Ask The Ump?

CoachHoversten

Active member
This is only "kind of" a rules question...let's say you are HPU, and a close play is developing at home plate. For fun, let's even say the runner coming home is the tying or winning run, though in reality the answer to my question probably wouldn't change, but this situation makes the possibility of contact occurring more likely.

Two Questions:

1) As HPU, can you walk me through what your eyes are fixated on and judging as the play is happening? A lot of times, we read the throw and adjust properly, but do you not look at the ball and fixate on where the catcher is lined up, where the runner's path is, etc?

2) If contact occurs between catcher and runner, what checklist do you go through in your mind to determine if it is obstruction or interference or nothing?

I know the rules for collision (ncaa) but I guess I am just wondering, in the heat of the moment, with only seconds to process and make a decision, what goes through your mind. I have noticed in myself a lot of the game has slowed down....for example, steals of second, I feel like I see everything in slow motion compared to when I was less experienced, I remember feeling like everything was blowing up in my face and I was using best judgment on my call rather than actually seeing everything happening.

Perhaps because plate plays happen so infrequently compared to whackers at first, steals of second, etc, I am just less experienced, but I still feel like those plays are "fast" for me and am just looking for some laymen's terms tips that you might use.

I feel like for me, I would need to call time, replay everything in my mind a few times, process it, and then could make a sound judgment, but that would take longer than you reasonably have to make your call, especially if there is extra action occurring (other runners advancing)
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
For reference, I had a college game last weekend where a play developed at the plate, but I was BU, and runner and catcher collided with a POP, I mean it was hard, and runner went flying to the ground. My partner immediately signaled "that's nothing", meaning unavoidable contact, but I remember thinking, "I am glad I wasn't plate guy for that play" because if he was correct, it looked really bad for being nothing, but very well could have been,
 

AllSports12

Moderator
For reference, I had a college game last weekend where a play developed at the plate, but I was BU, and runner and catcher collided with a POP, I mean it was hard, and runner went flying to the ground. My partner immediately signaled "that's nothing", meaning unavoidable contact, but I remember thinking, "I am glad I wasn't plate guy for that play" because if he was correct, it looked really bad for being nothing, but very well could have been,
Three things come into play... runner, catcher, thrown ball...

We know where the runner is going.... to a fixed point, the plate
We know where the catcher is going..... to where the ball is thrown
What we don't know is where the ball will end up, which could move the catcher

Find our runner first, then get a good gauge on the type of throw, (where in relation to the plate, and where in relation to the catcher (high or low) this will help prepare you for what will happen at the plate.

Those two things will allow you to get set up properly and get you ready to earn your game fee.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
On a pitch in the dirt, is the catcher allowed to shoulder the batter out of the way in his pursuit of the ball?
I know what AllSports would say. This is a tough one to talk about without seeing a video.

But long story short, there is nothing to call on the catcher unless you deem the contact malicious, in which case the catcher would be thrown out of the game.

This can’t be obstruction on the catcher because he isn’t obstructing the batter from doing anything, there’s no swing and he isn’t trying to advance to first (unless it was a strike three that the batter was allowed to run on)

In reality, this contact is either interference on the batter if he hindered, impeded, or confused the catcher in his attempt to make a play (was a runner on base trying to advance?) or it’s nothing, unless you’ve got malicious contact on the catcher.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Rule 7-3 Batting Infractions

A Batter Shall Not:


ART. 5 . . . Interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by:
a. leaning over home plate,
b. stepping out of the batter’s box,
c. making any other movement, including follow-through interference, which hinders actions at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner, or
d. failing to make a reasonable effort to vacate a congested area when there is a throw to home plate and there is time for the batter to move away


What's not clear (see "had to be there" comment by Coach Hoversten) is, did that movement hinder the catcher's attempt to make a play on the runner. You have to ask your self....

- was the runner already trying to advance or return to a base?
If yes, then you ask.... absent the action by the batter, would he have successfully reached that base?
If no, then you ask, did that action by the batter allow the runner to advance to the next base?

Sorting that out will help you determine whether or not Offensive INT has occurred


I'm ignoring the shoulder by the catcher unless the contact reached the level of malicious contact.
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
Rule 7-3 Batting Infractions

A Batter Shall Not:

ART. 5 . . . Interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by:
a. leaning over home plate,
b. stepping out of the batter’s box,
c. making any other movement, including follow-through interference, which hinders actions at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner, or
d. failing to make a reasonable effort to vacate a congested area when there is a throw to home plate and there is time for the batter to move away


What's not clear (see "had to be there" comment by Coach Hoversten) is, did that movement hinder the catcher's attempt to make a play on the runner. You have to ask your self....

- was the runner already trying to advance or return to a base?
If yes, then you ask.... absent the action by the batter, would he have successfully reached that base?
If no, then you ask, did that action by the batter allow the runner to advance to the next base?

Sorting that out will help you determine whether or not Offensive INT has occurred


I'm ignoring the shoulder by the catcher unless the contact reached the level of malicious contact.
Didn't appear to be malicious. Batter took the pitch and just stood in the box. No one tried to advance.
 

