what he has cited...is making a poor choice.

Please pull back on the flight stick and bring the aircraft up to 50,000 feet where we have a wide, all-encompassing view of umpiring...

Misuto Ao expressed that he has personally addressed this situation by posting the same citation on 4 occasions. (I will gladly own 2 of those in addition to any others anyone cares to link...). Given that this is an unusual circumstance (a team getting the choice of the outcome of a play), I was merely pointing out that umpiring is an evolving thing. Heck, I just had a local veteran brother rip me post-game about my "incorrect uncaught 3K mechanic" and my positioning in C with the infield in when I was at camp 2 months ago and we covered lots of topics in 4 days and neither of these ever came up.

TLDR...The 2016 citation for this is still correct. Other things may have changed. Be vigilant.

~Dawg

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22 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

With regards to THIS particular call...nothing has changed. Monsieur Bleu is 100% correct, as always and anyone doing anything other than what he has cited...is making a poor choice.

 

So you agree with Childress, RIP, and Bible and Allen and many of us that we would give the option at amateur levels?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think that's unfortunate, and explicable by the fact that whoever is providing that guidance is a former pro umpire trying to raise the level of LL umpiring.

It doesn't do justice to the fact that LL coaches are not pro coaches and cannot reasonably be expected to know a rule that they might see applied twice if the coach for 50 years.

It also doesn't do justice to the notion that LL is instructional baseball top to bottom (that is, including the adults involved).

I have no authority to advise LL umpires. But for amateur ball I have always recommended taking any option to the coach without making him ask.

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56 minutes ago, maven said:

 

I have no authority to advise LL umpires. But for amateur ball I have always recommended taking any option to the coach without making him ask.

I agree and segueing to a similar question for @Velho how did they tell you to enforce 4.09(b). LL does not have the added comment that OBR has regarding refusal to advance. Does the umpire make request to generate a refusal or not or is the refusal judged another way. 

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4 hours ago, maven said:

I think that's unfortunate, and explicable by the fact that whoever is providing that guidance is a former pro umpire trying to raise the level of LL umpiring.

It doesn't do justice to the fact that LL coaches are not pro coaches and cannot reasonably be expected to know a rule that they might see applied twice if the coach for 50 years.

It also doesn't do justice to the notion that LL is instructional baseball top to bottom (that is, including the adults involved).

I have no authority to advise LL umpires. But for amateur ball I have always recommended taking any option to the coach without making him ask.

Spot on analysis, Maven!

100%, take the option to the coach.

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14 hours ago, Velho said:

Fwiw, just finished LL West region week long academy and the direction was to enforce the penalty without offering an option BUT at the slightest hint from offense that they are aware of option, offer it. 

LL has vacillated on this procedure for years. It also depends on which instructor you talk to. I don't agree with LL's policy on this one.

I personally follow Maven's advice of taking it to the coach right away. It's as simple as, "Hey (Skip), you want the results of the play or the penalty?" It will solve a lot of potential problems by being proactive, rather than the coach finding out there was an option and now he thinks the umpire is a Jackass.

Taking it to the coach is way better game management. Something LL needs to teach better.

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On 11/6/2023 at 10:47 AM, GiantEngineer said:

at least below the HS level.

@JSam21, myself, and guys like us do college and higher, where that coach is paid to know to ask us (umpires) about options. 

For HS, equivalent, and lower, it makes for more… harmonious game management if you at least indicate / inform that an/the option exists. HS coaches are paid, sure, but do I have a Class 6 former-MLB-player-now-coach, or a Class 1 PE-teacher coach that I have to announce / explain the call to? 

Additionally & mechanically, when enforcing the penalty & awarding bases, always begin with the BR. Award him 1B first, then work “forwards”. Place unforced Runners back at their bases TOP. Often, when you do this, a coach usually gets that inkling that an option is available, and comes to ask you about it. 

