So I am looking for your guys opinions on rather or not I should follow through with a protest that I announced during a Major Boys game I was coaching tonight.
The score was 4-3 with me losing in the top of the fourth inning. I have R3 and two out with my best hitter at the plate. The opposing team decided to intentionally walk him. Upon receiving ball 4 my runner does not stop at first base and runs to second base without hesitation. The opposing coach starts to yell that his pitcher was on the rubber and his catcher ready to receive the ball. The PU calls time and places my runner back on first base. I go to him and question why he did this and his response was that the pitcher was on the rubber and catcher ready to receive the ball so the runners are not allowed to advance. I explain that under rule 7.13 going to the rubber does not stop my runners from running as long as a play was still going on. The mound is not treated as a stop button. I have umpired for quite some time and have done games with the PU before and he trusts my knowledge so he reverses his call. The opposing coach pulls out a rule book and reads out 7.13 which states: When a pitcher is in contact with the pitcher's plate and in possession of the ball and the catcher is in the catcher’s box ready to receive delivery of the ball, base runners shall not leave their bases until the ball has been delivered and has reached the batter. He argues that the rule says nothing about the runner being able to continue in one motion but does say that they are not allowed to advance once the pitcher is on the rubber and the catcher ready to receive the play. I then counter with the RIM instructor comments: When a runner is legitimately off his/her base, the pitcher cannot stop the runner by taking the ball back to the pitcher’s plate. I also pulled up the May 2010 Fairball newsletter: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/newsletters/Fairball_Newsletters/2010/fbmay10/7_13_Base_Running_Majors_and_Below.htm The PU says that we have to go by what is in the LGB and that the opposing coach is correct from what it says. I then protest the game and the game continues. First pitch my batter steals second making it R2 and R3. My batter ends up striking out to end the inning. The bottom of the fourth is played and the opposing team scores 4 runs and then the game is called due to time (Yea I know there is no time limit on a game but the league plays a 1:30 time limit on all games).
I tried to show the coach, umpire, and president the RIM and Fairball newsletter which shows the play was legal but they all said that you have to play by the LGB and if it is not within it you cannot use it. This was the first time either 3 of them had seen a RIM and they did not know the Fairball newsletter existed.
So should I follow through with my protest? The opposing coach countered with even if I was correct the runner stole on the next pitch so the outcome was not affected. I somewhat agree with this as you do not know what could have happened if the play was allowed to stand. I am more concerned though with the league knowing the correct ruling. I am slightly concerned that the protest committee (made up of lawyers who are rarely at the field, and yes I know this is not how the protest committee is supposed to be made up) will only look at the LGB and rule against me.
Coach, I assume that your BR walked to first base and ran to second IN ONE CONTINUOUS action. That is, he did not stop.
If so, he performed a LEGAL move.
I EVERY LL-sponsored clinic, the instructor ALWAYS brings this up and points out it IS allowed. It is legal in OBR, why shouldn't it be legal in LL? [The runner who so advances IS in jeopardy, of course.]
The main deal is that if the BR stops, he must return if the battery are properly set. But the pitcher with the ball on the mound is NOT a stop button. The other coach is as full of sap as a Christmas tree! He's just pi$$ed because he didn't think of it, nor did he defense it properly.
Protest ASAP! You are 100% correct, and the umpire needs some remedial training--as does the BOD. (Please tell us how that comes out, and get the DA involved if you continue to get hosed.)
Is it a valid Protest - Sure. If I was on the Protest Committee, I would likely opt for outcome #3 listed in the RIM:
(3) Allow the game result to remain, since the protested decision had little or no effect on the outcome of the game.
Based on the description you provided, it sounds like #3 is in line here. The Protest may help all of the other Coaches better understand the full meaning of 7.13, but is it worth the effort? Kinda like stepping out in front of a car, even though you are in the crosswalk. Sure, you may have the right of way and be within the Law, but you still got hit by the car. You were right, yea...but was it really worth it?
My biggest question is why did you have the LGB. the RIM, and a copy of the Fairball Newsletter with you at the game???
In your letter make the Fairball and RIM points (provide copies)
point out that on a ball batted into play you cannot stop the runners by getting the pitcher and catcher into position and that the walk is no different.
Provide them with the e-mail for your regional office and ask that they check there if they want verification.
If they come back with "he can't do that" it means they did not ask region so then do it yourself, cc your UIC and Pres, and ask region to do a "reply all".
Well I had the RIM and Fairball newsletter saved on my cell phone and it was easy to retrieve. I am more concerned with others in the league understanding that this is a legal play and I think protesting is the only way to do so.
They don't understand that the RIM is authoritative for LL? Wow.
You can pursue your protest, but as mentioned, it will probably be dismissed since there was no material effect on the game outcome.
However, your protest report should include the RIM comment, and your assertion that the RIM is authoritative for LL. Get the protest committee (which should include your UIC) to affirm that statement, even if they vacate the protest itself.
If your protest committee is lawyers like you say, then they will understand the importance of the RIM and Fair Ball. Definitely contact your regional UIC for verification of the rule and ask him to address the legallity of you resource material.
Michael S. Taylor
If I were on a protest committee, I could be convinced that the batter took the first pitch (provided it wasn't a swinging strike or a wild pitch) in order to allow R1 to steal and be in scoring position. I would protest and make that argument if it is true. If proper call had been made in the first place, batter may have hit the first pitch and both runs scored. That changes everything and runs the following inning may not have happened. Momentum is huge.
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