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Discussion: SSUSA STAFF-Please change a dumb rule

Posted Discussion
Feb. 28, 2010
garyheifner
370 posts
SSUSA STAFF-Please change a dumb rule
The split 1st base white/orange is a great idea and greatly reduces collisions on close plays at 1st.

When a runner is on 3rd base and a Right handed hitter is up, the runner can stand in foul territory with his left foot on the edge of the base and create a margin of safety for balls pulled down the line.

Now comes this years TOC. In a key game, we have bases loaded in the 7th, 2 outs and the tieing run on 3rd and winner on 2nd. We have a very good left handed hitter up who pulls hard to the right side. As the ball is pitched our runner sags back on 1st for safety on a hard pulled ball and his foot touches the orange. The base umpire yells time, calls the runner out on an obscure rule and the game ends.

For those of you who have never been on 1st with a left handed batter 65-70 feet away and you have no glove and must stand in fair territory, it is a scarey feeling. I have had both 3rd and 1st basemen express a little fear even with gloves.

There is absolutely NO sane reason that a runner should not be able to stand on the Orange when a left handed batter is up. In fact, it is to the advantage of the defense if you do that, because you lose a full step or more when running to 2nd.

I know that there will be someone out there who will say its part of the game, just be tough, or have the hitter hit somewhere else. NO, when you have one at bat for a championship, you go with your strength. For those of you who haven't experienced what I am talking about, the next time your team pratices, go stand in the infield, 70 feet from the batter, without a glove, and tell me about how you felt.

Feb. 28, 2010
birdie
Men's 60
687 posts
I agree that is a stupid rule and has no need to be in the rule book.If the runner wants to stand by the fence why not let him. The defense has the advantaged. Thank Harry
Feb. 28, 2010
birdie
Men's 60
687 posts
I am sure that I missed the rule. I just went to the rule book link and could not find that rule. Im sure that I over looked it. Any help out there? Thanks Harry
Feb. 28, 2010
SALSAKID49
Men's 55
124 posts
I agree, but make the Orange safety bag for both 1st and 3rd base, whereby the runner on these bases have the safety option to use them, as there are hitters who pull the ball hard down both lines...
Feb. 28, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
I can see everyone's points, but this is yet another example of wanting a basic rule changed at least in part due to the insistence on the special bats.

