2003 Rule Changes and Comments
Rule 1 – ALTERED BAT. A bat is considered altered when the physical structure of a legal softball bat has been changed. A “flare” or “cone” grip attached to the bat handle, inserting material inside the bat, applying excessive tape (more than two layers) to the bat grip or painting a bat other than at the top or bottom for identification purposes are examples of altering a bat. Replacing the grip with another legal grip is not considered altering the bat. Laser marking for “ID” purposes is not considered altered. Engraved “ID” marking on the knob end only of a metal bat is not considered altered. Engraved “ID” marking on the barrel end of a metal bat is considered an altered bat.
COMMENTS: Many manufacturers “laser” metal bats with the buyer’s name for identification.
The end result of this laser procedure is a smooth surface. When engraving a bat, rough edging occurs, and this could cut a softball if on the barrel end.
Engraving could be done on the knob end as long as a recertification mark is
not located on the end.
Rule 1 – BALL COMPRESSION. The load force, in pounds, required to compress a softball 0.250 inches when measured in accordance with the ASTM test method for measuring compression-displacement of softballs.
COMMENTS: “Ball Compression” is used under Rule 3 to appropriately interpret “certified” ball rule changes. As stated in the definition, this measurement was established by the American Standard of Test Measurement ASTM for measuring compression-displacement of softballs.
Rule 1 – BALL COR. The coefficient of restitution of a softball when measured in accordance with the ASTM test method for measuring coefficient of restitution of softballs.
COMMENTS: Similar to the previous definition added, ball COR is used when appropriately interpreting certified” ball rule changes under Rule 3, Section 3.
Rule 1 – BANNED BAT. A bat that no longer meets the ASA specifications and has been placed on a current banned list.
COMMENTS: A bat that may have been certified or re-certified at one time , but no longer meets ASA performance standards and cannot be used in ASA play.
Rule 1 – OUTFIELDER. An outfielder is a fielder who defends the area of the field that the left, left-center, right-center, and right fielders normally play. (This assists in determining positions for co-ed slow pitch play.)
COMMENTS: This definition was added to help enforce the positioning of outfielders in the coed game where two male and two female players are required. In 2002, the definition of an “infielder” was added to also assist the coed game.
Rule 3, Sec. 1 THE OFFICIAL BAT.
C. Length and Weight.
F. Barrel End.
G. Safety Grip.
H. Safety Knob.
I. Altered Bat.
COMMENTS: Section 1 has been completely re-written under the headings shown above, but with basically the same wording used. All measurements added a “0” to inches and centimeters or ounces to limit both. An example of how “length and Weight” is written. The official bat shall not be more than 34.0 inches (86.3600cm) long, nor exceed 38.0 ounces (1077.30 g) in weight.
Rule 3, Sec 3. THE OFFICIAL SOFTBALL.
C. The 16-inch Ball.
D. The 14-inch Ball.
E. The 12-inch Ball.
F. The 11-inch Ball.
G. The 10-inch Ball.
H. The charts showing size, thread color, cover color, minimum and maximum
size and weight, division of play for each ball, the COR and the compression.
COMMENTS: The rewording of “Official Softballs” has also been changed to include the sub-sections listed above. All measurements added a “0” in order to show the maximum limit has been lowered. (example) The COR on the 12-inch ball is now .470 or under, rather than allowing “.47 or under” as was written in 2002.
Rule 3, Sec 6. UNIFORM. All players on a team shall properly wear uniforms that are alike in color and style. Sleeves or straps of the uniform top may be adjusted, with or with-out tie-ups, to comfort the player. If the uniform is tied up, the numbers must be visible; otherwise the ties must be removed.
If because of the blood rule a change is required and the uniform part does not match, the player will not be penalized. All protective equipment should be worn properly. If a player is requested by the umpire to remove jewelry, illegal shoes or illegal parts of the uniform and the player refuses, the player will not be allowed to play.
In championship play, players shall not display the names and/or logos of any other softball association on their uniforms. The ASA Junior Olympic patch is not mandatory, but if worn, it should be either on the left shoulder or, when not possible, on the left breast. (Coaches refer to Rule 4-8)
COMMENTS: This addition restricts players from displaying and promoting competing association’s patches or names in A.S.A. play. Additionally, this change concerns the wearing of the A.S.A. Junior Olympic patch, and brings the rules in line with the ASA Code.
Also, the word “trim” was removed from “color, trim and style” in the first sentence.
Rule 3, Sec 6-G – SHOES. Change EXCEPTION to read:
EXCEPTION: Junior Olympic Fast and Slow Pitch, Co-ed Slow Pitch and Senior Slow Pitch: No metal spikes nor hard plastic or polyurethane spikes similar to metal sole and heel plates are allowed.
COMMENTS: This change removes Senior Fast Pitch players from the “Exception”, and allows this division of play to wear metal cleats. Housekeeping also removed the “/” Between SP/Coed from the 2002 rule book which was in error.
Rule 4, Sec 6-A (1) SUBSTITUTES.
A. The manager or team representative of the team making the substitution shall immediately notify the plate umpire at the time the substitute enters. The plate umpire shall then report the change to the scorer.
1) (FP Only) If the “DP” replaces the “DEFO” or the “DEFO” replaces the “DP”, this change must be reported to the plate umpire. EFFECT: If not reported, it is treated the same as an unreported substitute.
COMMENTS: This change now requires the DP or DEFO (in the fast pitch game) to be reported to the plate umpire when the substitution occurs. In 2002, the two positions did not have to report when they changed positions and this created much confusion.
