USA Softball News June 2008 Rule Clari...

June 2008 Rule Clarifications and Plays

June 30, 2008, 12:25 p.m. (ET)

June 2008 Plays and Clarifications

Rule 3 Section 4 Glove / Mitt

We are receiving a lot of questions regarding logos, stitching and model numbers being Optic Yellow and in violation of our rule regarding glove color. Our rule, Rule 3 Section 4, says…. The Pitcher’s glove may be of one solid color or multicolored as long as the colors(s) are not the color of the ball being used in the game. As we have stated in the past there are some logos and or model numbers that violate our rule. However, we need to be very diligent in our ruling on the pitcher’s glove. Colors not allowed on a pitcher’s glove are optic yellow when an optic yellow ball is used in the game and white when a white ball is used in the game. A good rule of thumb would be to hold the game ball next to the glove in question and see if they are the same color. If they are, then the PITCHER can not use that glove. The intent of the rule is to not have a glove that appears to have a ball in it or that can be a distraction to the batter by having the game ball color on it.

Rule 3 Section 1 The Official Bat

Questions on legal or illegal bats are a constant source of inquiry and keeping everyone updated is an on-going task. The Equipment Testing and Certification Committee is doing an outstanding job in keeping abreast of ever changing technologies in softball equipment. They are very helpful to our umpires by sharing information as quickly as possible. An item of interest for this month is the Mizuno Orange Crush bat. There are models bearing the same model number of MZC-4. One (is) has the ASA 2000 Certification stamp on it and is approved by ASA. The newer version, just recently introduced to the market, is on the Non-Approved list, does not have any ASA certification mark and is NOT APPROVED. The non-approved version has a clear graphic distinction with the word “Original” on the bat. Please share this information with other umpires in your local association.

Rule 3 Section 2 Warm-Up Bats

Lately, several questions regarding warm up bats have come to light. ASA provides a current list of warm up bats on its web page. Rule 3 Section 2 C declares that a warm-up bat must be approved by ASA. A correction is forthcoming to show that the DRX on the old list is a DRX 200. So the DRX 200 and the DRX 250 are approved.

Rule 8 Section 5 B Obstruction

A question on whether a run counts or not on a play where a runner is obstructed between 3B and HP prior to the third out of the inning has created much comment. Rule 8 Section 5 B 4 states “when a runner, while advancing or returning to a base a) is obstructed by a fielder who neither has the ball or b) is attempting to field a batted or thrown ball. The Effect says that the obstructed runner and all other runners shall ALWAYS be awarded the base or bases they would have reached, in the umpire judgment, had there been no obstruction”. The key word is “ALWAYS”. If, in the umpire’s judgment, the obstructed runner would have scored prior to the recording of the third out, then the obstructed runner can be awarded HP. You should think of it as the runner scoring prior to the third out.

Play: R1 on 2B with 2 outs. B4 gets a base hit. R1 rounds 3B and is obstructed after rounding 3B. B4 tries to stretch a single to a double and is tagged out before reaching 2B for the third out. Does the run count?

Ruling: Even though the third out was recorded prior to the obstructed runner scoring by rule, Rule 8 Section 5 B 4, the umpire’s judgment was that the obstructed runner would have scored prior to the third out and the run counts.

Obstruction or Interference: Which take precedence?

Rule 8 Section 5 B Note 2 states that “should of an act of interference occur following any obstruction, enforcement of the interference penalty has precedence.” Rule Supplement # 36 clarifies that this only applies to the obstructed runner. If the obstructed runner commits an act of interference, then the obstructed runner would be out. If anyone else commits an act of interference, then we must apply the rule in effect for that play.

Play: R1 on 2B with less than 2 outs. B3 swings and is obstructed by the catcher. B3 makes contact and hits the ball to F6. While attempting to field the ball, R1 runs into F6 committing an act of interference. The umpire should call “dead ball” and rule R1 out for interference. What happens to B3?

Ruling: When catcher’s obstruction occurs, the plate umpire should signal “Delayed Dead Ball” and call obstruction. When the interference occurs the umpires should now call dead ball and the runner out for interference. The batter runner is awarded 1B. However, the umpires must now apply the remainder of the catcher’s obstruction rule. The umpire should now ask the offended team if they want to take the result of the play or not, which is R1 out and B3 awarded 1B OR put R1 on 2B and award B3 1B because Rule 8 Section 1 D 2 says; If all runners, including the batter runner do not advance at least one base. Effect: The manager has the option of taking the result of the play or enforcing obstruction by awarding the batter first base and advancing all runners, if forced.