When will guys learn? :(
Feb. 28, 2010
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2734 posts
Gary, too bad your baserunner didn't know the rule.
ASA allows the runner to use the orange bat in this instance.
Feb. 28, 2010
slomo
47 posts
Gary, saw the end of that game as we were warming up (if such was possible in frigid Florida that week)for ours. Not one of our guys knew why your runner was called out. I spoke to our ump and he said the call was correct. Felt bad for the runner but I did learn something. All i can say is there but for the grace of God go I. You are right in bringing this up because runners at the corners are definitly in harms way.
Feb. 28, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
Totally agree. This has happened to us too. So ridiculous to call that. I think I'd rather be pitching than on first or third sometimes with a dead pull hitter up. At least the pitcher has a glove!
Feb. 28, 2010
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
Gary, Your concerns are legitimate and right on the money. This rule needs to be changed and is very easily done. There's absolutely no good reason for this rule. It's a shame you had to lose a game because of this. People can't be foolish enough to think this right for the game. It also has nothing to do about bats, balls or anything else. Merely just common sense.
Feb. 28, 2010
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
yeah bruce ASA does that,either or after the original play has been made at 1b.in some leagues(that i've played in) for runners on third you can back off the bag,behind and into foul territory,for safety's sake.i like it,i hate having a lefty hit behind me,b/c of havintg to stay on the white bag,i usaully have one foot on the orange just touching the white bag with other foot back in foul territory,never had anyone say anything about it.also don't move till ball is by me,LOL.
March 1, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
Safety (at our age)must be a major consideration. The orange bag was added to reduce the chance of collisions (like the alternate home plate). Once on base, the runner should be able to use it.
March 1, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
The safety orange first base has been around for a number of years. It was designed or the purpose of ground ball plays at first base. The first baseman puts his foot on the white and the batter-runner hits the orange--to avoid collisions or stepping on the first basemans foot. Although some umps don't call it the rule is supposed to be if the batter-runner touches the white base he or she is automatically out on an infield play at first. If the batter gets a base hit or hits a fly ball in the of he/she may touch either bag,.
Not having played since Phoenix,I'm not familar with this new rule that is being elluded to here.
March 1, 2010
ballplayer
Men's 50
5 posts
Changing the rule would be OK, but if you're going to change it, don't just add an orange bag at third or make it OK to stand on them. You aren't any further away or safer just for being in foul ground (unless your hitters always hit fair balls). Go with the rule that you can stand anywhere in foul ground but must then hit the base after contact before advancing.
March 1, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
lemons, if safety was a major concern the special bats wouldn't be allowed. So clearly safety takes a backseat to the egos of middle-age and older guys.
March 2, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
Dirty, As I close in on 65, my ego has slowly deflated. I have also come to realize that we're no longer indestructable. Anything that allows umpires to make game-changing decisions arbitrarily ought to be dealt with.
March 2, 2010
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
This is not a new rule nor is it a new interpretation of the rule. I was at the backstop observing when the call was made and it was correctly made. While it was an unfortunate time in the game, there is nothing that I remember in the rulebook referring to "if it's the bottom of the 7th with 2 outs and the bases loaded, this call is not to be made because it's a "cheap out"". The base runner in question, did not have either foot on the white bag when the pitch was thrown and thus was in violation of the rule. Same case as though he were standing on the dirt. In a sparkling show of sportsmanship, Mr Gary also ran over to the administrative table yelling about a BS call and we didn't travel this far to get called out for something stupid like that then turned around and ran back to his dugout. A rule is a rule and you cannot judge an umpire to be deficient for calling the play as it was seen. Also, it's nice to tell the whole story when you tell it. And that, folks, is the rest of the story...
March 2, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
So what, it's still ridiculous to call it.
March 4, 2010
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
No sir, I disagree with you on that one. It is a rule on the books that has been there for a very long time. What is ridiculous is to be playing the game for as long as all of us have and not know the rule. The rules knowledge of a large number of the participants in senior softball is amazingly limited.

How is it any different than any other rule that we have played all our lives with? If you are on 2d base and the pitch is thrown, don't you have to be in contact with the base? Maybe 3rd base is different? Ah, it's because of the pull hitter at the plate, so why didn't you hit a double instead?
March 4, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
Because a rule has been on the books a long time doesn't make it right. While I agree with the safety enforcement of the base and this rule, I disagree with the part requiring the runner to leave from the white base. It also preoccupies the umpire from staying in touch with the general circumstances of the game.
March 4, 2010
Dbax
Men's 60
1299 posts
Just because you disagree with the rule does not make it ridiculous to call it. The umpire was absolutely 100% correct in calling it. This was the TOC, not a friendly pick up game.
March 4, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
Dbax, you are correct. Not having played since Phoenix from what I gather of what happened, the ump was correct in his ruling. We all have opinions on rules but in the final analysis a rule is a rule. They're drawn up for a reason. If they're not enforced then why have rules?
March 4, 2010
DCPete
242 posts
OK; so what's the reason for this rule?
It ain't the same as standing on the dirt cuz that would allow a runner to actually take a lead whereas the orange bag is further from 2nd base.
Does the orange bag suddenly become "unsafe" once the runner has reached 1st base?
March 4, 2010
Dbax
Men's 60
1299 posts
The orange bag is there to avoid collisions when one is running straight through. It is not there to provide a safe area to stand in once on base.
It is very simple to keep ones toe on the white base and remain mostly in foul ground.
March 5, 2010
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2734 posts
The 2010 SPA rule book states:
"The runner may maintain contact with either base (orange or white) once they are safe at 1st base."
It's unclear to me if this means immediately after the play at first or if it means the runner has a choice of bags while he is on that base.
March 5, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
DCPete, the intent of the rule is for safety purposes. 1)Batter runner crashing into a first baseman on a play at first. 2)Batter runner stepping on a first basemans foot or ankle upon reaching the base 3)Batter runner running into the left arm of a first baseman (I've seen this personally) on a throw up the line.
Believe it or not even at the upper levels there are those who don't play first base properly and this is where a high amount of injuries occur.
Since 2nd base is a step further if a base runner is on the orange safety bag first oh well. Put on the afterburners.
March 5, 2010
Lecak
Men's 55
1012 posts
Stick how is everything. Some laws in Michigan for you since if they are not enforced why have rules

