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Discussion: COURTESY RUNNER

Posted Discussion
July 4, 2019
titanhd
Men's 50
546 posts
COURTESY RUNNER
RULE: A courtesy runner must report to, and be acknowledged by, the umpire before
play resumes. A courtesy runner may enter the game only prior to the
first pitch to any batter.

What is the penalty if runner after being Acknowledged by the Umpire enters the game after the first pitch?

Our situation. The Umpire acknowledge the Courtesy Runner after the first Pitch. Watched the runner walk out to second base and as soon as he touched the base was immediately called "OUT". No appeal-no scruff from the opposing Team. Immediate Umpire all "OUT while and Stating the first pitch Rule.

Is this the Proper manner in which to enforce this rule? Or Should Umpire simply enforce the Rule prior and not acknowledge nor allow the Courtesy Runner until the next batter?
July 4, 2019
TimMcElroy
505 posts
This rule rule change was intended to speed up the game. Getting cheap outs was absolutely not the intent. Once the 1st pitch has been thrown to the next batter, the umpire should not allow a CR to check-in.
July 4, 2019
Gavin5
Men's 70
21 posts
I believe it's unreasonable to expect the umpire to keep up with the legality of all possible courtesy runners on each team during the course of the game. Yes he must be prepared to make a ruling when there's an appeal. But the umpire acknowledgement of a courtesy runner entering should be mainly for timeout purposes. True, if he is aware of an impending illegal entry, he should not approve it. But don't expect him to catch every CR error in advance.
July 4, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2561 posts
Respectfully, this circumstance had nothing to do with an illegal CR entry ... Rather, it was the timing permitted for a (presumed) otherwise eligible runner ... The CR may only enter prior to the first pitch to any batter, and the umpire is presumed to know the rule (and prevent) a late entry ... If the CR is slow on the first pitch, he may certainly enter before the first pitch to the next batter ... I'm with Tim's analysis on this one ...
July 4, 2019
stick8
1706 posts
Titanhd, good games last week! I didnít see exactly what occurred but if itís as you described the ump shouldnít have allowed the runner you guys wanted to put in. Both Tim and Gavin5 make valid points however.
To answer the question you asked last week any illegal courtesy runner that is caught is an out and you lose the runner. And whatís interesting is a team can appeal it up until the first pitch of the batter after he scores.
Example: Youíre on first and youíre an illegal courtesy runner. No one says anything. Base hit, you go to second. Base hit you score. The defense can still appeal until the first pitch of the next batter. I believe the book calls it a continuous illegal runner or something of the sort. BJ can shed some light on this.
Itís unfortunate how that play went down last week but it is still an out. But you were 100% correct on the bordering state rule for playing major.

July 4, 2019
B.J.
603 posts
As an umpire I never want it said I was looking for a cheap out.. BUT.. all Mgrs. and players should know the rules and if they are not sure of a situation then they should ask the umpire ..

I disagree with Tim and Dave on the not allowing the C/R to enter and then calling him out.. It is not the umpires job to coach a team the players and mgr. should be aware of every game situation.. and as far as denying the C/R entry into the game.. what if a pitch had not been made but the C/R entering had already C/R earlier in that same inning.. would you coach again and tell them he is not eligible to run??
If so you need to re-write the rue to say that an illegal C/R will not be allowed to enter the game

Stick8 .. you are correct an illegal C/R is a continuing violation and can be called out until the 1st pitch to a batter after they scored
July 4, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2561 posts
B.J. - The "legislative intent", as Tim mentioned, was ONLY to save time through efficient CR entry ... That's a goal that all players, umpires and directors have an obligation to assist in meeting ... There is NO competitive advantage issue here ... This exact fact pattern was fully discussed in the Nat'l Rules Committee meeting where the "CR must announce" change was made ... The simple, effective manner to save time and avoid the "cheap out" scenario is: When the CR "announces" after the first pitch to any batter, the umpire says "Nope, he may only enter before the first pitch .. Play ball" ... But if the CR fails to announce at all, then ringing him up is the appropriate call ... But not for an improperly timed intention to enter ... Thanks!

July 4, 2019
B.J.
603 posts
Dave, I understand and that is great that it is discussed in the Nat'l Rules Committee meeting..

so why didn't you just write the rule to say that and make it simple .. no where is there any written instruction or EXCEPTION telling an umpire who did not attend your meeting not to allow the C/R to enter ..

Dave, question.. since you stated this was to save time..

what would you do if C/R #23 came out a second time in the same inning and yelled out "blue" #23 running for # 45 and then waited to be acknowledged.. would you acknowledge him and let him enter the game or call him out once he touched the base?? To save time I guess you would stop him from entering??



