Hi everyone... Seems slow around here, so here are two things I saw this weekend. Both 14U Super Series event.
1.) Two runners on... Pitcher set and all of a sudden pulls hand apart. Ball flies a few feet to his side as pitcher improperly disengages. Ump calls balk. Pitcher is shaking hand and it is determined he was stung by a bee (or similar). Ump 'uncalls' balk and sends runners back to original base. I understand his effort to try to do the right thing, but my gut tells me the balk should stand. Once natural occurrences are excused, that seems like it could open a whole Pandora's box....
2.)One runner on second, with batting team running over fielding team. Batting team gets a hit, runner takes first, runner on second takes third and is clearly held up, I am guessing out of respect for losing team. As ball comes back in to pitcher, it is a bad throw (might help explain the big deficit...) Runner of first advances a few steps, then holds up. Runner on third stays there. Third basemen see runner begin advance before holding up, grabs the loose ball that was errant in his direction, and throws wildly to first, with the ball ending up out of play. Ump calls it out of play and advances both runners, scoring the man on third. My question is (and I am not related to either team, just curious)was that the right call since runner on third was not advancing anyway? I thought (big danger coming from a non ump there) that the ump was to judge where runners would have ended up, so if the runner was not advancing, he'd stay on third...
Comments (on the rules, not necessarily the editorial variety)? I know I am not an ump, so don't be upset that I have to ask these questions... Better for me to try to learn, right?
Thanks. I figured I may be wrong on the second, but a balk is a balk, so I kind of guessed they were wrong to send the runners back.
By the way, not that it is horribly important, but these were different games with different umpires. Like I said, both calls just made me curious....
2) It doesn't matter what the runners are doing, whether they are attempting to advance or not, or if the are retreating or advancing. The award in this situation is two bases from the time the throw is released (not when the ball goes out of play.) In some cases, the award is two bases from the time the of the pitch, but usually, the awards end up the same.
Here is the pertinent rule:
7.05(g) Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;
The though about "where the runners would have ended up" is part of the obstruction rule (7.06(b), to be specific.) It does not apply to this play.
I understand his effort to try to do the right thing, but my gut tells me the balk should stand. Once natural occurrences are excused, that seems like it could open a whole Pandora's box....
Well, I may be in the minority here, but I think the umpire did do the right thing. He should have the discretion to uphold play or ignore it if these "natural occurrences" happen during relaxed or unrelaxed action, as the case may be.
If, for example, the pitcher was in the middle of his delivery and the bee sting caused him to throw the ball awry, that might be a case where, "Oh well, spit happens" is acceptable and the result of the play stands. But this pitcher was still in the set position and nothing was really going on. If a sudden thunder clap caused him to jump out of his skin while on the rubber, would you really balk him for that?
I think CSFP has to prevail here.
I am with you on this one, Manny. Seems similar to having the batter step out due to something "unnatural". Especially so if you are at the 14U level.
Now if the batting team is named the Hornets, Yellow Jackets or some other name of the bee variety, maybe you have a violation of 4.06. Kidding!
I think the umpire did do the right thing. He should have the discretion to uphold play or ignore it if these "natural occurrences" happen during relaxed or unrelaxed action, as the case may be.
So you unbalk "Pitcher A" early in the game when he illegally separates his hands because there was a bee in his glove. Later in the game "Pitcher B" separates his hands and wipes sweat from his forehead. When you balk him, he argues that he thought there was a bee on his forehead. Now what do you do? Where does it end?
If a sudden thunder clap caused him to jump out of his skin while on the rubber, would you really balk him for that?
What are you doing on the field under these conditions? Get everybody off of the field and take cover!
Seems similar to having the batter step out due to something "unnatural".
There's no rule against a batter stepping out. He can do it on every pitch.
(But he probably won't like the results.)
A gust of wind at Candlestick is something the pitcher should expect. A bee sting while on he rubber is not.
To me, this is no different than this from the MLBUM:
If a pitched ball strikes a bird in flight or other animal on the playing field, the pitch is nullified and play shall be resumed with the previous count.
Seems to me if we can nullify a pitch when a bird comes out of nowhere and affects play, then we should also be allowed to nullify a balk if that same bird dive-bombs the pitcher and knocks his cap off his head.
Where does it end?
I think the question really has more to do with the level of play than anything else. 14-U, I'm taking the balk off. CSFP.
I was cleaning the pool over the weekend and ended up getting stung by a honeybee that was floating in the pool. I know I didn't maintain my composure, so I would not expect a kid pitching to not balk in that situation.
+ So you unbalk "Pitcher A" early in the game when he illegally separates his hands because there was a bee in his glove. Later in the game "Pitcher B" separates his hands and wipes sweat from his forehead. When you balk him, he argues that he thought there was a bee on his forehead. Now what do you do? Where does it end? +
Apples and Oranges. In the former F1 was ACTUALLY STUNG by a bee in the later F1 is trying to pull a fast one.
No different then the following.
R3 coming home as the throw is approaching. He puts his hands up (near his head area) to protect himself and inadvertantly bumps into F2 causing F2 to fall down.
The call is NOTHING.
Same as above EXCEPT this time R3 Fore-arms F2 and knocks him into the "third row"
You now call R3 out and EJ R3.
The coach comes out and says
"Blue you did nothing when THEIR runner knocked down my F2"
You Explain that these were 2 ENTIRELY different situations and that HIS runner intended to injure F2 by throwing a Fore-arm etc.
As officials we should KNOW what the deal is. F2 separating his hands to wipe the sweat off his fore-head and claiming that he THOUGHT is was a bee is a player trying to pull a fast one and if you are a good official you KNOW the difference just like the situation I presented above.
THATS WHERE IT ENDS.
In the former F1 was ACTUALLY STUNG by a bee in the later F1 is trying to pull a fast one.
But how do you know that F1 was actually stung at the time?
Maybe he had that bee sting before the game started.
How do you know F1 was trying to pull a fast one?
Maybe there really was a bee there, and you just wasn't quick enough to see it.
Why put yourself in the position of being the judge?
Sorry about your luck son. You separated your hands. That's a balk.
As officials we should KNOW what the deal is.
And, as officials, we don't have to option to excuse one act over another. The bottom line is that we have to enforce the rules as written, even the ones that we don't agree with. There's nothing in 8.05 that allows the umpire to disregard an act if he feels that something outside of the game caused it to occur.