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Discussion: Pitching Arc Limits

Posted Discussion
June 10, 2011
Uncle Mike
Men's 55
44 posts
Pitching Arc Limits
This is getting to be old very quickly !! The umpires aren't calling the lower "illegal" pitch at 6 feet, as the rule stipulates. It is more like 4 feet. So why don't we just change the pitching limits to reflect what the umpires are actually calling.

When we played in Menifee, Ca. the limits were 6 to 14 feet. When we played in Laughlin, it was 4-9 feet. We just got back from Reno, it was 3- 8 feet.
So I say to go with the majority and call it at 4- 8 feet.
June 10, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Mike, I have a feeling you don't have a clue how low 3' is. Or 4'. Or even 6'

Just wondering. What makes you think your eyes can accurately detect how high any of those heights are? Or any at the upper limit for that matter?

You just don't have a clue how low 3' is. Most pitches leave the hand at roughly 3' off the ground. They get to 6' MUCH more easily than you think.
June 10, 2011
PlanoPlayer
Men's 55
70 posts
Hey Gary19 no disrespect in my comments that follow but most of us have been playing for 35 for 40 years straight or longer and have seen enough pitches to know when pitches are not being called correctly.

I think no one minds an occasional pitch that a player might think is high or low not being called, but when it is routine, there is a problem.

Here in TX, I feel we have a different problem in our tournaments. I believe our umps do not call the illegal high pitch enough giving the pitchers a pretty big advantage with pitches routinely being allowed that are over 15 feet high.

I agree with you in that it is very difficult for a player to be exact as to whether a pitch is 3 foot high or not, but at almost 6 ft, I am quite sure when a pitch is not over my head and I am also quite sure when an "approximate" 15 foot high pitch is higher than 12 feet.

I am just saying that many umps I see could do a beter job of calling illegal pitches. The rules say 6-12 feet and that is how the pitch should arc.
June 10, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I know what you are saying but

(a) many umps have been umping for many, many yesrs too, so they have seen as many pitches as we have.

(b) I just don't have reason to believe I or any other player can tell 12' ior 15'
any better than the ump.

Do they miss some? I am sure they do. Do we miss some too? Absolutley.

Bottom line is most teams make many more mistakes over the course of a game than the umps. They are easy to blame, but players have to take a look at themselves too.
June 10, 2011
stick8
1282 posts
Judging 6 ft from the ground for me is simple. I'm just over 6 ft tall so if the arc at the apex is my head height it's legal. Judging 12 ft is much tougher. There's no one set way to do it but many umps look up and if the pitch arc is above the bill of their cap then they'll call it illegal.
June 11, 2011
garyheifner
360 posts
I have been finding a different arc problem. The vast majority of the umps we have had in the midwest are good with the 6 foot arc as they judge off the pitchers hat pending approx. height. The problem I have is with the 12 foot max. There is not an ump in the known universe who has a clue as to what is 12 feet. I would rather see a 10 foot max. I think it would be easier for an ump to picture a yard stick and a little more over a pitchers head than to guess 12 feet. Had one ump that zeroed in at about 9 feet which killed our pitchers who like the higher arc. Had another in Phoenix that was giving a very high arc. After the game and many complaints, the ump said he was using a ledge on the mountain as his height guide. They actually brought out a tall ladder and set it up at the pitchers mound and measured. His arc was 16 and a half feet.
June 11, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
The truth is, while it can be a distraction, as long as the ump is consistent good pitchers and good hitters should be able to adjust.
June 11, 2011
Uncle Mike
Men's 55
44 posts
@Gary, my clue is that I am 6 feet tall and I have umpired for over 22 years. I was a certified senior softball official last year, as a pitcher I have continually analyzed pitches from the umpire position for decades. I have pitched USSSA, ASA, NSA, ISA, and SCMAF. My point is that each umpire calls their game based on his/ her regional association. My home town sends 6-8 umpires to many of the Southwestern Tournaments, we play 6 feet to 16 feet limits here in town. Whenever they umpire a team that plays ASA, the ASA Team takes exception with the strike zone because they pitches at higher limits. A USSSA umpire lets pitchers throw at lower limits because that's what they are used to calling. It's a fact.
@ Stick8- Exactly. We are taught to position our hat brim to what we deem to be 12 feet, don't move our head, and anything that goes over the brim is illegal. It takes some practice, but it is so easy to be consistent.

