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Discussion: When a Pitcher is not a defensive player...

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June 7, 2011
STORM 33
5 posts
When a Pitcher is not a defensive player...
During a game in Reno, with men on 1st and 2nd, the batter grounds a hard shot up the middle to the right of the Pitcher. He stabs at the ball, it kicks off his glove and careens into the runner advancing from 2nd to 3rd.

The call was: dead ball, runner that was hit by the ball that deflected off a defensive player's glove (in this case the Pitcher) is out! After a protest is lodged, the 2nd umpire and the on-site Tournament Director concur in the ruling.

I have a hard time believing that this was a correct ruling. I'm going to have a harder time accepting the possibility that this is actually correct. Didn't we just spend a year trying to find ways to protect a player - the Pitcher - who, in the light of this ruling doesn't even exist as a defensive player on the field?

Appreciate your thoughts.
June 7, 2011
#6
Men's 60
1183 posts
STORM33,
After it hit the pitchers glove.........the runner should not of been called out.I think that's right, Doker, where are you for this answer ?
June 7, 2011
Smokey20
Men's 55
102 posts
Once the batted ball is touched by a defender ball is live, all advance at own risk. If runner obstructs the defense or purposely makes contact with the ball, defferent story.
June 8, 2011
stick8
1299 posts
Storm33 in your described scenario the umpire was wrong. Once the pitcher either makes a legitimate attempt to field the ball or the ball deflects off his glove (as you describe) the base runner is not out when if the ball hits him. It's a live ball and play continues.
June 8, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
stick got one of those for me this year playing the kids,ball hit out to my right and barely got a glove on it and it deflected into the runner,ump called him out and the runner even thought he was out.it was for the 3rd out of the inning,i just made a beeline to the dugout and didn't bother to say anything....LOL....

ump was a young rookie.
June 8, 2011
stick8
1299 posts
I can understand why you made that beeline!! That ump was wrong but being a rookie that should only happen once to him. What many don't understand is it doesn't have to hit the pitcher. As long as in the umpires judgement the pitcher made a legitimate attempt to field the ball the runners are ok.
June 8, 2011
STORM 33
5 posts
Thanks for the feedback gentlemen. There was no obstruction or deliberate contact with the ball by the runner. The ruling seemed to revolve around the Pitcher having no status as a defensive player. Never heard of such a thing. One umpire indicated that the ball must pass by (or strike) an infielder before coming in contact with a runner for the runner not to be ruled out. In this instance, the Pitcher was ruled as having no standing as a defensive fielder. The 2nd umpire initially disagreed but subsequently concurred - and the TD on site supported the decision.

I'd like some feedback from SSUSA Staff as to where such a ruling can be found.
June 8, 2011
stick8
1299 posts
Storm33, what the second umpire initially thought in your scenario was right. Now if a ball is rocketed up the middle where the pitcher had no time to make a legitimate attempt to field the ball then if it strikes a base runner off the base he can be ruled out. But this strictly the umpires judgement.
June 8, 2011
STORM 33
5 posts
stick8, This then must have been the basis for their decision although they made no attempt to clarify the point. The play occured because the Pitcher was attempting to field the ball and it glanced off his glove. Bad call / worse communication / questionable judgement - questionable rule.
June 8, 2011
Joncon
289 posts
Actually, there is a time where the pitcher is not an infielder.

The ump was A) confused or B) he didn't see the ball hit the pitchers glove.


When a runner, off the bag is struck by an UNTOUCHED batted ball that hasn't passed an infielder (except pitcher) the runner is out.

Example: If an infielder (except pitcher) is playing in front of the baseline and the ball gets by him and hits the runner, he's not out.
June 10, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1983 posts
Stick8-you have it right. Take a look at the logical side-a runner should never be out out on a ball deflecting off a defenders glove. Getting hit by an untouched batted ball is one thing, but a deflection? I can't think of one play that would be the right call. You probably have one, though-don't you?
June 10, 2011
stick8
1299 posts
Storm33 plain and simple the call was incorrect.That ump being a rookie probably had one of those moments. When I started out years ago I had plenty of those moments!! And on occasion still do, although players might feel it's a lot more than on occasion lol
I am however curious why the tournament director agreed with the call.
June 10, 2011
STORM 33
5 posts
Stick 8 - Thanks again, however I don't believe the umpires were rookies, just wrong in this instance. In truth, they did a solid job and they hustled, one can't ask for more than that. SSUSA Staff: I've asked you previously for a reply on this ruling. I have specifically avoided naming the TD. I don't want the issue to be tagged as personal with anyone - it's not - I just believe the ruling was wrong and that this is an opportunity for a 'teachable moment'.
June 10, 2011
stick8
1299 posts
Webbie25 I can't think of any situation like has been described where the runner is called out.
I had a play 2 weeks ago in a USSSA Class C nit. First and second two out. Batter hit a slow bouncer toward short. Shortstop charged it, the ball hopped over his glove and hit the runner going from second to third in the back of his foot. The play is still live. It actually helped the defensive team because that runner had to stop at third because it deflected right to the middle infielder otherwise that runner may have scored. The next guy flew out.
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