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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 12:42pm
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Clapping by Base Runners

Last night I was BU for a U14 game (FED Rules), and near the middle of the game the runners for the team at-bat started clapping, not in uniform, in an attempt to distract the pitcher during his preliminary motions, and hoping the pitcher would balk. My partner, PU called time, and announced that the offending team should stop immediately. (Personally, I thought it was a little nit-picky, but I had no real problem with the call). One of the base coaches starts yelling, "it doesn't say we can't clap in the rulebook". After the inning, my partner gave the explanation to the HC that he thought it was unsportsmanlike to do during a U14 game (or any game, really), and that he wouldn't have any of it. The coaches respected the reasoning, and it wasn't escalated any further.

Now, I haven't had a chance to get into my rulebook yet, but would this be considered a proper use for using a unsportsmanlike conduct rule from the book? Also, could it be considered offensive interference, since the offensive team is using this tactic to distract the defensive team, and while it isn't verbal, it is still audible for everyone to hear?

Thanks!
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 12:43pm
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If you're playing FED, it's illegal. Also a bit bush league.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 12:45pm
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Yes, it was very bush league. Also, the assistant coach gave me the great line of "We were showed in the rulebook and allowed to do it during a tournament".
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 12:57pm
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Bush league, definitely. But is it truly illegal? I suppose an umpire could interpret it to be unsportsmanlike, but I think he'd be opening a can of worms in doing so.
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Last edited by TwoBits; Fri May 22, 2009 at 01:00pm.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 01:08pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschramm View Post
snipped...

the runners for the team at-bat started clapping, not in uniform
I'm a bit confused. Were the runners not wearing their uniforms, or did you mean they were clapping, but not in unison?
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 01:15pm
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An obvious point is being missed

The runners were clapping for the high-quality work done by the umpiring crew, therefore it is not illegal to do....
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 01:47pm
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I believe that the rule he would use to enforce this would be 3-3-1o "call 'time' or use any command or comit any act for the purpose of causing a balk."

Let's just play ball!
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 01:57pm
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Originally Posted by Jimmie24 View Post
I believe that the rule he would use to enforce this would be 3-3-1o "call 'time' or use any command or comit any act for the purpose of causing a balk."

Let's just play ball!
Thought of that possibility, but if the same players were clapping while yelling encouraging words to their teammate at bat, you wouldn't claim they were acting unsportsmanlike, would you?
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 02:04pm
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Thought of that possibility, but if the same players were clapping while yelling encouraging words to their teammate at bat, you wouldn't claim they were acting unsportsmanlike, would you?
I completely agree. That is what I figured that he used. To me, let's just play ball. That is what it is about. As an official we must use our judgement to determine what their actions are meant to be. I figure that is a tough sell on clapping trying to cause a balk. I personally wouldn't have anything.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 02:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBits View Post
Thought of that possibility, but if the same players were clapping while yelling encouraging words to their teammate at bat, you wouldn't claim they were acting unsportsmanlike, would you?
would have to see it and hear it to make a judgment on that one. i've seen a lot of bush league stuff. if this were the case...i'd probably let it go...after all, teams certainly have the right to cheer for their team.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 04:55pm
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Originally Posted by aschramm View Post
One of the base coaches starts yelling, "it doesn't say we can't clap in the rulebook". !

"Coach, the rulebook does say I can eject for unsportmanlike conduct. Do I need to continue?"
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 05:24pm
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by aschramm View Post
Last night I was BU for a U14 game (FED Rules), and near the middle of the game the runners for the team at-bat started clapping, not in uniform, in an attempt to distract the pitcher during his preliminary motions, and hoping the pitcher would balk. My partner, PU called time, and announced that the offending team should stop immediately. (Personally, I thought it was a little nit-picky, but I had no real problem with the call). One of the base coaches starts yelling, "it doesn't say we can't clap in the rulebook". After the inning, my partner gave the explanation to the HC that he thought it was unsportsmanlike to do during a U14 game (or any game, really), and that he wouldn't have any of it. The coaches respected the reasoning, and it wasn't escalated any further.

Now, I haven't had a chance to get into my rulebook yet, but would this be considered a proper use for using a unsportsmanlike conduct rule from the book? Also, could it be considered offensive interference, since the offensive team is using this tactic to distract the defensive team, and while it isn't verbal, it is still audible for everyone to hear?

Thanks!
I wouldn't call him a pitcher if clapping led to a balk call against him.

Here the team in the dugout stands on the leading edge, claps and yells, "Rip it. Rope it." They do it for every batter. Probably have a few more in their repitour. Every now and then a good one-liner comes out of the dugout at the end of one of those chants that make the fans in the stand laugh. All part of the baseball "playing" atmosphere.
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Last edited by SAump; Fri May 22, 2009 at 05:27pm.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 05:33pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoBits View Post
Thought of that possibility, but if the same players were clapping while yelling encouraging words to their teammate at bat, you wouldn't claim they were acting unsportsmanlike, would you?
When I talked to the assistant coach, I made it clear that your players in the dugout can absolutely clap and cheer on their batter at the plate. It's when they do it on the field to distract, that we would have a problem.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 05:44pm
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I found the rule, as someone had mentioned 3-1-1o, "A coach, player, substitute, or attendant shall not call "time" or use any command or commit any act for the purpose of causing a balk.

So, this is definitely a judgment call for the umpire. I know it can be conceived as nit-picky, but it can also just be effective game management for the umpires as well.
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Old Fri May 22, 2009, 05:53pm
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Whether we think the guy on the mound is worthy of being called a pitcher or not is irrevelant. Whether the guy in the 1 position is me or Roy Halladay (FED), he's afforded the same opportunity to pitch w/o the offense attempted to illegally cause him to balk.
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