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Discussion: Commit line abuse

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Feb. 6, 2021
Webbie25
Men's 65
2327 posts
Commit line abuse
I am looking for some input as to whether anyone else feels this way. I have watched another play become a problem with unintended consequences that I believe needs a bit of tweaking. I am talking about 'using' the 'commit line' when a runner is going home. I have watched this scenario play out now many times and it is clear to me that we need to address this issue. Of course, I believe the commit line is an excellent idea and needs to stay.
I'm sure you have figured out that I am talking about the runner that goes to the line, stands there until a defensive player moves towards him and then takes a quick step to cross it as the defensive player tags him. Of course, this makes him safe at home when he was dead to rights out. Or, the catcher, having the ball at home, moves to tag him and the runner goes around him and the catcher is unable to reverse to tag the plate for the out. The defense loses an out that they had in the bag. I believe this play violates the 'spirit' of the commit line rule. I have 2 suggestions to stop this.
1. If a runner employs that tactic by moving to the line and stopping and then stepping over the line when a defensive player moves to tag him as I mentioned, he is called out automatically. This makes it a judgement call, but it is very obvious when this happens. I have never seen it to be a bang-bang play. I do believe this is the best way to handle it. It would still be legal to run up to the line, reverse immediately, and go back to third as I have done a couple times to avoid the third to home double play.
2. Create a 5 foot 'tag zone' that exists for 5 feet on the home plate side of the commit line. Then the defensive player can continue the tag as the runner attempts to advance. One scenario that I can see with this is that a runner could run sideways along the commit line to avoid the tag and go around a catcher coming at him. This could be addressed by stating that any lateral movement to avoid a tag would result in the runner being called out. It would be like leaving the baseline to avoid a tag.
We have had this play twice in the last 3 weeks in our league and the same runner used it both times. But I have seen it in Reno also. This would also make it easier for umpires, I believe. I look forward to comments!
Feb. 6, 2021
bkb555
288 posts
these are "heads up" plays in my book...kind of like when a fielder lets a pop-up hit the ground when he sees the batter doesn't run so it turns into a double play....it doesn't happen often but as usual, we find a way to screw up the umpire's heads by circumventing the rule.....the same way the fielder tricks the guy to go home , the runner can trick the fielder by touching the line at the last second to catch the fielder with an illegal tag....after it is done a few times, both teams and all teams learn and hopefully it is avoided in the future but until it is, somebody will steal a run and maybe they win the game in the end by being "crafty veterans" or "heads up players" or "skirters of the rules" kind of players
Feb. 6, 2021
ChiPrimeMarty
Men's 60
102 posts
The "abuse" as described creates a very easy run-down play for an out. Just get the ball to a defensive player between the runner and third base, who then advances towards the runner at the commit line for an easy tag. If the runner crosses the commit line to escape the tag, a simple throw to the catcher at the plate results in an out.

Without the commit line a run-down play between 3rd & home is more difficult, giving other baserunners more time to advance. The current commit rule favors the defense, except in plays where the baserunner does not pause at the commit line and is racing to score. A throw which pulls the catcher off the plate does not allow a tag, but that is not the "abuse" situation which prompted the call for a rule change.

Since pausing at the commit line results in an easy out for a defense that knows what to do, I don't see a compelling reason to introduce a more complicated rule with a judgement call likely to cause disputes.

The purpose of the commit line and offset scoring plate/line is to eliminate bodily collisions. Allowing a tag by the catcher off the plate could lead to collision when a throw pulls the catcher into the path of a baserunner going full speed.
Feb. 6, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
webbie.. I think except for (and this is for Dave) [b]
must continue home; the rule is fine.. the onus is on the defense to know the rule and execute it properly.. the catcher has to know that HE CAN'T chase the runner back.. I can't believe a runner who is about to be tagged by any defensive player other than the catcher wouldn't step over or on the line.. just fake the tag and when he crosses toss the ball to the catcher on the strike mat..

bkb555.. just so you know there is a rule against a defensive player allowing a pop-up hit the ground in order to turn a double play

1.37 • INTENTIONALLY DROPPED FLY BALL
If a fielder intentionally drops, or lets drop, a fair fly ball, including a line drive, that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort with first base only, or first base and any other base(s), with less than two outs, only one recorded out may be made on the play and the ball is dead. This is an umpire's judgment call.
Feb. 6, 2021
bkb555
288 posts
BJ, i know it is against the rules to let a ball fall but i rarely see an umpire call it especially when the batter doesn't run out of the box.....there are ways around letting the ball fall without making it too obvious but if the guy doesn't run, shame on him

as to the other play at the line, if the defense gets a guy in the rundown, they can use the commitment line as the "new" base the guy has to run to...that way he can be tagged between third base and the commitment line
Feb. 6, 2021
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
So you're saying essentially it is against the rules to let a fly ball drop to the ground without touching it? So what's the call?

