Sunday, May 3, 2009

I'll be coming to your city.....

R= Runner
B= Batter
F= Fielder

Question #1:  R1 on first, less than two outs, B2 hits a line drive to F6 who allows the ball to strike his glove and then intentionally drops it so as to be able to double up the runners.  Is this a legal play?  What call should the umpire make, if any?

Had I been asked this question a couple of months ago I wouldn't have known the answer.  After having read the rule book though nearly a half dozen times, studied the case book inside and out, read through the umpire's manual at nauseam, given this situation in a ball game I am confident that I could apply the correct rule and make the right call.

For the last few years I have had the itch to try my hand in high school umpiring.  A real good friend of mine has been doing it for quite sometime, and with his consistent prodding I finally relented and this year decided to do it.

Most people have had a hard time understanding why I would want to do it.  It's a thankless job.  An umpire is constantly under the microscope and is open to criticism from the coaches, players and fans.  I have a say in what the coaches and players can get away with but no control over the fans, and sometimes they can be ruthless.  I've had to develop a thick skin.

So why do I do it?  I love baseball.  I love being around the game.  I saw it as an opportunity to better learn the sport.  I enjoy being in the middle of the game even if it is from an officiating position.  So far it has been an enjoyable experience.  

I enjoy the challenge of learning something new.  There is a lot that goes into being a good umpire, from knowing the rules to knowing the mechanics that put you in the right place to make a call.  When I watch baseball on tv, I find myself watching the umpires as much as I do the players.  I keep track of how the umpire calls a watched strike compared to a swinging strike, how they punch someone out on a backwards K, or how the base ump sells his call on a close play.  Just being an umpire for me is not enough, I want to be good at it as well.  That's what I am working towards.

Question #2: With a fielder in a position to make a play, R2 is on first and R1 is touching second.  R1 is hit by a batted ball by B3 while touching second.  What is the call in this situation?


Tikes said...

Answer 1: Any line drive that the umpire feels is intentionally misplayed in order to get a double play is called dead. The batter is out and the runners stay where they are.

(Dr. P tried this last year, and didn't get away with it).

Answer 2: If the runner is struck by the ball while standing on the base, I think it is still in play unless he deliberately kicked it. If howver, he is running the bases while it hits him, I believe it is dead and the runner is called out.

(Shane Victornino was hit with the ball while standing on 2nd base in the World Baseball Classic, which altered the trajectory enough that he could advance to 3rd).

By the way, I used to ump Amercian Legion here in town, and it is pretty much thankless. I do prefer to be behind the plate though.

Tikes said...

Answer 1 is why the infeild fly rule is a rule. To prevent the fielder from intentionally dropping the ball in order to get more than 1 out.

SittinDeadRed said...

Answer #1, you are correct. It's an immediate dead ball, batter is out and the runner would stay at first.

Same situation different spin: What if the fielder intentionally allows the ball to drop without touching it? Does that matter? I saw a pitcher do this very thing on ESPN this morning with a fly off of a bunted ball.

Answer #2, you're not quite correct.

Question #3: R1 on third, R2 on second with no outs. F5 and F6 are playing in on the grass to try and get the out at home. B3 hits a hard grounder between both fielders which strikes R2 as he is advancing to third. No other fielder had a play on the ball. What's the call?

I actually thought of Dr. P. when I read that rule. I remember the play very well.

Ri-Bone said...

All I know about reffing is that my freshman year I had to ref little league and I tossed a dude for being an A-hole. He didn't leave. Then someone from the city came and pretty much said "I dont care how old he is, he told you to leave, so leave". It was awesome.

Ri-Bone said...

Actually come to think of it, I wasn't even a freshman. I was probably in like 7 or 8th grade tops.

Dr. P said...

I have tried that play a total of about 7 times in my career, from high school to local yocal softball, and have never been able to pull it off from the umpires, one of these days though....The trick is to sell the "routine" part. If I look as though the play was difficult, then it could work.

Tikes said...

It worked a couple of Saturdays ago at a softball tournament, where the shortstop acted like the force of the ball took his glove off, thus allowing the ball to fall out (happened to be right at his feet), and it was enough for the ump to believe it was unintentional, and he rewarded him with the double play. The other team was not fooled, and let him know about it...but he got away with it.

As for question 3, I was always taught that if the ball hits the runner, he's out, no matter if a fielder can make a play on it or not. That's why they teach you to turn in and watch the ball on a hit and run play.

SittinDeadRed said...

Question #1: "The batter-runner is out when the infielder intentionally drops a fair fly, fair line drive or fair bunt in flight with at least first base occupied and with less than two outs. In this situation the batter is not out if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground."

"Ruling- Batter is out and all runners return to base occupied at time of pitch."

No confusion there. The key however is that the fielder touches it before he intentionally drops it. If he lets if fall untouched however, the rule does not apply.

Question #2: In this situation R1 would be called out even though he is touching second base. Two keys here, #1 being that it is a batted ball and #2 being that the fielder is in a position to make a play.

The rule says: "A runner need not vacate his base to permit a fielder to catch a fly ball in the infield, but he may not interfere."

I believe it would not apply to a ground ball but a fly ball only. Also, if it were an infield fly situation this is all meaningless.

"if a runner is touching his base when he is hit by an infield fly, he is not out. If the runner is hit by an infield fly when he is not touching his base, both he and the batter are out."

Question #3: The runner is not out. Here's why.

The rule: "Any runner is out when he is contacted by a fair batted ball before it touches an infielder, or after it passes any infielder, except the pitcher, and the umpire is convinced that another infielder has a play.

In the case of #3, both F5 and F6 are in and are the only fielders in a position to make the play. By the time the ball reached the runner it has passed and infielder and no other fielder was in position.

Ball remains live and the runner is not out.

Suzie said...

Batter/runner is out. You can't intentionally drop a fly ball.

Runner is safe (out if off the bag) and ball is live & in play.