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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 03:02pm
blueump blueump is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tustin, Michigan
Posts: 403
Coach's View of the Look-Back Rule

Interesting interpretation of the look-back rule:

Last night I had R1 & R2 with 2 outs. The count was 2-2 when F1 throws a wild pitch. Both runners move up, and F1 comes home to cover the plate. F2 hands the ball to F1 who walks back to the circle. (Newly acquired) R3 stays standing off the base but as soon as F1 steps inside the circle, she takes a few steps back toward the bag. Then she changes her mind and does 2-3 little "monkey hops" toward home. Stops, realizing she didn't get the attention she was looking for, and then walks back to the base. All the while F1 is walking toward her starting pitching position, with her head down and with the ball, inside the circle. As I call "time" to declare the runner out for a look-back violation, the pitcher drops the ball transferring it from the glove to her hand.

The coach is ticked! He's "never had a look-back violation call, EVER!" He's mumbling and complaining as he heads back to the dugout - but nothing to get tossed over. He's quiet for the next 1/2 inning, which went quick. As his team is making the 3rd out I see him standing with a rule book at the dugout opening, just itching to get to me. Between innings, I let him come out to plead his case.

Argument #1 - "The pitcher has to have possession of the ball, she dropped it!"

I agreed that the timing made it look bad, but assured him that the pitcher had clear possession of the ball for at least 3 steps going into the circle and only dropped the ball when I was calling time. At that time, his player went toward 3rd base, back toward home and then to 3rd base again. That didn't seem to help, and he disagreed, albeit politely and insisted it was completely legal because the pitcher had ultimately dropped the ball.

Argument #2 - "My batter was still at bat. The rule clearly states that the batter/runner must have arrived at 1st base before you can call a runner out using the look-back rule. With a batter still at bat, it can not be called!"

I tried to explain that a batter is different from a batter/runner and only becomes a batter/runner when they are on their way to first base. Otherwise we would never be able to use the look-back rule, because their is always another batter! A batter/runner is NOT a batter! He again disagreed. He went away "knowing" that I was interpreting the rule incorrectly and that I ripped him out of more runs.
"When I umpire I may not always be right, but I am always final!"
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