May 2011 Plays and Clarifications
This month we have received a few questions in regards to the Rule Supplements listed in the 2011 Umpire Manual Official Rules of Softball. We would like to clear up a few of those misconceptions. First and foremost these are supplements to the rules and are not rules. They are written to try and help explain the intent of the rule. We also, in some cases, list certain examples that pertain to the rule they are referencing. Keep in mind that these supplements do not list all examples of plays and or situations pertaining to a specific rule. There may be other examples that could be listed, but if we did our rule book would be too big to carry. In the 2012 rule book there will be a lead paragraph added to clarify the intent of the Rule Supplements for umpires, coaches and players.
2011 Rule Book
There are a few errors or details that have been pointed out about the 2011 Rule Book. They are as follows:
Rule 3 Section 1 E: The definition of the tapers says; the taper shall be free of burs, dents, cracks, sharp edges, and audible rattles and show no signs of excessive wear. However we do not call it out on the barrel or handle. We do say it in Rule 3 Section 1A  for the complete bat which includes the barrel etc.
Rule 6 Section 1, 3, 5, 6 EFFECT  ( FP and MP): The book states: Otherwise the manager has the option to take the result of the play or the illegal pitch is enforced by awarding the batter a ball and advancing all runners on one base. The (e) was left off in the printing of this year’s rule book.
Rule 6 Section 3H: (SP) The rule states the ball must be delivered with a perceptible arc and reach a height of at least 6 feet from the ground, while not exceeding a maximum height of 10 feet. However, last year an emergency rule change was submitted and passed to make seniors arc 6’ to 12’. The rule should read except seniors which is 12’.
Rule Supplement 12 C: This reads In Senior Men’s and Women’s Slow Pitch…. And could be misunderstood to be all Women’s Slow Pitch so the word Seniors will be added in the 2012 Rule Book
PLAYS AND RULINGS
PLAY: In a Fast Pitch game F1 stands behind the pitcher’s plate and takes a signal from the catcher in (a) steps on the pitcher’s plate and without appearing to take a signal and (b) steps on the pitcher’s plate and appears to take a signal from the catcher, and F1 then throws the next pitch. Is either legal?
RULING: In (a) this is illegal and (b) this is legal. Nowhere in our rule does it not allow for a pitcher to take a signal off the pitcher’s plate as long as they take or simulate taking a signal while on the pitchers plate. Rule 6 Section 1D: While on the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher shall take a signal or appear to take a signal with their hands separated.
PLAY: In a Slow Pitch game the pitcher pitches with their left hand and strides with their left leg. Is this legal?
RULING: Our rule says the pitcher must deliver the ball with the pivot foot remaining in contact with the pitcher’s plate. We do not care what foot they use as the pivot foot as long as one stays in contact with the pitcher’s plate until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. Rule 6 Section 3E
PLAY: In Slow Pitch w/Stealing with no runner on base and a walk is issued to a batter who continues past 1B to 2B. The catcher returns the ball to the pitcher in the infield before the batter-runner reaches 2B.
RULING: The umpire should call time and return the batter-runner to 1B. (Rule 8, Section 4F)
PLAY: In Slow Pitch w/Stealing, R1 comes off of 3B when B2 draws a walk. B2 continues to 2B after touching 1B as R1: a) makes no effort to advance toward the plate OR b) moves 15 – 20 feet down the foul line toward home plate then retreats to 3B drawing a throw from F2.
COMMENTS: The original intent of the base stealing rule in Slow Pitch was to allow runners to advance with liability to be put out when the ball got away from the catcher. The Slow Pitch game was never intended to be played with an eight foot circle around the Pitcher’s plate and a “Look Back Rule”. Rule 8, Section 4F  states that “runners are entitled to advance with liability to be put out until the pitcher has possession of the ball in the infield and all immediate play has apparently been completed.” The batter was not a runner at the time the pitch was judged to be ball four. Therefore, when the Pitcher receives the ball and is in the vicinity of the Pitcher’s plate no one can legally advance. Time should be called and runners should return to their base.
If a runner comes off of 3B when the batter receives a walk and makes no attempt to advance to the plate or no throw is made to pick off the runner at 3B, a batter-runner cannot legally advance to 2B if, in the umpire’s judgment, all play had ceased before the catcher returned the ball to the Pitcher. This should be treated the same as any ball that is hit to the outfield and returned to the infield. Time should be called and runners returned to 1B and 3B. (Rule 10, Section 4I)
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