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Old Tue Feb 25, 2003, 06:38pm
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Question


All-right all you senior posters out there, turn with me, if you will to 6.05(h),"The batter is out when-"
third paragraph of the Case Book notes in the OBR.

They read: "In cases where the batting helmet is accidently hit with a batted or thrown ball, the ball remains in play the same as if it has not hit the helmet."

Next paragraph: "If a batted ball strikes a batting helmet or any other object foreign to the natural ground while on foul territory, it is a foulball and the ball is dead."

-thank you-

Now, I think I understand what these words say and mean, but WHAT THE H*LL ARE THEY DOING IN THE BASEBALL RULES!? My humble guess is that somewhere in bygone years, the base, runners were allowed to remove there batting helmets once they got to first base and left them lying on the field-fair or foul territory. Naaw, that couldn't be right.

Who can step up to the plate on this one?

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Old Tue Feb 25, 2003, 09:18pm
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There are situations where the batting helmet may be on fair or foul ground. The most common I have seen is the helmet coming off as a runner is stealing.

Most ofter seen last year with Darin Erstad of the MLB Angels. He likes a loose helmet and it commonly comes off as he is running the bases hard.

Barry
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Old Wed Feb 26, 2003, 01:25pm
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Don't forget that the entrance to the dugout is a popular dumping place for equipment. Bats, gloves, helmets and other objects foreign to the natural ground can be found there. Coaches would look at me with a "What... is this a baseball game of a housekeeping contest?" look on their faces when asked to clean up the area. Lots of times in JV or Freshman games the ball comes into the infield for a play and just keeps on going. Known to happen in Varsity on rare occasion.
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Old Wed Feb 26, 2003, 10:49pm
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Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate your thoughts. But, did you notice that all the old posters, the guys with 100, 200,or 300 posts didn't answer? It is clear to me that a foul ball is a foul ball whether it hits a helmet, a bat or a fense -- when the ball stopps or is touched in foul territory, it's a FOUL! Why reiterate it in the "helmet law"? For that matter, if a rule is cited for a helmet, why not include a batter's glove, a hat, or the runner's chewing gum? I just do not understand why these two clarifications remain in the OBR.

They still look like relics from the 1940s. Come on all you rules guys. Shed a little more light on the question.
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Old Thu Feb 27, 2003, 12:01am
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Helmets do come off during action, and these rules cover that possibility.

"In cases where the batting helmet is accidently hit with a batted or thrown ball, the ball remains in play the same as if it has not hit the helmet."

If the runner from first is stealing and loses his helmet and a batted ball hits it as it lies in the base line, the ball is still in play. The runner is not considered to have been hit by the ball. If a thrown ball hits the helmet, it's just as if it hit the ground. Or if a helmet flies off as a runner slides into 3B and the ball hits it, the ump doesn't call interference. It's just a bad break for the defense.

"If a batted ball strikes a batting helmet or any other object foreign to the natural ground while on foul territory, it is a foul ball and the ball is dead."

Maybe on a suicide squeeze the runner's helmet flies off and is lying in foul territory when the bunted ball hits it and deflects fair. Or maybe the batter loses his helmet into foul territory as he swings and hits a high pop foul. F3 and F2 play Alphonse and Gaston, and the ball falls between them and hits the helmet. It's foul; it isn't fair if it deflects fair.

There is a minor ambiguity. The first statement does say, "The ball remains in play," but that assumes it wasn't a foul batted ball in the first place.

Incidentally, players could leave their gloves on the field up until around 1950, I think. Maybe earlier. In the very early days, they even left jackets lying in the infield. The ball was in play even if it went up a sleeve.
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Old Thu Feb 27, 2003, 12:41am
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Mr. Mule, I thank you sir. The other two posts basically suggeted the same thing that your post did. However, your comprehensive response was a great help. I have watched many a baseball games and I umpire around 30 to 40 games per year and have yet to see a helmet fly off a runner.

But, given that potential, the rules seem much clearer to me now. Again, I thank you.

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Old Thu Feb 27, 2003, 12:51am
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I agree; I would consider the latter clause to be an exception to the former.

The OBR, unlike FED rules, is a rock of stability or obsolescence, depending on who you ask. In this case, it seems one minor inconsistency that could use cleaning up if they ever get around to it.

P-Sz
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