At our monthly meetings during the regular season, the members of the ACTBUA discuss tricky plays, complex situations, and difficult choices which have come up during games. We talk over how the umpires on the field handled things at the time, most often congratulating them on their interpretations and their actions. But we still attempt to ascertain whether there might have been a different, even better, way to approach the problem. We do this so that members can be prepared should similar situations arise in the future.
Our hope in setting up this Discussion Board is that we can make our deliberations and our understanding of developments on the field available to all concerned with baseball in the ACT. But the people whom we want especially to reach are those who umpire Junior or C-Grade games and don't necessarily get an opportunity to come to our meetings for the discussions.
In addition, we will be trying to have non-members who have run into puzzling circumstances while umpiring or playing on the diamond write in. And if they describe what happened, we would hope to be able to offer advice on how the play might best have been interpreted at the time what the judgment ought to have been, in accordance with the rules and how to approach and handle the situation should it arise again.
In short, we hope that the Discussion Board will enable us in a practical way to share our knowledge and experience of umpiring more broadly in the ACT baseball community, in the fashion that we share with each other in our Association meetings.
All of us are indebted to Barry Barnes for his work in establishing this site. Let's make use of it to try to see that we're all moving forward together.
ACT Baseball Umpires Association
This discussion board is provided for the use of all members. Please do not abuse the privilege with inappropriate material or language.
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|Rule 8.01b||15 Mar 2013 14:10|
Response to Rule 8.01(b) from Bill O'Malley
Thanks for the keen observation and for raising good points. And I quite understand why a pitcher would want to keep the balance even, or perhaps even a little in his favor, when it comes to quieting runners on the basepaths.
We do teach that "to step directly toward" a base in an effort to pick off a runner means that a pitcher's free foot must show distance and direction toward the base where he is making the play. By "direction" we don't demand that a pitcher line up perfectly straight at the base, merely that his free foot when it falls points generally toward the play he is trying to make. By "distance" we mean that his free foot must come down closer to the intended play than that free foot was when the pick-off motion commenced. And we interpret this by demanding that we see the free foot cover a distance at least the equivalent of spinning completely around while pivoting on the very back of the heel. In effect, this means that a pitcher, in making either a quick step or a jump turn as his pick-off move, cannot keep his free foot in the same place nor complete his jump by coming down with his free foot in the same place it was before he commenced his jump. This interpretation works to eliminate the possibility that a pitcher can fully disguise his pick-off move as an attempt to pitch. And it means that a jump-turn move is in compliance with the rules.
In the two-man umpiring system which we usually employ here, invariably it is the plate umpire who can see and who checks that the requirement for distance and direction is met; the base umpire, from his position in the infield with runners on base, simply can't make that kind of judgment.
I hope this helps. I can understand the frustration that a right-handed pitcher feels when he's already at a pick-off disadvantage compared to his left-handed colleagues and then finds that he can't do something that might help even things up. But we have to stick with adage: rules are rules. And this is the interpretation of "to step directly toward" which is employed everywhere in baseball.
|Rule8.01b||13 Mar 2013 14:52|
Over the past few years I have seen an increase in pitchers balked for “distance and direction” and would love some clarification if I could please.
Both the Official rules of baseball and the official Australian rules list the rule as follows.
8.01(b) The Set Position. (c) At any time during the pitcher's preliminary movements and until his natural pitching motion commits him to the pitch, he may throw to any base provided he steps directly toward such base before making the throw.
In my opinion this has been enforced as “The pitcher must gain distance and direction when throwing to a base” whereas it should be “The pitcher must gain distance and direction with his free foot when throwing to a base”
The important factor to remember is that even if the pitchers pivot foot remains the same distance from the base, as long as distance is shortened and direction is created with the front foot, the pickoff should still be legal.
Would love your thoughts as I believe lack of clarity around this rule is moving more pitchers to a “step off pick off” which gives a greater advantage to the offensive team.
A true pitchers response