Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #2
TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: Instructional Memo #2
I hope everyone had a healthy holiday season and now we are less than a month away from the first pitch being thrown. During that same time, many of our teams have been preparing for a 25-30 game regular season as well as a winter baseball schedule. These players have been on the field and in the weight room for countless hours to become part of the best team they can possibly be. The staffs at our institutions spend even more time developing programs so their student-athletes can succeed. Preparation also applies to our officials who have been participating in meetings, classroom breakouts, training videos and preparing to take a rules exam. What we can take away from all of this is that everybody involved in sports is doing something to stay ready for their respective season. How have we taken action to improve our craft?
A few notes to think about as we move forward…..
- Extension of the dugouts: We understand there are a few of our institutions that have extended their dugout towards home plate. This is technically not legal by rule (1-2-4), but some of these extensions are made of concrete or other hard surface that cannot be corrected. More importantly, these can be perilous areas for players and we do not want them on it. We understand that there is nothing we can do to make it compliant by rule, but the best way to handle this is to keep this as dead ball territory and ask the teams to keep their players out of these areas as it could lead to potential safety issues.
- When a batter may leave the batters box (7-3-1 Exception): Pace of play is a critical element of our game today and it is one thing we must be aware of. As a matter of fact, nobody (players, coaches and even officials) wants a game without flow. We must understand that a batter must keep a foot in the box at all times with the following exceptions:
- When he swings at a pitch
- Batter forced out of the box by a pitch (i.e. pitch up and in causing batter to get out of the way)
- Batter attempts a bunt
- Pitcher or catcher feints a play or attempts a play at any base (i.e. fake to 3rd, spaghetti move to 2nd, catcher back picks to 1st)
- Pitcher leaves the dirt area of the mound after receiving the ball
- A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”
- Catcher leaves his box to adjust his equipment or give defensive signals
- Catcher does not catch the pitched ball
- Although these are all situations when the batter may leave the batters box, he is not liberated or protected from interfering with the catcher’s fielding or throwing in any of the above the situations. He is still subject to rule (7-4-5a-d)
- Charged Conferences: A conference involves a team’s coach or non-playing representative (2-10). A team has three (3) defensive conferences during a seven-inning game(3-4-1) and only one (1) offensive conference per inning (3-4-2). These conferences are not cumulative and do not carry over into extra innings, however each team receives one (1) defensive conference per inning during extra innings (3-4-1). If after the third defensive conference or extra conference in extra innings, the pitcher shall be removed from the game. Contrary to other rules of baseball, a team is not required in high school baseball to remove a pitcher when a team has made a second visit to the same pitcher in the same inning. When one team is having one of it’s charged conferences, the other team may also get together without penalty provided they do not delay the game (3-4-5).
- Fake Tags and “Deke” moves : The game has very much evolved and players have gotten very creative in ways of gaining an advantage or in some ways, putting an opponent at a disadvantage. When balls are hit into the gaps in obvious extra base situations, you have probably seen a fielder attempt a fake tag on an advancing runner or simulate a throw to another base in order to create hesitation by that same runner. These acts are not legal because they hinder a runner by slowing him down which may cause him not to achieve base(s) (2-22-2). As a matter of fact, these are also unsportsmanlike acts that really have no place in our game today. We need to be alert for these acts and the effects it has on the pattern of play.
Video is becoming a huge part of our game today. We as officials must embrace that and use it as an opportunity to better our craft. Our training videos have yielded positive results so far and we hope that can translate to the field. It is my pleasure to be of service to all of you.