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properly addressing rules with umpires

Nov 1, 2008
224
0
We ran into a situation yesterday in a tournament and i wasn't sure how to address the situation with the umpires so we let it go and of course the runner eventually scored....as is ALWAYS the case when a runner should have been declared out and wasn't.

A batter walked with no other runners on base. She advanced to first and rounded as though going towards second, but returned to first. The pitcher had the ball in her possession inside the circle prior to the runner reaching first base and made no play on the runner.

In accordance with 5:01 (E) in the Dixie rule book, the runner should have been out.

"If, after the pitcher has possession of the ball within the eight-foot (8') RADIUS
circle, the baserunner starts back to the last base she legally occupied or forward to
another base, and then stops or reverses her direction, she is OUT, unless the pitcher
makes a play on her or another baserunner. If the pitcher makes a play on the
baserunner, the baserunner may stop or reverse her direction"

The umpire at first made some gestures to the runner and spoke to her, but didn't declare her out. I called for time and asked the home plate umpire "Isn't she out? She rounded the base with the pitcher in the circle?" The home plate umpire said "It's his call all the way" and pointed to the first base umpire who pointed at me and said "Runner's safe, play ball." It was pretty obvious that he did not intend to discuss it so i stepped back into the dugout.

Now, i'm not stupid enough to argue balls and strikes, but when there is no "judgement" involved on the play how do you deal with an umpire who blatantly ignores a rule? The home plate umpire's reaction was clear to me "don't blame me, blame him" I don't wanna get thrown out of a game, but this is the sort of thing that drives me nuts. They're supposed to know the rules and we're supposed to play by those rules. Why even have rules if they aren't gonna enforce them? What would you guys have done in this situation? How do i plead my case without getting tossed?
 
May 22, 2008
351
0
NW Pennsylvania
I agree you are right, & I also think you handled the situation the way I would of too. If this was a critical runner in a improtant game, I would probably have calle time & asked the field ump politely if he would be kind enough to explain to me why he called the runner safe when she obviously made the turn to 2b & returned.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,921
83
Dallas, Texas
Coaching is an education process--players, parents, other coaches and umpires. Many umpires don't know the rules. They are baseball or slow pitch umpires who are doing a fastpitch game to pick up a couple of extra bucks. God bless them for helping out.

That being said, I would have asked him if he was aware of the rules. I would have done this in a way not to embarrass the guy, but to let him know that he should know about this rule.

Ray
 
May 29, 2009
38
0
We had that exact same thing happen in our tournament this weekend. One of our coaches yelled "she's out" at the top of his lungs. Home plate umpire looked towards our dugout where coach again yelled "she's out, she was off the base with the ball in the circle." Plate umpire asked base umpire if she stopped off the base. Base umpire shrugged and said yeah. Home plate umpire punched her out. Coach on the other team knew it and immediately yelled at his player.

The only thing I can tell you is maybe you weren't forceful enough. Instead of saying "isn't she out?", tell the umpire that she is out. It's not really arguing or being disrespectful, it's just stating the obvious.
 
May 13, 2008
832
16
Are you quite certain of the "lookback rule" for Dixie? I don't have a Dixie rulebook, but in all other associations the batter-runner can round first, stop, and then must either immediately advance or return to first. Usually the time allowed is about 1 second to make the decision to advance or return. This rule is frequently misunderstood by coaches, spectators, and even umpires.
 
Nov 1, 2008
224
0
in the case of a hit or something like that, yes they can round the base. but the way the rules have been enforced in the leagues we have experience with, a batter that walks and rounds first must proceed to second unless the pitcher "makes a play" on her.

in fall ball last year, there were a couple instances of the runner being called out. it happened to my DD the first game of the season in spring ball and has been called on a couple teams we've played this year.

to give you an idea of our circumstances, we live in a small community. there are only enough girls for about 1 1/2 teams per age group. there are several other small towns with whom we form a loose organization with. In all there are 7 towns/communities involved. We all play by the dixie rules, but each town seems to add it's own little variations of runs per inning, batters per inning, innings played, and number of runs required for the "run rule" to take effect. But all of them have enforced this rule when it has been violated.

the most important part of the equation is that the pitcher had the ball in the circle. Had she either not had the ball, or had she been outside the circle, THEN the batter/runner would be able to round first in that manner. my guess is that the purpose of this rule to keep runners from delaying the game? i've read through it several times and the sticking point to me is that the runner rounded first AFTER the pitcher had the ball in her possession inside the circle.

below is the section in question from the dixie rule book. Here is a link to the entire dixie rule book.

