May 2008 Rule Clarifications and Plays

May 31, 2008, 12:24 p.m. (ET)

May 2008 Plays and Clarifications

Rule 3 Equipment

There have been several questions pertaining to our rule regarding the colors of gloves and what the pitcher can and can not wear. Our rule is very specific. Rule 3 Section 4 states (FP) the pitcher’s glove may be of one solid color or multicolored as long as the color(s) are not the color of the ball being used in the game. Questions are regarding Logo or Manufactures names on the glove not technically being part of the glove but stitching. As in the ball used in the game the stitching and the logo are part of the ball so is the stitching and or logo a part of the glove. So if the pitcher has a glove that the manufactures name or logo on that glove is the color of the ball being used in the game then the glove can not be worn by the pitcher. Remember the glove can be worn by any other player.

Play 1: In a JO 16U Girls Fast Pitch game using a optic yellow ball and the pitcher comes out to warm up with the logo of the glove manufacture in optic yellow on the third finger of the glove.

Ruling: This glove can not be worn by the pitcher but can be worn by any other player.

Play 2: In JO 18U Fast Pitch game using a white ball and the pitcher comes out to warm up with a glove with the manufactures logo in optic yellow on the thumb of the glove.

Ruling: The pitcher can wear this glove since the ball being used is white.

Illegal Substitute:

We have received a few calls and emails regarding the application of our Illegal Substitute rule and whether a run can score when the fourth out of an inning is the enforcement of an illegal substitution rule. First always remember that an illegal substitute is a protest and not an appeal play. Therefore when a protest is reported and outs are to be called because of the protest, we must call the out in sequence of our rules and the effects of our rules. These plays are good examples of applying the rules as written.

Play 1: R1 on 3B and R2 on 1B with two outs, B4, (an unreported sub) gets a base hit and reaches 1B safely. R2 tries to go to 3B where they are thrown out for the third out. The opposing coach comes to the Plate Umpire and says he believes that B4 did not report and wants a fourth out to nullify the run that has scored. Is this a proper protest? Does R1’s run score?

Ruling: Rule 4, Section 6B” A substitute shall be considered officially in the game when reported to the plate umpire. EFFECT: If not reported it is treated as an Illegal Player. Rule 9, Section 2B tells us an illegal player is a protest offense and when the protest should be made. So once the defense protests the unreported substitute in this play we now must apply Rule 4 Section 6 C3 EFFECT: All runners will return to the past base occupied prior to the batted ball, (R1 back to 3B and R2 back to 1B). The unreported substitute is disqualified and called out. (3rd out). All other outs that occurred on this play stand ( R2 out at 3B is no longer required since we already have 3 outs). The run does not count since all runners are returned to the last base occupied.

Play 2: Same play as above with only one out.

Ruling: Using the same rule references the run would again NOT score as all runners will return to the last base occupied prior to the batted ball. The unreported sub is disqualified and declared out. (out #2). All other outs will stand so now R1’s out will be counted as the 3rd out of the inning.

In each case the batter who leads off the next inning will be the one who followed the Unreported Sub in the batting order.

Look Back Rule and Obstruction

We have received a play that involved obstruction and the look back rule in the same play. In this play a runner was obstructed between two bases and then violated the look back rule.

Play: With one out and R1 on 2B, B3 hits the ball to shallow left field for a base hit. R1 runs toward 3B but gets obstructed by F6. R1 stumbles and falls to the ground as F7 throws the ball back to F1 in the eight foot circle. R1 now gets up starts toward 3B but sees the pitcher with the ball in the circle. R1 then starts back to 2B and now sees B3 standing on 2B and changes directions again and starts back toward 3B. The umpire calls dead for R1 violating Rule 8 section 7T The Look Back Rule.

Ruling: The base umpire should have called "obstruction" and signaled a delayed dead ball when R1 was impeded by F6. When R1 violated the Look Back Rule, the umpire should call a "dead ball" and awarded R1 the base(s) that in the umpire's judgment, R1 would have reached, had there been no obstruction. Rule 8, Section 5B[1] on page 79 has five exceptions which allow the runner to be called out between the base they were obstructed. The Look Back Rule is NOT one of these exceptions.

Assisting an injured runner

We have received more than several phone calls and emails about the play that has been on all the TV sports shows around the country. We have been asked two things, is this legal in ASA Softball and in ASA Softball could we have put a substitute in for this injured player that has hit a home run.

First: Our rules for assisting a runner, Rule 8 Section 7E states when any offensive team member other than another runner, physically assists a runner while the ball is live EFFECT The ball is live and the runner being assisted is out. We do not have any rule that would prohibit the defense from assisting a runner.

Second: Our rules do allow for a substitute for an injured player. Rule 4 Section 10 says during a live ball situation, when a player becomes injured, and in the umpire’s judgment requires immediate attention, the umpire shall call dead ball. Effect: Award bases that would have been reached. Rule 4 Section 6D says if an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents them from proceeding to an awarded base, and the ball is dead, the batter-runner may be substituted for. The substitute will be allowed to proceed to any awarded base(s). The substitute must legally touch any awarded or missed base(s) not previously touched. This is not a courtesy runner, but legal substitute.