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Old Tue Apr 07, 2009, 07:54pm
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licking fingers

Does any sanctioning body in FP allow licking the fingers while in the circle but not while on the pitching plate? It seems I remember reading that somewhere it said it is OK as long as the pitcher wasn't on the PP. I believe NCAA says they can't be in the circle at all and do this without getting an illegal pitch called. Dave
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Old Tue Apr 07, 2009, 08:06pm
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It isn't illegal to lick your fingers in the circle, the key is to make sure you wipe your hand prior to getting on the pp. If the pitcher does not wipe off then you have an illegal pitch.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 06:30am
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This would include...

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Originally Posted by 3SPORT View Post
It isn't illegal to lick your fingers in the circle, the key is to make sure you wipe your hand prior to getting on the pp. If the pitcher does not wipe off then you have an illegal pitch.
any "foreign" substance...including dirt should the pitcher pick up a handful.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 08:08am
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Originally Posted by 3SPORT View Post
It isn't illegal to lick your fingers in the circle, the key is to make sure you wipe your hand prior to getting on the pp. If the pitcher does not wipe off then you have an illegal pitch.
It isn't illegal to lick your fingers on the pitcher's plate, either.

The rule says the pitcher must wipe off before bringing that hand in contact with the ball. That is true in ASA, NFHS, and NCAA. There is nothing stated about any location where this can or cannot happen, so it can legally happen anywhere.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 09:55am
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Speaking ASA

There is no rule forbidding the pitcher from licking their fingers at any time or place on the field.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 09:58am
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That's what I thought but some JUCO coach tried to tell the PU, who had just called an illegal pitch on his pitcher because she licked her fingers and didn't wipe off. He claimed as long as she did that BEFORE being on the PP, it wasn't illegal. Go figure. Dave
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 09:59am
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Oh, and on the OP I forgot to say that she didn't wipe off. Dave
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 10:40am
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... JUCO coach....

Say no more!
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 10:40am
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Oh, and on the OP I forgot to say that she didn't wipe off. Dave
BTW, my personal belief is that the entire perception of licking one's fingers should be illegal is complete BS.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 11:03am
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Given the physics of pitching a softball, this is a stupid rule. Is there any such thing as a "spit ball" in fastpitch, even at the highest levels? The size and mass of the ball is just too great for a little saliva to have any material affect, it seems to me.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 11:23am
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
Given the physics of pitching a softball, this is a stupid rule. Is there any such thing as a "spit ball" in fastpitch, even at the highest levels? The size and mass of the ball is just too great for a little saliva to have any material affect, it seems to me.

Yeah, but what about the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup they were sucking on?
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 11:35am
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
Given the physics of pitching a softball, this is a stupid rule. Is there any such thing as a "spit ball" in fastpitch, even at the highest levels? The size and mass of the ball is just too great for a little saliva to have any material affect, it seems to me.
Well, I certainly can't get into a discussion on the physics part of pitching a softball, but I can tell you there is an advantage to moistening two or three fingers on your pitching hand.

As you all know, when a ball is new, it has a certain "slippery-ness" [is that a word?] to it which is why pitchers usually like to warm up with a new ball on the sidelines in order to wear that surface off a bit and to get some "feel" on the ball. In cold weather conditions, and assuming it is not raining, I found it helped to moisten either my index/middle or middle/ring fingers to throw a pitch. The moisture provided a little sticking action for a short period which allowed for some traction to impart spin on the ball. Also, when playing in dry conditions, either on stone dust or clay/dirt mixed infields, the ball tends to get dusty, and therefore a bit slippery. Again, a bit of moisture helped.

I never was called for licking my fingers, but maybe I played before this specific rule was put in? And if it was, I think it could be pretty easy to circumvent. Lick your first two fingers and wipe your last two, making it look like you're wiping off the ones you licked. Or lick the middle/ring fingers and just apply pressure on the index/pinkie on the wipe off. Advanced pitchers who are used to applying pressure with different fingers on certain pitches would have no problem with this. I don't think umpires' eyes can be that discerning from 40 or 50 feet away.

There may be some that can "load" up a softball, but I never did it nor did I know anyone that did that. So trying to get a ball to do something by adding something to it, be it saliva, mucus, or some hair product is not practical. We wouldn't be hearing "DING!" as much as "SPLAT!" if a pitcher was loading up.

Ted
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 12:05pm
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Originally Posted by Tru_in_Blu View Post
....I think it could be pretty easy to circumvent. Lick your first two fingers and wipe your last two, making it look like you're wiping off the ones you licked. Or lick the middle/ring fingers and just apply pressure on the index/pinkie on the wipe off. Advanced pitchers who are used to applying pressure with different fingers on certain pitches would have no problem with this. I don't think umpires' eyes can be that discerning from 40 or 50 feet away..
Exactly. All a pitcher has to do is make a reasonable show of wiping off the fingers. I did call a pitcher once who was silly enough to turn her back before licking. When I made the call, her response was "How could you see that? I had my back turned!" C'mon, kid... just pretend to wipe off and we're all good!
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 12:06pm
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Originally Posted by Tru_in_Blu View Post
Well, I certainly can't get into a discussion on the physics part of pitching a softball, but I can tell you there is an advantage to moistening two or three fingers on your pitching hand.
Then why aren't games stopped immediately when it begins to rain?

Quote:
As you all know, when a ball is new, it has a certain "slippery-ness"
It's a finishing coat sprayed to help the balls look pretty. I wouldn't doubt there is an additional value to protect the ball for during transportation, storage and temperature issues

Quote:
to it which is why pitchers usually like to warm up with a new ball on the sidelines in order to wear that surface off a bit and to get some "feel" on the ball.
Feel for the ball I can buy especially since there is quite a variance in the stitching on today's ball. However, simply warming up with a particular ball does nothing to wear the surface unless you throw the ball into the ground. This is one place where, God forgive me for saying this, baseball has an edge. Like baseball umpires, we should take every new ball and rub it down prior to putting it into the game. It isn't difficult and barely takes 10 seconds. If you need to wet your palms or pick up an handful of dirt, do it.

Quote:
In cold weather conditions, and assuming it is not raining, I found it helped to moisten either my index/middle or middle/ring fingers to throw a pitch. The moisture provided a little sticking action for a short period which allowed for some traction to impart spin on the ball. Also, when playing in dry conditions, either on stone dust or clay/dirt mixed infields, the ball tends to get dusty, and therefore a bit slippery. Again, a bit of moisture helped.
It is not an advantage to be able to grip the ball. If it were, resin and Gorilla Gold (drying agents in name only), would not be allowed.
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Old Wed Apr 08, 2009, 12:57pm
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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
BTW, my personal belief is that the entire perception of licking one's fingers should be illegal is complete BS.
I agree and to make it an illegal pitch seems like an excessive penalty. Maybe without getting rid of a consequence they could make it a delayed dead ball and just a ball for the batter, instead of an illegal pitch.

I agree that it has no physical consequence on a pitch that is delivered.
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