WPIAL Baseball Newsletter #2, 2014

Edition 2, 2014
Make a Great Call !
A frequent news letter for WPIAL ( PIAA District 7) Baseball Umpires and Coaches
I just took my 2014 Baseball Rules Interpretation Class on piaa.org.
I have a question about the new POE concerning coaches' conduct.
Based on the way the POE reads, it seems that they want "zero tolerance" for arguments of judgment
calls. Do you want us to stop safe/out, fair/foul arguments the same way we would balls/strikes -- i.e., stopsign gesture with ” COACH. You can't come out to argue safe and out." And then, if COACH keeps coming
out, run him. Or are we still giving the Head Coach his say, if he comes out and argues the judgment call
There will be no "arguing" of judgment calls. We WILL permit them to approach us under control and
"discuss" the ruling with respectful demeanor. If he charges us, by rule, he is to be ejected without
warning. If he approaches us under control, then starts shouting or yelling, we will give a stop sign and
verbal warning to calm him down for a controlled discussion. If he continues shouting, he is to be ejected.
The 2014 points of emphasis does mention Umpire Authority and Enforcement, but it is more of a
philosophical statement rather than a practical application of the rules.
Basically, we are going to handle this situation as we always have:
NO tolerance on balls and strikes. Meaning we will will give the stop sign (gesture) and say “ You can’t argue
balls and strikes”. Quickly Repeat it one more time, if necessary. Then eject him the 3 rd time. THE ENTIRE
EXCEPTION : The ejection is immediate, if the coach charges you.
The ejection is immediate, if the coach is openly disrespectful.
Compression Sleeves:
There have been many questions and some confusion about compression sleeves. NFHS Rule 14-2 States:
“ Uniform sleeves of each individual player shall be approximately the same length and shall not
be ragged, frayed, or slit. If the Pitcher’s UNDERSHIRT sleeves are exposed, they shall not be
white or gray. A pitcher shall not wear any item on his hands, wrists, or arms which may be
distracting to the batter.”
NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations – 2014
SITUATION 17: The starting pitcher comes to the mound to take his warm-up throws to start the
game. He is wearing a compression sleeve only on his throwing arm. The opposing coach
demands that the sleeve be taken off before the pitcher may pitch.
RULING: A pitcher may wear a compression or medical sleeve on one or both arms that is any
color, including one that is white or gray, provided it (the white or gray one) does not extend
below the elbow. A doctor’s signed permission slip is not required.
If the pitcher wears a sleeve that extends below the elbow, it can be worn on either arm,
provided it is not white or gray or have white/gray on it.
It also cannot be of a color or color combination that would be deemed distracting by the
plate umpire. (1-4-2; 6-2-1i)
Legal on one or two arms.
Legal for every player,
Legal for every player,
Obviously, if you read the rule carefully, there is a difference between a uniform sleeve and a
Question at our last meeting :
Some pitchers use the set position all the time.
With no runners on base, what if the pitcher doesn't stretch and pause before delivering the pitch?
Here is the rule from MLB.
It is not listed as a difference between NFHS and MLB, so we interpret it the same.
Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a
complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher
delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be
deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball.
Remember that the set position is defined by where and how pitcher places his feet, so we will not
confuse the set position with the illegal hybrid wind-up position in this interpretation.
If you look through the explanation of the set position, it is stated that: when in the set position,
"natural preliminary motions such as only one stretch MAY be made". The word MAY indicates
that it is not mandatory. The pitcher can throw from the open stance position, without the
preliminary stretch, as long as he does not quick pitch the batter. Batting practice pitchers
do it all the time.
Question from News Letter 1 2014:
Bases loaded. 2 out. Batter hits a ball, near the fence, which turns out to be over the fence for a
home run. The runner on third starts home then returns to 3rd to tag up ( I don't know why he
would do that with 2 outs, but he did!!! ). The runner on 2nd touches 3rd and passes the runner
who is returning to 3rd. Runner from 2nd is out for the 3rd out. How many runs score?
This is not a case where the 3rd out is a force out, or the batter is out at 1st base, or following
runners do not score because a preceding runner has missed a base and is out on appeal.
Due to the award from the home run, everyone scores except the runner on 2nd who was out for
passing the runner in front of him.
There is a similar play ( 9.1.1 SITUATION M ) on page 86 of the 2014 NFHS Baseball Case Book.
Patrick B. Gebhart
Assistant Executive Director, PIAA
“It has come to the attention of PIAA that certain umpires across the state have taken it upon
themselves to either ignore interpretations provided by PIAA or NFHS or to make up their own
interpretation in contradiction to an interpretation provided by competent authority (PIAA interpreter
or NFHS staff).
This cavalier attitude toward rules enforcement must stop immediately. While we may not be
happy with certain rules or their interpretation there is a process to change a rule and this process
must be followed. Until an interpretation of a rule or the actual rule itself is changed, failure to follow
either could be cause for disciplinary action against an umpire who knowingly acts outside the
rules. In addition, failure to enforce the rules as written also could have serious ramifications
regarding liability because of the rules adopted for play and approved by the PIAA Board of
Situations such as the extension of dugouts if they cannot hold the entire team, and the courtesy
runner interpretation that were both addressed by PIAA must be enforced according to the rule and
its interpretation.
Please pass this on to umpires in your chapter and I would ask that if you become aware of
umpires who fail to follow these guidelines to please notify this office as soon as possible. I have
attached the rules change proposal form for those umpires that feel a rule should be changed. I
ask that they forward a competed proposal form through the chapter, district, and state
interpreter prior to it reaching my desk.
This will ensure the proposal’s proper completion prior to review by Dr. Lombardi. The NFHS will
not accept proposals that are not channeled through PIAA offices.
Thank you for taking this most serious matter to your chapter members. ”
Patrick B. Gebhart
Assistant Executive Director, PIAA
The NFHS Rule Change Proposal Form is attached as the last page of this Edition of “ Make
a Great Call”. If you have a suggestion or two for rules that need changed, please email me
([email protected]) and I will send you the electronic version that can be
conveniently completed on line.

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