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Old Wed Aug 06, 2003, 10:56pm
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Hey guys-
I'm a little nervous about starting another thread after the debacle that ensued last time, but here goes-

In last year's season end tournament, a position player (RF)was brought in to pitch in a late inning. The player was wearing eye black.
The opposing teams manager, performing his best Earl Weaver impression, claimed that the eye black, a 'foreign substance' should not be allowed onto the mound.
The umpire ruled that the spirit of the rule was to prevent the pitcher from using a 'foreign substance' on the ball, and so, allowed the player to remain on the mound, along with his eye black.
The manager filed a protest with the tournament committee, and WON! They did find however, that it had no impact on the game, so the result stood. We were thereafter instructed that eye black would not be permitted on pitchers.

A number of us were upset by this ruling, as the tournament committee had no umpire members, and were unfamiliar with implementing the rules, only with citing them verbatim from the rule book.

Cut to this years tournament meeting-
The tournament-specific rules were given, and as an afterthought, we were verbally told to have any pitchers remove eye black. A few of us objected, and were told that we were wrong, and had no power to arbitrarily exclude rules.
In attempts to prove the 'letter-of-the-law' silliness of this ruling, we asked about sunscreen, or bug spray, and were told that we were being 'stupid a**ho**s' in questioning the rule.
We (the dissidents) agreed that for this tournament, we would swallow our prides, and umpire as a group, following the same rules, but would eventually get a clear and concise ruling.


Since that time we have learned that-
MLB allows it- see MLB site Q&A with Tim McClelland
NCAA allows it- learned through correspondence
And our governing bodies (OBA and Baseball Canada) allow it-


Anyone have anything to add?
Questions, comments, criticisms?



Bainer.
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 01:15am
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That's like saying pitchers are not permitted to perspire because the sweat may get on the ball. That tourney committee is a bunch of jerks.

Bob
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 07:04am
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Bob,

I cannot believe your answer. Are you just trying to start something here.

Just kidding. After Bainer's "Check Swing" thread, I thought I would get him going.

I agree with Bob. But a league's committee has the ultimate ruling, whether they understand the rule or not, whether they are intelligent or not. They are the people that hired you.

When you said they jumped you for suggesting tanning lotion or bug spray was the same, I'm imagining it was because they realized how stupid they were and came out firing insults instead of admitting they were wrong.

Of course I'm saying all this assuming the eye-black was on their cheeks and not the 1st and 2nd fingers of their pitching hand. :-)
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 07:52am
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Eye Black Seems stupid

Quote:
Originally posted by Bainer
Hey guys-
I'm a little nervous about starting another thread after the debacle that ensued last time, but here goes-

In last year's season end tournament, a position player (RF)was brought in to pitch in a late inning. The player was wearing eye black.

The opposing teams manager, performing his best Earl Weaver impression, claimed that the eye black, a 'foreign substance' should not be allowed onto the mound.

The umpire ruled that the spirit of the rule was to prevent the pitcher from using a 'foreign substance' on the ball, and so, allowed the player to remain on the mound, along with his eye black.

The manager filed a protest with the tournament committee, and WON! They did find however, that it had no impact on the game, so the result stood. We were thereafter instructed that eye black would not be permitted on pitchers...[snipped]

Bainer.
I think that the opposing coach watches far too much television especially old Orioles games with Earl Weaver or more recent Mets' games with Bobby Valentine.

This said I also think that pitchers who wear eye black look silly BUT I would not make them remove it. HOWEVER as umpires we should remember at times that ours is a service business. If a league decides pitchers should not wear eye black I would have absolutely no problem enforcing that rule and moving on so long as they knew that they are adding their own local flavor to the existing rules of the game. We have leagues that tell us to enforce a No Jewelry rule. Personally I see a big difference between a simple necklace tucked inside a shirt vs. a dangling Lawrence Taylor earring or a Mr. T five band gold necklace BUT in those leagues I announce "no jewelry" and I enforce the ones that are obvious violators.

I bet there is more to this than meets the eye (no pun intended) and it is that the committee has No Umpires on it. None of us appreciate when our views are not honored or even sought. Jim/NYC
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 09:53am
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Don't worry Bainer, stupid things happen in Ontario.

I once saw a Level 4 or an experianced level 3 umpire in Burlington eject a pitcher in the old Midget age group (16 & 17) for throwing a "Shine Ball" during a tournament. The pitcher rubbed the ball on his uniform pants to get some mud off the ball(rained early in the day), and the umpire only had a supply of 3 balls for the game and all balls were more or less in teh same shape.

What amazes me about alot of umpires is how well they can read the rule book, but very few understand what they read.
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 10:51am
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"We (the dissidents) agreed that for this tournament, we would swallow our prides, and umpire as a group, following the same rules, but would eventually get a clear and concise ruling.

Since that time we have learned that-
MLB allows it- see MLB site Q&A with Tim McClelland
NCAA allows it- learned through correspondence
And our governing bodies (OBA and Baseball Canada) allow it"

I agree that the ruleing that this tourament has come up with, is a little strange however, it is their tourament.
If the Leagues you mentioned above did not allow it, then it would be our responsibility to enforce it also.

Too many times, I have seen officials that believe if they don't like a rule then it shouldn't be enforced. Even if the tourament wanted to change the rules to 4 strikes and 5 balls. As ridiculus as that sounds, I believe your group has to decide if they want to work the games or not, regardless of what rules the tourament has.

