Rules Area

from the desk of Larry Gallagher....

If you call it fair and know for sure you are wrong, it is easier to change it to a foul ball.  You should definitely do this if you know you are wrong.
Changing a foul ball to a fair ball is much tougher and should never be done in high school baseball by rule. 
Below are some rules to concern yourself with of changing Foul to Fair:
Federation Rules - A batted ball is foul and dead whenever an umpire "inadvertently announces 'Foul' on a ball that touches the ground," whether in fair or foul territory.  That call cannot be changed. (2-16-1e; 5-1;1h; 5.1.1a, b, and c)
Play:  Fed only.  R1 slaps a high drive that clears the fence down the line in left.  The umpire calls "Foul!"  After consulting with his partner, he changes the call to "Fair."

Ruling:  The ball became dead when it cleared the fence, not when the umpire called "Foul."  The call may be changed.
Play:  Fed only.  The umpire declares "Foul!" on a pop-up that the 3rd baseman misplays.  The ball becomes fair and F5 drops it.

Ruling:  The ball is foul.  If F5 had caught the ball in fair territory, B1 would have been out since the ball did not touch the ground.
NCAA Rules:  The point is not covered but there are some interpretations that affect it in NCAA.

Thurston - former rules editor states in 11/19/90 "The umpires may reverse a call of foul to fair if he does so immediately and if no player reacted to the original call.
Also on that same date in 1990, Thurston said, "A call of "foul" to "fair" may also be changed if the call had no impact on the "obvious" outcome of a safe hit.
Play:  NCAA only.  B1 yanks a line drive down the left-field line that bounces just fair.  The umpire, confused, calls "Foul."  B1 stops momentarily to object, then proceeds to first as F7 recovers the ball in deep left field.  Next, the offensive coach contends the ball was, in fact, fair.    

Ruling:  If the umpire agrees with the coach that the ball was fair, he may change his call because the 'obvious' outcome of the hit would have been a "double."  B1 is awarded second.  And perhaps the assistant defensive coach gets an early shower.  If the umpire does not (or will not) agree, the ball remains foul and B1 returns to bat.  And now perhaps the assistant offensive coach gets an early shower.
OBR Rules:  The point is not covered but there are some interpretatins that affect it in OBR.
Mike Fitzpatrick former PBUC executive director stated in 11/15/2000, "The umpire may reverse his call if everyone ignored the initial signal."  Fitzpatrick:  "In certain instances, e.g. home run balls at the foul pole, a crew consultation may be necessary to determine the correct decision.  This was in an e-mail to Carl Childress - author of the 2009 Baseball Rules Difference book that I am quoting.
Play:  R1, R2.  B1's line drive skips off third, bounds to the wooden fence and rattles around in foul territory with the third baseman and left fielder giving chase.  The umpire calls "Foul" and then immediatley reverses himself.  In spite of the first call, the runners and fielders keep moving.

Ruling:  In Federation, the ball is "Foul" and dead.  In NCAA and OBR, play continues without reference to the erroneous call.
Play:  Without dropping his batt Bubba hunkers down to avoid an inside pitch; the ball nicks off the knob end and rolls into foul territory.  The UIC erroneously calls "Foul ball!" and then quickly yells, "Play it!  Fair ball!"  On the first call Bubba stops and starts to return; on the second call, F2 picks up the ball and throws to first for the out.

Ruling:  In Federation, the plays is over when the umpire yells "Foul!"  In NCAA and OBR, because the umpire rushed to judgment (and players reacted), the ruling is the same.  Bubba remains at bat, charged with a strike.
You must also understand, though, that reversing a call from "fair" to "foul" causes no rules problem.  You'll face an argument, but the changed call will not affect the outcome of the play.  That is true whether fielders or runners reacted to aninitial "point" toward fair territory.  If the ball is subsequently ruled foul, simply order the batter back to the box - and any runner back to bases occupied at the TOP.  (Of course, you might also need to order the coach back into the third-base coaching box).

Save A Run By Disrupting an Appeal
The Mets and Dodgers met in Los Angeles on May 18th. In the top of the 11th inning with the score tied 2-2, the Mets had Ryan Church on first base and two outs when Angel Pagan hit an apparent triple driving in Church with the go ahead run. But the Dodgers appealed that Church had missed third base and the appeal was upheld without an argument from Mets manager Jerry Manuel. The Mets lost a run and Pagan lost a triple as he was credited with a single on the play. Furthermore, the Mets lost the game.

