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Discussion: Dumb question: Is stealing a base allowed? Or advancing on a passed ball?

Posted Discussion
May 28, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Dumb question: Is stealing a base allowed? Or advancing on a passed ball?
I can't find anywhere in the official rule book where it says that base stealing is not allowed. The only rule I could find says that a base runner must maintain contact with his base until a pitched ball reaches the plate (meaning the area immediately above the strike mat I assume, even if it hasn't hit the mat/ground yet). I looked at the list of dead ball situations in section 9.1 ("DEAD BALL") as well as the list in section 9.2 ("THE BALL IS IN PLAY") expecting to find something there. No mention other than a ball hitting the ground "out of play", which means beyond foul territory (foul territory is in play). I wasn't able to search the whole book/document for the words "stealing", "passed ball" or similar, so maybe I've missed it. So...it couldn't be true that if a pitched ball gets away from the catcher after it strikes the mat or ground (which happens all the time, often rolling all the way to the backstop), the runners can advance and "steal" a base?? Even though I suppose that would be considered more of a passed ball situation, the effect would be the same.
May 29, 2019
B.J.
598 posts
No..stealing and advancing on a passed PITCHED ball is not allowed in SSUSA.. (some local leagues do allow it) .. in SSUSA it becomes a dead ball once a pitched ball hits the ground or strike mat
May 29, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
That's what I thought/assumed, B.J. Thank-you. Still...wish I could find text to that effect in the rule book. This got me to thinking of when exactly a ball becomes live (in play). I guess not until/unless the batter hits it? And I understand when a base runner can leave his base, but when is he required to return to his base and be touching it? When the pitcher receives the ball back from the catcher? I assume runners cannot advance if the throw from catcher back to pitcher goes over the pitcher's head and into center field. Or if the infield chooses to throw the ball around, say after a strikeout, and there are runners on base and the third baseman misses the thrown ball and it goes into the dugout, runners cannot/do not advance? Hey, I said it was a dumb question! ;-)
May 29, 2019
TimMcElroy
456 posts
RULE 8.4(8) WHEN RUNNERS CAN ADVANCE AT THEIR RISK
Runners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out-
A) When a pitched ball is batted.
B) On a thrown ball or fair batted ball that is not blocked.
C) On a thrown ball that hits an umpire.
D) When a legally caught ball is first touched.

There is no mention of runners being permitted to advance on a pitched or passed ball. Therefore, base stealing is not permitted.
May 29, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Thanks Tim, for finding the relevant text in the rule book. Evidently, in B) and C), "thrown ball" does not include the catcher's throw back to the pitcher after a pitch, or a ball thrown around between infielders, after a batter has struck out for example. ;-)
May 29, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1256 posts
jgoff5113, B.J. and Tim are both correct. I only am going to add that 9.1 Dead Ball G. When a base runner is called out for leaving a base early on a pitched ball.
May 29, 2019
TimMcElroy
456 posts
I'm borrowing a line from Dave Dowell here- There's no need to over-think this one. In SSUSA tournament play, runners cannot advance without the aid of a batted ball, a base on balls or an intentional walk.
Base stealing is not allowed.
May 29, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Thanks again, Tim, Nancy and B.J. Going back to your first post, Tim, perhaps "Thrown ball" could be added to Section 1, Definitions. Or the next-to-last sentence of your second post could be added somewhere in the rule book. Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands lol!
May 29, 2019
HSquared
13 posts
Infield Fly
May 29, 2019
k man
Men's 65
255 posts
jgoff, I think I found what you were looking for.
Page 41 in rule book
Rule 7.4 A/B ball that hits mat or ground - effect- dead ball
May 29, 2019
stick8
1698 posts
Getting back to the topic there is no stealing that Iím aware of in any senior softball sanctioned tournaments. While itís possible a senior house league somewhere may allow it the only association that allows stealing is ISA. And thatís only in young mans ball.
May 29, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Thanks k man, but my reading of Rule 7.4 A/B is that the dead ball applies only when a pitch is swung at and missed.