111411

Moderator
I have to ask this of all of the umpires on here. What is the craziest rule interpretation you've ever heard from a coach? I mean, basic rules that a coach insisted he was correct.

This was from years ago when I was a Hot Stove league officer and did a few games here and there. After we went over the ground rules, a coach insisted he was going to protest once the game started because the last time they played his opponent, the opponent played his second baseman in the grass. I told him as long as there was a pitcher on the mound, a catcher behind the plate, the other seven could sit in centerfield and count each others' toes. He looked at me, and said, "But, but, ............" Meanwhile the opposing coaching staff had their heads down and were chuckling. Needless to say, there were no more questions.
 

111411

Moderator
True story. This was during a 15-16 year old Hot Stove Regional final game, years and years ago. Bang- bang play at first. No call from Lester, who was the IB BU. Yes, his name was Lester. PU calls time and yells to Lester, "What was the call?" Lester replies, "I don't know, but it sure was close." The PU told me the story right after the game. He had to make the call. Needless to say, Lester was pretty much toast.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I think a fairer question would be for umpires to share their own stories about rules they botched , because it’s unprofessional to disparage others.

I played baseball my entire life, including D1 college, and I’ve been umpiring for years and I still don’t have all the rules down pat. I can’t believe how many games I have played in and watched (and umpired) and still see scenarios unfold that yield rules you never knew before.

Hard to disparage a coach because they don’t know them as well as an umpire.

When a coach tells me a rule that’s wrong, I just use proper verbiage of the correct rule and move along.

Although I admit the story about Lester was humorous from a “he seemed to matter of fact about it” standpoint
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
Is there any rule governing the offensive team being ready to go after a pitching change? Was at a game tonight where, after the new pitcher had completed his warm up throws, the base runners had not gone back to their bases yet and the game was held up due to this. Was enough of a delay to be noticeable.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Is there any rule governing the offensive team being ready to go after a pitching change? Was at a game tonight where, after the new pitcher had completed his warm up throws, the base runners had not gone back to their bases yet and the game was held up due to this. Was enough of a delay to be noticeable.
Cedarbuck, the only rules that govern the situation you describe is that the offensive team shall be charged with an offensive conference. In NFHS, they get 1 per inning, in NCAA they get 3 for the game (plus 1 for extras).

So let's say that happened in the 4th inning...the offensive team shall now be denied any further requests for an offensive conference in that inning if you are playing FED rules.

Edit: I should have clarified...the act of meeting together during a pitching change in of itself is not an offensive conference, the delaying of the game afterwards is what makes it one.
 

umpire16

New member
Is there any rule governing the offensive team being ready to go after a pitching change? Was at a game tonight where, after the new pitcher had completed his warm up throws, the base runners had not gone back to their bases yet and the game was held up due to this. Was enough of a delay to be noticeable.
Preventitive umpiring usually will prevent this. CoachHoversten is right in NCAA. In NFHS, I will say with two remaining warmup pitches "Two left. Runners, let's return and batter get ready for us" and that takes care of it 99.45% of the time. The other .55%, well, I have to take care of business.
 
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umpire16

New member
Yeah, I'd rather not get into coach bashing on here.

More appropriate to open a thread in the main board for this.
I'll agree with AllSports12 on this one.

No need to bash coaches. We unfortunately have to, at times, use the tools available to us, to educate coaches and players on rules that govern some of the less commonly occurring plays during a game, which are consequently less called due to lack of frequency, and thus few coaches and players have seen them.

Likewise, I will say that I have heard phrases like "I've been coaching for 20 years and never seen that" and to be completely honest, that is probably the case most times.
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
Cedarbuck, the only rules that govern the situation you describe is that the offensive team shall be charged with an offensive conference. In NFHS, they get 1 per inning, in NCAA they get 3 for the game (plus 1 for extras).

So let's say that happened in the 4th inning...the offensive team shall now be denied any further requests for an offensive conference in that inning if you are playing FED rules.

Edit: I should have clarified...the act of meeting together during a pitching change in of itself is not an offensive conference, the delaying of the game afterwards is what makes it one.
Was very surprised that the umps did not say anything to the team about this. He was very visibly signaling how many warm up pitches remained and all warm up pitches had been completed before the runner at first base even passed the pitchers mound on his way back at a slow walk.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Is there a rule about the pitcher's jersey being tucked in?
While no specific rule....... uniforms are to be worn properly. They are designed to be worn with the shirts tucked in.

That said a pitcher cannot have anything that would be considered distracting to the batter. (and umpire)

If he wants to pitch..... he'll tuck it in and keep it tucked in.
 

CedarBuck92

Active member
While no specific rule....... uniforms are to be worn properly. They are designed to be worn with the shirts tucked in.

That said a pitcher cannot have anything that would be considered distracting to the batter. (and umpire)

If he wants to pitch..... he'll tuck it in and keep it tucked in.
Was at a game where the back half of the jersey was untucked and I kept waiting for the umpire to say something or approach the coach about it.


Follow up- Based on your comments I am assuming that should the jersey issue be addressed and the pitcher refuses to tuck it in you would require the coach to replace him?
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Just had a semi heated argument with my friend and fellow ncaa umpire.

yesterday I was on plate and he was U1 (in a 3-man system. R1 with no one out, batter swings at pitch in dirt for strike three.