In these cases, "swallowing your pride" has nothing to do with it. Do you want to work or not?
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 11:05am
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Along the same lines, a couple of weeks ago, at the pretournament meeting (State Tournament, 11-12 LL), the question was raised regarding pitchers wearing sunglasses. It was stated that some umpires allow, some don't.

I have never had this raised as a concern anywhere. I could not find a rule in the LL book. Someone mentioned sunglasses were O.K., as long as they didn't have "mirror lens".

I don't see how sunglasses or eye black could be distracting to the batter, and that usually the basis for a coach raising a question. Actually, the coach is trying to "rattle" the pitcher, to his team's advantage. That's like the defensive coach demanding the pitcher's shoe laces be tied. If the pitcher knows his shoes are untied, and that's the way he wants it, why would the defense, or the umpire for that matter, feel the urgent need to correct him?

I've heard of foreign substance(s) being applied to the ball, however, I'm not certain there is any rule regarding a foreign substance on a player's face. If the eye black ends up on the ball, deal with it. If not, then it's another "so what", play ball!

If sunglasses are not allowed, what do you say about prescription glasses with tinted lens?
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 04:51pm
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yeah i read that Tim McClelland thing a while back, its allowed. i would allow it even though it doesnt do a damn thing. i used it a few times when i played, because it looked cool not because it worked or anything.
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 09:24pm
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Sorry, I can supply no web link, but...

Our local newspaper had a picture of the pitcher in a Northern League game (Rochester (MN) Honkers), and the pitcher had eye black on.

But not just eye black...he had it on like John Randle used to wear for the Vikings...big black triangles of it that extended from his eyebrows to nearly his mouth. Evidently the umps let him pitch with it, even though the guy looked like a total idiot.
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Old Thu Aug 07, 2003, 11:01pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by TriggerMN
Sorry, I can supply no web link, but...
How would folks feel about eye black if the pitcher wore it over their whole face like Al Jolsen?

I found http://www.rochesterhonkers.com/PhotoGallery.asp that had one kind of blurred picture that looked like a guy used eye black to do streaks of war paint, not just under the eyes.
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Old Fri Aug 08, 2003, 01:40am
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Sunglasses

What is the rule for sunglasses? I could not find any rule on them. I never thought of it as illegal but then again I had never seen it. So we had a kid omce on the mound with presciption sunglasses...when the offensive coach questioned the guy I'm working with (been doing it for a while) said that nonpresciption sunglasses are illegal.

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Old Fri Aug 08, 2003, 02:04am
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Quote:
Originally posted by tiger49
Don't worry Bainer, stupid things happen in Ontario.

I once saw a Level 4 or an experianced level 3 umpire in Burlington eject a pitcher in the old Midget age group (16 & 17) for throwing a "Shine Ball" during a tournament. The pitcher rubbed the ball on his uniform pants to get some mud off the ball(rained early in the day), and the umpire only had a supply of 3 balls for the game and all balls were more or less in teh same shape.

What amazes me about alot of umpires is how well they can read the rule book, but very few understand what they read.
OBR RULE 8.02 (4) rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;...
PENALTY: For violation of any part of this rule 8.02 (a) (2 to 6) the umpire shall:

(a) Call the pitch a ball, warn the pitcher and have announced on the public address system the reason for the action.

(b) In the case of a second offense by the same pitcher in the same game, the pitcher shall be disqualified from the game.

Bob



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Old Fri Aug 08, 2003, 02:36am
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Good Call In 1923 in Boston

Quote:
Originally posted by tiger49
Don't worry Bainer, stupid things happen in Ontario.

I once saw a Level 4 or an experianced level 3 umpire in Burlington eject a pitcher in the old Midget age group (16 & 17) for throwing a "Shine Ball" during a tournament. The pitcher rubbed the ball on his uniform pants to get some mud off the ball(rained early in the day), and the umpire only had a supply of 3 balls for the game and all balls were more or less in teh same shape.

What amazes me about alot of umpires is how well they can read the rule book, but very few understand what they read.
Bob later on quotes the RULE. When I first read this post I knew the pitcher's action of rubbing the ball on his uniform was illegal but I wasn't too concerned about WHAT rule it is because I have never nor will I ever call this violation. The only time I might ever see myself thinking about it is if the opposing coach (who has to be an umpire!) asks. I'll probably say we haven't called that one since 1923 (or thereabouts). I won't however let the pitcher rub the ball in the dirt. I use the old Don't Do That! method of umpiring.

I assume Bainer knew the rule. I think I know what he means when he says ...few understand what they read - it's about experience and remembering knowing the rules does not require everyone going 5mph over the speed limit requires us issuing a ticket. Jim/NYC
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Old Fri Aug 08, 2003, 02:22pm
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The reason for 8.02 being written as it is was to stop pitchers from rubbing the ball on their flannel pants which would allow them to doctor the ball by creating an ultra smooth surface on the ball. Also rule 3.01 e)3) tells the umpire to supply a new ball should the pitcher request such ball, by reading my previous post you should know that only 3 balls where available and all were in similar condition.

It is also Illegal to leave your horse and carriage untied and unattended to in Manhattan but are you ever going to see it happen and be enforced.

Maybe the commissioners office should look at the rule book every now and then to ensure it is current with the times

[Edited by tiger49 on Aug 8th, 2003 at 02:24 PM]
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