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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 03:02pm
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Coach's View of the Look-Back Rule

Interesting interpretation of the look-back rule:

Last night I had R1 & R2 with 2 outs. The count was 2-2 when F1 throws a wild pitch. Both runners move up, and F1 comes home to cover the plate. F2 hands the ball to F1 who walks back to the circle. (Newly acquired) R3 stays standing off the base but as soon as F1 steps inside the circle, she takes a few steps back toward the bag. Then she changes her mind and does 2-3 little "monkey hops" toward home. Stops, realizing she didn't get the attention she was looking for, and then walks back to the base. All the while F1 is walking toward her starting pitching position, with her head down and with the ball, inside the circle. As I call "time" to declare the runner out for a look-back violation, the pitcher drops the ball transferring it from the glove to her hand.

The coach is ticked! He's "never had a look-back violation call, EVER!" He's mumbling and complaining as he heads back to the dugout - but nothing to get tossed over. He's quiet for the next 1/2 inning, which went quick. As his team is making the 3rd out I see him standing with a rule book at the dugout opening, just itching to get to me. Between innings, I let him come out to plead his case.

Argument #1 - "The pitcher has to have possession of the ball, she dropped it!"

I agreed that the timing made it look bad, but assured him that the pitcher had clear possession of the ball for at least 3 steps going into the circle and only dropped the ball when I was calling time. At that time, his player went toward 3rd base, back toward home and then to 3rd base again. That didn't seem to help, and he disagreed, albeit politely and insisted it was completely legal because the pitcher had ultimately dropped the ball.

Argument #2 - "My batter was still at bat. The rule clearly states that the batter/runner must have arrived at 1st base before you can call a runner out using the look-back rule. With a batter still at bat, it can not be called!"

I tried to explain that a batter is different from a batter/runner and only becomes a batter/runner when they are on their way to first base. Otherwise we would never be able to use the look-back rule, because their is always another batter! A batter/runner is NOT a batter! He again disagreed. He went away "knowing" that I was interpreting the rule incorrectly and that I ripped him out of more runs.
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 03:27pm
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I'm stunned at coaches that have no idea about this rule. If you've coached more than 2-3 games in softball (as opposed to being a baseball dad who is coaching softball because he has a daughter), you should know this rule.
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 03:42pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD Longhorn View Post
I'm stunned at coaches that have no idea about this rule. If you've coached more than 2-3 games in softball (as opposed to being a baseball dad who is coaching softball because he has a daughter), you should know this rule.
Well, that is going to depend on how the umpires they are getting it are calling it. Helped a neighbor coach a rec team a couple of years ago, just so happens to be the same league I did for years but they had gone to NSA sanction and switched to a different umpiring group.

During entire season not one lookback violation called, nor ever an obstruction call EVER. It really came to a head in one game where we had specifically been instructing our pitchers they were not to attempt to throw out runners standing off base, they were to just stand there with the ball doing nothing. Runner rounds 3rd and stops about 3 steps off the base, pitcher has ball in circle. Runner stands there, and stands there. I can see pitcher is getting itchy and I tell her DO NOT THROW THE BALL. Runner continues to stand there, as you can figure out this is well past a lookback violation. Finally after about 30 seconds the pitcher can't resist any longer and throws the ball and as you can guess the run scores.

I was completely fed up and went to the umpire assignor and asked why the published rules were not being enforced. The answer I got was, "we are giving the umpires leeway in the way they call the game because we want the girls to learn the game of softball." I asked her how we were ever suppose to teach the girls the game when we were operating under 30 different umpires rule sets and the most basic rules of the game were being ignored.

Wish I had a cricket sound effect to insert because that was about the same response I got.................. Relaxing the rules is not helping teach anyone the game, just as ignoring illegal pitches and just talking to the coach about it never fixes the pitcher.
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 06:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueump View Post
Interesting interpretation of the look-back rule:

As I call "time" to declare the runner out for a look-back violation, the pitcher drops the ball transferring it from the glove to her hand.

Argument #2 - "My batter was still at bat. The rule clearly states that the batter/runner must have arrived at 1st base before you can call a runner out using the look-back rule. With a batter still at bat, it can not be called!"

I tried to explain that a batter is different from a batter/runner and only becomes a batter/runner when they are on their way to first base. Otherwise we would never be able to use the look-back rule, because their is always another batter! A batter/runner is NOT a batter! He again disagreed. He went away "knowing" that I was interpreting the rule incorrectly and that I ripped him out of more runs.
Two observations:
1. Why did you call "time?" Is that correct in certain codes? In NSA, it is a live ball out.