Just so everybody knows why I asked this question in the first place: I'm putting together a summary of the rule differences in the US/Canada version of senior slow pitch, compared to how senior slow pitch is played in Latin America and the Caribbean. In at least some countries in that region of the world, I think that senior slow pitch softball follows the rules of baseball as much as possible; and therefore, I think that stealing or advancing on passed balls or wild pitches are all allowed. And perhaps also if the ball gets away from the defense as they are attempting to return a pitch to their pitcher. I still need to confirm these Latin American rules, but I was surprised when I could find very little in the SSUSA Rule Book specifically addressing stealing or advancing when a ball gets away from the catcher or other defender, in between pitches.
May 30, 2019
k man
Men's 65
255 posts
goff, as I read it section 7A specifically says 'and batter does not swing' while section 7B deals with batter swinging.
Anyway, at least we know you can't steal
May 30, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1256 posts
jgoff5113, I know that I get passionate about my projects at times, but you might want to take a step back for a moment. I know nothing about senior softball in other countries except that a lot of them do use rules of one of the recognized senior associations and/or major slow pitch associations that have senior softball as a specialty sport. These associations are all based in North America but used all over the World. The latter seem to have a good understanding that senior softball is different in that it is not as "aggressive" (in my opinion). For instance USA Softball (formerly ASA) and ISA do not allow stealing in seniors, and Utrip does not allow their pitching style (fakes, pumps, etc) in seniors. Only SSUSA and USA Softball have a live ball situation on a third strike caught foul. In all of the years experience that I have, never have I had a senior tag up and advance in that situation. I have only ever had it happen twice in younger age groups. So as an example that rule is good for the major senior softball association and the major slow pitch association, but all of the smaller associations of both kinds treat that same situation as dead ball. I have done crosswalks with our umpires here on the differences in association rules. Some are very subtle, and I won't go into any of that here because it is not terribly useful unless you work or play different associations. SSUSA is the largest senior softball association; so you are right to use its rules in your analysis, but the other senior associations and slow pitch associations do not use the same rules across the board.

Buena suerte.
May 30, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Thanks for your comments Nancy. There is a reason behind what I am doing that I don't want to get into right now, but suffice to say I had to write my own little paragraph because I couldn't find the rules (at least, not in one place) in the SSUSA rule book. It required only one sentence for me to cover stealing or advancing in situations where the ball is not hit. For taking leads, I was able to copy a sentence out of the rule book. Here is what I wrote:

TAKING LEADS AND STEALING BASES NOT ALLOWED
When a base runner fails to keep contact with his base until the pitched ball has reached home plate (the area above the strike mat) or hits the bat of the batter, the base runner will be called out. In addition, no base stealing is allowed, nor may runners advance on wild pitches, passed balls, or while the ball is being returned to the pitcher in between pitches.
May 30, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1256 posts
jgoff5113, thanks for explaining that. I was talking with my park manager, and another thought occurred to me. You mentioned following the rules of baseball. Is it possible that what you are looking for is men's fast pitch rules? We only have one league of it here left in central Indiana. It gets smaller every year. I am only familiar with USA Softball (formerly ASA); so I can only speak to its rules. They cannot lead off like baseball. The differences between it and slow pitch are that in fast pitch the ball is always live unless the umpire calls time (or an uncaught foul ball); the third strike dropped foul is live; there are multiple foul balls allowed per batter, and a few other minor differences.

I could not find any senior tournaments for men's fast pitch. I would be curious to know if anyone is aware of any just from an academic standpoint.

I might also suggest that you adopt SSUSA's hit and sit rule for homeruns. It saves a little time and eliminates appeals on not touching bases.

Tim, I "over-thunk" it again.
May 30, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
What I'm putting together, Nancy, is what I believe are the potential differences between senior slow pitch softball as played in SSUSA tournaments, and senior slow pitch as played in certain Caribbean and Latin American countries. So far I have learned, for example, that in senior slow pitch in Venezuela, they allow 10 defenders just as we do, but in the Dominican Republic, they allow only 9 as in baseball. And the manner of pitching is different from our pitch in both of those countries; plus, significantly, their catchers crouch behind the plate and wear a catcher's mask as in baseball. There is no strike mat; instead, the strike zone is much the same as in baseball. And that made me question whether they have passed balls and wild pitches in their version of senior slow pitch softball.

