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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 09:46am
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Proposed Rule Changes, ASA?

Okay, it's that time of year.

Anyone have any reasonable suggestions for a rule changes for the coming year?

Possible considerations already on paper:

Metal spikes for all 18U FP;
43' pitching for all 18U FP;
Eliminating requirement for pitcher to "wipe" their fingers after going to the mouth, FP & MP;
70' bases for adult SP;
No taping of the bat knob.

Any ideas?
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 10:09am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
Okay, it's that time of year.

Anyone have any reasonable suggestions for a rule changes for the coming year?

Possible considerations already on paper:

Metal spikes for all 18U FP;
43' pitching for all 18U FP;
Eliminating requirement for pitcher to "wipe" their fingers after going to the mouth, FP & MP;
70' bases for adult SP;
No taping of the bat knob.

Any ideas?
Yeah, either 320 feet fences, or return to wood bats.
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 10:43am
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Talking Proposed Rule Changes, ASA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
Anyone have any reasonable suggestions for a rule changes for the coming year?
Whats more reasonable than to ban whining, crying, or basically players in general.
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 11:09am
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Try again to bring the interfering with a D3K by the BR rule in line with all other interference rules for a runner.

Allow an appeal for an advantageous 4th out on any runner, not just the one who scored.

Add a companion to the metal cleats proposal for a definition of an illegal slide and the penalty - out and ejected, if breaking up a DP, runner being played on is also out.
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 11:45am
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53' or 55' pitching distance for all mens and womens sp
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 01:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
Try again to bring the interfering with a D3K by the BR rule in line with all other interference rules for a runner.
The D3K INT by BR is already in line with the other rules, and that is the problem.

Quote:

Allow an appeal for an advantageous 4th out on any runner, not just the one who scored.
That was an in-house change in 2003 and I doubt I can get that by because of all the variables ways umpires around the country will apply it (i.e. run scores before the a runner is tagged out for the 3rd out and the BR never touches 1B. I can see an umpire ruling the BR out for entering DBT on an appeal)
Quote:

Add a companion to the metal cleats proposal for a definition of an illegal slide and the penalty - out and ejected, if breaking up a DP, runner being played on is also out.
Those already exist in an umpire's ability to rule USC. However, a definition of "slide" is probably in order.
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 04:15pm
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53 feet for all slow pitch...and when there are multiple pitcher's plates present (how is THAT for alliteration?), umpires figure out which is the RIGHT one and make CERTAIN pitchers pitch properly, distance-wise.

I absolutely HATE it when I hear "all the other umpires let us pitch from up there." And I know this problem is NOT restricted to our little outpost.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 08:44am
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Modify 8-7.J.4 to protect a defender attempting to catch a deflected ball that stays in the air and thus is a flyball.

Also - this rule says "all" defenders; however the original defender that deflected (bobbled, kicked, booted, etc.) should still have a reasonable opportunity to make a play. Codify the generally accepted "step and a reach" umpire judgment. This allows the defender to make an immediate play, but does not protect them if they must travel 5' or 10' or whatever to reach their deflected ball.

WMB
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 09:13am
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I agree with defining a legal slide in the rules. Might help to create some consistency between umpires for INT calls.

Longer distances for the SP pitcher's plate might also be in order. 50' is terribly close to HP with the bats that are used today.

Also, I had posted a thread a while back about a player who, while running the bases, is ejected (or who should be ejected). Should we allow a runner to score after they've committed USC? Or should an out be called? Another thread was posted along the same lines for a runner who hockey-checks the catcher while there is no play being made on them, though I can't find it.
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I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 11:17am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestMichBlue
Modify 8-7.J.4 to protect a defender attempting to catch a deflected ball that stays in the air and thus is a flyball.
Rule already protects the defender on such a play. A batted ball is a batted ball, on the ground or in the air.

