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Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 11:14am
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Under Federation rules, are electronic scorebooks disallowed in the dugout?

In the past 2 years I've seen laptops and now handheld PDAs with scorekeeping software used just outside the dugout by parents or assistants to coaches. I don't see an advantage over the paper scorebook during the game, except quicker access to past game data on players. They are great on compiling stats after the games.

Going further, are they allowed in a) dugout, b) just outside dugout, c) in scorekeepers box, d) coaches box on the field.

The only reference I've found toward electronic devices is 3-3-1m. "A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not: use electronic communication, television monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during the course of the game."
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Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 05:20pm
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Last night we had a District Fed Clinic, and the presenter was adamant that the only things the coach is allowed to have in the coaches box is a pencil and a scorebook, no pagers, phones etc... to be left in the dugout.
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Old Wed Jan 31, 2001, 08:16pm
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If it is only used for scorekeeping purposes I don't think it would be a violation. However if it was being used in some way to communicate with others or for some type of "coaching purpose" it would be in violation. If it was being used to retrieve stats for making coaching decisions, then it would be in violation, in my opinion.

If it were determined that it was being used for scorekeeping purposes only, then it would probably be a safty decision on allowing its use in the coaching box, and probably up to the association or UIC for the particular game.

All team personell are supposed to be in the dugout during a Fed game, but adult scorekeepers in my area are often allowed to be behind the fence next to their dugout. That makes it easier for the umpire to confirm the score between innings and keep them on the same page.

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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:11pm
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Since this is the time of year when the boards are slow, I have been revisting some of the old posts just for fun. I was wondering, on this thread, how have the years and the prevalence of PDA's...etc. affected how you think about this?
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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:16pm
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I have only witnessed one assistant coach use an electronic scoring device (a PDA in this case). She stays in the bench area and uses it as a score book.

If it were to be used to look up past stats, how would that be a violation? If she had a paper scorebook, she could do the same thing. As long as it doesn't violate 3-3-1m , I don't see any problem with it.
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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:19pm
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The problem is how do you know if she is keeping score or texting someone?

Last edited by Scooby; Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 12:55pm.
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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisB
Last night we had a District Fed Clinic, and the presenter was adamant that the only things the coach is allowed to have in the coaches box is a pencil and a scorebook, no pagers, phones etc... to be left in the dugout.
Tell your presenter to read the da_mn book! Personal opinions don't belong in a clinic.

NFHS does not prohibit electronic scoring devices in dugout or in the coaches box. If the 1B coach wants to carry her notebook with her on the field, she is legal.

Communication devices (ie., cell phones) cannot be used for coaching purposes. (So no text messaging from the stands to the dugout or to the field during the game.) Normally we tell coaches to leave their cell phones in the dugout - BUT there is no rule to support that. They can have them; they just can't be used for coaching.

However, if I am in A position I don't know what the 3B coach is seeing when he is looking at his cell phone. Is it a missed messge from his wife? Or a text message from an assistant in the stands stealing signals? That is why we ask them to leave the phones behind.

WMB
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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 12:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby
The problem is how do you know if she is keeping score or texing someone?
Same with a PDA . . . I can send messages to other PDA's and if there's a wireless network in the area I can access internet. You can't know that.
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Old Fri Nov 30, 2007, 06:21pm
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Not to be a crazy devil's advocate, but if someone could look up past stats in a paper scorebook, they could also be looking up a scouting report or a list of "stolen signals". So do we go so far to ban the paper scorebook as well? I don't do FED, but I do work ASA. There is no ban on using electronic devices in ASA as long as it's for scorekeeping purposes. How do far do you police the stuff? How far are you willing to go before you end up not working team A's games in the future because you were OOO about these things? This would have to be a situation by situation thing, and may take some "honor system" guts to allow.
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Old Sat Dec 01, 2007, 02:24am
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WMB,

I see your point as far as preventing any potential problems and personally don't have a problem with wanting cell phones off the field.

But, to paraphrase from your post, I want to keep personal opinion out of my game management. How would you respond if you asked a coach to leave the cell phone behind and he refused based on Case Play 3.6.10(A)?

Besides nearly fainting because a coach referenced a specific Case Play, you would seem to now be painted in a corner. If you then allow the device it makes it look like you were uncertain of the rule (your credibility takes a hit) or that you are overstepping your bounds (being an overly-officious official).