No man may seduce and corrupt an unmarried girl, or else he risks five years in prison.

Where is Clawson remind me not to visit
There is a law that makes it legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens.

Also apparently this is a real problem in Harper Woods
It is illegal to paint sparrows to sell them as parakeets
And in Detroit here is one for you.
It is illegal to let your pig run free in Detroit unless it has a ring in its nose.
You folks in Michigan know how to party.
March 5, 2010
SSUSA Staff
1320 posts
We'll add this as an agenda/discussion item for the SSUSA Rules Committee meetings at the 2010 SSUSA Annual Convention in Tucson in early December ... In the meantime, base runners are advised to be in contact with a white base (those located in fair territory within the field of play) at the time a pitch is being delivered ... Thank you!
March 5, 2010
DCPete
242 posts
Stick; understood, the orange bag does help in keeping the batter & 1B from injuring each other.
But once the batter is safe & becomes a runner, there's no safety issue as to which bag he occupies & it's clear from what Bruce found in the actual Rules that the ump blew that call in the TOC!!
Question: when the ump missed the call, could the manager ask the ump to show him the rule in the rule book & would the ump be forced to reverse the call when he found out he was wrong?
March 5, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Does the TOC use SPA rules. That was the book Bruce cited.
March 5, 2010
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Seems to me that the rule was called correctly, but I wonder why the rule is in place except maybe to help the umpire know where a runner is standing.

In our league play, we allow a runner to stand OFF the base in foul territory at either 1st or 3rd, as long as they touch the bag before advancing. This ruling protects the runner from the habitual dead pull hitter (as a pitcher I always pitch these guys inside for the foul ball out), and at the same time helps the defense since the runner has to take an extra step or two before advancing forward. Who is harmed?
March 5, 2010
Dbax
Men's 60
1299 posts
Dirty is correct. Obviously SPA rules are not used in the TOC.
March 6, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
The rule is in place because it has been for DECADES. When on base, you stand ON THE BASE until the ball is hit. That is fundamental softball.

Why do guys want to once again change a fundamental rule because of the special bats? Let's just keep throwing the baby out with the bath water. :(

