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Discussion: What's the call

Posted Discussion
Jan. 19, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
399 posts
What's the call
What’s the call?
This happened to me last year while playing first base. Ball was hit to RF and runner at 2nd base trying for home. RF threw the ball to home going through me at 1st base so I could cut the ball if needed. Heard a voice yell “eat it”. I cut the ball and turned around and it turned out to be the runner who had yelled “eat it”. I think we would have had a play at home had I not cut it.
I asked the Umpire at 2nd base about it and he said nah...just play ball. I maintain it was verbal interference and the runner who scored should have been called out.
Jan. 19, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Sounds like a fine play to me. I go with the ump on this one.

Maybe there is a rule that covers this, not sure. But if there is there probably shouldn't be.
Jan. 19, 2011
Russell
1 posts
if the umpire heard the runner yell then i as an umpire would have called verbel interference especially if there was a play to be made on the runner going home
Jan. 19, 2011
hitman
Men's 65
306 posts
Absolutely verbal interference and the runner closest to the plate is out.
We had this called in Plano in 2005 for a runner screaming into the fielders face/ear as he was about to make a play. The female field umpire made the call but took the wrong runner off the bases. After a short discussion it was corrected.

The Hitman
Jan. 19, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Enviro-Vac, SSUSA might be different but the way you described the scenario I would say in USSSA the ump is correct. To be fair I'll look it up in both the SSUSA and USSSA rule books. We used to call a play like that a sucker play. Nothing personal but I believe the batter-runner suckered you into that one. I did see a simila sucker player happen to Derek Jeter a couple years ago so your in good company lol.
Your catcher should make a loud call to cut it or let it go.
Jan. 19, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
yes verbal interference,stick there is a interference for verbal yak.all the ump has to determine is,did the player doing the yelling stop a player from continuing his play.also think it can go both ways(offense or defense),ump has to hear it tho.

this came up on another softball board where some umps were asked.
Jan. 20, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
We had it come up with a catcher yelling illegal during the pitch and the umpire called verbal interference and told us the offensive team cannot interfere by making umpires calls or defensive communication on plays. Section 1.43 in the SSUSA rule book says "Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member which impedes or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play." This would apply to verbal interference, too.
Jan. 20, 2011
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
Verbal interference! No room for it in senior softball.
Plays like that show a lack of integrity and respect for the game of softball.
Shame on those who would support this type of disception. It's nothing more than another out in the open way to attempt to cheat your fellow competitors.
Jan. 20, 2011
jolly52
Men's 55
49 posts
Ok first off I would never want this enforced unless it is blatant... to many guys running the bases tell runners ahead of them to stop or go and if an infielder hears it wrong he cuts the ball or lets it go and your called out or another runner??? The catcher I can see not saying illegal or a infielder telling a runner to slide which might cause an injury but as long as I have played the game ball players jaw at each other and if you don't have your head in the game than you better start paying attention to who saying what and how many outs there our...
Jan. 20, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
Jolly-they are not referring to something like runners yelling at each other to communicate-it's the offensive player yelling "CUT" when a throw comes in because he know his teammate is going to be out-or a catcher yelling "ILLEGAL" and the batter taking strike 3 because he thought it was the ump. You think we would have outgrown stuff like that, but I still see it occasionally.
Stick8- you are always on top of these things--do you agree?
Jan. 20, 2011
Jose #12
Men's 60
86 posts
I had a similiar play happen to me Re: verbal interference. I am a LH hitter and hit what I thought was a ball directly over the 1B bag (playing young guys, no second bag). I started running to first but from behind me I heard foul ball. I turned to look around and realized it was the catcher who called the ball foul. By the time I turned again the ball had been retrieved and thrown to first. The umpire called me out and a spirited argument ensued.

Our manager protested and quoted some ASA rule (not sure there really is one)about decieving the other team (similiar to faking a tag). The umpire reveresed his call and awarded me first base.

