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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 09:04am
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I was working the top bracket in a large tourney this past weekend, and I learned two ASA rules I had been unaware of all these years.

1. The batter, a familiar face from many tournaments for at least a decade, had a 3-1 count. The pitcher was beginning his delivery, and the batter stepped backward out of the box. The pitcher, seeing the batter step back, stopped in his motion.

Then the batter said, "Hey, Blue. He stopped in his motion."

I replied, "Yes, but it was in reaction to your stepping out of the box. If he continued with the pitch, fine, but there is no penalty when both batter and pitcher violate a rule."

But apparently I have been calling such instances incorrectly over the years. The batter then informed me: "Read the book, Blue. When the pitcher stops in his motion, it's a balk. It doesn't matter what the batter does."

2. The next day I learned another rule from a guy from that same team: Obstruction is indeed a delayed dead ball, but an obstructed runner, even if he falls down, is required to get up and continue running until he is put out or makes it safely to a base. He can't just remain where he is. He has to make an attempt to get to a base. If he doesn't, the obstruction is off.

Each player was quite firm in his conviction that he was correct. Oddly, however, the rules they cited are not in the rule book or the case book. Therefore, ASA should, as soon as possible, insert these rules in black and white and in clear language, so that we umpires know to call such plays correctly.
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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 09:39am
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It's my understanding that you were correct. The batter cannot make the pitcher balk.
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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 10:42am
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I must have jumped to the baseball site!! Did I really see the word balk in this thread (lol)? I am trying desperately, but I can not find that definition in my rule books, any of them, from any year, from any governing body.

I don't actually have my rule book in front of me and can not currently quote you the rule(s) that will verify this, but yes, if the pitcher stops her/his motion it is an illegal pitch regardless of the actions around her/him with the exception of the umpire suspending play. I would also add the exception of a batter, or any offensive player, using language or action to convey to the pitcher that s/he should not throw the ball (waving arms, yelling stop or no pitch, etc.) in which case I will use the Unsportsmanlike Conduct rule to supersede the illegal pitch.

Now, as to the second learned rule; unlearn it. In ASA an obstructed runner can not be put out between the bases in which they are obstructed. By your new ruling let's imagine the following:

The batter runner rounds first base and his inadvertantly run over by the massive sized first baseman on his way to a cut-off position within the infield. Our batter runner is laying unconcious on the ground. He may now be called out for not attempting to continue to a base.

Even better, the batter runner is accidentally tripped up rounding first. Having seen this, and knowing that this is the last out of the game, the second baseman jumps on the batter runner and beats him senseless so that he can not make an attempt to continue. He is now liable to be put out and end the game; after which you can eject the fielder for USC.

I realize these are two far-fetched scenarios, but sometimes you have to look at the extreme situation to get a grasp on whether or not a ruling makes sense.
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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 10:47am
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Quote:
Originally posted by greymule
I was working the top bracket in a large tourney this past weekend, and I learned two ASA rules I had been unaware of all these years.

1. The batter, a familiar face from many tournaments for at least a decade, had a 3-1 count. The pitcher was beginning his delivery, and the batter stepped backward out of the box. The pitcher, seeing the batter step back, stopped in his motion.

Then the batter said, "Hey, Blue. He stopped in his motion."

I replied, "Yes, but it was in reaction to your stepping out of the box. If he continued with the pitch, fine, but there is no penalty when both batter and pitcher violate a rule."

But apparently I have been calling such instances incorrectly over the years. The batter then informed me: "Read the book, Blue. When the pitcher stops in his motion, it's a balk. It doesn't matter what the batter does."

2. The next day I learned another rule from a guy from that same team: Obstruction is indeed a delayed dead ball, but an obstructed runner, even if he falls down, is required to get up and continue running until he is put out or makes it safely to a base. He can't just remain where he is. He has to make an attempt to get to a base. If he doesn't, the obstruction is off.

Each player was quite firm in his conviction that he was correct. Oddly, however, the rules they cited are not in the rule book or the case book. Therefore, ASA should, as soon as possible, insert these rules in black and white and in clear language, so that we umpires know to call such plays correctly.
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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 10:54am
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Holy Sarcasm Greymule. I love it!

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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 12:06pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by orioles35
It's my understanding that you were correct. The batter cannot make the pitcher balk.
For future reference, there is no balk in softball. That is why Greymule bolded the word in his original response. Any illegal action by a pitcher is an illegal pitch.
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Old Wed Aug 17, 2005, 05:14pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by greymule
..... "Read the book, Blue. .....
i think at this point the offensive team may have needed a sub .....
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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 06:34am
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..... "Read the book, Blue. .....


i think at this point the offensive team may have needed a sub .....


The way he said it didn't merit ejection.
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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 06:56am
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Quote:
Originally posted by greymule
..... "Read the book, Blue. .....


i think at this point the offensive team may have needed a sub .....


The way he said it didn't merit ejection.
To me, that would depend on the volume and who could or could not hear the comment.

OTOH, I may have asked him what rule or page. Then tell him about USC. Making a travesty of the game by intentionally acting in a manner to make the other team commit rule violations. And I could sell it, too!
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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 07:56am
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To me, that would depend on the volume and who could or could not hear the comment.

True. This was low-key and conversational in tone, not confrontational, and only the catcher could hear it. The guy is an odd type, a sort of mild-mannered know-it-all.

Still, I should have ejected several players on Saturday but did not. Many of these guys have been around a long time and know how to get under your skin without saying any blatant remark that merits an obvious ejection. One team was particularly difficult in this way. Their pitcher, for example, would talk to an opposing baserunner, conceding "that first one he called a strike was inside on you," and so on in an effort to undermine the umpires. And their behavior was contagious, spreading to other teams that normally didn't pose a problem. I admit that we umpires had a hard time getting on top of the situation.

On Sunday, we read them the riot act before each game, and the behavior improved dramatically. The problem team was bounced out in two straight Sunday, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the bases while they got pounded out.
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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 09:59am
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I'd really have a hard time calling a strike on a corner for that pitcher after that. As a matter of fact the pitcher might not be around too long after that.
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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 10:54am
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Greymule, you blew this one. You need to re-read the entire balk section of the softball book. I was going to quote the section for you here, but somehow those pages have been removed from the current edition of my manual.

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Old Thu Aug 18, 2005, 08:34pm
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those pages have been removed

Strange! The entire section on balks was removed from my book, too. Even stranger is that the page numbers are still consecutive and apparently complete.

The pages covering an obstructed runner's responsibility to keep running have also been taken out. This is indeed a mystery.
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