Because of all these similarities to baseball, I got to wondering whether in Latin American senior slow pitch softball, "the ball is always live unless the umpire calls time" as you stated. And that's why I decided I needed to explicitly include in my document a statement/rule that in SSUSA softball, runners cannot advance between pitches. Thus I started looking for such a concise statement in the SSUSA rule book.

And yes, I have included the "hit and sit" rule for home runs as written in the SSUSA rule book, because I agree it saves time and I don't know whether in the Latin American version of our game, runners are required to circle the bases on a home run.

Thanks much!
May 30, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 60
609 posts
RULE 8.4(8) WHEN RUNNERS CAN ADVANCE AT THEIR RISK
Runners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out-
A) When a pitched ball is batted.
B) On a thrown ball or fair batted ball that is not blocked.
C) On a thrown ball that hits an umpire.
D) When a legally caught ball is first touched.

D) is still worded incorrectly.

Might want to 'thunk' that one over.
May 30, 2019
B.J.
598 posts
here we go again.. D is not worded incorrectly..

a runner may advance on 1st touch on any fly ball.. it doesn't matter if it is fair or foul..but the result of the advance could be different..
if a runner advances on a 1st touch FAIR ball and was safe he would stay at the base he advanced to whether the ball ended up being caught or dropped..

if a ball was 1st touched over FOUL territory but then DROPPED the runner is still able to advance on 1st touch but then he would have to return to his original base because this would be considered a foul ball on the drop
May 30, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1256 posts
D is worded correctly. Refusal to understand it does not make it worded wrong.
May 30, 2019
jgoff5113
Men's 60
26 posts
Thanks Wayne 37. See first post from TimMcElroy above, citing the same Rule 8.4(8), and my response to him immediately below his post.
May 30, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 60
609 posts
You can advance on a FAIR fly ball that is first touched.

You cannot advance on a FOUL fly ball until it is caught. FIRST TOUCHED over foul territory means foul ball (not when it hits the ground)...ÖÖÖ.and we all know a runner can't advance on a FOUL BALL. Well some of us do.

That in essence is the uniqueness of fair and foul territory. Read your rule book.

No refusal to understand on my part.
May 31, 2019
B.J.
598 posts
wayne.. let me try to write you a scenario that even you might understand (maybe) .. a fly ball that is over FOUL territory goes off the edge of the fielders glove and then up in the air and is then caught by the fielder.. the runner advances on 1st touch by the fielder not waiting for the "actual catch" .. the defense then appeals that the runner left early.. in WAYNE'S WORLD you would call him out since the ball wasn't actually caught when he left the base?? ..WRONG.. the runner would be safe on the advance.. but if the fielder ended up dropping the ball after 1st touch the runner would be returned to his original base on the foul ball call of the umpire..
May 31, 2019
Wayne 37
Men's 60
609 posts
.. a fly ball that is over FOUL territory goes off the edge of the fielders glove and then up in the air and is then caught by the fielder.. the runner advances on 1st touch by the fielder not waiting for the "actual catch" .. the defense then appeals that the runner left early.. in WAYNE'S WORLD you would call him out since the ball wasn't actually caught when he left the base?

Now you're cooking with gas. In the REAL WORLD this is easy to understand. Don't know why you and others struggle with the FACT that a ball first touched over foul ground is a FOUL BALL and it doesn't become a FOUL BALL WHEN IT HITS THE GROUND AFTER BEING TOUCHED EITHER....!!!!!

Perhaps if you've had some real umpire training this would have come up in meetings. This is usually one of the first things they will bring up at clinics or early season meetings. One of my sources throughout the years have been former MLB umpire Jim Evans who conducts clinics and used to train umpires to be hired into the MiLB system.

Do you have a source to substantiate your claims? I hate to say it, but I'm way ahead of you when it comes to experience and know how. I seriously doubt you've have lasted 10 minutes in WAYNE'S WORLD. Instead you choose to flame people and not do a through research to validate your claim.
May 31, 2019
SSUSA Staff
2719 posts
jgoff5113 ... I'm sorry that this initial inquiry on your part has disintegrated into a name-calling insult fest between a few of the members here ... This cyclical redundancy is not unique, and is no reflection on you ... We appreciate you being here ...

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