July 4, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2561 posts
ß8.5(5) ē COURTESY RUNNER OFFICIALLY IN THE GAME
...A courtesy runner must report to, and be acknowledged by, the umpire before play resumes. A courtesy runner may enter the game only prior to the first pitch to any batter.
__________

B.J. ... Not sure what meeting you may be referring to, but the language of the rule (above) is specific ... Here's the process

ē CR announces, expecting an acknowledgment from the umpire ...
ē Umpire acknowledges, if prior to first pitch to a subsequent batter, or prohibits entry if after first pitch ...

On this issue, the prohibition is clear, but this is NOT a competitive advantage issue ... And the umpire should apply common sense (I know, common sense isn't all that common!) ... We intentionally did not provide for a penalty because that was not what this amendment was designed to accomplish ... Please don't over-think this one! ... It's ONLY about efficient game administration, which is a top priority umpire function ...
__________

As for your second scenario, that's a completely different rule matter ... But here's what the umpire SHOULD do ... If the CR intending to run for the second time in an inning tries to enter before the first pitch to a subsequent batter, the umpire should acknowledge the CR and ring him up when he steps on the base ... But if that umpire properly applies the prohibition against mid-count entry, it MAY get to that point, but only prior to a first pitch a few moments later ... Your responsibility as an umpire is to mandate that the timing procedure play out properly for CR entry, then apply an appropriate remedy if required ... I'm still of the opinion that in umpire improperly allowing a player to enter as a CR at a disallowed by rule time is hunting for a "cheap out" ...

July 4, 2019
titanhd
Men's 50
546 posts
In our case the UMPIRE knew the rule and knew we were in "violation" of the first pitch rule when he acknowledged the Courtesy runner.

He practically followed the runner to second base (pitchers mound) and immediately called him out. Had the other team appealed we have no issue with an "OUT" call at anytime during that inning. Runner being acknowledged by the UMPIRE and then called out by the UMPIRE once base touched is a concern. This specific to the "first pitch" Rule only.
Not any other paragraph or clause.
July 4, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2561 posts
B.J. ... Here's a more concise language change, which I believe clearly expresses the intent of the Committee at the time the change was enacted ... I will propose it for consideration at the annual convention sessions this year and am confident it will secure at least seven votes required for enactment ... Deleted content is in strikeout text and new language is in bold text ... Until the language cleanup is implemented, this should be your guide in handling this circumstance should it arise in a game under your management ...
__________

A courtesy runner may shall be permitted by the umpire to enter the game only prior to the first pitch to any batter.

July 4, 2019
B.J.
603 posts
Dave, this is the meeting I referred to (the Nat'l Rules Committee meeting) My view/knowledge of the rules comes directly from reading the SSUSA rule book since I decided a few years ago to stop the traveling to tournaments

yes the new language would definitely help..

also you should think about removing the wording in
8.5(1) ē USING COURTESY RUNNERS (A courtesy runner may be used for a base runner AT ANY TIME) this part of the rule is no longer true since it has to be before the 1st pitch

Gavin5 it is the umpires responsibility to write down and keep track of every C/R that comes in .. I always had the HP umpire keep the teams line up cards and the base umpire carry a little notebook with them for C/R's.. if they don't do it who will.. you should never rely on a home team score book..
July 4, 2019
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2561 posts
B.J. ... I (We?) may be "picking at nits" here, but the CR may still be used at any time ... He just can't enter the game until he's allowed! ... Happy July 4th! ...
July 4, 2019
stick8
1706 posts
I do agree with BJ that it isnít the umpires responsibility to go over all the rules during the course of a game. It is the team manager/coaches responsibility to know the rules. Umpires are only to enforce the rules. Umpires are not walking rule books!! They are there to enforce the rules. I may explain a rule if asked but itíll be brief and to the point. It will not be a long discussion.
Titanhdís team may not have known the scope of the rule he asked about, he can truthfully speak for that. But I suspect his team and anyone else reading this thread knows now!!
July 5, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1259 posts
I agree except on a point raised by Gavin5 and alluded to by stick8. I do believe that it is the umpire's responsibility to keep up with the courtesy runner situation. I will make a disclaimer that BJ does it probably much more correctly than me with notes, but I have found and have trained our umpires that to get that information that I require the players to call out the numbers of the two involved. If I hear that number again that inning, I know that I have an illegal courtesy runner. Also if the scorekeeper(s) are anything like I was for our team, they can hear that and mark it down, just in case I don't recognize that I have heard that number that inning. This slows the players down from switching runners and allows me to acknowledge them. I know that we cannot require scorekeepers to do what I always did, but they should be the ones controlling their team and watching the other team's runners as well. I have never had to rely on an appeal from a scorekeeper yet, but I have gotten several outs on the illegal courtesy runner (AKA senior moment on the bases) because of the way that I handle it. If a scorekeeper was keeping a good book, I think that it is appropriate for an umpire to defer to that. This has worked for me in 22 years of officiating senior softball but might not work for everyone. I am pretty methodical in the way that I handle it and have not experienced any issues because of it.
July 5, 2019
B.J.
603 posts
Dave... lol that's why it's always good to have a can of nit spray around...

and your definition of "any time" is certainly different than mine.. before the change it was a well written rule ..

