March 2007 Rule Clarifications and Plays

March 31, 2007, 12:09 p.m. (ET)

Tips for Judging Interference

In an effort to help umpires become more uniform in judging interference throughout the country, the ASA has addressed several rules relating to interference that contained the word “intentional”. Specifically, the word “intentional” has been removed from Rule 7, Section 7 Q; Rule 8, Section 2 F [3]; Rule 8, Section 7 J [3]; and, Rule 8, Section 7 P. Umpires now need only to base their decision on whether interference occurred or did not occur, and not the intentions of the offensive player. Moreover, removing the word “intentional” from these sections aligns these rules with the definition of INTERFERENCE in Rule 1.

SITUATION 1: With no outs and R1 on 2B, B2 swings at and misses the pitch. R1 breaks for 3B and while F2 is throwing to 3B in an attempt to retire R1, B2, while remaining in the batter’s box, backs up to readjust their footing and bumps into F2 causing an errant throw. RULING: B2 is guilty of interference. The ball is dead, B2 is out and R1 must return to 2B. (Rule 7, Section 6 Q)

SITUATION 2: With one out, R1 on 3B and R2 on 1B, B4 has a 0-1 count and on the next pitch R2 attempts to steal 2B. The throw is cut-off by F6 as R1 now attempts to steal home. F6’s throw to home plate strikes B4 who is standing out of the box preventing F2 from catching the ball and applying a tag on R1. RULING: B4 is guilty of interference. The ball is dead, B4 is out, R1 is returned to 3B and R2 is returned to 1B. (Rule 8, Section 2 F [3])

SITUATION 3: With no outs and R1 at 1B, B2 hits a ground ball to F6 who fields the ball and throws to F4 at 2B to start a double play. F4 steps on 2B and throws the ball to F3 in an attempt to retire B2. R1, knowing they are out, turns to go back to the dugout where the ball strikes them in the back and ricochets into foul ground. RULING: R1 is guilty of interference after being declared out. In this case, because B2 is the only runner and therefore closest to home plate, B2 is also be declared out. (Rule 8, Section 7 J [3])

SITUATION 4: With no outs, R1 at 3B and R2 at 2B, B3 hits a long shot to the outfield fence. By the time F8 retrieves the ball R1 and R2 have scored. B4 is rounding 3B and coming home when R2 moves back to the home plate area to instruct B3 to slide at home plate for a close play. In doing so, R2 is hit with the thrown ball and it deflects away from F2 as B3 scores. RULING: R2 is guilty of interference. Because R2 has already scored B3 is declared out and only the runs scored by R1 and R2 count.

Errors Found in the 2007 Official Rules of Softball

In reviewing the published 2007 Official Rules of Softball (rule book), several errors have been found that need immediate attention and correction. Those errors are listed below:

  1. Page 61, the OFFICIAL DISTANCE TABLE shows the pitching distance for Youth Fast Pitch G14-U-B, G16-U-B and G18-U-B as 46’. The correct distance is 40’.
  2. Page 82, Rule 5, Section 5 lists the subsections as A, B and B. Obviously, the third subsection should be C.
  3. The umpire uniform requirements were inadvertently omitted. The uniform requirements are contained in the last page of this posting.

Additionally, an error was found in the Umpire Manual portion of the Official Rules of Softball. On pages 252 and 253, Two Umpire System - Slow Pitch, BASE MECHANICS, Section F 8 (Situation 9), states, “Runner on third base only (Situation 9). The base umpire should be off of the second baseman on the first base side.” This is incorrect. It should state, “Runner on third base only (Situation 9). The base umpire should be off of the second baseman on the second base side.” The diagram in Situation 9 is also incorrect.

Corrections to 2007 Umpire Exam Questions

Questions have arisen regarding the clarity of two questions contained in the 2007 Umpire Exam. The questions of concern are listed below:

  1. Question #22, Fast Pitch. The correct answer to this question can be B or C; however, the answer key shows the answer to be C. The question was composed while presuming that the women’s fast pitch game was using a yellow-optic ball. ASA rules permit the women’s fast pitch game to be played using a white ball.
  2. Question #37, Multiple Choice. This question was composed for the fast pitch game; however, it is not so stipulated.

Should additional errors to the Official Rules of Softball or the Umpire Manual be identified, corrections will be posted on this website as soon as practical. Please forward any errors found in the Official Rules of Softball to Kevin Ryan, Rule Book Committee Chair, at kryan@softball.org.

ASA UMPIRE UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS

The male and female umpire shall wear:

  1. A powder blue or navy blue, short-sleeve polo shirt. ASA letters are worn on the left chest of the polo shirt.
  2. Navy blue or heather-gray slacks and navy blue or black socks.
  3. The approved navy blue cap with white ASA letters, trimmed with light blue on the front and the U.S. Flag positioned on the left side, with the stars forward.
  4. The approved navy blue ball bag with ASA letters to be worn with either the navy blue or the heather-gray slacks.
  5. The approved navy blue jacket with white ASA letters on the left chest.
  6. Black shoes and black belt.
  7. A t-shirt is optional to wear under the powder blue or navy blue polo shirt. If a t-shirt is worn, it must be a white t-shirt under the powder blue polo shirt and navy blue t-shirt under the navy blue polo shirt.
  8. The plate umpire in fast pitch MUST wear a black mask with black or tan padding, and a black throat protector. An extended wire protector may be worn in lieu of a throat protector on the mask.