March 6, 2010
Mr. Manassas
230 posts
It would just make it simple for the umpire that's all. I agree change it!!! Has nothing to do with the bats!!
March 6, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
Common sense indicates that no advantage is gained by the runner if he or she chooses to use the orange base from first base. Why the rule?
March 6, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
Things are good Joe. Hope all is well with you.
Nothing suprises me about laws and ordinances--if you took the time to look you would find strange ones just about everywhere.
You may already know but if you don't Gekle Builders is no more. Some weird bs went on so Ray decided to hang it up. I think he's going to run a local league team one night a week and that's it. I'll be with OKI Players 50 major plus year. We'll play 6 or 7 tourneys. I think Vegas and definitely Phoenix are in the plans.
Who you running with this year?
March 6, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
DCPete, you would be right if the TOC uses SPA rules. From what I've read they use SSUSA rules.
Putting on my umpire cap I can only answer your question for USSSA only. And that answer would be yes. You can ask the ump to get the UIC of the tournament and have him make the final ruling. In this vain I can't say what Senior Softball does because I'm unfamiliar with their protocall. In USSSA the main criteria is to get it right.
Personally in this scenario I feel they should be able to stand on the orange bag if they choose. It sounds like the rule says white bag so it's white bag, no matter how you, I or anyone else feels. If I was umping and I saw it I would have made the same exact call.
March 6, 2010
DCPete
242 posts
Stick; thanx for answering the question about what the manager can do in the event of a questionable call.
For the record, the SSUSA rules online state that the runner must maintain contact with the white bag but they don't give any info about what happens when the runner touches the orange bag instead. This explains why their staff says they will discuss at the 2010 meeting.
March 7, 2010
stick8
1325 posts
DCPete, you could correlate that with another part which says on all ground balls where there is a play at first the batter runner must touch the orange safety bag. If they touch the white bag it's an automatic out. Many umps don't call that.
With the rule as you elluded to the ump made the correct call in the situation described at the top of the thread. It's unfortunate it came at the worst possible time.
March 14, 2010
teddyballgame
1 posts
As an Asa umpire for 15 years and a uic in michigan for 5 i hate to make that call but i have if the ball is pitched you have to have 1 or 2 feet on the base, and this as a player has happened to mebut i froze and waited to let the ball pass me, yea i lost a step or 2 but it didn't hit me then it's dead ball no one moves up, i myself would not like to make that call.
March 15, 2010
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
its a rule, why would an ump not make this call if they saw it,i would not want you doing any game of mine if your gonna just make the calls you want to.you see it you call it,thats it.
March 15, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
Because he is more concerned about rules that have a bearing on the game. Players also must wear at least a six inch number on their jerseys. Should he call a player out for only having a four inch number?
March 15, 2010
birdie
Men's 60
687 posts
mad dog, The way I read the ump's post, He said that he would not like to make the call, not that he would not make the call. Big difference. Thanks Harry
March 15, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Jawood, so you want a sport in which umps arbitrarily decide on a game by game and perhaps play by play basis what rules matter and which don't?

You are kidding, right?
March 15, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
Just making the point that it doesn't matter what color of base you stand on at first and it won't ruin the sport if an ump doesn't call it.
March 16, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
I sort of see what you are saying, but still rules as they are written need to be enforced without interpretation by the umps of what is a "good" and "bad" rule.

And keep in mind the orange base is only there for plays involving the batter at first. Otherwise it really doesn't exist.
March 16, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
855 posts
It would depend on which side of the field you are on, if you are playing defense you go home happy, if you are on offense you go home pissed.
Good rule or bad its, for now, still an enforceable rule. Where it happened shouldnt hold anymore gravity then if it were a league or pickup game.
March 16, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
The good thing about this thread is we all should know to park our butts on the white bag!
March 17, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
True, but I thought we already knew. It is pretty basic. I get amazed at guys our ages who just don't really understand basic rules.
March 17, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
855 posts
Short term memory loss Gary, the second thing to go. =)
March 18, 2010
Walli Gator
Men's 50
2 posts
Hey guys, I have a lot of experience with the rules. My brother was a minor league ump for many years and wrote a book which is still used today for helping umpires deal with the "grey" areas in the baseball rule book.
There is a reason the rule exists that you must have one foot on any base - and it exists in baseball as well. At first base, there is an additional advantage. If you stand, let's say 6 feet in foul territory when the ball is pitched, you can gain an advantage by timing the pitch and the batter's swing. If done properly, you can have a couple steps in before you hit the bag and you would be moving at a faster speed than if you simply start to run from a standing position with a foot on the bag.
And if they say you can start in foul territory at first, then you should be able to start behind the bag at any base. Now all kinds of crazy things can happen like starting two or three steps from second base so you could actually put yourself in a position to screen a second baseman from the ball if he is playing up the middle. So there is a reason for a runner to be required to have a foot on the bag.
March 18, 2010
SLOBALL1
Men's 50
173 posts
Walli if I read your post correctly.If you must have one foot on the base -in Baseball.You're saying that you can't lead-off?
March 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Yea, the baseball example was bad unless he is talking very young little league.