Is there really a specific rule re: verbal interference or is it just a respect type rule.
Jan. 20, 2011
Amicone
Men's 60
12 posts
You guys need to keep your heads in the game. In college ball we were taught as third basemen to get behind the coach on a fly ball and tell the runner to go before ball was caught, trying to get them to leave early. No disrespect for the game, just gamesmanship. Worked a couple of times once against a nationally ranked college team, no one cried about it and I was congratulated by a coach from a major university who had won several National Championships on what a good job that was. Didn't work most of the time, because players knew to listen only to the coach. Not cheating just getting that little extra edge that winning teams take advantage of, like Jeter getting hit on the hand.....Trying to get someone hurt on the other hand is not right. You don't fake the tag, but an infielder does try to make the runner think the ball is on the ground instead of a fly if he knows how to play the game. Little things make a big differance.
Jan. 20, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
AMICONE,not sure about baseball(as per the puke-rod incident),but there is an interference/obstruction call for verbalizing to make the other side do something to favor you in softball,not all assoc have it,but a lot do.
Jan. 21, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Jose #12 I don't know if there is a rule on that in ASA, in USSSA there isn't anything specific on that. The situation you describe is where your first base coach comes in. He should be watching the umps signal and telling you to keep running. One thing the coach or manager can do is alert the umpire about that and then the ump can warn the opposing team about any verbal interference.
Jan. 21, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Webbie thanks for the props but I don't think I'm on top of everything. Just when you think you've seen it all a play will happen that defies logic. I would agree with you on the "illegal" call on the batter but not on the "cut' call for a baserunenr.
Jan. 21, 2011
Jose #12
Men's 60
86 posts
I agree in theory, but when you hear a distinct "foul ball" call, you assume it's the umpire.

You have to remember, these were young guys, and it didn't take much hesitation on my part for the RF to get to the ball and get me at first.

It won't happen again but this action definately escalated into a full-scale shouting match.
Jan. 21, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Amicone I couldn't agree more, especially about players being trained to listen to only the coach. A couple years ago in the College WS I saw a pick off attempt at first. The first baseman scooped up the low throw and then started running away like the ball got by him. Then the runner took off toward second. Then they got the runner in a run down and after a couple throws tagged him out. Perfect sucker play. I don't know if the first base coach was hollering at the runner to stay at first or not but I'd bet when the runner got back to the dugout the manager gave him a tongue lashing.
Jan. 21, 2011
Omar Khayyam
999 posts
Ah, such perfect conditions: quality ears that can distinguish one's coach or teammates from all other voices; the luxury of having the same teammate coaching at first and at third every game for 100 games in a row (as in college or professional baseball); distinguishing the shouting umpire's voice that you have never heard from the voices of a dozen other opposing players that you have also never heard before.

I admit there is a role for gamesmanship in senior softball (an outfielder holding a runner on base by acting as though he is going to catch a fly when he knows it will drop in front of him), but shouting phony instructions or simulating an umpire's call goes beyond gamesmanship in my estimation. It's verbal interference and rightly called by umps in my experience.

Enviro-Vac, you were right.
Jan. 21, 2011
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
I believe you guys are mixing up the difference between what you refer to as gamesmanship -vs- interference whether it be verbal or physical.
Jeter making pretend he got hit on the hand isn't interference or even close.
You don't need a coach on third most times to tell you when to tag as you can see the ball and the catch. Coaches are primarily used when the ball is behind the runner and you can't see it.
I played college ball and pro ball and back then you would've got one stuck in your ear for stuff outside the gamesmanship category.
Webbie, I agree with you, think as seniors we would've outgrown stuff like verbal interference.
Stick8, the play you describe is gamesmanship not intereference.
I'm all for gamesmanship and I'd certainly rather win with my bat and glove while playing within the confines of the rules.
Jan. 21, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Exactly AI33, how anyone would think that would be interference is beyond me. The one I use quite often is if I'm playing infield and a line drive comes at me but over my head. I'll jump up and holler "I got it" and then pound my glove to make it sound like a catch. Every so often I'll freeze a base runner so he doesn't score from second. Save a run here, save a run there just might allow your team to be on the winning side of a 1 run game.
Jan. 21, 2011
Amicone
Men's 60
12 posts
No I agree on the verbal interference, especially if the runner yells in the fielders face, that is interference. I just thought it was funny that a LH hitter would listen to the catcher when the ball is in front of him and the RF threw him out. Run it through then go argue. You know that is what was about to happen. Just wanted to make a point that it is fun and there are little things that make it even more fun. Like I said telling the runner to go at third early in forty plus years has only worked a couple of times. As long as you don't do something to get anyone hurt it's not BUSH, and most of the people on this board and who play in the tournaments are not BUSH. That's why we keep playing, we all were pretty good in our day and we still enjoy it. And most of you are still pretty darn good ball players. For old guys
Jan. 21, 2011
Jose #12
Men's 60
86 posts
I disagree, I think the whole thing was bush. The ball went right over the bag (in my opinion) but I've seen worse calls over the years. Why would you continue running when you hear foul ball. Maybe you have eyes in the back of your head and maybe you can tell the difference between the catcher and the umpire's voice. If you think so, so be it. Obviously the umpire didn't think it to be gamesmanship.
Jan. 21, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
399 posts
This is as close to a definition as I could find:

SSUSA RULE BOOK: 1.43 INTERFERENCE
Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member
which impedes or confuses a defensive player attempting to
execute a play
===============
Found this in SPN Rule Book Canada (where I play)

