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June 8, 2012
Batman54
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Any rules about location of safety screen?

HJ, I am glad you posted this question and I agree with your summary of size and position of the screen. I know I broadened it by presenting our Pitching Screen Rules, but I see that the same topic is active in many discussion groups. My first post apparently presented an older version of our new rules (thus explaining the inconsistent implementation) - see below for current rules. I have played on a wooden bat team, have been pitching slow pitch since 1981 when it was in a military league where the hitters spent as much time in the weight room as on the field, and I now hit with a high tech bat. I like hitting down the middle. In the thirty years of pitching, I was only hit once and that was during batting practice - the ball bounced off another ball that was in my glove and hit me. I have nothing against screens. But, if I am forced to take my eye off the ball to get behind a screen, I think I will stop pitching and try out an infield position. I still play in a younger league and if I get in the habit of pitching without watching the ball, I will certainly be hit. There are pitchers that no longer field their position, and they have adapted well to the new rules and frankly I think it is great that they are able to be protected. I still haven't seen any comment on these rules.

***** Current Rules *****
(1) The location and position of the Pitching Screen will be as follows:
(a) The Pitching Screen must be placed on the pitchers’ glove hand side.
(b) The Pitching Screen will be no more than four (4) feet in front of the pitching rubber.
(c) The Pitching Screen must be placed not more than 6" from the end of the pitching rubber.

(2) Subject to the above restrictions, the Pitcher may make minor adjustments to the location of the Pitching
Screen to suit his own personal style, subject to the approval of the Umpire.

(3) BY THE TIME THE PITCHED BALL REACHES THE STRIKE MAT (OR IS STRUCK BY THE BATTER), THE PITCHER
MUST BE COMPLETELY (HEAD, ARMS, LEGS, TORSO) BEHIND THE PITCHING SCREEN. THE PITCHER MUST
REMAIN COMPLETELY BEHIND THE SCREEN AND MAY NOT BECOME A FIELDER UNTIL THE BALL IS STRUCK.

(4) If a pitcher is in violation of Section (3) the following rules shall apply:

(a) If the pitch IS HIT INTO FAIR TERRITORY, the Umpire shall immediately call "DEAD BALL" and
the batter will be awarded a single and all runners will advance one base (even if not forced).
(b) If the pitch is NOT HIT INTO FAIR TERRITORY (e.g. a foul ball, a called strike or a called ball),
the Umpire shall declare an "illegal" pitch and thus a ball AND any runners on base shall
advance one base (even if not forced).
(5) Any ball hit into the Pitching Screen netting or striking any part of the Pitching Screen will be a
DEAD BALL strike (exactly the same as foul ball). However, if striking the Pitching Screen
would result in a 3rd strike AND the batter has not previously struck the Pitching Scree
in the same at-bat, he shall not be declared out. For any subsequent striking of the
Pitching Screen in the same at-bat, the batter will be out.
(6) Any thrown ball into the screen by a defensive team will be a live ball and runners may
advance at their own risk.
June 7, 2012
Batman54
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Any rules about location of safety screen?

Our league has moved to mandatory pitching screens (with, it seems, inconsistent modifications)

(1) The location and position of the Pitching Screen will be as follows:
(a) The Pitching Screen must be placed on the pitchers’ glove hand side.
(b) The Pitching Screen will be no more than four (4) feet in front of the pitching rubber.
(c) The Pitching Screen must be placed not more than 6" from the end of the pitching rubber.

(2) Subject to the above restrictions, the Pitcher may make minor adjustments to the location of the Pitching Screen to suit his own personal style, subject to the approval of the Umpire.

(3) AFTER THE PITCH IS DELIVERED, THE PITCHER MUST IMMEDIATELY MOVE HIS BODY COMPLETELY (HEAD, ARMS, LEGS, TORSO) BEHIND THE PITCHING SCREEN AND REMAIN IN THAT LOCATION UNTIL THE BALL IS HIT.
(a) Failure to do so and then fielding or attempting to field the ball will result in a DEAD BALL and the batter being awarded a single and all runners will advance one base.
(b) Failure to do so but NOT fielding or attempting to field the ball will result in the Umpire issuing a verbal warning for the first two violations. A third violation will result in the removal of the pitcher from the game (as a pitcher).

(4) Any ball hit into the Pitching Screen netting or striking any part of the Pitching Screen will be a DEAD BALL strike (exactly the same as foul ball). However, if striking the Pitching Screen would result in a 3rd strike AND the batter has not previously struck the Pitching Screen in the same at-bat, he shall not be declared out. For any
subsequent striking of the Pitching Screen in the same at-bat, the batter will be out.

(5) Any thrown ball into the screen by a defensive team will be a live ball and runners
may advance at their own risk.

These rules have been implemented with a wide range of umpire interpretations - particularly in the mandatory movement of the pitcher. Batters have been called safe for balls fielded by a pitcher who failed to get behind the screen first. Pitchers have been regularly warned for "peaking" or not getting their head behind the screen. Others have had Balks issued for not getting behind the screen on pitch that was not even within reach of the batter. Other than the length of this response, what do you you guys think of balks for a pitcher not getting behind a screen?
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