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Discussion: Is this in the rule book??????

Posted Discussion
June 22, 2011
garyheifner
349 posts
Is this in the rule book??????
In the Quad Cities tourney yesterday, I am the catcher. The bases are loaded with one out. A hard hit ball to 3rd is fielded and our 3rd baseman touches 3rd and fires the ball to me at home which takes the force off at home unless the runner crosses the line. The runner stops short of the committment line. I jog towards him for the rundown action and he turns toward the dugout, giving up and is called out for leaving the baseline. The opposing manager comes out and claims that since I was on home plate when I caught the ball, I can't be a part of any run down action and his runner should be given home. He claimed this is in the rule book????? My question is how could I not be a part of this continuing play????
June 22, 2011
SSUSA Staff
1118 posts
The opposing manager might have an argument, however dubious, had a couple of other things happened ... [1] The runner had actually crossed the commitment line, and [2] the defensive player (presumably the catcher in most cases) had actually proceeded to tag him out instead of just touching the strike mat ... All plays at the plate are deemed force plays, and since neither of the 'other things' occurred, the umpire's call was correct ...

The runner is out for either leaving the base line or for leaving the field of play (take your pick, he's still out) ... Although there is no reason for the catcher to get in a rundown, or a run-back toward the commitment line, if the runner passes the commitment line, he's out at the instant the catcher has possession of the ball and touches the strike mat ... It's a pretty easy call ... The most apparent thing from your description is the opposing manager grasping for a straw and coming up empty!

P.S. - There is NO such provision in the SSUSA Rulebook prohibiting a catcher from getting in a run-down on the 3rd base side of the commitment line, but be aware that the moment the runner crosses the commitment line, the only defensive play is at the plate for the 'force out'.

June 22, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
yes staff,i have always told runners at 3rd,if the tag is made at 3rd for the force,you don't have to run home.we have done the ol okie-doak at 3rd,with the runner acting like he is going home,but doesn't cross the commit line,then go back to 3rd......
June 22, 2011
garyheifner
349 posts
Thanks for the reply
June 23, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1952 posts
This brings up another possible running scenario. Suppose the above situation occurs and I am on third. I might go to the commit line and then head a couple steps back toward third. A lot of catchers can't run-good place to hide an injured but offensively potent player-- and as soon as he takes 3 or 4 steps toward me, break for home and it becomes a foot race where the catcher has to reverse to get there. He also might make the initial move instinctively toward you to tag you, but you can go wide as he cannot tag you after you cross the commit line. Interesting.....
Mad dog-when I play third I always think about that play if the bases are loaded and tell myself if the runner does not go, tag the runner first and then the bag. If the runner goes, tag the base and chase him a couple steps to the commit line. This way, I mentally keep myself in the game and ready for that play.
June 23, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
mmmm webbie not sure about your okie-doak,remember i have seen the hardware on your knees.....DOH,LOL.... it is something i have thought about also,get the catcher close to the commit line than take off.

i had the same play at third in reno.i was looking to do the same,almost threw the ball away tho trying to be perfect with it....LOL
June 23, 2011
cal50
Men's 50
266 posts
This is another reason the infielders always need to be looking ahead, the pitcher should be backing up the catcher at home plate.
June 23, 2011
stick8
1261 posts
Garyheifner I must ask, what on earth was that opposing manager smoking?
June 23, 2011
MurrayW
Men's 50
92 posts
There is no reason for the third baseman to ever throw the ball in this scenario until the runner passes the commit line. As mentioned earlier, if the runner does not take off, tag him first then tag the base. If he does take off, tag the base then run him towards home plate until he passes the commit line then flip the ball to the catcher.
June 24, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1952 posts
Talk about prescience! We talk about the play and yesterday in league I was lucky enough to actually turn this exact double play. You don't see it that often.
June 24, 2011
stick8
1261 posts
Webbie, got as good one for you. I may have wrote this earlier but I can't remember. About a month ago I was watching this game (the winner was coming over to my diamond) and the batting team had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Batter hits a ground ball down the third base line. Ump signals fair but no one on the field saw or paid attention to the signal. The whole diamond assumed it was a foul ball!! Runners went back to their bases, the batter went back to bat, the left fielder non-chalantly walked over to retrieve the ball and throw it in. The ump was standing between home and third waiting for the defense to make a play or runners to move but no one did. Finally, after a minute or so,the pitcher satirically asked "Ump, I do have a date tonight, do you mind if we resume play? I don't want to be late". The ump (a hall of famer) shrugged his shoulders & went back behind the plate. The batter ended up flying out and the next guy grounded out. After we were done and in the bar that ump asked me what I would have called. He didn't know and I had no clue. It was kind of funny however. Never seen anything like that before
June 24, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1952 posts
Classic, Stick--Never heard that one before. I think I eventually would have called the batter out for not running out his hit and continue the game (all the while laughing my butt off inside). Did he ever let anyone know on either team that he called it a fair ball?
July 15, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1952 posts
Stick8-we have had some lively discussions about this rule. My solution would be to call the batter out for not running out his hit. Another umpire felt he should have reiterated FAIR BALL in a loud voice. What IS the correct call?
July 15, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
webbie both.i put this to some umps on another board i'm on and they said,if need be restate that it is a fair ball in a loud voice,or if that doesn't work the batter is called out for obstruction as soon as soon as he enters the batters box,as he isn't the batter who should be there and the ball would be still live.hope ya understand what it is i'm trying to say.
July 15, 2011
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
597 posts
An umpire should NEVER say "Fair ball". They should perhaps sell the fair signal, but you only verbalize "Foul ball". This is basic umpire mechanics. If you do not hear me, it is fair.
July 15, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1952 posts
Nancy, that's what I have been saying-you never say 'fair ball' because you know when you hear a call it must be 'foul'. Very basic. My instinct says it is the batter who is out for not proceeding to first base on a fair ball. Mad dog-if the ball is still live the play is not over so-he IS the batter that should be there and unless he gets in someones way, there can't be 'obstruction' per se. I've heard several solutions, and had one blank stare-lol.

Staff-Dave-have you guys got the 'official' answer on this one?
Thanks.

July 15, 2011
GSWP001
Men's 60
73 posts
I think what you had was a good old fashion senior moment. It happens ya know.
July 17, 2011
stick8
1261 posts
If it was a senior moment that woukld be very scary because this was a USSSA class D NIT. Nancy is absolutley right--never verbally shout "fair". Just use the signal. Webbie I could be wrong on this but in order for the batter to be out in that scenario there has to be a play made at first, a tag or he has to go back in the confines of the dugout. Since none of those happened I don't believe he could be legally called out. I have to say it's the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed on a softball field either as a player or an umpire.
July 17, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
yes webbie, the batter is the one i mean should be out,not the next one.he would be obstructing the defense from making a play by being in the way of the catcher if the ball is still live.this is what a couple of umps have said on another board i posed this question to.

yes nancy you are correct in that you only verbalized foul ball,but if no one is playing as if the ball is fair,you need to do something to let them know,if ya understand me,even if it is to yell fair ball.

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