Quote:
Also - this rule says "all" defenders; however the original defender that deflected (bobbled, kicked, booted, etc.) should still have a reasonable opportunity to make a play. Codify the generally accepted "step and a reach" umpire judgment. This allows the defender to make an immediate play, but does not protect them if they must travel 5' or 10' or whatever to reach their deflected ball.
Actually, it says "any" defender. Wouldn't that also include the defender which initially touched the batted ball? There is no exception for the player who misplayed the ball. While the "step and reach" makes sense to some level, do you think it is right to give the fielder carte blanche if the runner was trying to avoid interference?

Maybe the rule is right, it's just a matter of how we teach it. ATLSteve, what do you think?
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 12:13pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkbjones
53 feet for all slow pitch...and when there are multiple pitcher's plates present (how is THAT for alliteration?), umpires figure out which is the RIGHT one and make CERTAIN pitchers pitch properly, distance-wise.

I absolutely HATE it when I hear "all the other umpires let us pitch from up there." And I know this problem is NOT restricted to our little outpost.
Well, I think that's already covered in the rules. If they pitch from the wrong plate, then it's an IP. If the players don't know which plate to pitch from and they don't ask us, that's their problem. Some umps may mention it during the pre-game conference.
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I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 01:33pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
Rule already protects the defender on such a play. A batted ball is a batted ball, on the ground or in the air.



Actually, it says "any" defender. Wouldn't that also include the defender which initially touched the batted ball? There is no exception for the player who misplayed the ball. While the "step and reach" makes sense to some level, do you think it is right to give the fielder carte blanche if the runner was trying to avoid interference?

Maybe the rule is right, it's just a matter of how we teach it. ATLSteve, what do you think?
Since my opinion was requested, here's my $.02.

Over the years, many ASA rule changes have resulted in the book being a bit fragmented, and difficult to follow. Those of us who have been around and actively followed and/or participated (Mike and I, as two) know what the rules mean, or are expected to mean; but, the simple truth is that the ASA Rule Book, including the Rules Supplements and Umpire Manual explanations, is now a very complicated document. It would be so much better if someone would undertake to rewrite the entire book, from scratch, editors who know what the rules are, what the rules mean, and have less personally invested than prior administrations.

The newest (2007) NFHS rules made the definition of an "initial play" on a batted ball much clearer than ASA current wording. I agree with Mike that the rules are there, and the same; just not as clear. And, so it is with other rules, substitution/BOO/unreported subs/illegal players, running lane interference (without referencing a good throw to a waiting receiver), the "shall hold the hands together for not less than one second" that is, by interpretation to be less than one second, the strike zone definition of armpits that can't be used, and so forth. So many rulings in the casebook don't appear to be fully supported by the wording of the rules. So many casebook rulings are clearly different than the initial intent of rules, but now exist because the wording of the rules fails to properly cover that situation. (Example, the discredited ruling that a flagrant crash is always also interference, and must include an out.) Conversely, I find the NCAA rulebook to be so wordy and redundant that it works better for administrators than umpires, coaches, or players.

So, this really isn't about new rules; it is about the quality, readability, and comprehension-capability of the rulebook. Mike and I get it; we attend National UIC Clinics, National Council meetings, Playing Rules Committee meetings, multiple rules clinics, anything to better understand so we teach the correct things. Mike sticks with ASA, only; in my area, I am on the training staffs of both ASA and GHSA (our high school). So, we have to get it; and we have to teach it.

But, the reality is that a huge number of umpires don't get it, don't attend the clinics, or hardly pay attention. Their daily tool is their rulebook; and it isn't as good a tool as it could (or should) be. The poor wording of some rules (and the clear absence of proper interpretations) is the front line to too many umpires. Add to that, the few coaches who actually read their rulebook also cannot get the actual rulings and interpretations from the rulebook. That isn't good; and, short of a complete editorial rewrite, I doubt it can be fixed. Beyond that, I seriously doubt that a compete editorial rewrite would be approved to be undertaken.

So, (in summary), I agree with Mike that the rules are there; I also agree with others who suggest the rules aren't clearly there.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 04:19pm
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(Snip for brevity)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve
So, (in summary), I agree with Mike that the rules are there; I also agree with others who suggest the rules aren't clearly there.
I agree that some are not written well for the casual reader. As Steve noted, we are so involved through participation in arenas not normally available to most umpires, we get a bit more information. Where the breakdown comes into play is that many of those responsible for training umpires at the local level do not always convey purpose and effect.