Rule 4, Sec. 8. COACH Add to sub-section “B”:
B. Coaches must be neatly attired or dressed in team uniform in accordance with the color code of the team. If a coach wears a hat/cap, it must be approved head wear. In championship play, coaches shall not display the names and/or logos of any other softball association on their uniform. PENALTY: The coach(s) cannot be on the playing field to coach their team.
COMMENTS: This change was made to be consistent with the players ruling, as well as the A.S.A. Code. Wearing patches or the name of another organization in an ASA game is not allowed and, unless the name or patch is covered, coaches or managers should not be allowed in the dugout, on the playing field, or in a warm-up area.
Rule 4, Sec. 8. COACH Add to sub-section “C-2”:
C. A base coach is an eligible team member, head coach or assistant coach of the team at bat who occupies the coach’s box at first or third, to direct the batter or runner.
2. A base coach shall be obligated to stay within the confines of these boxes with both feet.
A) A coach may leave the coach’s box to signal a runner to slide, advance or return to a base or move out of a fielder’s way as long as the coach does not interfere with the play.
B) A coach may not leave the coach’s box to give verbal communications or signals to the batter. EFFECT: After a warning, an offensive conference will be charged.
COMMENTS: This rule change requires that instructions and signals to a batter must be made from the coach’s box. Leaving the coach’s box, after a warning, results in a charged conference.
Rule 4, Sec. 11. INJURED PLAYER. Add new section “11” to read:
During a live ball s ituation, when a player becomes injured, and in the umpire’s judgment requires immediate attention, the umpire shall call “DEAD BALL” and allow or seek first aid. EFFECT: Award any bases that would have been reached.
COMMENTS: This change allows the umpire to call a “time out”, and to seek or allow first aid to be administered if in the umpire’s judgment the injury requires immediate attention.
Any award of bases to all runners will be based on the umpire’s judgment as to
where the runners would have reached had the “time out” not be called.
Rule 7, Sec. 3-C: Add “Modified Pitch” to sub-section, to read:
C. (Junior Olympic Fast and Slow Pitch/Adult Modified Pitch) After entering the batter’s box, the batter must remain in the box with at least one foot between pitches and while taking signals and practice swings.
COMMENTS: Between pitches, the Modified Pitch batters have the same restrictions as a J.O. batter. They must keep one foot in the batter’s box to receive signals and to take practice swings.
Rule 7, Section 3-E: Add new sub-section “E” to read:
D. After the ball is in play, the batter may not step out of the batter’s box to stop play unless time has been granted by the umpire. EFFECT: All action will continue and the pitch will be called.
EXCEPTION: If special conditions warrant, such as a ball from another field, a wind gust putting dust in a batter’s eye, or car lights in the batter’s eye, time can be called.
COMMENTS: This prevents the batter from stepping out of the batter’s box to delay the game or to upset the pitcher’s rhythm. If conditions occur, in the umpire’s judgment (see comments listed under EXCEPTION), the umpire should grant the “time out.” If no time is called, the umpire should call the pitch a strike or ball depending whether the pitch enters the strike zone or not.
Rule 7, Sec. 6-B: Change wording to read:
Section 6. THE BATTER IS OUT.
B. When a batter enters the batter’s box with or is discovered using an altered, doctored, loaded, or banned bat. The batter shall be disqualified from the game, and if in a tournament, may be disqualified for the remainder of the tournament.
COMMENTS: A banned, doctored, or loaded bat has been added to the rule to make players aware that by A.S.A. Code, disqualification from a game or a tournament is possible.
NOTE: In 2003, Section 5 “A-B-C-D” of the ASA Rule Book has been moved to Section 4 “J-K-L-M” and all sections 6-11 have been renumbered to 5-10.
Rule 8, Sec. 5-G EFFECT: Add to “effect” following sub-section “G” to read:
G. When the ball is in play and is overthrown (beyond the boundary lines) or is blocked.
EFFECT: All runners will be awarded two bases, and the award will be overned by the position of the runners when the ball left the fielder’s hand. Runners may return to touch a missed base or base left too soon. If two runners are between the same bases, the award is based on the position of the lead runner. Once a base runner advances to and passes the next awarded base, the runner may no longer return to touch any missed base or any base left too soon.
COMMENTS: A “dead ball” should be called and allow runners the opportunity to complete their base running responsibilities. Returning to touch a missed base or one left too soon must occur prior to an award. Once the umpire awards base(s), and if a runner reaches the first base of the award, and then for any reason, retreats to a previous base missed or left too soon, this would be an illegal act, and the defense could appeal. The umpire would rule the runner out.
Rule 8, Sec. 7-E EFFECT: Add “Exception” to the EFFECT, to read:
E. When anyone other than another runner physically assists the runner while the ball is in play.
EFFECT - Section A-E: The ball is in play and the runner is out.
EXCEPTION – Section E: After a runner has scored and missed home plate and is physically assisted back to home, the ball is dead, the runner is out and the run is nullified.
COMMENTS: This is the only situation where a “dead ball” is called for runner assistance. When a runner has scored, but missed home plate, and is physically assisted back to the plate by another offensive team member, the umpire should rule a “dead ball,” the runner called out, and the run nullified.
Rule 8, Sec. 7 Y: Add new “Y” to section, to read:
Y. When, following an offensive conference, base runners switch positions on the bases they occupied. EFFECT: Each runner on an improper base shall be declared out. In addition, the head coach shall be ejected for unsportsmanlike behavior.
COMMENTS: This rule addition was added to stop an “unsportsmanlike practice” by coaches to place a faster runner closer to home when there is more than one runner on base.
This a severe penalty, with each runner called out, plus the coach ejected from the game (for unsportsmanlike conduct), however this has happened in J.O. and NCAA games and the Playing Rules Committee does not want this to continue occuring.