June 12, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Mike, your comment to stick is exactly what I am saying. Umps call what they "deem" to be 12 feet. They don't know for sure if it really is 12 anymore than the players do. Who really knows? Who has really measured? It is all what, players and umps alike, "deem" to be 12'. Or 3'. Or anything in-between.

The key, as you mentioned, is consistency. That is all a player can reasonably ask for.
June 12, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
personally,1)it is slow-pitch,2) the mat is 19"-34",3) the hitter knows exactly where the ball has to come into to be a strike.
why do we worry about a height limit with mat ball.it is already a hitters game,lets play on.this is as bad as the individual that is worried about a pitcher deceiving him in slow-pitch softball,it comes in at less than 25 mph,come guys lets play on.....
June 12, 2011
Mr. Manassas
227 posts
I think that alot of umpires have a certain amount of difficulty betweeen 5'6" and 6" as would all of us I assume.
It is the batter's job to deal with every umpires version of the strike zone. We all hope that the umpire will at least be consistant. I think that some of the problems lie with the fact that many of us are way more committed to the game than alot of umpires....I still think that most of them are trying to do the best that they can....Just my two cents...
June 12, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
mr manassas,you are so right.i have seen pitches any where from just barely getting above my belt level to,who knows how hi.as a batter i take a second to regroup and get ready to hit,no sense in saying anything,as the ump is not gonna change his/her mind.just play on.....
June 12, 2011
Joncon
289 posts
Mike. If you are an ump, you should KNOW that it's almost impossible to hit the plate/mat with a slow pitched softball on a pitch under 6'.


You lost ALL credibility with your claim of 3 and 4 foot pitches.

3 feet is about at your pelvis. 4 feet is about ar your sternum.

It would have to be a FAST PITCH ball to be 3 to 4 foot.

For the minimum, if the pitch rises abobe the pitchers head, it's over 6' high.

Your eyes are inches short of the 6' mark and the top of the pitchers head will generally be within inches of it.

A little bit of daylight under the ball and it's EASILY the 6' minimum.

As far as the high pitch? I work construction so it's second nature to me. You just need to learn what it looks like.
June 13, 2011
stick8
1282 posts
Mike (or anyone else), What is SCMAF?
June 13, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Joncon, why is that impossible? The ball has to land somewhere. Why not have it land on the mat? Not hard to do at all.
June 13, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
stick it is a socal assoc for the flat bellies.i played it before i moved to texas,it is mat ball and the limit is 6-16' now,used to be 12' at the top.kind of fun as you can lead off as soon as the pitcher lets go of the ball,and you can be forced out if they throw back to the base.no stealing,but ya can hit and run.it is unique assoc,i did like playing it tho.
June 14, 2011
Joncon
289 posts
"""Joncon, why is that impossible? """"



Read all the words. It's ALMOST impossible. A true "under 6' pitch" almost never happens.


Umpires routinely call a 7' and 8' pitch flat because it is flatter than the normal pitches they see.
June 14, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I completely agree, though those are seperate issues. The flatest pitch I throw, of which there are many, is usually over my head. But yet it is called illegal because of the difference between those pitchers and "normal". Sadly, what is meant to throw off the batters often also throws off the umps.

