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Old Sun Jul 07, 2002, 03:39pm
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The following incident occurred in my twin sons' ballgame yesterday afternoon. (11-yrs-old) I'd be interested in some opinions.

Visitors at bat in final inning, down by a run. R3 with 2 outs. Batter hits a foul ball. Count 1-1. New ball is thrown out to pitcher.

Umpire puts mask back on. Pitcher has ball on the mound and is on the pitching rubber. Batter is in batter's box. R3 darts home and is safe by a whisker. PU signals him safe. Game is now tied.

Defensive manager suggests to PU that the run can *not* score since the ball was still dead after the foul ball. He emphasized to the PU that the ball was never declared live. PU conferences with BU. The run was nullified and the runner was sent back to 3rd.

It is true that the PU never pointed at the pitcher and it is also true that the PU never said "Play." Unfortunately, this particular umpire was not very diligent on this matter and usually did *not* do this throughout the game. The resumption of action was usually inferred - never explicitly declared.

Jaksa/Roder says the following: "When he (the PU) is in position, preparing to rule on a pitch to a batter, he may point to emphasize his discontinuation of time. This point does not in itself create a live ball, nor is it required of the umpire, but is often useful, especially with runners on base."

Does the umpire have the latitude to allow the play to stand on the basis that there was a strong inference that the ball *was* live and that both teams seemed to acknowledge that fact by their actions?

Our coach made an excellent rhetorical point to the umpire by asking, "In that exact instance, would you have called my runner out had the pitcher picked him off 3rd?" The umpire didn't answer.

I don't want this discussion to focus on the value of an umpire being diligent in making it clear that the ball is live or dead. That is a given and this particular umpire was remiss in that area. What I'm more interested in knowing, is if the ball can become legally LIVE by inference.

What if the umpire failed to overtly declare play resumed after a foul ball and the pitcher was allowed to pitch the ball with the batter getting a hit? Could the defense then object that the pitch should not count since the pitcher delivered it without the umpire declaring the resumption of play? That would seem absurd! So, I think there *is* an argument that can be made that the ball *does* eventually become live without the umpire necessarily having to declare it so.

Opinions?
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Old Sun Jul 07, 2002, 05:22pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by David Emerling
So, I think there *is* an argument that can be made that the ball *does* eventually become live without the umpire necessarily having to declare it so.

Opinions?
David,
Every level that I work, I infer a live ball for the pitcher to pitch. Before the first pitch of an inning I most often say, "Play". After calls of "Time", I most often say, "Play". When I clean the plate, I infer, "Time" about 1/2 the time.
Yet, before I infer "Play" with a point, I survey the field, particularly my partners to assure myself that everything is copasetic.
I would have sent the runner back.
mick
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Old Sun Jul 07, 2002, 05:47pm
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Originally posted by David Emerling


David if we go by the strict rule, the ball is not live until Plate umpire says Play.

OBR 5.11 After the ball is dead, play shall be resumed when the pitcher takes his place on the pitcher's plate with a new ball or the same ball in his possession and the plate umpire calls "Play." The plate umpire shall call "Play" as soon as the pitcher takes his place on his plate with the ball in his possession.

This is similar to when PU puts his hands up, technically ball is dead until PU points to F1.

You said 11 yr. olds. In LL, the PU will not call Play until F1 has ball on mound, F2 is ready to receive and B1 is in the box.

Sounds like the offensive coach tried to pull a fast one.

Your thread is why it is a MUST for PU no matter how monotonous it might be to signal Play after a Time Out to avoid this.

Pete Booth
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Old Sun Jul 07, 2002, 09:25pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeteBooth
Originally posted by David Emerling


David if we go by the strict rule, the ball is not live until Plate umpire says Play.

OBR 5.11 After the ball is dead, play shall be resumed when the pitcher takes his place on the pitcher's plate with a new ball or the same ball in his possession and the plate umpire calls "Play." The plate umpire shall call "Play" as soon as the pitcher takes his place on his plate with the ball in his possession.

This is similar to when PU puts his hands up, technically ball is dead until PU points to F1.

You said 11 yr. olds. In LL, the PU will not call Play until F1 has ball on mound, F2 is ready to receive and B1 is in the box.

Sounds like the offensive coach tried to pull a fast one.

Your thread is why it is a MUST for PU no matter how monotonous it might be to signal Play after a Time Out to avoid this.

