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Discussion: Flip Flop Rule

Posted Discussion
Jan. 23, 2017
Mountain Man
Men's 60
11 posts
Flip Flop Rule
The intent of the Flip-Flop rule is to speed along play, yet there is some confusion regarding implementation of the rule. I'll start with the current rule as written in the SSUSA rule book and then ask my questions.

"5.5(2) FLIP-FLOP RULE
The flip-flop rule will be invoked in any game when there is a 10-run differential in favor of the visiting team at the start of the "open inning." If the visiting team is ahead by ten or more runs, the home team will remain at bat and start a new at-bats (beginning their seventh or last inning at-bats), meaning all runners then on base will return to the dugout. It will be an open inning. If the home team fails to tie or go ahead of the visiting team, the game ends and the visiting team wins. If the home team ties or goes ahead, the visiting team takes its turn at bat."

1. I heard this is a mandatory rule now, but don't see where anything is stated it is mandatory. BTW, I'm in favor of this rule being mandatory.
2. What if the home team is ahead by 10 or more runs in the 5th? The Visitors come up and don't score in the 6th. Does the Home team "vacate" their at-bat in the 6th allowing the Visitors to hit again (essentially their open inning)? Naturally, should the visitors tie or go ahead, the Home team would get 6 outs to play.
Jan. 23, 2017
SSUSA Staff
2722 posts
Mountain Man ... The very first sentence [bold emphasis added] of the rule answers both of your questions :

The flip-flop rule will be invoked in any game when there is a 10-run differential in favor of the visiting team at the start of the "open inning."

We interpret "any game" to mean the same thing as "every game" and, therefore, it's mandatory ... We also believe that it's clearly stated to apply only for the "open inning" ... Depending on the time circumstances, that could be the 5th or 6th inning, but only if either of those innings is also slated to be the "open inning" ... Hope this helps ...

Jan. 23, 2017
Mountain Man
Men's 60
11 posts
Very cool...thanks.
Jan. 24, 2017
HAT MAN
Men's 40
198 posts
Mountain man
its important to enforce at the start of the open inning.
Down 11 going into the top of the 6th inning with 7 minutes still on the clock. The home team (my team) were told flip flop and this is the open inning. We argued it cant be a flip flop because there is still time on the clock. so as a result we lost out on home and lost the 7th inning that would have been played since time was on the clock at start of the 6th.
We lost the argument and lost that game by 4.

So make sure you enforce the intent of the rule if ever in this situation.

This comment is a lesson learned remark not to point fingers. The ump, director and myself all discussed this the next day and a mistake was made and recognized, so no need to bash.

Jan. 24, 2017
Gonedeep43
66 posts
What about in seeding games where run differential is taken into account?
Jan. 24, 2017
SSUSA Staff
2722 posts
Here's the Tie-Breaker order of application ...

1. Record (W-L)
2. Head to head result in full round robin
3. Aggregate runs allowed in all games
4. Net run differential in all games
5. Coin toss

We only use run differential as the "last resort" before a coin toss ... If you win a flip-flop game, you still had to stop your opponent in seven offensive -inning at-bat situations, which is a higher priority tie-breaker ... A principal motivation for the flip-flop rule is to prevent the more than occasional occurrence of unsportsmanlike conduct by a visiting team, with the game already well in hand, saying: "Hey, if we put up a couple of touchdowns in the open, we'll help our seeding!!!" ... Nope! ... Defense is rewarded over offense by SSUSA ... Hope this helps ...

Jan. 26, 2017
taits
Men's 65
4548 posts
Nope! ... Defense is rewarded over offense by SSUSA ... Hope this helps ..

I think that would be a valid argument FOR pitching limit changes for higher or unlimited height, maybe even movement. Bringing down the favoring of\for the offense. Not necessarity from behind pitchers back though.
Jan. 27, 2017
stick8
1706 posts
Gonedeep43, it used to be in the play-in games the visiting team had their choice if they wanted to flip flo or not. During the tournament it was automatic.
Feb. 7, 2017
Steve44
17 posts
From the umpire site on this forum here is the way it is written, I think the key is the first sentence, both teams must agree.

Flip Flop Rule
In seeding or pool play both teams must agree to it.
If used, when the visiting team is ahead by 10 runs, and going into the open inning, the home team hits twice. Should they take a
lead, the visiting team hits.
In Bracket (tournament) play, it applies with a 10 run lead and is mandatory.

Don't see where the game time remaining should have any bearing on this since if there is time a new inning can begin so the flip/flop should not apply until the last inning either by virtue of time expiration or it is actually the 7th inning of the game.
Feb. 7, 2017
SSUSA Staff
2722 posts
The change to the Flip Flop rule being 'invoked in any game when there is a 10-run differential in favor of the visiting team at the start of the "open inning"' was made in December 2015 during the annual Rules Committee Meetings during the National Convention.

The previous 'Rules Summary,' outlined on the 'Umpire' page of seniorsoftball.com, had not been updated to reflect the change. The 'Rules Summary' has since been corrected. Our thanks to Steve44 for bringing it to our attention and apologies for the oversight.
Feb. 9, 2017
Ceres
73 posts
I understand from this discussion the Flip Flop Rule might cut one half inning off the game.How much time is saved?
Feb. 10, 2017
SSUSA Staff
2722 posts
If the team in the lead holds onto that lead in the top of the inning and they don't come to bat, the amount of time saved is equivalent to whatever would be required for an "open" -inning at bat by that team ...
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