Manuel stated that both his third base coach, Razor Shines, and his bench coach, Sandy Alomar Sr., both spotted the running gaffe which is the reason why he didn’t argue the play. Regardless, the Mets skipper should have called “Time” as soon as possible and made a visit to the umpire to protect his player and buy time to disrupt the Dodgers’ appeal.

To begin with, it’s a good habit for the offensive team to get a “Time Out” as quickly as possible whenever there is a strong possibility of a successful appeal of a runner missing a base or not retouching or tagging-up properly on a fly ball and there is another runner/runners remaining on the bases. By getting a “Time Out” with a runner on base, the offensive team now has a chip to play with in anticipation of an imminent successful appeal.

Although Church put the Mets in a bad position, the Mets could have made an attempt to disrupt the appeal by sending Pagan. This could have been done at the end of continuous action or off a dead ball. The idea is to induce the defensive team into making a play before the next pitch so they will lose the right to appeal. If before the appeal is made, the defensive team makes a pitch, a play or attempted play on another runner after continuous action has stopped or after “Time” has been called, they lose the right to appeal per Pro rule 7.10 (d). By erasing the Dodgers right to appeal, the Mets would have secured Church’s run and taken a 3-2 lead.

Questions always arise as to what constitutes a play and when does continuous action end? Examples of...

...a “play” include: (1) throwing to another fielder in an attempt to retire a runner not being appealed; (2) tagging or attempting to tag a runner or base not being appealed; (3) a fielder running toward a base to retire a runner not being appealed; (4) a fielder running toward a runner not being appealed for the purpose of tagging him; (5) a pitcher’s balk; or (6) if the defensive team “errs” on the appeal by throwing the ball into dead ball territory. If the appeal throw is errant but remains in the field of play, the defensive team can still make the intended appeal.

In the above play, the Dodgers made a successful appeal before the ball became dead. It was difficult, however, to tell whether or not the continuous action of the play had ended based on the replay that I was provided. If it had ended or was about to end, the Mets should have been screaming for a “Time Out.

Continuous action is generally defined as an uninterrupted progression of play starting with the pitch and ending typically when the runners have stopped trying to advance, and the defense has relaxed and is not making a play on a runner. Since the relaxation of the defense is umpire judgment, chances are a “Time” request would be granted earlier than one might think, especially if the umpires observe that there is no advance by the runner/runners. Whatever, it would have been worth a try on the part of the Mets coaching staff to request a “Time Out” late in the continuous action sequence since two of the Mets coaches noticed the violation.

If one of the umpires granted the Mets “Time” because he saw there were no advancing runners, nor was a fielder in the act of making a play on a runner, the Mets would now be in a position to play “Ruleball” and disrupt the appeal.

After the plate umpire called “Play” following the dead ball, the Dodgers’ pitcher most likely would have stepped back off the rubber with the intention of throwing to third base for the purpose of appealing that Church had missed the base. (The pitcher can also throw directly from the rubber when making an appeal).

As soon as the plate umpire called “Play,” Shines could have sent Pagan home before the Dodgers’ pitcher threw to third base. Most likely the pitcher would have instinctively made a play on Pagan who would be advancing to home plate. And if Pagan was wise, he would get himself into a rundown since an obstruction call is always possible. If this should occur the Mets would have bought themselves two runs and could have gone ahead, 4-2.

If the Dodgers made a play on Pagan they would have lost their right to appeal Church’s run per 7.10 (d). If the Dodgers unlikely followed through with the appeal and ignored Pagan’s advance to home plate, they would have negated Church’s run because the third out was a leading runner on appeal. But the natural thing to do would have been to make a play on the active runner (Pagan) advancing home.

If the Mets were not granted “Time,” and the window of continuous action remained, the next best thing would have been to bait the Dodgers by sending Pagan home before the Dodgers appealed Church at third base. Chances are Pagan would have been put out for the third out, unless he was obstructed in a rundown. In this scenario the Dodgers could have appealed the “Fourth Out” at third base but if the Dodgers did not appeal the “Fourth Out,” and chances are likely they wouldn’t, Church’s run would have scored because the inning would not have ended in a force out or the batter-runner being retired at first base for the third out. It would have ended in an unusual “Time Play” with Church’s run scoring before the third out was recorded.

The Pro rule is very unfair since it punishes the defensive team despite the fact the offensive team violated a running rule. Playing under NFHS (8-2-5 PENALTY; ART. 1-5) and NCAA (8-6-b-4) rules the defensive team does not lose the right to appeal if the offensive team initiates a play before the next pitch whether it be off a live ball or dead ball.