EFFECT Sec. 4 I The baserunner is also out If he physically and/or verbally interferes with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball or
intentionally interferes physically and/or verbally with a thrown ball.
Jan. 21, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
amicone,i would say yes it is verbal interference,as the batter/runner will often stop when the foul ball is called,now tell me you wouldn't if that call came from behind you. 99% of all of us(righties and lefties) would most likely stop in that situation with a ball on the line,to me that is really bush for someone to imitate the ump,as in a fair ball he says nothing.we as the batters listen for the call when it is close like that,hear nothing you keep running,hear foul and you stop....

stick on your play that is something a runner can see for themselves and not have to depend on the ump to let them know.we all should be freezing on a line drive any ways,so to me that is no trickery or interference.

ai33 i think we a talking about puke-rod yelling at the 3rd basemen on a pop-up.
Jan. 22, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
That should be true mad dog but you'd ebe suprised how many runners I've caught doing that. Sonme runners just turn there head and run before seeing it thru.
Jan. 22, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
stick,had a pitcher yell foul on a ball down the line,earlier this year playing with the kids.i was the 3b coach and had to yell at him to keep running,he had stopped and had to return to 2b as by now he wasn't gonna be able to keep moving and get to 3rd.i ask the ump about it and he just stared at me lie i was an alien,wheni told him there is a such thing as verbal interference.

are you coming down to the TOC,wouldn't mind yaking with ya about some of these rules.i don't ump hardly any more,just some outlaw tourney's when needed and ya know how that goes...
Jan. 23, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
Stick8-I know yelling cut isn't really interference, but my hearing is so bad I cannot tell who yells it if I hear it at all. Making like you are going to catch a fly when you aren't is a good move if you can sell it.I've done that many times. But yelling 'foul ball' on one that is fair should be verbal interference, because everyone will stop-even for a second at the yell. You have to be able to hear and separate an umpires call. There is a point where gamesmanship and unsportsmanlike conduct separate.
Jan. 23, 2011
tg69
309 posts
maybe the ones that agree thats a good play for the catcher to yell foul ball and to call illegal pitch are the same ones that think your best defensive player should be your catcher.Some people just have a different mind set than most.
Jan. 23, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
no tg69,but you can't have a slug back there.maybe he doesn't have to be the most athletic guy,but he does need to be some what smart on the ways of playing the game,as i said,on a hit he is the only guy who can see the whole field,and must be able to communicate where a throw should go.
oh yelling illegal or foul to me is very unsportsmanlike,and should warrant an ejection if done after being warned.
Jan. 23, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Mad Dog I'd probably side with the ump in that situation but I wouldn't stare at you like you were an alien :). You could ask the ump to warn the other team about that and he could issue a warning.
In reality the scenario would be no different than if the third baseman yelled foul ball--he may have honestly thought it was foul. As a coach you did the right thing to yell at your runner to keep running and he should because if it's really a foul ball he can stop and go back to second without penalty.
Unfortunately I won't be at the TOC, our team didn't qualify. I thought about coming down to ump but I officiate high school basketball and I'm loaded up with games on the dates of the tournament. If for any other reason I'd love to come down just to get away from the frigid weather where I'm at--it's 9 degrees right now!! Good luck to you and your team down there!
Jan. 23, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Webbie unfoertunately the rules don't account for those who are hearing impaired. Your correct about there being a point between gamesmanship and unsportsmanlike. I believe most of us know where that line is drawn.
Let's say a batter hits one in the gap. He's running to second and either the ss or 2nd baseman is at second hunched over with his glove out looking like a throw is coming in for a play on the runne--no fake tag motion, he just doesn't move. The runner stops at second and then realizes he could have easily made it to third because the throw was late coming in. He gets ticked off because obviously he got suckered by the fielder. In your view is this gamesmnaship or unsportsmanlike by the defensive team?
Jan. 23, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
stick, in that case no doubt that is gamesmanship, and a fine job of it.