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From the 2023 Little League RIM rule 6.08(c), the Instructor's Comments following the rule--

The offensive manager should initiate the option discussion.

The Comments then tell the umpire to make it clear in the discussion what would be the best choice for the manager's team. That is basically what was being taught to Mr. Velho at the western region clinic but the instructions leave some wiggle room.

Also a question for you, Mr. Velho. The front matter of the RIM tells us the Instructor's Comments come from Little League International. Are they professional umpires? 

Another question comes to mind--are the instructors at the regional clinics professional umpires?

 

 

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9 hours ago, Jimurray said:

I agree and segueing to a similar question for @Velho how did they tell you to enforce 4.09(b). LL does not have the added comment that OBR has regarding refusal to advance. Does the umpire make request to generate a refusal or not or is the refusal judged another way. 

Similar. Don’t scurry off the field but don’t hawk eye the coach that they should be doing something,

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3 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Also a question for you, Mr. Velho. The front matter of the RIM tells us the Instructor's Comments come from Little League International. Are they professional umpires? 

Another question comes to mind--are the instructors at the regional clinics professional umpires?

I don’t know who at LL International are the final arbiters of the rule book and RIM, nor their experience levels.

I’m not sure how much my given instructors do beyond LL (and what level are we calling ‘professional’? D3, D1? Or do we mean calling professional games?). If the latter, then - of the regular instructors - it was none. We had a AA MiLB ump with us all week though, and when rules were discussed, he made it clear LL rules is a different thing than OBR.

The instructors taught to the LL rule book, not surprising since this was an official LL academy. Where to come off the rulebook wasn’t a topic. That’s what I have you all for 😀

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39 minutes ago, Velho said:

Similar. Don’t scurry off the field but don’t hawk eye the coach that they should be doing something,

The thing is it's not on the coach. The umpire cannot declare the game over until both runners advance and that is only what LL 4.09(b) says. LL did not pick up the OBR penalty explanation when it was put in but I believe LL and OBR umpires should tell the batter to go touch 1B and then apply the OBR penalty if he refuses. By rule you can't scurry off the field because the game is not over. Even the advice to call the batter out when he gets in the dugout is impractical. The winning team can stay on the field in a dogpile forever and then go huddle in the OF. You gonna hang around until they break up the dog pile and the prayer circle to watch the batter go into the dugout and then call him out and reverse all that celebration. Tell him right away, "go touch 1B" problem solved. And if that was the advice these guys gave you we might question their understanding of the rules and the other advice to not ask if the coach wanted the option.

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29 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

And if that was the advice these guys gave you we might question their understanding of the rules and the other advice to not ask if the coach wanted the option.

It wasn’t discussed at length. I’m trying to recall if it was specifically discussed or if the rule was stated and we moved on, i.e.  was my above statement was the impression I got or a declarative statement (sorry, it was a long week).

One note, the academy was for umpires of all skill levels, some folks had been doing it 10+ years and others 8 months. My view: it’s not the intent, nor is it practical, to bottom out on every possibility. I asked many (and more than my share) of those deep dive questions when I could. I had to pick my spots and this simply wasn’t one of them.

In any game below Regionals (i.e. any game I expect I’ll ever do) this is a personal decision on how to handle it (and, again, given the benefit of y’all’s experience I’ll be prepared).

If/when I develop a relationship (hard to do in a few days) with some of the instructor level umpires, I’ll probe into these nuances that aren’t explicit in the rulebook (or even run counter).

IMO,  ESPN has turned the Regionals and WS games into a professional event. The sponsors are paying for it and they expect a pro level product (arguably a postseason MLB equivalent product given how few LL games are televised). A PU directing a BR (a moment which would be replayed and on social endlessly) on what to do with a walk off BB to win the LL WS final has potential to not go over well. LL and ESPN have put those umpires (we are all volunteers*, let’s not forget) in a tough spot.

* Some leagues do contract with umpire associations, though it’s far from the norm, and none of those are doing late post-season games.

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