Pete Booth
***********

Well, yes, the offensive coach *was* trying to pull a "fast one." Isn't the stealing of home always a "fast one" of sorts?

Actually, he just wanted to do you classic steal of home. The fact that his batter hit a foul ball on the pitch prior muddied the water because the PU was not very good at putting the ball in play.

But, if you were there, you would have never got the impression that the runner scampered home by taking advantage of the defense's perception that the play was dead.

Everything was set for the pitcher to deliver the next pitch. Everybody was ready. In fact, by his very action, it seemed that even the PITCHER thought the play was live. Why else did he make the throw to the plate? It even seems the PU thought the play was live. Why else did the PU remove his mask, step to the side, and signal the runner safe? Only after reflection and some compelling negotiating on the part of the defensive coach was the PU convinced that he had failed to properly put the ball in play ... completely ignoring the fact that he almost NEVER properly puts the ball in play.

Oh well. It was a difficult situation. The head coach came to me for some technical advice and all I could tell him was that the ball is LIVE or DEAD at the whim of the PU. If he wants to retroactively declare the ball dead - as painful as it may be - he is completely within his rights to do so. Although objectionable ... it is completely unprotestable.
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 10:16am
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Dave, what do you think the odds awould be that if the kid were thrown out at home plate that the offensive coach would be out on the field arguing that the ball was still dead?



Just my opinion,

Freix


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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 11:17am
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Was this game played under LL rules? If it was, it would seem to me that the runner left early since the pitcher had the ball on the rubber.
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 11:38am
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The kid's safe; end of story. Nothing requires the PU to announce "Play" after every dead ball. Likewise, nothing requires him to call "Time" for every dead ball.

Under OBR 5.09(e), "The ball becomes dead . . . when a foul ball is not caught; runners return. THE UMPIRE SHALL NOT PUT THE BALL IN PLAY UNTIL ALL RUNNERS HAVE RETOUCHED THEIR BASES."

Simply stated, by allowing the pitcher to attempt a play and making a decision at the play at the plate, the umpire had already "put the ball in play". If it were not in play, the umpire would have (or should have) prevented the pitcher from either pitching or making the attempted play.

By usage, custom, interpretation and probably somewhere in the PBUC Manual, it states that the ball becomes live after a foul ball when the umpire determines that everyone is ready to play. (i.e. the runners have retouched their bases, the pitcher is on the rubber ready to pitch and the batter is in the box, the umps are ready, etc.). No verbalization of "Play" is required.

Jerry

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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 09:34pm
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Originally posted by Jerry

The kid's safe; end of story. Nothing requires the PU to announce "Play" after every dead ball. Likewise, nothing requires him to call "Time" for every dead ball.


By usage, custom, interpretation and probably somewhere in the PBUC Manual, it states that the ball becomes live after a foul ball when the umpire determines that everyone is ready to play. (i.e. the runners have retouched their bases, the pitcher is on the rubber ready to pitch and the batter is in the box, the umps are ready, etc.). No verbalization of "Play" is required.


Jerry, the original scenario was: 11 yr. old kids, meaning kids who do not shave. The PBUC manual interps are for the big boys so IMO one has to take the age of the player into account. Also, 60 ft. bases not 90ft. - BIG difference.

In the youth levels of baseball an umpire SHOULD do a lot more verbalization than umpiring kids who shave.

Also, you quoted 5.09(e) what about 5.11 where the rule EXPLICITLY states after ball is dead in order for ball to be live and the plate umpire calls "Play."

Pete Booth

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Old Tue Jul 09, 2002, 05:45am
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Peter:
5.11 is ONE way for the ball to become live, but certainly not the ONLY way. You certainly aren't suggesting that EVERY time there's a stoppage of play, (e.g. when a coach, spectator or on-deck batter tosses an out-of-play ball back to PU while the pitcher already has one) we're gonna yell "Time" and "Play"????? For Pete's sake (pun intended), the game drags on long enough already!

Whether kids can shave or not doesn't even enter into the equation. If some idiot of a coach is telling his hairless youngster to bowl over the umpire while he's brushing the plate off . . . but didn't verbalize "TIME" so everyone in the city of Seattle can hear him, following a foul ball, I'd be doin' a whole lot more verbalizing to the coach than just "Time".