If the runner (a) does not know to run with his head up and/or (b) does not know to watch/listen to his third base coach then he should be ticked off. At himself.
Jan. 23, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
yeah stick it was what i was really wanting to have done(give the other team a warning).not really with the 3b doing it,as most can hear that it is not coming from near the plate area.
the play that maybe a ball is coming in to me is not unsportsmanlike IMO(as long as you don't fake tag it).i do things like that a lot,but when you make an ump call,to me that is grounds to be tossed for unsportsmanlike conduct.
usssa used to have a rule for that on lines dropped on purpose by an inf'er(late 80's or so),seen it called against a team we were playing as they were gonna do that and get a DP they thought,ump tossed the SS who did it.
Jan. 23, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Toss a guy for dropping a ball? Now umps are going to read minds and decide if it was intentional? Wow, what a slippery slope.
Jan. 24, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
Hey, Stick8-nice question. I am one of the loudest critics of the fake tag play. Dangerous! But, in your case there, I think gamesmanship. As a runner coming around first and going into second, you have the whole field in front of you. I personally never listen (especially being hearing impaired) to coaches when running to first or second and make my decisions on my own. If a batter/runner cannot see where the ball is at that point, it is his fault for not running with his head up. If the play is behind me, then it is up to me to pick up the third base coach. This play is the opposite of the guy pretending the throw is not coming in and duping the runner into taking it easy.
Jan. 24, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
webbie,the just standing there like a ball is not coming,i thought is standard procedure..LOL....i try to do that all the time,and hopefully the runner will fall for it and slow up thinking he has it easy.
Jan. 24, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Gary19, exactly right. Every once in a while I'll catch someone doing that. Suprisingly more seniors are prone to being fooled then the kids.
Jan. 24, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Mad Dog I believe they call that "making a travesty of the game". Consider these scenarios:
A)Runner on first one out. Line drive to the middle infielder. He intentionally bats it down, picks up the ball, steps on second, flips to first for a dp. Is this legal?
B)Same situation as A except a pop up. He intentionally bats it down, steps on second then flips to first for a dp. Is this legal?
C)Same situation as B except the infielder lets the ball drop, picks it up on the bounce, steps on second throws to first for a dp. Is this legal?
Jan. 24, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Webbie25 your exactly right. Hopefully runners won't "blow a tire" taking third. lol
All the years of playing should teach us, if anything else, to develop instincts of what to do in certain situations. Understandably sometimes we can't execute it physically but that's just the nature of getting older. Everyone makes mistakes (mine are usually more glaring than most lol) but it should serve as a learning experience. I've long felt mistakes are actually opportunities in disguise.
Jan. 24, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
stick, none of those are 'legal'. The problem is to judge intent. If the balls are batted down as you describe, those are pretty easy to detect.

But there are much more subtle ways to drop a ball and achieve the same result. A smart infielder is going to make those much harder to determine.
Jan. 24, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Absolutely Gary19. There are a only select few who have mastered the art of dropping the ball in a subtle manner and as an ump it's tough call to determine.
Please note scenario "C" is legal (perhaps not in SSUSA, I'd have to look that up). Many batters will stand at the plate after they hit a infield pop up figuring their going to be out. Sometimes an alert infielder will notice that and let the ball bounce then turn a dp. There's no infield fly rule with only a man on first. That's one of many reasons why they always say "run it out"
Jan. 24, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
stick depends on the assoc you play in when this all happens,ASA consider any of those ok to do,they define a catch as a ball securely caught and held,so any of those would be ok,unless the ump is good at his game,and sees what is happening.usssa is a different horse tho,they are the ones who will call it quicker.
tell me this.outfielder traps a ball between his side and his elbow,runs with it there and drops it when he gets to the INF,picks it up and starts forcing people on the bases(lets say bases loaded),yes or no.
Jan. 25, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
Hey-stick8-have seen all of those plays many times. The third one is legal and a smart infielder will catch a 'disgusted' batter occasionally not running it out and get the DP. The first one is a judgment call, but I err on the side of the runners unless I am very sure he just did not catch it, as opposed to try to make it look like he didn't.
Section 8.2-Sec.I-Reads as regular intentional fly rule, but doesn't touch on just a runner on first, so I assume letting a popup fall with a man on first only is legal.
Jan. 26, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1981 posts
Intentional fly??? What was I on? I meant Infield fly. Duhhh?????
Jan. 26, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Webbie you are correct, C is 100% legal. A & B are not legal if the umpire deems it to be an intentional drop. Like gary19 said, some people are more subtle about that than others.
Jan. 26, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Mad dog that's an interesting scenario. I guess if I was umping I would have to see the play and make a judgement. If he secured the ball by trapping it between his elbow and side I'd probably call a catch--perhaps completing the process would factror in-lol. If the ball is juggling and not secure then I wouldn't call anything. Again I stress this would be a judgement call.
Jan. 26, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
stick this was discussed on another board,and for ASA it is legal(maybe a bad word to use,maybe OK is better word) for a outfielder to do this,as the definition for a legal catch in the outfield is "the ball must be securely in the fielders glove or held in his hand for it to be a catch" and this def was pulled from the ASA book.for this situation the umps said it was not a catch,then we got into a couple other things about tagging but that was a different discussion.we all knew once the ball was touch any and all runners could take off and run,but the way it was put out there the OF'er was fairly close to the INF when it happen,so no tag ups were done.
Jan. 26, 2011
stick8
1298 posts
Mad Dog I'm not familar with all the ASA rules since I'm not registered ASA. I'll see if I can find one and check it out.
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