What I really don't want to see is a scenario specific rule book. I fear that once that begins, we will end up with a tome that will actually cause more confusion and less reference by the local umpire. Yes, not every rule is absolute and fair, but they are not difficult to learn and enforce. Many of the problems involving umpires involves laziness. Many umpires barely break the book and attend maybe one clinic and rely on that as a full-scale reference. Well, if you want a clinic that detail, you will need more than a weekend.

Another problem with attempting to become more specific is that certain situations get overlooked and leave a gap in the rules. A perfect example is the D3K with two outs and 1B unoccupied. In an effort to word the rule properly so people understood the exception to the third strike rule w/two outs, the obvious was overlooked and omitted from the book. Even when discovered it took two years to get it corrected.

Personally, I don't think the rules as written are that difficult to comprehend, but you all know how anal I am about the rules. I do believe that umpires get themselves into trouble when they read a rule and look for specifics instead of just applying the rule and leave the "what ifs" out of the thought process.

BTW, as I understand it, the deputy supervisors have been tasked to review the rules.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 04:47pm
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Mike, I'll agree with you to a point. The ASA rules, as written, are without a doubt very wordy and border on "legalese." The first few times I read the book, I honestly got very little information from it with regards to the rules (granted, I was 15, but I was pretty sharp back then - don't know what happened since...). There's almost no "flow" in the reading of the rules, which is where two things happen: umpires give up and simply glace through it, and coaches, thinking they understand it, give us umpires hell.

Case and point: after I called ASA rules for 2 years for one league, another org needed my help. This new organization used USSSA rules, back when it was still only Slo-Pitch (say around... 1995). The USSSA rules had a MUCH better flow to them, and I was able to get through the book with ease and comprehension. After reading the USSSA rules, I suddenly realized just what was going on - what you could do, what you couldn't do, and what the penalties were (since at the time, they were roughly the same, but worded only slightly differently). When I went back to calling leagues with ASA rules ('96), I went through the book again, and the picture was much clearer, though the waters were still murky. Even now, 14 and a half years after I called my first strike, I'm still finding that I am occasionally wrong.

A couple years ago, ASA went through and redid the majority of Rule 1. While I'm sure the ratification of the changes was no easy matter, I think the same thing can be done with the rest of the book to better lay out the rules for ALL to read and comprehend, not just those who are fortunate enough to attend a clinic or attend a Big Ten university.

If we fail to make the bulk of the rules crystal clear, we create problems for umpires who either can't understand a wordy rulebook, or are faced with coaches with the same problem. Let's not forget where the bulk of our umpires start out: in the small leagues where the only training available to them without driving 3 hours to a clinic is the rule book. Sad, but true.
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Dave

I haven't decided if I should call it from the dugout or the outfield. Apparently, both have really great views!

Screw green, it ain't easy being blue!

I won't be coming here that much anymore. I might check in now and again.

Last edited by NCASAUmp; Sun Aug 12, 2007 at 04:50pm.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 08:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCASAUmp
If we fail to make the bulk of the rules crystal clear, we create problems for umpires who either can't understand a wordy rulebook, or are faced with coaches with the same problem. Let's not forget where the bulk of our umpires start out: in the small leagues where the only training available to them without driving 3 hours to a clinic is the rule book. Sad, but true.
And I'm in a small state, yet the training has always been some of the best. You have one of three problems: the local associations take an easy road and do not train their umpires, the umpires opt to not take advantage of the training available or everyone is apathetic because they are not being hand-fed the information.

The training is available. The Biennial Nat. UIC Clinic is open to any ASA umpire (endoresed by their commissioner). Does it cost a few bucks? Yep, but isn't it worth it to an association to have someone get the skinny and tools to provide the proper training?

Sorry, but the training and tools I get and use are available to any umpire or association out there. If there is a deficiency in training local umpires, it is that of the association, not anyone else. That, too, is sad, but true.

BTW, I don't see many problems with the rules or the manner in which they are presented, but as previously stated, I'm an anal rule-book type of person.
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