February 2010 Plays and Clarifications
Rule 3, Section 1A – H: The Official Bat We have received a lot of questions about the new rules as they pertain to the ASA Official Bat. These questions have centered on what can and cannot be done to the handle area of the bat. In this month’s plays and clarifications we will try to answer some of those questions and hopefully clear up any misconceptions that may be going around the umpire community.
Question: Does the official bat have to have a knob?
Answer Yes as defined in Rule 3 Section 1B. The knob shall have a minimum diameter of 1.6 inches with no sharp edges. The knob will be permanently attached to the bat and may be taped with Safety tape. This allows for the smallest diameter knob that ASA has always allowed and eliminates the 90 degree rule, knob to handle.
Question: Can you have a buildup of tape forming a cone shape on the handle?
Answer Yes. Rule 3 Section 1D allows for a cone shaped grip. The cone shape grip must stay above the knob. The new rule allows for the buildup of tape which was previously in violation of the old 90 degree angle of the knob to bat. You can tape the knob however the cone shape needs to be above the knob.
Question: Can you use a choke up device, molded finger grip, flare cone shape grip?
Answer Yes. Rule 3 Section 1D allows for these devices that at one time were illegal. The rule states they must be attached with safety tape. If they are not attached with safety tape they must be removed.
Question: Can the handle have more than 2 layers of tape?
Answer Yes Rule 3 Section 1D has removed the wording about only 2 layers of tape being allowed. Therefore multiple layers of tape are allowed as long as there is no exposed metal or composite material in the minimum 10” range or the maximum 15” range
Question: Does a new model bat that does not appear on the non approved bat list and does not have the ASA certification mark on it fall under the penalty for using a non approved or altered bat?
Answer Yes. Any bat that does not meet Rule 3 Section 1A [1-3] is considered a non approved bat whether listed or not. This is the reason we went to the one bat list called Non Approved bats with Certification Marks. When making the change to the new list, the definition in Rule 1”Non Approved Bat” was missed and the “and” in the definition should have been removed and replaced with “or.” If it does not meet Rule 3 section 1A [1-3] or is on the Non Approved bats with Certification Marks list then it is a “NON APPROVED BAT.”
Rule 8, Section 10A – G: Courtesy Runner (Fast Pitch/Modified>
This year the ASA council voted to make the courtesy runner part of the modified game by a rule change submitted and approved. In the game of Fast Pitch a question has been asked concerning the ability to have the DP bat for the Flex, (the pitcher), get a hit and be replaced by the flex on base. The coach will then put a courtesy runner in for the flex, (the pitcher).
Play: In a J.O Fast Pitch game, the DP is batting in the fourth spot of the line-up for the FLEX (the pitcher). In the third inning, the DP bats and reaches 1B safely. The coach asks for time to replace the DP with the FLEX (the pitcher). The FLEX advances to 2B on a hit from the next batter. The coach again asks for time and now wants to use a Courtesy Runner for the FLEX (the pitcher). Is this legal?
Ruling: ASA does not permit a team to circumvent the Courtesy Runner rule by putting the pitcher back in the game after the DP bats for the pitcher or catcher. A Courtesy Runner is permitted in J.O. play for the pitcher and catcher only. The Courtesy Runner rule is intended for the pitcher and/or catcher who bats and is running the bases. Rule 8, Section 10B states no Courtesy Runner is allowed when a substitute enters the game to bat for the pitcher or catcher and then that pitcher or catcher re-entering the game on the bases. Rule 8, Section 10E states that no Courtesy Runner is allowed for the DP if the DP is batting for the pitcher or catcher. (Rule 8, Section 10B & E)
Rule 8, Section 5B: Obstruction
There seems to be some question on the ASA obstruction rule as discussed in Rule Supplement 36. It states that “If a defensive player is blocking the base or base path without the ball, they are impeding the progress of the runner and this is obstruction.” This has been interpreted by some to say that regardless of the location of the runner or runners blocking a base is obstruction. Therefore, regardless of where the runner is, for example 20 feet from the base, in ASA this is obstruction. This is a misunderstanding of the Rule Supplement. The sentence is being taken out of context and should be applied with the rest of Rule Supplement 36.
However, it is also important to remember that a Rule Supplement is not a rule but written to support the rule. Our rule clearly states that it is obstruction if there is impeding of the runner. To have obstruction while blocking a base there must be two elements involved: 1) A defensive player blocking the base or base path without possession of the ball and 2) a defensive player impeding or hindering the runner’s advancing or returning to a base by the action of blocking the base.
Ruling: No. R1 was not impeded or hindered on the way to the plate. (Rule 1, Definition; Rule 8, Section 5B)