How can a high school or college coach benefit from this when on the offensive side?

Let’s say in the above play we were playing under NFHS or NCAA rules. If, with two outs, the third base coach correctly reads an obvious “miss” or “retouch” of a base on the part of the preceding or lead runner (Church), he can send the back runner (Pagan) to the next base at any time even while there is continuous action or just after continuous action has stopped. Or the defensive team can try to call “Time” and send the back runner (Pagan) to the next base off a dead ball appeal once the umpire puts the ball in play. The goal here is to trap the defensive team into making a play on the runner (Pagan) who is advancing to the next base and record the third out. Even if the runner is put out, the defensive team can still appeal the “Fourth Out” at third base under NFHS and NCAA rules but chances are once they recorded the third out, they would not make the appeal since it has been my experience that few teams are aware of the “Fourth Out” appeal rule on all levels. It’s worth the effort, especially in a close game.

Ironically, Sandy Alomar Sr. purposely disrupted an appeal play as a San Diego Padres third base coach on Aug. 30, 1989, when the Padres played the Expos.

With one out in the first inning, the Padres had Bip Roberts on third and Roberto Alomar on second. Jack Clark then hit a sac/fly scoring Roberts. Alomar advanced to third on the play. After all the action had ceased, the Expos were about to appeal that Roberts left third base too soon. Alomar Sr., aware that Roberts left too soon, instructed his son, Roberto, to break for the plate as soon as the throw was made to Expos’ third baseman Tim Wallach. Roberto did what dad told him to do and lured Wallach into making a play on him rather than follow through with the appeal. The Expos retired Roberto Alomar but the clever tactic protected Roberts and his run was allowed to score. It proved to be the Padres only run that day as they suffered a 5-1 defeat.

In summary, there is always the chance that the umpire will not notice the running violation and sacrificing a runner to disrupt the appeal could backfire. But if the violation is that obvious, it’s worth the gamble.

Additional information from Larry Gallagher.....

Today I am only writing about the defense or offense initiating a play.  If the DEFENSE initiates an appeal play, they lose their right to appeal.  From Carl Childress’ “Baseball Rules Differences of 2009” the Federation rule states, “A play initiated by the defensive team cancels any right to appeal (FED 8-2 Penalty).  NCAA states it the exact same way (NCAA 8-6b-4).  OBR says, “The right to appeal is canceled if either team initiates a play (OBR 7.10).
Play:  R2.  The runner scores on B1’s single.  The defense announces it will appeal that R2 missed third.  As the pitcher toes the pitcher’s plate in the set position, he sees that B1 has taken a long lead off first.  But F1’s pick-off throw is not in time.  The first baseman then fires to F5, who appeals R2 missed third.
Ruling:  In FED, the defense may still appeal.  In NCAA and OBR, it is too late to appeal.  FED probably would not appeal this way anyway because they could call time and get a dead-ball appeal accomplished.  All three of them could have gone immediately to third without having time called.
If the OFFENSE initiates an appeal in Federation and NCAA rules they do not lose the right to an appeal.  OBR rules the defense will lose the right to appeal in this case.
Federation states, “A play initiated by the offense does not cancel any right to appeal (8-2 Penalty).  Elliott Hopkins, current FED rules editor had an interpretation on this on the NFHS website in 2003 - #12 that states, “If the defense plays on a runner who has taken an ‘inordinate lead,’ the play is initiated by the offense.”  NCAA states, “A play initiated by the offense does not cancel any right to appeal (8-6-b-4).  OBR states, “The right to appeal is canceled if either team initiates a play (7.10).
Play:  R2.  The runner scores on B1’s single.  The defense announces it will appeal that R2 missed third.  With a live ball the pitcher prepares to make his appeal when B1, who has stopped on first, breaks for second.  The pitcher’s throw is in time to retire B1.                                                                                                                                                        
Ruling:  In FED and NCAA, the defense may appeal R2 since the impetus for the play came from B1’s attempt to take second.  In OBR, the appeal is opportunity is lost.
Carl Childress’ note:  In FED and NCAA, even if the pitcher’s throw to second or third is wild and B1 makes it safely to second or third, the appeal would still be allowed.

From the desk of Larry Gallagher......


I have recently received questions regarding unreported substitutions.  Many of our umpires and other umpires in other groups have been calling the batter or runner out because they were unreported.