But he makes a good point about what would happen if guys could start in foul territory in softball.
March 18, 2010
DCPete
242 posts
?????
The issue was never about standing 6 feet in foul territory or about blocking anyone's view at 2nd base.
The issue was the orange bag at 1st base which technically is in fair territory just like the 2nd home plate is due to safety considerations.
Actually, it would be "safer" if the runner had to stand on the orange bag as they would be less likely to block the 1st baseman's view on a ground ball or line drive fair ball.
March 18, 2010
SSUSA Staff
1320 posts
The "issue" is whether or not the Rules Committee thinks it's important enough an objection to change one of the fundamental rules of softball since 'Day 1': The Runner is to be in contact with a base, in the field of play any time a pitch is being delivered. Those would be white bases. It will be on the agenda in Tucson for discussion.
March 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Pete, what part of "fair territory" is the orange bag in?

If a batter ball hit the orange bag it is a foul ball. How is any part of that fair?

And the second home plate, silly as it is, is also in FOUL territory.

Staff, just my opinion but this issues is not important at all, certainly not enough to change as you said a fundamental rule of the game. And just to accommodate the need for special bats. I hope not.
March 19, 2010
DCPete
242 posts
Dirty; agreed that the orange bag & 2nd home plate are outside the foul lines which is why I said they are only "technically fair" since the runners are allowed to use them.
But this raises an issue with the Staff's statement that it's a fundamental rule for the "runner to be in contact with a base in the field of play any time a pitch is being delivered" since it also was always a fundamental rule since Day 1 for the runner to have to touch Home Plate in order to score a run.
March 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
It is true that senior softball has changed a number of the "fundamental rules" that we grew up with, your example being just one of them.

I would hope, though, that someone draws a line somewhere and stops changing the game from what it was intended to be and how it is still played by those under 50.
March 19, 2010
diehard
Men's 55
245 posts
It is my opinion that Senior Softball and the rules that govern Senior Softball, should not now nor ever should have been compared to the rules of the game of softball that we all grew up playing. I believe Senior Softball, and the rules that govern it was brought about by seniors, who wanted to continue to play a brand of softball, as close to the game that we grew up playing, but with some added safety rules. So, while Senior Softball allows Men and Women over the age of 50 to still enjoy a game that they grew up playing, and do not wish to stop doing, it is NOT the same game, and does not have the same rules!
March 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
No it doesn't have the same rules, but it is not like it can't or shouldn't. Let's be honest, we are talking SLOW-pitch softball, by its very nature not a very demanding or dangerous game.

There is a bit of hypocrisy in that post, in that safety is an alleged concern yet seniors are allowed to use special bats not allowed for most everyone under 50.

So let's again be honest, safety is NOT a prime concern of many. Either that, or the fragile egos of many old men insist on using the technology of others to do in their 50s and 60s what many weren't able to do in their 20s and 30s.
March 19, 2010
diehard
Men's 55
245 posts
There is no hypocrisy in that post. Some added safety rules was the phrase I used. How is that hypocritical if the vast majority of Senior players choose not to see things your way? I have played Senior Softball since 2002. Not once in any of my league games, or in any of the 15 major tournaments that I play each year, close to 200 games per year,coast to coast, have I ever seen a player seriously injured from the use of senior bats! That does not say that it does not happen, I'm Sure it does. But I have seen players get serously injured from collisions with other players, or fences that they have run into. So do we outlaw fences? Should we all wear foam rubber helmets to protect us from head on collisions with other players? How do we stop those Gary? So the rules that have been implemented are rules that can be put in place to avoid injury. In 1992 I got seriously injured by a ball hit off of a bat, and I needed reconstructive surgery to repair my mouth and facial area. That was long before composite bats were even on the market. The bat used was a Steele's bat. Put your facts on the table, show out of all of the Seniors playing the game today who play in games that allow the use of Senior bats, what the player to injury ratio is. If you can prove that more players are injured each year from the use of Senior bats,than by any other injury that may occur in a Senior Softball game, then it is something that all in Senior Softball should be concerned with. If you can't, and I don't think you can, then I believe it's time to move on to another subject. I am sorry for getting off of the original topic of this post, but we play by Senior Softball rules, which are different than the rules of the game we played growing up. If you don't like the rules that Senior Softball uses, don't play!
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