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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 08:54am
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Just about everyone in my association uses this "ground rule" for one of the fields in the city . . . . the end of the open dugouts' fences are "squared off 90 degrees" to the out of play fence. A fielder retrieving a ball from that end of the dugout area must "come around to the front of the fence to throw the ball; they can't throw over the dead ball area." (Incidentally, they never state what the penalty is or what happens to the play). I always disagree with my partners regarding this particular rule because I don't believe there is any precedent or authority that says you can't throw over a dead ball area. Anyone with similar experiences or does anyone have any interpretations in writing regarding this scenario?
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 09:15am
Rog Rog is offline
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Ask these folks - exactly when does a ball become dead?
i.e. while in flight over a dead ball area; or, upon touch a dead ball area?????
In other words, can a fielder who is standing in live ball territory reach into a dead ball area and make a legal catch of a ball which is in flight over a dead ball area.
Now, if throwing through a dead ball area were to pose a hazard to people who might be in that area then a local ground rule might in deed be appropriate.
Is that the case?????
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 09:43am
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Thanks, Rog. I'm with you 100%. A fly ball can indeed be caught over the area in question. (Which has always been my argument to my partners for NOT making it a dead ball; otherwise, any popup or batted ball that goes over a dead ball area should also be ruled dead . . . which would be ludicrous. Just imagine if we allowed popups over the backstop that blow back into play, being called "dead") It is impossible to throw "through the dead ball area" in question because the ball would hit the back side of the dugout fence; in which case THEN it would become dead.

BTW . . . I officiated another game at another field that had a similar rule for a "cutout" area in foul territory down the left field line. It was used as a bullpen. If a fielder went into that area to either catch a fly ball or retrieve a ground ball, they required him to run into fair territory before throwing the ball. I never did understand why they had that rule. There were no safety implications whatsoever.
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 12:29pm
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We have a field like that. Past dugout then fence goes 90 degrees and foul about 40 more feet. Ground rule is that a ball cannot be thrown over this "bermuda triangle". I asked WHY, and at least got a reason.

In a game, a player had retrieved a ball deep in that corner and attempted a throw to home, a path over the triangle.. but in that triangle is a pole, ball hit pole, carommed into stands, hit old lady.

Ok, at least is is a reason.
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 12:41pm
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Cool Yes, but?

Thanks BJ. I can appreciate a liability concern as a reason, BUT . . . why not simply make all that area a dead ball area? Also, there's nothing to prevent a fielder from doing the same thing and conking another old lady on the noggin; all you've got is a dumb "ground rule" that says he can't do it. He still physically could. As for logic . . . the old lady could also have been hit by a thrown ball going her way without having caromed first. (An overthrow, for example. Or an errant foul ball.) I just think that you've got a nightmare to enforce. Would awards go from the TOP? TOT? How many bases? Would the offense be put at a disadvantage? Lots of questions; not too many answers.

It's never happened, but I suppose I'd grant 2 bases from the time of the throw and call it a dead ball.

Jerry
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Old Mon Jul 08, 2002, 10:59pm
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I've umped on a few fields that are very similar to what I'm imagining with your description. What we usually do is make an imaginary line from the last dugout post to a post of the out of play fence. Depending on the fence, it may be 1 or 2 posts from the end. The method we use for deciding is that it must be a post that, if the ball is right there, a fielder can throw home with no obstacles (ie. dugout). If the ball goes in that area, dead ball; Period, bases awarded same as any other dead ball. Hope this helps.
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Old Tue Jul 09, 2002, 05:55am
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Ryan:
Thanks for the input. I have also played at other fields that have a similar situation but they do as you suggest . . . make that area a dead ball area by moving the dead ball line on an angle to another post rather than a 90 degree line. What makes this field difficult is, the area we're talking about is directly in line with an overthrow at 3rd and 1st bases. By making it all dead ball, we'll have many more base awards for out-of-play balls.

BTW . . . the only reason for not allowing the ball to be thrown over the dead ball area? "It's always been that way."

Jerry
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