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Old Sat May 19, 2018, 10:18pm
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telephone pole

Worked a high school game the other day and this q came up. Tall telephone poles were located inside the field, but butted up against the outfield fence, all in fair territory. During ground rule discussion at plate meeting, coach said that some umpires say that if a ball hits the pole (no matter how high it hits it), it's in play and not a home run.
Is there some ground rule that says anything like that?
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Old Sun May 20, 2018, 04:52am
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If the poles are touching or incorporated into the outfield fence (like the foul poles), then they are part of the fence and should have a mark indicating the height of the fence, above which is a home run if a fair batted ball hits it in flight. Otherwise, they are a "natural object" and part of the ground.


NFHS 8-3-3 . . . Each runner is awarded: a. four bases (home) if a fair ball goes over a fence in flight or hits a foul pole above the fence, or is prevented from going over by being touched by a spectator, or is touched by an illegal glove/mitt or detached player equipment which is thrown, tossed, kicked or held by a fielder;
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Old Sun May 20, 2018, 07:59am
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Here is an interp from 2002. I don't recall whether it ever made it to the case book:

SITUATION 6: At the pre-game conference, the home team coach is covering ground rules. He points out that in right field the light pole is a few feet in front of the fence. He mentions that a black tape is around the light pole, about 12 feet above the ground. He states that it is a home run if a fly ball hits the light pole above the tape since the ball would have easily cleared the fence if the light pole were not there. RULING: A ground rule cannot supersede the rules book. A fly ball hitting the light pole above the tape will remain in play and will not be ruled a home run. The batted fair ball must go over a fence in flight before a home run can be awarded. (4-1-2, 8-3-3a)
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Old Sun May 20, 2018, 08:41am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob jenkins View Post
Here is an interp from 2002. I don't recall whether it ever made it to the case book:

SITUATION 6: At the pre-game conference, the home team coach is covering ground rules. He points out that in right field the light pole is a few feet in front of the fence. He mentions that a black tape is around the light pole, about 12 feet above the ground. He states that it is a home run if a fly ball hits the light pole above the tape since the ball would have easily cleared the fence if the light pole were not there. RULING: A ground rule cannot supersede the rules book. A fly ball hitting the light pole above the tape will remain in play and will not be ruled a home run. The batted fair ball must go over a fence in flight before a home run can be awarded. (4-1-2, 8-3-3a)
This is, in my mind, a poor ruling. No reason a ground rule shouldn't be able to deal with a pole in the field -- things like this are the whole reason for ground rules. I get why a lot of umpires just let teams do whatever they agree to in situations like this.
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