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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 09:04am
greymule greymule is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 3,100
I was working the top bracket in a large tourney this past weekend, and I learned two ASA rules I had been unaware of all these years.

1. The batter, a familiar face from many tournaments for at least a decade, had a 3-1 count. The pitcher was beginning his delivery, and the batter stepped backward out of the box. The pitcher, seeing the batter step back, stopped in his motion.

Then the batter said, "Hey, Blue. He stopped in his motion."

I replied, "Yes, but it was in reaction to your stepping out of the box. If he continued with the pitch, fine, but there is no penalty when both batter and pitcher violate a rule."

But apparently I have been calling such instances incorrectly over the years. The batter then informed me: "Read the book, Blue. When the pitcher stops in his motion, it's a balk. It doesn't matter what the batter does."

2. The next day I learned another rule from a guy from that same team: Obstruction is indeed a delayed dead ball, but an obstructed runner, even if he falls down, is required to get up and continue running until he is put out or makes it safely to a base. He can't just remain where he is. He has to make an attempt to get to a base. If he doesn't, the obstruction is off.

Each player was quite firm in his conviction that he was correct. Oddly, however, the rules they cited are not in the rule book or the case book. Therefore, ASA should, as soon as possible, insert these rules in black and white and in clear language, so that we umpires know to call such plays correctly.
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