Another rule that needs a little verbiage tweaking if I do say so myself.
Feb. 7, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
wayne.. yes that's what I'm essentially saying... I even posted the rule above and it's pretty much self explanatory
Feb. 7, 2021
Webbie25
Men's 65
2327 posts
I understand it is a 'heads up' play by the runner. To actually defend it you need a defense ready for it to position guys at third and home before a third person goes for the tag. When the catcher has the ball is where this becomes a play that stops the game totally. The catcher cannot go for the tag without the runner going around him to be safe. If the third baseman is on third, you need to wait for a third person to get into the play to defense it. Having to stop a play to put a defense into position is not natural in softball. I feel it violates the 'spirit' of the rules that are put in for our safety, meaning the force at home, the use of a second plate or a line, the no tag rule at home, and the commit line. In a normal setting without those rules, a runner would end up in a rundown. Don't we try to not change the game as much as possible?
Feb. 7, 2021
bkb555
288 posts
I suppose the key to the above rule about dropping a ball intentionally is "the judgement of the umpire" just like infield fly rule or running out of the base line or interference or the height of a pitch.....is it the same as watching a ball spin into foul territory because you know you won't be able to make a play on the runners???....the offense has so many advantages over the defense, it seems like a if the defense can get an advantage on the other team because of lack of hustle, then too bad for the offense...if everybody runs, then it's a different story
Feb. 7, 2021
titanhd
Men's 60
604 posts
The Commitment Line rule was written as a preventative for injuries and one that I think should carry over to all of softball and not just at the Senior Level. Playing with the youngers and forgetting one moment that I wasn't Playing a senior game. it almost scared the crap out of me when this young whippersnapper came sliding in at my feet!

The only issue I have with the commitment line is that it is not always where it should be. Sometimes longer-sometimes shorter than the 30ft.

The change to the written rule. Should read defensive player should be in contact with plate OR mat. currently reads "strike zone mat"
Feb. 7, 2021
softball4b
Men's 65
1146 posts
Webbie if you weren't playing short left field at 3rd base and did not want to move. it would not be an issue. Catcher comes out, pitcher covers home, walk the runner into an out. Besides you are retired, maybe you ought to chime in on the gamestop message board.
Feb. 7, 2021
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
bj,

So essentially you're going to call the batter or runner out and return the runner(s) to their TOP pitch base per SSUSA rules. I guarantee you, you're going to be getting an earful from the whole defensive team.

If you will read it, it comes off like an infield fly is an immediate dead ball also. An infield fly is not an immediate dead ball as you (may/may not) know runners can advance at their own risk.

It also says, fielder then switches to an infielder (oxymoron). Then it says judgment call. If you say it is self-explanatory, no wonder you have difficulties. I damn sure wouldn't call it a dead ball and not let it play out.

I AM TALKING ABOUT A BATTED BALL THAT THE FIELDER LETS INTENTIONALLY HIT THE GROUND WITHOUT TOUCHING IT.
Feb. 8, 2021
Webbie25
Men's 65
2327 posts
I surrender. And, Mike, I only play that deep when Patton is up. lol I just wish I could move any more. I think my replaced knee is has reached it's life expectancy. Oh, well, got 7 more years out of it....Have fun with the Scorpions!
Feb. 8, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
wayne why are you posting about an intentionally dropped fly ball on the commitment line post ?? NO DRINKING before posting is also in the SSUSA rule book

but to answer your question YES per rule below

8.3 • BATTER-RUNNER IS OUT
J. When an infielder INTENTIONALLY DROPS, or LETS DROP, a fair fly ball, including a line drive, that can be caught with ordinary effort with first base only, or first
base and any other base(s) occupied, with less than two outs. A trapped ball shall not be considered as having been intentionally dropped.
EFFECT: The ball is dead, the batter-runner is out and each runner shall return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.
Feb. 8, 2021
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
Why did you post the definition then? I'm well aware of what it says. The definition and the rule are worded improperly. For example, the definition uses in the umpires judgment. The rule doesn't state as such. So in my judgment, it is play on, McDuff.

