June 2011 Plays and Clarifications

June 30, 2011, 12:36 p.m. (ET)

June 2011 Plays and Clarifications


Now that the ASA Softball season is in full swing we have been receiving emails and phone calls about the legality of specific equipment. Below we have addressed some of the questions that have come up more than once.

The Handle: A few questions on the issue of what a lot of folks refer to as the ax handle bat. This bat is made by Baden and meets all the requirements of Rule 3 Section 1 of the ASA Official Rules of Softball. The odd shape has some umpires questioning the bat as legal. We must apply Rule 3 Section 1 to all bats regardless of looks and if the bats meet the requirements of Rule 3 Section 1 it is a legal bat.

Safety Grip: In reviewing the safety grip of a bat we again must refer to ASA rules. If a grip meets Rule 3 Section 1D then the grip is legal. ASA does not list any bat grips as legal or not but looks at them to see if they meet our rules. An example of this is a product named Tater Grip. When you look at it, it is a different looking grip but as long as it meets Rule 3 Section 1D it should not be ruled illegal. So when reviewing a grip on a bat regardless of looks as long as it meets Rule 3 Section 1D of ASA rules then it is legal.

Helmet:  An issue was brought up about airbrush painting a batting helmet. As before when these issues come up we need to go back to our rule book and see if this in fact is a violation. Nothing in our rules prohibit players from airbrush painting their logo, name, or other such items on a batting helmet. If you refer to Rule 3 Section 5E nothing in our rule prohibit this from being done.

Wood Bats: The question was asked if a wood bat needs to have the ASA certification stamp on it. Rule 3 Section 1A… The official bat…. Must bear either the ASA 2000 Certification Mark or the ASA 2004 Certification Mark…. Rule 3 Section 1A makes no mention of materials so in Championship play a wood bat must have the ASA Certification mark on the bat.

Open Flame Bat Warmers: Can open flame bat warmers be used in the dugout? ASA’s policy is no open flame bat warmers are allowed in the dugout at anytime. The reason behind this is the risk of a fire is too great when open flames are around and everyone is concentrating on the ball game.

Hockey Style Umpire Mask: We have received questions about wearing the Hockey Style Face Mask as the plate umpire. We have for a few years now allowed this style mask for ASA play. When wearing the hockey style mask as the plate umpire you are required to: Wear a hat to the field, during the home plate conference and then when you leave the field. You can put your hat during the game in a place like you would put your jacket or such, in the out of play area. We do not want to require the umpires to take up room in their ball bag or in the screen. Put it somewhere so the umpire can put it on after the game for the long walk back to the umpire room.

Plays and Rulings

PLAY: R1 on 2B and R2 on 1B with less than two outs. B4 hits a ball in the gap and is fielded by F7. F7 throws the ball home to F2 and R1 slides around F2 but misses Home Plate. As R1 gets up the on-deck batter sees that R1 has missed Home Plate and pushes them back to HP while yelling “you missed home plate “and  while the catcher is moving to make the tag. R2 is at 3B and the BR is at 2B. The umpire declares dead ball and on-deck batter interference. Who should be called out? 
RULING: This act is aiding a runner after they have missed Home Plate by an offensive team member and not on deck batter interference. A dead ball should be declared and the runner that missed Home Plate is declared out. All other runners are returned to the last base touched at the time of the dead ball.   Rule 8 Section 7E: When any offensive team member other than another runner, physically assists a runner while the ball is live:
Exception: After a runner has scored and missed home plate and then is physically assisted back to home plate the ball is dead, the runner is out and the run is nullified. 

PLAY: (FP) R1 on first with one out, B3 takes a called strike 2, the ball hits the catcher’s glove and ricochets forward and stops in front of the plate, B3 reaches down and picks up the ball as (a) R1 is attempting to steal 2B and (b) R1 is standing on 1B. What is the call?
RULING:  In a) the ball is dead and the batter is declared out for interference and the runner is returned to the last base touched at the time of the interference. (Rule 7, Sections Q & R) In b) time is called by the umpire and no one is called out. (Rule 1 Interference)

PLAY: (SP w/ Stealing) R1 is on 3B with one out and B3 at bat. F1 throws a pitch judged to be a ball that hits behind Home Plate and gets past F2. F2 retrieves the ball quickly and returns the ball to F1 as R1 walks toward Home Plate. After F1 receives the ball R1 immediately runs toward home plate. Is this legal?

RULING: If the umpire rules that all play had not ceased, R1’s advance is allowed regardless if R1 left the base walking of running. Rule 8 Section 4F [1-4]

PLAY: (FP) F1 is in the circle, behind the pitcher’s plate, taking the signal from the catcher and F2 is in position to receive the ball with B1 in the right hand batter’s box.  Prior to F1 stepping onto the pitcher’s plate, B1, without requesting time, steps across the plate into the left hand batter’s box.   Is this legal?
RULING: This is not a violation until the pitcher steps on the pitchers plate and takes a signal or appears to take a signal.  Rule 6 Section 1D (FP) and Rule 7 Section 3E