2. NSA is often on the short side of clear rules, but in this case the wording certainly would have helped.
"When a runner is legitimately off a base after a pitch or as a result of a batter completing a turn at bat...."
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 06:25pm
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Originally Posted by RKBUmp View Post
Well, that is going to depend on how the umpires they are getting it are calling it. Helped a neighbor coach a rec team a couple of years ago, just so happens to be the same league I did for years but they had gone to NSA sanction and switched to a different umpiring group.

During entire season not one lookback violation called, nor ever an obstruction call EVER. It really came to a head in one game where we had specifically been instructing our pitchers they were not to attempt to throw out runners standing off base, they were to just stand there with the ball doing nothing. Runner rounds 3rd and stops about 3 steps off the base, pitcher has ball in circle. Runner stands there, and stands there. I can see pitcher is getting itchy and I tell her DO NOT THROW THE BALL. Runner continues to stand there, as you can figure out this is well past a lookback violation. Finally after about 30 seconds the pitcher can't resist any longer and throws the ball and as you can guess the run scores.

I was completely fed up and went to the umpire assignor and asked why the published rules were not being enforced. The answer I got was, "we are giving the umpires leeway in the way they call the game because we want the girls to learn the game of softball." I asked her how we were ever suppose to teach the girls the game when we were operating under 30 different umpires rule sets and the most basic rules of the game were being ignored.

Wish I had a cricket sound effect to insert because that was about the same response I got.................. Relaxing the rules is not helping teach anyone the game, just as ignoring illegal pitches and just talking to the coach about it never fixes the pitcher.
Please don't attribute this to being NSA taught umpires. It certainly may be the case with that particular group, but I can tell you Indiana NSA umpires are very well trained.
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 06:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbie View Post
Two observations:
1. Why did you call "time?" Is that correct in certain codes? In NSA, it is a live ball out.

2. NSA is often on the short side of clear rules, but in this case the wording certainly would have helped.
"When a runner is legitimately off a base after a pitch or as a result of a batter completing a turn at bat...."
This is an immediate dead ball in NFHS
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 07:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbie View Post
Please don't attribute this to being NSA taught umpires. It certainly may be the case with that particular group, but I can tell you Indiana NSA umpires are very well trained.
Sorry..I cannot buy this..You said "NSA"..."Indiana"..and "well trained" in the same sentence......
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 08:40pm
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Most rule books screwed up when they changed it to not go into effect until a batter who was become a batter-runner reaches first base. They made that switch by forgot about when the batter doesn't become a batter-runner. Obviously, the rule is still in effect. But the wording is awful.
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Old Tue May 19, 2015, 11:03pm
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I missed something. How did we get an R3 with a full count ?- unless this wild pitch was called a strike ?
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 06:24am
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Originally Posted by chuck chopper View Post
I missed something. How did we get an R3 with a full count ?- unless this wild pitch was called a strike ?
It's clearly a typo. R3 meaning the runner from 3rd. Don't complicate matters.
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 07:58am
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NSA actually doesn't say whether this is a live ball or dead ball. It's silent on the subject (Rule 8-8-x). Elsewhere in the book it says that when things aren't specified in the NSA book, go by NFHS rules. LBR is a dead ball in every other rule set.
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 08:47am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EsqUmp View Post
It's clearly a typo. R3 meaning the runner from 3rd. Don't complicate matters.
Apparently not a typo, but non-standard terminology.
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 08:48am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD Longhorn View Post
NSA actually doesn't say whether this is a live ball or dead ball. It's silent on the subject (Rule 8-8-x). Elsewhere in the book it says that when things aren't specified in the NSA book, go by NFHS rules. LBR is a dead ball in every other rule set.
You and blueump should stop confusing things with FACTS.
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 10:01am
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Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
Apparently not a typo, but non-standard terminology.
Since he used baseball terminology for the runners and called TIME instead of DEAD BALL, it is a good bet he is a baseball-trained umpire!

To the issue, I'll have to refer to NFHS rules, since I don't umpire NSA (I didn't even know they took time away from monitoring our phones to run a softball league... ). The rule is pretty clear. The coach is at least uninformed, and I never allow coaches to "proof text" a rule.

The last batter-runner in your situation is R2 on first (you called her R1). Since she has clearly reached 1B, and then 2B, the LBR is clearly in effect.

I don't find that to be hard to understand at all.

The correct call for a LBR violation is DEAD BALL, and then the runner is declared out.

(BTW, in a softball game, the call TIME is only used for actual time outs, not for dead ball situations that result from game play.)
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Old Wed May 20, 2015, 10:10am
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
The last batter-runner in your situation is R2 on first (you called her R1). Since she has clearly reached 1B, and then 2B, the LBR is clearly in effect.
If we're being pedantic about someone else's terminology... R2 is a runner... not a batter-runner.
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