5:00 — EIGHT FOOT RADIUS CIRCLE RULE
NOTE: REFER TO SPECIFIC RULES OF EACH DIVISION FOR CERTAIN
SPECIFIC RULES CONCERNING THE EIGHT-FOOT RADIUS CIRCLE RULE
AND ITS EFFECT TO EACH DIVISION.
5:01 — The eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle is:
(A) — The circle shall be measured from the center of the pitcher’s plate.
(B) — When a baserunner is legitimately off her base after a pitch or the result of
a batter completing her turn at bat, while the pitcher has the ball in her possession within
the eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle, the baserunner must IMMEDIATELY attempt to
advance to the next base or IMMEDIATELY return to the base she last occupied.
(C) — Failure to IMMEDIATELY proceed to the next base or return to her last
occupied base, once the pitcher has possession of the ball within the eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle, shall result in the baserunner being declared “out”. NOTE: The
umpire should give the baserunner benefit of the natural reactions and reflexes of
a human being.
(D) — Once the baserunner returns to or proceeds to a base and leaves said base
for any reason unless a play is made on her or another baserunner, the baserunner
is OUT. If the pitcher throws the ball from the eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle, carries
it from there, sets the ball on the ground or in her glove on the ground, or hands
or throws it to a player within the eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle, it is interpreted as
MAKING A PLAY and baserunners may leave the base at their own risk provided
time is not out.
(E) — When the baserunner is not given sufficient time to return to a base, she
shall not be called out for being off base when the pitch is made to the batter. She
may advance as though she had left the base legally unless otherwise noted in the
specific playing rules of a particular age division in this rule guide.
NOTES ON THE ABOVE: The responsibility is now completely on the baserunner.
There is NO obligation on the pitcher to LOOK, FAKE or THROW. A base on balls
or dropped third (3rd) strike in which the batter is entitled to run, is treated the same
as a batted ball. The batter/baserunner may continue past first base and is entitled
to run toward second base, as long as she does not stop at first base. If she stops
AFTER she rounds first base she then must comply with Rule 5:01 (B).
If, after the pitcher has possession of the ball within the eight-foot (8') RADIUS
circle, the baserunner starts back to the last base she legally occupied or forward to
another base, and then stops or reverses her direction, she is OUT, unless the pitcher
makes a play on her or another baserunner. If the pitcher makes a play on the
baserunner, the baserunner may stop or reverse her direction.

NOTE: Faking a throw constitutes making a play: unless otherwise noted in the
specific playing rules of a particular age division in this rule guide.
If, after the pitcher has possession of the ball within the eight foot (8') RADIUS
circle, the baserunner just stands there and does not IMMEDIATELY attempt to
advance or return, she is OUT.
NOTE: “IMMEDIATELY” WILL BE IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE UMPIRES.
THERE WILL BE NO PROTEST ON HIS CALL.
 
May 7, 2008
39
6
Looks to me that CSHILT is correct - the rule clearly contemplates that a batter-runner going to first on a base-on-balls be treated "the same as a batted ball." She can round it, stop, then must immediately go forward or back. Sounds like there is some local misunderstanding or misapplication of the rule.
 
Nov 1, 2008
224
0
I still disagree, (E) states "If she stops
AFTER she rounds first base she then must comply with Rule 5:01 (B)."

Rule (B) — When a baserunner is legitimately off her base after a pitch or the result of
a batter completing her turn at bat, while the pitcher has the ball in her possession within
the eight-foot (8') RADIUS circle, the baserunner must IMMEDIATELY attempt to
advance to the next base or IMMEDIATELY return to the base she last occupied.

My contention is that the runner is not legitimately off the base while the pitcher has the ball in her possession. She had not reached first base yet when the pitcher took possession of the ball in the circle. She had not yet legally occupied first when the pitcher took possession of the ball, thus, when she went forward to another base and then reversed direction she would be out unless the pitcher made a play on her.

"If, after the pitcher has possession of the ball within the eight-foot (8') RADIUS
circle, the baserunner starts back to the last base she legally occupied or forward to
another base, and then stops or reverses her direction, she is OUT, unless the pitcher
makes a play on her or another baserunner. If the pitcher makes a play on the
baserunner, the baserunner may stop or reverse her direction."

every time i read this section it's like trying to decide whether the chicken or the egg came first! lol why make it so hard to understand? we shouldn't need a lawyer to interpret this stuff lol

BTW, i'm arguing for the sake of learning, not to be a pain in the neck.
 
Jun 24, 2008
26
0
This rule is way too confusing for 99% of Dixie Youth umpires. Many do well to remember what balls, strikes, and outs are.

But the very last statement you c/p from the rulebook says it all:

NOTE: “IMMEDIATELY” WILL BE IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE UMPIRES.
THERE WILL BE NO PROTEST ON HIS CALL.
When the word "judgment" is involved, good luck getting anywhere.

I think the best you can do is ask him to explain why he judged it the way he did and then move on.
 
Jun 6, 2009
240
0
Coaching is an education process--players, parents, other coaches and umpires. Many umpires don't know the rules. They are baseball or slow pitch umpires who are doing a fastpitch game to pick up a couple of extra bucks. God bless them for helping out.

That being said, I would have asked him if he was aware of the rules. I would have done this in a way not to embarrass the guy, but to let him know that he should know about this rule.

Ray


Sound advice. One year at a nationals we had a bad call made. Fortunately, one of our assitant coaches was also an umpire. He approached blue about the call in a very diplomatic way. Blue still wouldn't reverse his call but the asst. coach was persisitant and eventually got the UIC involved and the call was reversed. So, yes, approaching blue in the right way is usually the best practice. Of course, sometimes you get a jerk, and no matter what you do, he's always right.

Of course I don't always follow my own advice. One of two times I was tossed in my whole time coaching was over the strike zone. We had a blue who would only call a strike down the middle belt high and at 14u travel you know how thats going to turn out. After many diplomatic inquiries, I couldn't stand it anymore and in the 4th inning I walked out on the field with one those hitting stick gizmos and acted like I was a blind man swinging a cane back and fourth, so naturally, out I go (and justifiably so.)

In fairness to the ump, he was at least equitable. He called the zone the same zone for both sides.

In the 5th, the opposing coach and I got to discuss how bad the blue was together in the parking lot.......he was tossed in the 5th.
 

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