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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 12:15am
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I am having a disagreement with others over the interpretation of a rule. Part of my position is based on explanatory text that has gone away. My question to you: “is that text still valid for interpretation?

At issue is ASA 8.7.S, or NFHS 8.6.20, or USSSA 9.18.K, all of which equally state that a runner is out if they are off the base when the pitch is released. Now there are some subtle differences here, so read carefully.

ASA, going back to ’92, has used the words “fails to maintain contact.” NFHS, in the re-write of Rule 8 last year now uses the same words. That would indicate that the runner reached the base, and then left it (prior to the pitch).

Old NFHS, and current Utrip use the words “not in contact” with the base. Not in contact could mean that the runner left early – or did not get back before the pitch was released. Following the rule is the text “However, if the pitcher does not allow sufficient time for a runner to return to base, the runner shall not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. The runner may advance as though the base was left legally.”

That text was never in ASA, and now has been removed from NFHS. Utrip rules, basically a copy of NFHS circa 2001, still have it. (Which is fine for me because Utrip governs the National Qualifying tournament I am working this weekend.)

Outside of Utrip, how do we handle the following situation in ASA or NFHS. R1 comes off 2B on the first pitch to the batter. Ball is returned to F1. F1 looks at R1, who hesitates, then starts slowly to return to 2B. Verrry slooowly. Pitcher knows that R1 is committed to keep going to 2B (Look Back Rule); decides that she have given R1 enough time, and steps on the plate to begin to pitch.

Now the argument. The other side says that umpire is required to prevent the pitcher from pitching – until the runner reaches the base. I say the pitcher can pitch; and if the runner fails to be in contact with the base when the pitch is released, then we have a judgment call by the umpire. If he feels that F1 gave R1 enough time to return, he will call R1 out; if he feels that R1 did not have enough time to return he has no call.

How do you see it?

Before you answer, consider a couple things. If the umpire holds up pitching, then the snail of a runner is violating the spirit, though not the letter, of the LB law. She is now holding the umpire hostage to her delaying tactics, where it used to be (pre-LB era) the catcher or pitcher were involved in the delay. 2nd point is that current ASA and NFHS rules do not specifically address this issue. I am not sure my 3rd point is relevant, but keep in mind that the LB rule is not terminated until the pitcher releases the pitch. So if R1 was still advancing towards 2B while F1 is starting her pitching motion, R1 would not be in violation of the LB rule.

WMB
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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 06:49am
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Quote:
Originally posted by WestMichBlue
I am having a disagreement with others over the interpretation of a rule. Part of my position is based on explanatory text that has gone away. My question to you: “is that text still valid for interpretation?

At issue is ASA 8.7.S, or NFHS 8.6.20, or USSSA 9.18.K, all of which equally state that a runner is out if they are off the base when the pitch is released. Now there are some subtle differences here, so read carefully.

ASA, going back to ’92, has used the words “fails to maintain contact.” NFHS, in the re-write of Rule 8 last year now uses the same words. That would indicate that the runner reached the base, and then left it (prior to the pitch).

Old NFHS, and current Utrip use the words “not in contact” with the base. Not in contact could mean that the runner left early – or did not get back before the pitch was released. Following the rule is the text “However, if the pitcher does not allow sufficient time for a runner to return to base, the runner shall not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. The runner may advance as though the base was left legally.”

That text was never in ASA, and now has been removed from NFHS. Utrip rules, basically a copy of NFHS circa 2001, still have it. (Which is fine for me because Utrip governs the National Qualifying tournament I am working this weekend.)

Outside of Utrip, how do we handle the following situation in ASA or NFHS. R1 comes off 2B on the first pitch to the batter. Ball is returned to F1. F1 looks at R1, who hesitates, then starts slowly to return to 2B. Verrry slooowly. Pitcher knows that R1 is committed to keep going to 2B (Look Back Rule); decides that she have given R1 enough time, and steps on the plate to begin to pitch.

