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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:15pm
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As we all know many tournament games (and some league games) are subject to time limits. Often though, it isn't made clear in league or tournament rules as to when this time actually starts. Over the years I've heard various umpires say they "start their watches"...

1. When the ground rules end
2. When the pitcher finishes his/her warmups
3. When the first batter steps into the batter's box
4. When "play ball" is declared
5. When the first pitch is thrown

There isn't a heck of a lot of time difference between numbers 2 through 5, but you never know when it might make a difference. I'd like to hear umpires' opinions about when they personally "start the clock."
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:19pm
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I picked this up from going to an out-of-town tournament:

At the conclusion of the pre-game, the home team has one minute to complete its warm-ups. However, if the TD or UIC has different thoughts (like end of conference, etc.) then that's what I do.

Time begins on the first pitch in ASA championship play.
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:34pm
JEL JEL is offline
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Unless tournament rules dictate otherwise I start the clock as soon as the meeting at home ends. If we have a countdown timer I will tell the coaches it "starts now". If only a watch (which you ain't s'posed to wear on the field) I will announce to the coaches "game start time is ...


EXCEPT, and as bkbjones has pointed out, first pitch in ASA championship play.
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:37pm
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We go with "Play Ball"
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 12:56pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Robertson
As we all know many tournament games (and some league games) are subject to time limits. Often though, it isn't made clear in league or tournament rules as to when this time actually starts.
John
Rule 5 Sec 10 was changed this year. It now says "When the time limit is in effect, the time begins with the first pitch". This is for championship play and local leagues may adopt something different. The biggest problem I sometimes used to face in league play was that some home teams would take their sweet time getting on the field after the conference. The coaches would huddle up the team for a pep talk or the girls would circle up and start doing a cheer. So in order to get the game started on time this is what I now do. At the conclusion of the pre game I tell the coaches that game time will start with either the first pitch or the scheduled game time, which ever comes first. That statement tends to motivate the home coach to get the players on the field quickly which promotes keeping the league games that follow your game on schedule.
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 01:14pm
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1) If the game is close to starting "on time", the clock starts with the first warmup pitch.

2) If I get to the field and the coaches insist on stalling, taking excessive infield, etc, the clock starts once my watch says "game time". Everyone has a schedule and knows when the game is supposed to start. That does tend to hurry up the coaches.
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Old Wed Jul 20, 2005, 10:21pm
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Wink

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I umpire in Canada so the reference to the ASA rulebook (at least I assume it's the ASA rulebook) doesn't really apply here.
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 12:22am
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Robertson
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I umpire in Canada so the reference to the ASA rulebook (at least I assume it's the ASA rulebook) doesn't really apply here.
Well, if wasn't a rule (and previously it wasn't), and I could have my choice:
If home team is known before the pregame meeting, I would start the clock at the end of the meeting, saying "Home team, take the field. We are on the clock", click.

If home team wasn't determined until a coin flip at the end of the pregame meeting, I would give the home team one minute to take the field, and start the clock at the first warmup pitch, or one minute, whichever happened first.

Either of these is preferrable to the ASA rule, which I dislike, as teams don't have any reason to start the game, and the coaches insist on another unneeded huddle.
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 01:41am
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I volunteered in some leagues where they had no concept of "Starting Time". I cured them of the habit of taking their infield practice close to game time.

5:30 scheduled start time. Teams not ready to play. I just waited until they finally got their acts together, held my plate conference, and when I got ready to call "Play Ball", I announced, "Two-hour time limit will be 7:30".

"But blue, it's 5:40".

"The schedule says 5:30 starting time. That doesn't mean to take your infield then, it means the game starts at 5:30. If I'm here, and ready, that's the official starting time. You can waste your playing time, but no inning starts after 7:30".

The word got around the leagues quickly. One important reason youth league games go four innings so many times, is because the umpires do not enforce the starting times.

Bob
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 07:27am
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Every league I work has the no inning can start after one hour rule. The problem comes with the leagues giving a 10 minute grace period to avoid forfeits, the first game going 65 minutes second game 67 minutes etc., or there being injuries (during which the time is suspended in most leagues). If you have any or all of these things, that last game of a four game set during an evening can be starting well past 'game time'. I start the clock on first pitch, but I am also very strict on getting started on time when possible, warmup times and pitches, and no stalling. Adults SP players aren't always the best at getting on and off the field.
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 07:50am
JEL JEL is offline
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Of course this has digressed a bit from when to start the clock, but....

Our local league about two seasons ago did away with the grace period. "Game time is fofeit time" is in the rules. First game starts at 6:00, 1 hour 30 min-no new inning. It must end by 7:40 to allow the 7:30 game time to play. Also use a 9:30 curfew for the kids when school is in session. If the first game runs long, the second kinda gets a "grace period". If it runs short, if both coaches agree we start the second sooner. Works OK.

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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 09:41am
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Quote:
Originally posted by JEL
If only a watch (which you ain't s'posed to wear on the field) ...
Educational (mine) question: where did you find that "ain't s'posed to wear a watch" thing? I must have some reading to do.

Thanks!
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 09:46am
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Talking

I received the following instructions at a recent tournament...

1) Don't wear your watch.
2) The start time is first pitch.
3) Write the official start time on the lineup card.
4) Inform both coaches of the official start time.
5) The official start time will be an announced time-of-day, not when you punch your countdown timer.


Hmmm... I'm gonna be awfully busy between signalling "PLAY" and getting into my set position!
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 12:49pm
JEL JEL is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by noobie
Quote:
Originally posted by JEL
If only a watch (which you ain't s'posed to wear on the field) ...
Educational (mine) question: where did you find that "ain't s'posed to wear a watch" thing? I must have some reading to do.

Thanks!
It may be in "rule 13", but if you ever wear one on the field at a National, or State Tournament, or if you are being evaluated for GHSA ball, you can read it in your evaluation report!

I used to wear mine until the plate meeting started so I would know the start time. Got "busted" while checking bats at a State Championship. No real trouble, but I won't ever do that again. (I embarressed my assignor as well!)

At all pre-tourney umpire meetings I have ever been to watches and all other jewelry is a no-no. Wedding bands are allowed, but some UIC's have saig if you don't mind removing it.....
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Old Thu Jul 21, 2005, 01:09pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by noobie
Quote:
Originally posted by JEL
If only a watch (which you ain't s'posed to wear on the field) ...
Educational (mine) question: where did you find that "ain't s'posed to wear a watch" thing? I must have some reading to do.

Thanks!
To the best of my knowledge it is isn't written in either the rule book or the umpires manual. It is written in the instructions to ASA National Championship umpires, where is states "No watches are to be worn while umpiring. Special sunglasses are acceptable. Reflectable glass is not allowed. (If worn, sunglasses shall be removed in discussion with coaches and managers). Hair must be neat and no longer than collar length. If you have a beard, it must be trimmed."

These are all good general notes in gamesmanship, and if applicable in a National, should be considered appropriately professional for standard assignments. As we don't allow jewelry or watches on players, we should have the same standard; just a wedding band, if applicable, possible a plain chain around the neck if it is discretely tucked and covered by the shirt or undershirt.
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