USA Softball News February 2008 Rule C...

February 2008 Rule Clarifications and Plays

Feb. 28, 2008, 12:17 p.m. (ET)

As we enter the 2008 season we have not yet received many rule questions and or clarifications. We have however a lot to discuss and make clear until those questions begin to come in. The items we have this month pertain to recruiting umpires, umpire uniforms and rules. As always if you have any questions concerning the items posted on the web contact your Regional Umpire-in-Chief, Deputy Supervisor of Umpires or the Supervisor of Umpires Kevin Ryan.


Local umpire meetings are starting and training sessions for new umpires are being planned. Park and Recreation Departments are scheduling league meetings. It’s the 2008 Softball Season!

There are people out there who want to umpire. They may be your teammates, your neighbors, your work buddies, even old classmates. These people are waiting to be asked. It won’t be hard to talk them into becoming an umpire because they probably like the fact that umpiring offers them a chance to serve their community in a positive way. Do they know that umpiring is healthy and it pays? Tell them!

There is not one umpire association in America that has too many umpires; most umpire associations would love to have more working umpires to lighten the workload. Recruiting is all of our responsibility. When each of us first became an umpire, it was most likely because we were recruited by a friend to join the local ASA Umpire Association. As a UIC you can’t do all the recruiting by yourself, but you can put a recruiting plan together and encourage every member of your Umpires’ Association to bring one or two new recruits to the next General Membership meeting.

The beginning of the season is the perfect time to recruit new umpires. As the leader of your Umpire Association, you are the best person to make it happen. The 2008 Rookie Class is out there at your fingertips, waiting to be asked, waiting for that phone call that will change their lives. New umpires are high school and college students looking for a fun job or they are recently retired folks wanting extra income. New umpires might be ex-players looking for a way to stay in the game and others might be sports fans looking for an avenue to provide community service. New umpires are easy to find, you just need to read the clues and don’t be shy about inviting them to be a part of the fun. People who know you and ask you about your umpiring career are perfect recruits. Just ask them to join up and umpire with you this year. What do they have to lose?

Recruiting umpires is not that tough to do once you have a plan. Knowing that you are representing ASA, the leader in the Softball World, makes the job of recruiting a whole lot easier.


Beginning with the 2008 Season, all umpires who accept assignments to a National Championships are required to purchase their pants, (Heather Gray or Navy Blue), through ASA Properties at the National Office. (That includes licensed vendors).

This move was made to promote consistency in the color and style of the pants each umpire wears. This is similar to the reasoning behind having our umpires purchase caps, shirts, and jackets from this same supplier. (ASA Properties).

Again, starting this year, all umpires working ASA National Championships must purchase their pants from ASA Properties.

Umpire Insurance

It has been brought to our attention we have an error on the back of the umpire exam which discusses an umpire’s liability coverage. It has for a few years stated an umpire had $10,000,000.00 liability coverage. On the web under the umpire section and the link Why Umpire it states an umpire has $5,000,000.00 liability coverage. The web page is correct and the back of the exam will be corrected next year.

2008 Rule Book Corrections

With the start of the 2008 rule books being sent to Local Associations we have been made aware of three items that are incorrect or omitted by accident. The three specific items are:

1) Rule 2 Section 4 Field Dimensions:The dimensions of the strike mat for Senior Slow Pitch located in Rule 2 is incorrect. The correct dimensions are 24” from the back corner to the end of the mat and 32 ½” for over all length of the mat from the front edge of home plate to the end of the mat.

2) Rule 2 Section 1 Official Distance Table:At last years Council meeting a new rule proposal was submitted and approved to move the Junior Olympic 18 U A Classification of play pitching distance to 43 feet. This shows in our chart for distances in the 2008 rule book. In the past 18U A and 18 U B were the same distance and in this year’s printing of the book Junior Olympic 18U B pitching distance was inadvertently left out. The correct pitching distance for Junior Olympic 18U B Classification is the same as last year, 40 feet.

3) Rule 7 Section 2 D 4 should read Runners shall NOT be removed from the base occupied except the batter-runner who has been removed from a base by the umpires….. In 2006 the book read No runner shall be removed…. In the rewrite of this paragraph for better grammar and sentence structure no was removed and the word NOT should have been inserted.

Rule 3 Section 1 Official Bat

As we begin the 2008 season we have had a few questions about bats and warm up bats specifically the grip. Apparently there are new bats being sold that show to be ASA approved with grips that are too short. We also have warm-up bats that are ASA approved with no grip. The argument by players is “this is the way I bought it” or “I just took it out of the wrapper. This is a reminder that any bat or warm up bat that is ASA approved and listed on the approved bat list or the web site as an approved warm up bat still must meet all the requirements of Rule 3 Section 1 “Official Bat” or in the case of a warm up bat Rule 3 Section 2. If either a warm up bat or an approved bat does not meet the requirements of Rule 3 we as umpires are obligated to remove that bat from the team if it can not be made legal. The most common violation of Rule 3 is the safety grip. If the bat or warm up bat does not meet the safety grip requirements of Rule 3 Section 1 H, then it should be made legal or removed from the team using it.