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Old Sun Jan 25, 2009, 05:33pm
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MLB Pitching Regulations

MLB umpires are tossing out perfectly good baseballs.
This was not the case when MLB umpires did not remove these baseballs from the game.

1) What indications should an umpire look for when deciding to remove a baseball from a game?

2) Can the defense, the pitcher, or his coach insist on getting a "good" ball back into the game?

3) Where are these rules or guidelines?
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Old Sun Jan 25, 2009, 08:16pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAump View Post
MLB umpires are tossing out perfectly good baseballs.
This was not the case when MLB umpires did not remove these baseballs from the game.

1) What indications should an umpire look for when deciding to remove a baseball from a game?

2) Can the defense, the pitcher, or his coach insist on getting a "good" ball back into the game?

3) Where are these rules or guidelines?
1) Slits, scuff marks, "warped" appearance, torn seams, too slippery all qualify as reasons to throw a baseball out.

2) Certainly. The rules allow it.

3) The rulebook.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 02:29am
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Years ago, I remember Brett Butler telling me to watch when this rookie catcher named Piazza hits one of his screaming drives. Then watch how often the umpires will throw the ball away after he hits it. "I've never seen the umpires throw out so many baseballs on one guy. He crushes the ball harder than any hitter I have ever seen."

I took this picture of Paul Konerko a few years ago. This drive almost went through the right-center field fence at Angels Stadium. I watched the ball come back in and get handed to Bruce Froemming, who pushed his thumb into it and tossed it away:


They actually get a quarter-sized crater in the ball. Watch how often they throw out a ball that gets killed like that.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 08:27am
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Great pic. What I find amazing is that a pitched ball hits the dirt 1 time and the ball is thrown out. I don't remember that happening except the last 5-10 years. You don't see it watching the old classic games.
I guess what is considered unfit for play has changed. Any thoughts?
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 09:11am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tip184 View Post
1) Slits, scuff marks, "warped" appearance, torn seams, too slippery all qualify as reasons to throw a baseball out.

2) Certainly. The rules allow it.

3) The rulebook.

Re # 2.

The pitcher can request a different ball, but he cannot get back one that has been discarded by the umpire.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 09:31am
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JR, The reason a pitched ball in the dirt gets tossed is due to physics. If there is even a small size smudge of mud imbedded in the seams, it throws off the balance of the ball. This is no big deal to the inexperienced pitcher, but to a pitcher who knows how to take advantage of it, it can make for some exciting movement in the ball.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 10:47am
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I guess I can see that, or hard dirt might cause a scuff, just saying you didn't see so many balls discarded years ago.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 11:08am
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When I teach pitching, I teach pitchers how to hold the ball to take the best advantage of a cut, a scuff or some mud packed in a seam, if the umpire doesn't discard it. If the ball isn't discarded, then a pitcher with savvy should know how to use it. And at the developmental level, we all know that the ball is not discarded often enough.

As an umpire, I'll let a minor scuff stay in, but not a cut or a torn seam. A cut or a fray will make the ball do more tricks than a scuff. I also check any ball that hits anything, except soft dirt. So I guess that's my H.S./J.C. standard.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 11:21am
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Originally Posted by JR12 View Post
Great pic. ... Any thoughts?
Thanks, JR. I was trying to take a shot of the tasty babe in the dugout seats and the damned auto-focus locked in on Konerko. And what a stroke of luck that the ball happened to be hitting his bat right on the sweet spot over the heart of the plate.

(This is a teaching photo for more than one thing: Head position at contact; staying balanced for an off-speed pitch; letting the ball travel and squaring it right on the sweet spot, instead of getting around it for a pull and having it get out on the end of the bat. Result: a screamer the other way instead of a three-hopper to the shortstop. It also shows that the ball gives and not the wood bat. With a metal bat, the barrel and the ball both give and on some models, the handle flexes.)
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 12:51pm
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If you have any shots of that honey that are in focus please post them!
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 09:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR12 View Post
I guess I can see that, or hard dirt might cause a scuff, just saying you didn't see so many balls discarded years ago.
Can't remember when they first brought this in , but it has the composition akin to kitty litter. Cuts the baseball up pretty good. Seems to me Dodger stadium had this first, by the frequency of balls they threw out years ago...
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 10:00pm
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It's a function of how many baseballs you have available to you, isn't it?
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 10:20pm
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Originally Posted by kylejt View Post
It's a function of how many baseballs you have available to you, isn't it?
It sure is, but from what I have seen in the last soon to be 5 years of umpiring is that we, as a whole, do not throw the ball out enough at the amateur level.

A lot of this has to do with whiney coaches. I throw the ball out more than the majority of my partners have, and often times coaches are even puzzled by it. Even at a Sr. Babe level, coaches are perplexed as to why a ball is unfit.

At the Legion level (akin to JV or V), the coaches are baseball people, and complain if you give their pitcher a bad ball, or the other pitcher a good ball. It is really incredible the amount of complaining I've had over this issue. I'm sure if I kept every ball in my bag and never inspected them, it wouldn't be an issue. But because I take 2 seconds when I get a ball back to give it a glance and toss a ball into the home dugout every 2 or 3 innings (depending on the level), it is an issue to them.

Lastly, does anyone else hate hearing at the plate meeting "Here are 6 balls and my pitcher has one too." Every single game that first warm-up that comes in, I flip him a ball and take the one that I haven't seen.

Am I making to big of a deal about this? When I do this, I try my damnest not to be OOO, but when nobody else in our association does it, it makes me look like an OOO I guess.
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Old Mon Jan 26, 2009, 11:50pm
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Originally Posted by TussAgee11 View Post
Lastly, does anyone else hate hearing at the plate meeting "Here are 6 balls and my pitcher has one too." Every single game that first warm-up that comes in, I flip him a ball and take the one that I haven't seen.
I do the same thing. I don't know what's been done to that ball. I look at the ball, and if it's a good one, I get it back to the pitcher at the first ball replacement opportunity. But we start with a pearl.
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Old Tue Jan 27, 2009, 12:35am
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Keep checking. You can check immediately as he is going to the mound or you can check after 3 or 4 warm-ups while you are checking out his pitches. If the ball is OK let him use it. You are just checking to make sure it is not a new ball that got all scuffed up while he was warming up in the bullpen.

I would assume at the amateur level, cost is the reason they hate to see the baseballs removed from play. I'm not saying that is good reason not to toss a few every game, but to be as thorough as MLB may not quite be the way to go unless you are doing D1.

In the old days, the umpires themselves rubbed up the baseballs (5-6 dozen) to take that slippery shine off the ball. Each ump had their own way of rubbing up the baseballs. Some spit on the dirt in their hand and some poured water in the can of dirt. I imagine some of the baseball's had some good chewing tobacco mixed in.

Today, the baseball's are rubbed up by the clubbies, and may not be done very well and get thrown out. But, the majority of the time, there is probably some type of scuff mark.

Calvin Griffith is the one that had the rule put in, to limit the distance pine tar could be applied to the bat. He whined that pine tar was costing him an extra $500 a year, because the umps would throw a foul tipped pine tar scuffed ball out.
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