2020 Umpiring Memo #3

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: 2020 Umpiring Memo #3

On Saturday, several of our member institutions will embark on the journey known as the 2020 Regular Season. Others will begin shortly after and all the hours of conditioning, practicing and team-building will come to fruition. The quest for a CIF Southern Section Baseball Championship will be a challenge for all, but remember our student-athletes and coaches are competitors. Please keep that in mind and above all, each one of us has an obligation to be professional. It is not only about what decision is made, but about how the decision was made and how we went about it.

Between Games of A Doubleheader: A friendly reminder that when a double-header is scheduled (2 games between the same 2 teams), the umpires need to bring both head coaches together between games to agree upon a start time for the second game as well as a time for when the plate meeting will happen. For example, a 1:35pm start time with a 1:30pm plate meeting. It is now the obligation of the umpiring crew to meet the agreed upon time frame. Please remember that these time frames are set around the starting pitcher’s warm up time and his ability to “get hot.”

NOCSAE Stamp on Baseballs: Per the CIF State office, as long as the baseball has the words “NOCSAE/SEI,” the baseball is compliant by NFHS rule. It does not need to have the exact logo in the NFHS Baseball Rule Book or other NFHS Publications.

On-Deck Hitters (3-3-1i): Only two “bat swingers” may be permitted. This could be two on-deck hitters between innings or a pitching change as well as the hitter and the on-deck hitter when the ball is live. This provision goes for players in live-ball territory or a situation where the dugout is extended. We do not want excess players with bats in the extended dugout area as this creates a safety issue for defensive players who could potentially enter that portion of dead-ball territory.

Wind-Up Position (6-1-2): A pitcher’s free (non-pivot) foot shall be in any position on or behind a line extending through the front edge of the rubber (pitcher’s plate). If this criteria is not met, he is in the set position and must conform to the guidelines of Rule 6-1-3 (i.e. going to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion, Complete and discernible stop, etc.). Do not let this become an issue late in the game, correct it early.

Pitcher Re-Planting His Pivot Foot(6-1-1, 6-1-2, 6-1-3):The pitcher, in his delivery, pushes completely off the pitcher’s plate and while in the air and in front of the pitcher’s plate, throws the pitch. RULING: This is an illegal pitch. A pitcher who leaps from the pitching plate (rather than pushing away from it) is no longer in contact with the pitcher’s plate and has delivered an illegal pitch.

Pitchers Wearing Play Cards:Many of you have seen offensive players or other defensive players wear play card wristbands. A pitcher may also wear this provided it is on his glove-side arm or his belt and does not contain any distracting items (i.e. excessive amount of white). If an umpire deems this to be distracting, feel free to color in the logo with a magic marker or sharpie first before going any further. This is an avenue we can use without having to tell a pitcher to take it off.

As we have talked about in our meetings, we expect communication between our umpires and coaches. Anticipate the play being made, not the call. Let’s exercise slow, professional decisions and do things to help make the game right.

Good Luck,
Chris Maher
Instructional Chairman
Ic@socalofficials.org

LB Unit Umpiring Memo #2

Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #2

 

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts

FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit

RE: 2020 Umpiring Memo #2

In the months leading up to the start of the season, our coaches participate in myriad of conferences and clinics to improve their craft, renew fellowship and create new relationships that go a long way in developing their student athletes. One of the largest conventions hosted by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) took place in Nashville several weeks ago where thousands of coaches from various levels of play convened. Meanwhile, many of our umpires participated in clinics with other officials from various associations in Southern California and in some cases, various levels of play nationwide. What we are seeing with these opportunities are instances where coaches and officials are “breaking bread” with each other in order to improve the game and the relationships we have. The days of the proverbial “walls” between coaching staffs as well as that between umpire associations, conferences and units are being broken down. While there is still improvement to be made, it is a step in the right direction. A few thoughts to ring in the new year………

Artificial Noisemakers:We had several instances last year where noisemakers (i.e. bullhorns, sirens etc.) were discovered during our contests. These items are prohibited by the CIF-SS in all contests (CIF-SS Blue Book, 1523). If this becomes an issue in your game, please direct such concern to the Home Team’s head coach who will then direct it to Game Administration. Umpires, please do not go into the stands to address such conduct yourself without following the above protocol.

Lineup Cards: A lineup card becomes official after they have been exchanged, verified and then accepted by the plate umpire during the plate meeting (1-1-2). Any such change that occurs after that will be treated as a substitution and all other rules pertaining to it. Coaches make sure that you give the plate umpire the correct lineup card and that it is also the same one that the opposing head coach receives. Umpires please make sure you read over the lineup and be able to distinguish which offensive lineup option each team is using.

Hidden Ball Trick: If a pitcher is on or astride the rubber or positions himself five feet from the rubber without the baseball, it is a balk. (6-2-5)

Dead-Ball Appeal:A coach or any defensive player (with or without the baseball) may make a verbal appeal on a runner missing a base or leaving a base too soon on a caught fly ball. This is only possible once all runners have completed their advancement and time has been called. Please note that runners shall also be given an opportunity to complete their base-running duties if the ball has gone out of play. (8-2-6c).

Game Ending Appeal:If a situation arises where there may be an appeal by the defense on the last play of the game, the appeal must be made while an umpire is still in the field of play. (8-2-6j)

DH Card:I’ve attached a DH card on my website http://www.strongbeachumpiring.com that should be a reference regarding the NFHS DH Rule. The plate umpire shall carry this during games.

Strike Zone: As always, this is an area where can improve on. There were instances of umpires consistently calling pitches on the chalk line a strike whereas others who were having difficulty with pitches at the midpoint of the chest and the hollow of the knee.  Now is a great time to go out and service our programs during the winter season while refining your plate work. You should be able track the catcher’s glove the entire time. Remember, “On the rubber, set, call it”

We are nearly two weeks away from first pitch. Everyone is working diligently to make this a successful campaign. How have we been contributing to the group effort? What can we do to get better? The ball is in our court.

Best Regards,

Chris Maher

Instructional Chairman