Below is some information that I just put together for instruction for all of us.  Please do not get caught up in the idea that the other manager deserves anything for noticing an unreported substitution.  NO OUTS.
No, there is no penalty for an unreported substitution in any baseball game in the WORLD.
It is only an unreported substitution.  Go into any rule book and you can find it.  Now, when the next umpire has the same team and he handles it correctly, he is the one that will be chewed out.  
I don't understand how many times this summer that umpires have gotten this wrong.  I know of 5 times that it has been handled incorrectly.
There is no out, the batter becomes a legal batter once he takes his spot in the batter's box.  It is just an unreported substitute.
Pro rules 3.03                                                                                                              

 NCAA - 5-5g Approved Ruling               

Federation - 2-36-2, 3-1-1, Casebook 3.1.1d
Federation Rules - An unreported substitute is a player eligible to participate who did not report to the UIC when he entered the game.  The substitute is legal when the ball is alive and 1) a runner reaches base (3-1-1a); 2) a pitcher when he intentionally contacts the pitcher's plate (3-1-1b); 3) a fielder when he reaches his position (3-1-1c); 4) a batter when he takes his place in the batter's box.  Penalty - NONE FOR NOT REPORTING
NCAA Rules - An unreported offensive substitute becomes legal when he takes his position:  an unreported pitcher, when he reaches the mound.  An unreported defensive sub becomes legal when he reaches his position and play commences.  (5-5-g 1 through 4) PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO REPORT - NONE
Pro Rules - Same as NCAA (OBR 3.03, 3.08a 1 through 4)


A.      FED – Point of Emphasis in 2008:  While on the mound the pitcher may touch his pitching hand to his mouth as long as he wipes off that hand before it touches the ball.  (6-2-1e; 6.2.1a) Penalty:  Changed in 07A ball shall be called each time the pitcher violates this rule” - Changed in 08 “and subsequently engages the pitcher’s plate.” (6-2-1e Penalty)1.        Also: (EDITED)  A  pitcher intentionally in contact with the pitcher’s plate, whether in the windup or set position, may not go to his mouth because he has interrupted his pitching motion.  (6-12, 6-1-3) Penalty: ball/balk.  (6-1-2/3 Penalty; 6.1.3o; 6.2.1a; 6.2.1b)(ADDED) Note:  Two Elliott Hopkins Official Interpretations ruled that in the windup position with both hands at his side (Website 2007, #9) or the set position (Website #12), the pitcher could bring his pitching hand to his mouth without penalty if he wiped it off before touching the ball.  Reason:  He had not interrupted his pitching motion.  Case book plays 6.2.1a and 6.2.1b reversed those rulings.

B.      NCAA – (EDITED) Same as FED 6-2-1e.  (9-2d; 9-2d Penalty; 9-2d AR 1)2.        Also: (Changed – 08)  In cold weather the umpire may announce that pitchers may blow on their hands on or off the rubber.  9-2d AR 2)3.       Also:  The NCAA draws a distinction between a pitcher “going to his mouth” and deliberately applying any foreign substance or moisture to the ball.  Penalty:  for applying foreign substance:  Warning/ejection.  (9-2e Penalty)                       

NAIA – Same as NCAA .  (8.02)

C.      OBR – The pitcher may not touch his pitching hand to his mouth anywhere within the dirt portion of the pitching mound.  (8.02a-1) Penalty:  ball.  Professional pitchers who repeatedly violate that rule are subject to a fine.  (8.02a-1 Penalty).  Exception:  If both managers agree in advance, during cold weather the pitcher may blow on his hands while on the mound or pitcher’s plate.  (8.02a-1 Ex)4.       Also:  (ADDED) Official Interpretation:  SI: J/R:  The pitcher may not intentionally violate this rule to grant an intentional walk.  First violation:  Add a ball to the count.  Second violation [to the same batter]:  Add a ball and warn the pitcher he will be ejected if he continues.  Third violation:  Add a ball and eject the pitcher.

        Play:  R3:  The pitcher is: a) on the pitcher’s plate, or b) on the mound, but not in intentional contact with     the pitcher’s plate when he touches his pitching hand to his mouth. 

Ruling:  FED:  In a) it is an immediate balk and R3 scores.  In b) it is a balk only if the pitcher touches the ball without wiping off his hand.                   

NCAA and NAIA:  It is a ball in a) but OK in b) unless F1 fails to wipe of his hand, when the penalty is also a ball.           

OBR:  In both a) and b) it is a ball, whether or not the pitcher wipes off his hand.


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