I declared batter out but he took off anyways, neither he nor catcher knew the rule, bc catcher threw to first. Throw was bad, R1 got to third. Catcher asked if he was allowed to run and I said yes, it was on him to know the situation (or hear me declare batter out)

my friend, U1, asked me later if that is retired runner interference, I said no. Now, could he have interfered by some other action? Yes. But not just by running. He said ok.

then today he did another 3-man game and a veteran ump convinced him it was interference and he can’t run and now he won’t accept my answer.

vet ump quoted rule 8-5-p but that says a runner is out when a batter who is already Put out interferes with a play being made on “said runner”, so that would be a play on R1 in our situation, not on the batter.

can you clarify ?
 

SMARTY22

Well-known member
Just had a semi heated argument with my friend and fellow ncaa umpire.

yesterday I was on plate and he was U1 (in a 3-man system. R1 with no one out, batter swings at pitch in dirt for strike three.

I declared batter out but he took off anyways, neither he nor catcher knew the rule, bc catcher threw to first. Throw was bad, R1 got to third. Catcher asked if he was allowed to run and I said yes, it was on him to know the situation (or hear me declare batter out)

my friend, U1, asked me later if that is retired runner interference, I said no. Now, could he have interfered by some other action? Yes. But not just by running. He said ok.

then today he did another 3-man game and a veteran ump convinced him it was interference and he can’t run and now he won’t accept my answer.

vet ump quoted rule 8-5-p but that says a runner is out when a batter who is already Put out interferes with a play being made on “said runner”, so that would be a play on R1 in our situation, not on the batter.

can you clarify ?
Retired Runner Interference should not even be a real option in the play you describe in my opinion.
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Anyone had the games stopped , and hand sanitiser to the mound, for a pitcher who licked his fingers yet?
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Just had a semi heated argument with my friend and fellow ncaa umpire.

yesterday I was on plate and he was U1 (in a 3-man system. R1 with no one out, batter swings at pitch in dirt for strike three.

I declared batter out but he took off anyways, neither he nor catcher knew the rule, bc catcher threw to first. Throw was bad, R1 got to third. Catcher asked if he was allowed to run and I said yes, it was on him to know the situation (or hear me declare batter out)

my friend, U1, asked me later if that is retired runner interference, I said no. Now, could he have interfered by some other action? Yes. But not just by running. He said ok.

then today he did another 3-man game and a veteran ump convinced him it was interference and he can’t run and now he won’t accept my answer.

vet ump quoted rule 8-5-p but that says a runner is out when a batter who is already Put out interferes with a play being made on “said runner”, so that would be a play on R1 in our situation, not on the batter.

can you clarify ?
Ask this question...

How can a batter or runner who is already put out, interfere on a play being made on themselves?

"said runner" refers to another runner. If it didn't, the result would be a batter or runner who was already put out being declared out a second time, which we all know cannot happen.

If that gets you nowhere with them.... ask the following......

When did the at bat end? (no longer a batter)
When did the batter become a runner? (never did)
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Ask this question...

How can a batter or runner who is already put out, interfere on a play being made on themselves?

"said runner" refers to another runner. If it didn't, the result would be a batter or runner who was already put out being declared out a second time, which we all know cannot happen.

If that gets you nowhere with them.... ask the following......

When did the at bat end? (no longer a batter)
When did the batter become a runner? (never did)
Allsports, my point is that THEIR point is the batter running is itself an act of interference. The batter did nothing to interfere in this play, he didn’t run out of runners lane, he didn’t swat at the ball, he didn’t collide with a fielder...

They are arguing he isn’t allowed to run bc he’s already out, and in doing so, he confused the catcher (hinder, impede, confuse)
 

thavoice

Well-known member
IE
Allsports, my point is that THEIR point is the batter running is itself an act of interference. The batter did nothing to interfere in this play, he didn’t run out of runners lane, he didn’t swat at the ball, he didn’t collide with a fielder...

They are arguing he isn’t allowed to run bc he’s already out, and in doing so, he confused the catcher (hinder, impede, confuse)
I have never seen or heard that even being a thing. Ever.

Did have an ump last week fubar the dropped third with less than two outs and a runner on first. He was gonna allow the runner to reach base. It took uber persuasion to o get him to even ask for.help and at that it took a long discussion to fix it.

I don't say much when they miss calls....hell....I could be wrong in what I saw, but when they get rules wrong, especially an easy one ...I get a little fired up...
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Allsports, my point is that THEIR point is the batter running is itself an act of interference. The batter did nothing to interfere in this play, he didn’t run out of runners lane, he didn’t swat at the ball, he didn’t collide with a fielder...

They are arguing he isn’t allowed to run bc he’s already out, and in doing so, he confused the catcher (hinder, impede, confuse)
Which is why I want you to ask them how they are going to apply a rule that states...

"any runner is out" ......

When they are already out....... ( and they were never a runner ;) )

The only way they can apply that rule is by declaring another runner out..... even though no play was being made on "said runner"
 
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