I'm all for leaving the cell phones in the dugout, but since they are not banned I'm uncomfortable with asking the coaches to remove them.

Last edited by BretMan; Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 02:28am.
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Old Sat Dec 01, 2007, 01:12pm
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Personally, I do not tell coaches that they cannot have cell phones on the field. What I tell them is if they answer it, or look at it on the field, I cannot and will not guess what they are or are not doing, and would have to disqualify them from coaching for the rest of the game.

Generally, they either remove it, don't answer it when it rings, or tell me a story that I can live with. These instances include I am on-call at work, and it is a remote possibility that I would be called, but I will accept the penalty if it happens rather than lose my job, or (heard this several times) my wife is expecting any moment, and I have to know if she goes into labor, or something similarly valid.

Just how I, personally, handle cellphones, PDA's, pagers, etc. I did once have a coach get an urgent text message, which he immediately showed me, rather than risk me thinking he was cheating.
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Old Sat Dec 01, 2007, 07:53pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve
or (heard this several times) my wife is expecting any moment, and I have to know if she goes into labor, or something similarly valid.
So, what are they going to do if they get a call telling them their wife is going into labor? If a call can be made to his/her phone, one can certainly be made to 911. If the coach means to be involved in the delivery of the child, what the hell is s/he doing on the damn ballfield?!?!
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Old Sat Dec 01, 2007, 10:07pm
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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
So, what are they going to do if they get a call telling them their wife is going into labor? If a call can be made to his/her phone, one can certainly be made to 911. If the coach means to be involved in the delivery of the child, what the hell is s/he doing on the damn ballfield?!?!
In the cases I dealt with, they didn't get that call during the game. I understood them to mean that they were planning to coach until they got that call, and would leave immediately if it came.

It wasn't my business, nor did I ask, if they planned to go home and pick up their wife, or meet her at the hospital. I only dealt with the agreement that this was an acceptable (at least in my opinion) reason for them to keep their cellphone immediately accessible, and not risk setting it down, and potentially missing that urgent call. Certainly I could have suggested they have someone else off the field monitor their phone, but, given the emotions involved, I left it alone.
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Old Sun Dec 02, 2007, 02:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BretMan
WMB,

I see your point as far as preventing any potential problems and personally don't have a problem with wanting cell phones off the field.

But, to paraphrase from your post, I want to keep personal opinion out of my game management. How would you respond if you asked a coach to leave the cell phone behind and he refused based on Case Play 3.6.10(A)?

Besides nearly fainting because a coach referenced a specific Case Play, you would seem to now be painted in a corner. If you then allow the device it makes it look like you were uncertain of the rule (your credibility takes a hit) or that you are overstepping your bounds (being an overly-officious official).

I'm all for leaving the cell phones in the dugout, but since they are not banned I'm uncomfortable with asking the coaches to remove them.
In 2002 NFHS first addressed the issue of electronic communications devices by stating that, "the coach shall not be in possession of any object in the coach's box other than scorekeeping devices." However, the rule they wrote (3-6.11) did not prohibit the possession of the device, only the use of it for coaching purposes. While those two statements seem incompatabile, the NFHS could not outlaw phones, as the coach may will have a legal need for a phone (ie., medical, fire, or police responder). So basically they are saying to the umpires to not allow cell phones unless the coach provides a valid reason for needing instant access.

The case plays support that position, and that is basically what I said. So I don't think I would be "painted in a corner." I have support for saying "no" to cell phones, but would have to allow it for a valid reason.

WMB
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Old Sun Dec 02, 2007, 11:52am
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3.6.10 Situation A: During the game it is brought to the attention of the plate umpire that the third-base coach of Team B has a cell phone or pager in her possession while in the coach's box. When the plate umpire inquires with the third-base coach, the coach responds that she is a doctor and has the device for medical response reasons only. Is this legal?
Ruling: Yes, since the communication device is not used for coaching purposes, it is legal. (8-6-13)


I don't read that "ruling" as concluding that the cell phone is legal because "the coach provided a valid reason". It is legal because it is not being used for coaching purposes. And it certainly doesn't equate to an outright ban.

But, then again, this would not be the first poorly worded or ambiguous Case Play in the history of softball!
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