Therefore, I wouldn't call it. I've tried to tell you on several occasions, some rules are wrong as written. There is at least one more mistake. I'll let you figure it out for yourself.
Feb. 27, 2021
Webbie25
Men's 65
2327 posts
In a sort of confirmation, this play happened in our first game at Victory Lane this week, AGAIN. The runner ran to the line knowing the rule and held his hand out to be tagged. The fielder obliged and the runner stepped his lead foot over the line. By rule he is safe, but the Umpire blew the call and then covered up the blown call by saying he was tagged before his foot touched down. The tag happened well after that foot was down. However, we AGAIN have the situation that happened that is not what softball is all about. A slight tweak to call this runner out is needed.
Feb. 27, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
Webbie .. I don’t think tweaking a rule will help an umpires bad call... but if it was to be tweaked how would you tweak it?
Feb. 27, 2021
Webbie25
Men's 65
2327 posts
I still think that an automatic out call when this happens is the best call. It is NOT a bang bang play. Play comes to a complete stop for this to happen. At this moment, it should be up to the runner to make a move, not the defense. If he doesn't, an out is called.
March 1, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
115 posts
Webbie25 - The rule doesn't need tweeking, the defensive players simply need to be better schooled in how to get the runner (who is probably smart and quick) out. The catcher would never leave the pitching/scoring mat and yes, if needed to add a third fielder into the mix to get the "stalled" runner out prior to or after he crosses the scoring line, then just execute.

No runner should be able to move his body, leg, and foot onto or across the commitment line faster than any able bodied person could move either their hand and glove while holding the ball for the tag. If the defender reflexes are that slow, they maybe should just coach the bases for his team.

Adding all of these weird scenarios of the runner running parallel to the commitment line around the catcher?? Out of the basepath by 3' automatically out. Adding an additional 5' tag zone? just more junk in the rule for the umpire(s) to have to keep up with.

The rule is fine, just execute and getting the out is much simpler and safer than having the runner in a pickle and having players to tag in a rundown.

When bkb555 offered up an additional play (intentionally dropped fly ball, see rule 1.37 and 8.3.J) that causes confusion just as a reference point, he is just making comparison of the runner stopping prior to the commitment line as a "heads up" play, same as a fielder that kind of stumbles or gets the sun in his eyes and lets an easy pop-up fall so that he can get a double play when he sees the batter not running to first base, another "heads up" play. In the second instance, if the batter/runner hustles or runs out every hit, he eliminates the potential for some slick fielder doubling up his team. i may get some disagreement for my position here, but being a slick fielder is good for a team, being a stupid baserunner is bad for a team. Going back to little league, "run everything out"

To support Wayne37, there is a distinct flaw in the rulebook that he recognizes and is addressing. Anyone on this thread should go to rule 1.37 and rule 1.41 and see if you don't agree with Wayne37, the wording and implications for these two rules are contradictory, possibly ambiguous, and a rewriting of one needs/has to be made. Looking forward to comments on this. Hope some of the SSUSA directors, umpires, or rules makers are reading this thread also.
March 1, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
115 posts
In the post above in response to Webbie25, i said, pitching/scoring mat, meaning home plate/pitching/strike zone mat, not the secondary scoring mat for the runners.
March 1, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
T2 .. I disagree.. and I don't believe I ever agreed with wayne..lol..

the definitions of 1.37 and 1.41 are for 2 totally different scenarios...

1.41• INFIELD FLY.. defines the possible IF situations for bases loaded or runners on 1st and 2nd with less than 2 outs

1.37 • INTENTIONALLY DROPPED FLY BALL... defines that a fielder cannot drop or let drop a line drive or a fly ball with a runner only on 1st or runners on 1st and 3rd


March 1, 2021
stick8
1905 posts
My opinion here: Runner on first or first and third with less than two outs. I’ve long thought it’s a smart play for an infielder to let an infield pop up drop if the batter doesn’t run it out, especially in tournament play. Run it out!!
But the senior rule is the senior rule
March 1, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
115 posts
Stick8 - just like I have done also, stumble, bumble, suns in my eyes, let the soft pop-up hit the ground and get an easy two outs when the batter gives up and doesn’t run.

B.J. - the SSUSA Rule. 1.37 • INTENTIONALLY DROPPED FLY BALL
If a fielder intentionally drops, or lets drop, a fair fly ball, including a line drive, that can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort with first base only, or first base and any other base(s), with less than two outs, only one recorded out may be made on the play and the ball is dead. This is an umpire's judgment call.

See the way the rule is written ...... first base only, or first base and any other base(s), with less than two outs

This is in conflict with 1.41 infield fly rule, Old Wayne 37, even though he likes to differ or even argue, he hit the nail on the head, 1.37 needs attention, hope you agree
March 1, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
T2... 1.37 & 8.3 J .. yes I see that.. with the wording (first base and any other base(s)) ... it shouldn't say any other base(s) because it couldn't be 1st and 2nd because that would make it an IF situation and a live ball

it should just say 1st or 1st and 3rd..






March 1, 2021
Corn
Men's 60
20 posts
Is there a rule book on line?
March 1, 2021
B.J.
915 posts
at top of home page.. click on Tournaments go down 2 for RULES ..
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