Now the argument. The other side says that umpire is required to prevent the pitcher from pitching – until the runner reaches the base. I say the pitcher can pitch; and if the runner fails to be in contact with the base when the pitch is released, then we have a judgment call by the umpire. If he feels that F1 gave R1 enough time to return, he will call R1 out; if he feels that R1 did not have enough time to return he has no call.

How do you see it?

Before you answer, consider a couple things. If the umpire holds up pitching, then the snail of a runner is violating the spirit, though not the letter, of the LB law. She is now holding the umpire hostage to her delaying tactics, where it used to be (pre-LB era) the catcher or pitcher were involved in the delay. 2nd point is that current ASA and NFHS rules do not specifically address this issue. I am not sure my 3rd point is relevant, but keep in mind that the LB rule is not terminated until the pitcher releases the pitch. So if R1 was still advancing towards 2B while F1 is starting her pitching motion, R1 would not be in violation of the LB rule.

WMB
ASA 8.8.J THE RUNNER IS NOT OUT:

J. When the runner is not given sufficient time to return to a base. The runner will not be called out for being off the base before the pitcher releases the ball. "No pitch" will be called by the umpire."

Now comes the problem. There is no defined speed, nor even the suggestion of such, in which the runner is required to return to any base. Therefore, preventive umpiring would dictate that you wait for the runner.

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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 08:46am
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Thanks Mike. I searched a long time looking for those words ("enough time"), but obviously not in the right place. And NFHS now has the same words because they added a Runner Is Not Out section in the Rule 8 re-write (obviously modeled after ASA).

Question: can you not reverse words in a rule to make the opposite true? Example: if a runner can NOT be called out if NOT given sufficient time to return, then is it also true that a runner CAN BE called out if given sufficient time to return?

Should the umpire be interjecting here if the runner is obviously delaying the game? By allowing the pitcher to step up on the plate, the onus is on the runner to then quickly get back, or get called out.

WMB
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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 12:06pm
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Also ASA 6F-10D, "No pitch shall be declared when the pitcher pitches before a runner has retouched his base after being legitimately off that base.
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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 03:58pm
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Question

Ok, so what if it was a BR that just hit a single and safely reached first. Pitcher has ball in circle and you look over and batter is no longer in contact with the bag for some reason or other? Out (leaving early) ?
I've had this happen and called the runner out for failing to maintain contact with base.
Did I mess up?

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Old Thu Jun 26, 2003, 11:46pm
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Elaine,

Are you asking if you were wrong in calling the runner out, or are you asking if you applied the correct rule?

Had the runner been on the base while the pitcher had the ball and had stepped off?

Was the runner just standing there, or moving toward a base?
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Old Sat Jun 28, 2003, 04:42pm
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Arrow

She had touched the bag and reached safely. Pitcher has ball in circle ready to pitch and I look over and the runner is just standing there about 8 inches off the bag in the baseline talking to her coach.

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Old Sat Jun 28, 2003, 09:27pm
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I've also had this happen. Runner on first takes off for second on a steal and arrives there safely. Batter strikes out and runner on second thinks it is 3 outs when it is only 2. Ball is back in the circle when the runner on second starts walking toward first base and her dugout. Do you call her out for coming off the base while the pitcher has the ball in the circle? Dave
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Old Sat Jun 28, 2003, 10:36pm
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shipwreck
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I've also had this happen. Runner on first takes off for second on a steal and arrives there safely. Batter strikes out and runner on second thinks it is 3 outs when it is only 2. Ball is back in the circle when the runner on second starts walking toward first base and her dugout. Do you call her out for coming off the base while the pitcher has the ball in the circle? Dave
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Dave,

In the situation as you have described it, I would have an out. It's the player's responsibility to know the game situation.

Michael
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Old Sun Jun 29, 2003, 09:34am
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Smile

I just wanted to say "Hello" to Shipwreck! Long time no hear. I hope you are doing well!

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