"nit picking time again" IMO precise black and white wording of a rule stops a lot of problems on the field .. if a mgr. questioned me why his runner couldn't enter after a pitch was made and then quoted the "A courtesy runner may be used for a base runner at any time" part of the rule which definitely gives the rule that GRAY area.. I'd have to say Sir you are absolutely correct 1 part of the rule contradicts the other... please see the Tour. Dir.
July 5, 2019
stick8
1706 posts
Nancy what you and BJ do is what I try to do but I feel the best way to deal with courtesy runner situations as described here is thru the scorekeepers. Itís tough enough to call the game, let alone keeping track of runners. Perhaps the tourney team Iím on is spoiled but our scorekeeper is right on top of all that stuff and knows all the rules. My feeling is if a team is going to take the time and expense to travel and play a tournament schedule ending with a world tournament they better have someone that knows how to keep score and all the rules.
Now I ump 1 or 2 senior tournaments a season but consider a situation I had a couple years ago. It was between innings, going into bottom of the 5th. Scorekeeper for team A has a question. Two innings previous team B used a courtesy runner who wasnít listed on the scorecard. He wanted to know if they can take on out and negate the run. Too late for either but do you know what the rule is on that? Or is there even a rule? (I do know)
July 5, 2019
B.J.
603 posts
Stick, the C/R should not have been allowed into the game and yes 2 innings later is to late

ALL players and subs that MAY enter the game must be on the line up.. if a player is not on the line up then they can't play and they cannot be added after the game starts

that is why it is important for the HP umpire to have the teams line up and the base umpire a notebook for C/R's the home team scorekeeper made a mistake and no one caught it..

if there is a mistake on a field that I'm working on, I want it to be ME that made the mistake, not a score keeper that OFFICIALLY has nothing to do with the game.. yes it is nice to have them there to double check scores in between innings



July 5, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1259 posts
stick8, I totally agree with BJ but will most likely never use a notebook. I think that I was one of the best scorekeepers around and got several outs for our team and disallowed a sub one time that our opposing team tried to put in that I knew was not on the lineup card and was better than who he was replacing. While I don't do what BJ does (I will admit that the admin work is the worst part of the job), I am not comfortable unless I know what is going on. Be it courtesy runners, home runs, or runs per inning, I have to know; I know that a lot of umpires don't. I am not sure if it is because I kept score for so long or am not alright having zero clues of what is going on in the game. What Coachie said about me was funnier, but I will leave that one alone. What BJ does is more correct and precise, but what I do has not failed me yet. I will say that what I do is even more important now that the word acknowledge is in the rule.

Of course BJ is right on that game call. I totally agree with him about the scorekeeper. Most are less than helpful. I really do appreciate the good ones.
July 5, 2019
stick8
1706 posts
BJ and Nancy, there is one more part of the rule. That player who wasnít on the scorecard that was a courtesy runner cannot run for anyone or enter the game as a hitter or for defense for the rest of the game. In effect, heís out of the game.
What made the situation odd for me is the guy was a former teammate of mine in young mans ball for a lot of years and we are good friends. I felt a bit odd telling him he was out of the game.
Good rule of thumb is to make sure coaches fill out their line up cards with everyone on their roster, even the ones who arenít there. You never know, someone may show up in the middle of the game that you may not expect to.
Itís amazing how some minor glitch like this can potentially determine the outcome of a game.
July 5, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1259 posts
stick8, ok, I will share mine. We were at a qualifier. Our good friends were playing against us. In the middle of the game one of their guys shows up. They immediately send him to the outfield. So you have to guess that he was a better outfielder and maybe hitter. I went to the umpire and asked if he was on the card. He wasn't. So he couldn't play. Our friends were not happy. They got over it later because they understood the situation. He had been at work and ran over there on his lunch break. That year at the Worlds, it was emphasized about not on the card, not in the game. I was sitting with a good friend. He said "What did you do?". "What makes you think that it was me?". "Nancy, I know you. We lost a tournament on a technicality to you before." That is another story. I agree that it bothers you when it is a friend, but it was the right thing to do in competition. Being the umpire can make it more emotional. I had a friend throw his glove and make contact with the ball the other night. Stupid rules.
July 5, 2019
garyheifner
570 posts
When a CR goes out to run in the same inning for a 2nd time, It is obviously an attempt by the batting team to cheat the rules and put a fast runner out there again. There is not a player in senior softball who does not know that U can only CR 1 time per inning.

Maybe, not only should that CR be out, but that ends the inning if there are less than 2 outs.

For me that is as bad as those of U out there who still think it is perfectly OK to use an altered bat!

July 5, 2019
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1259 posts
Gary, the times that I have seen it all seemed to be senior moments. Of course they were out as soon as they touched the bag. So that is a big risk to take if the goal is to cheat.
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