Jerry

P.S. You were kidding, weren't you?
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Old Tue Jul 09, 2002, 12:02pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry
Peter:
5.11 is ONE way for the ball to become live, but certainly not the ONLY way. You certainly aren't suggesting that EVERY time there's a stoppage of play, (e.g. when a coach, spectator or on-deck batter tosses an out-of-play ball back to PU while the pitcher already has one) we're gonna yell "Time" and "Play"????? For Pete's sake (pun intended), the game drags on long enough already!

THe game situation, the distance between the coach / spectator / on-deck batter and the umpire, and whether I catch the ball will dictate whether I call, "Time".

If the ball is dead, I always (try to) call, "play", if runners are on.

It's not seen much at the youth levels because you can't hear the umpires do it at the ML level. Plus, when you call it at the yout level, F2 and the batter willoften turn around and say, "what?"

But, at the NCAA level and in minor league baseball, the call is verbalized.
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Old Tue Jul 09, 2002, 12:19pm
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I'm with you all the way, Bob. I try to point and call "Play" after every dead ball. At the "little shavers'" level, as you pointed out, that's not always possible.

BTW . . . I went to a Toledo Mud Hens game recently and of course watched the umpires. They pointed at EVERY foul ball, no matter how far or obvious it was, they hustled into every single play and they verbalized and pointed every "Play" after every dead ball. There was no doubt whatsoever if the ball was live or not.

As amateur umps, we should probably get in the practice of doing the same thing. It brings much more professionalism and enthusiasm to the game.

Jerry
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Old Tue Jul 09, 2002, 03:59pm
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They way I see This and IMO.

Batter hits Foul Ball..Ball dead 5.09 (e) I would not throw ball to pitcher until all runners are back touching bases. And this is when I see 5.11 kick in And then I call "play" and point to pitcher. If not called and runners go I will put them back at proper base. If called and pitcher on rubber..runner steals home...being 11 I assume this is little League play made on runner he is safe...still send him back for leaving base to soon. Moral of the story seems Ump was not on his game.
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Old Thu Jul 11, 2002, 04:30pm
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I should have mentioned this at the beginning. This game was played under USSSA rules, which emulates OBR with a few minor modifications.

The bases were 70-feet apart.

As far as I know, Little League is not played in our area in any capacity. I do not know of a single Little League team or organization in the Memphis area. If it exists, it is not very popular.

Baseball is taken very serious in these parts and Little League rules would be scoffed at mostly due to the highly restrictive baserunning rules. The notion that a runner can not take a lead off is considered babyish by many.
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Old Thu Jul 11, 2002, 10:30pm
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"Baseball is taken very serious in these parts and Little League rules would be scoffed at mostly due to the highly restrictive baserunning rules."

Now lets say this in english.

Baseball is way over done by the parents in this area who think their young professional ball players are too grown up at the old age of 11 to play the childish games that Little League supports. How dare anyone ask my son to not start working towards his athletic college schloraship before he reaches puberty. And puberty will only be allowed if it happens, AFTER a ball game.
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Old Thu Jul 11, 2002, 10:59pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by jicecone
"Baseball is taken very serious in these parts and Little League rules would be scoffed at mostly due to the highly restrictive baserunning rules."

Now lets say this in english.

Baseball is way over done by the parents in this area who think their young professional ball players are too grown up at the old age of 11 to play the childish games that Little League supports. How dare anyone ask my son to not start working towards his athletic college schloraship before he reaches puberty. And puberty will only be allowed if it happens, AFTER a ball game.
***********

Don't get so defensive. I'm just expressing the local sentiment. I'm not so sure the Memphis area has a corner on the market with regards to your above assertion. There are many people who believe that Little League baserunning restrictions are too restrictive and that 12-yr-old baserrunner are old enough to take leadoffs ... that 12-yr-old pitchers are good enough to hold the runners ... and that 12-yr-old catchers should be able to throw runners out even if they *do* take a leadoff.

I'm not so sure it's so much about "athletic college scholarships" as much as it is a desire for the kids who are serious about baseball to play SERIOUS baseball instead of some kind of watered down version.

Little League is really recreational ball. I completely understand why they have the rules they do. But at higher levels, those restrictions are unnecessary. Besides, it's more fun for the kids! Ask *any* Little League ball player if he would prefer to take a leadoff, and I can guarantee you the answer would be a resounding, "Yes!"
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