However, is is not impossible or even "almost" impossible to have a flat pitch hit the mat.
June 14, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
joncon,it can happen.i have seen many a pitch way less than 6' hit the very front of the mat,so it can be done and with ease.i sometimes pitch utrip and if you get above 8' they are calling it to hi(here in dallas area anyways).but throw that ball that just gets by the plate and coming in around your ankles and it will be called a strike,go figure,and that is how you can pitch low and hit a mat.it doesn't need to be a fastball neither,just enough to get to the front edge of the mat.
i see very few 7-8' pitches called to flat in senior ball,i see them getting down to the 4-5' range a lot,yes i can see them especially when standing to the side of the pitcher(coaches box,on deck circle,etc).
June 14, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Utrip is 3' from the hand, I believe. ASA is 6' from the ground, I also believe.

BIG distinction.
June 14, 2011
Uncle Mike
Men's 55
44 posts
Thanks Mad Dog, that's all that I am saying.

I am from Southern California, We play SCMAF rules only !! So. Cal Municipal Athletic Federation- arc limits are 6 feet - 16 feet. Senior rules are 6 feet- 12 feet.
The umpires around here, the ones who are also certified to do Senior Softball, call a lot more illegal low pitches than high ones. The umpires in Reno, that I talked to who were calling more illegal high pitches, started umpiring in USSSA.
When my team plays, the umpires that are "pinching us" on upper arc limit, are allowing the extreme lower limit strikes.
Conversely, when we are allowed to pitch above 12'- our perception, those umpires usually call more lower illegal pitches.
There seems to be more umpires of the USSSA variety, who SEEM to prefer a lower strike zone, that's all that I am saying. But, being from SoCal, we aren't allowed to pitch that way in OUR leagues ( locally).

So, I would like to see a pitching limit rule change to reflect what I see at the larger Senior Tournaments.





June 14, 2011
Uncle Mike
Men's 55
44 posts
@ Joncon- when I used to pitch a lot of U Trip, I would actually release the ball at my kneecap or lower. I didn't have any problem hitting the strike zone. Some of the pitchers , I used to see, would barely clear the ground with their knuckles.

There is a new game out here called Outlaw Softball- modified pitch- above the front knee is the lower limit. And the pitchers can hit the plate !!!!
June 14, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
mike thats why with a mat,i don't think we should have limits on heights for senior ball.we get so many different type umps(ASA,USSSA,ISA,SCMAF,ETC)that it makes it hard on them to adjust to our limits,don't think there is a 6-12' assoc any more except seniors.oh well lets just play and hope for the best.....
June 14, 2011
PlanoPlayer
Men's 55
70 posts
Hey mad dog, what's up? I used to play unlimited arc when I lived in Chicago many years back and believe me, you do not want unlimited arc in senior ball!!!

I pitched occasionally back then and I could routinely pitch the ball 25 feet or so in the air and drop the pitch just off the back point of the plate. We don't need none of that in senior ball!!!
June 14, 2011
UMP IN NORTH GA.
47 posts
looking at the comments here I've noticed somthing asa usssa are mentioned the most .... SSUSA and ISA are in bed together most of your umpires you are gona get will come from ISA will they not ..... remmeber the GREEN shirts BLACK hats well there limits are 4 off the ground to 10 off the ground and alot of pitchers releasing 6 iniches off the ground to a foot so yes you can get one there grant it , it will be alittle hot coming in but if there use to calling the younger guys all week and on the weekends, a tourney for the seniors every blue moon your gona get the lower calls ... just my take on it from doing some senior tourneys where they brought in some locals that had not done much seniors but had reg. league ball and tourneys in the area that were ISA.

Jesse
June 15, 2011
stick8
1282 posts
Just a little FYI on pitching arcs:
ISA: 4 ft from the ground to 10 ft from the ground
USSSA: 3 ft from the release point to 10 ft from the ground
SSUSA: 6 ft from the ground to 12 ft from the ground.
Since the vast majority of pitchers release the ball from their knee or above ISA could be the flatter pitch than USSSA so long as it has a perceptable arc.
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