Instructional Memo #8

Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #8

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: Instructional Memo #8

The 2018-2019 school year was the first of a new “re-leaguing” cycle. These cycles last four years where certain schools are placed into athletic leagues based on factors such as geography, school district, enrollment, competitive equity and school profile during that time period. Schools are able to petition for re-alignment for the upcoming cycle and it is heard by the CIF-SS Executive Council. Not every school is affected by these changes and not every school is granted their request, however others saw significant changes starting with this season. New league rivalries were created, some ended and others reunited. Two of our league races that are coming down to this final week deal with teams who were in previous leagues in 2018. It goes without saying the amount of emotion that will be exhibited.

Malicious Contact Supersedes Obstruction: In a recent game, video showed a baserunner initiating a flagrant collision at home plate while a catcher was blocking home plate. This play was incorrectly ruled and also incorrectly explained to the coach that the collision was legal because the catcher was blocking home plate. This is a play we cannot miss and continue working on your positioning on plays at the plate. Please visit rule 8-4-2e-1 and remember that a ruling of malicious contact takes precedence over obstruction, the offending runner is out and ejected from the ballgame. All other runners will be awarded appropriate base(s).

Pitching Positions: This year we’ve been consistently better in our enforcement of pitching positions. That is not to say everyone has been clean of such violations, but we are handling our business much better in this department. Continue to detect any violations early (including warmups). The penalty with no runners on base is an illegal pitch (ball on the batter) and with runners on base, it is a balk.

Pitch Dropped During a Delivery that Fails to Cross the Foul Line (6-1-4): With no runners on base, a pitch that fails to cross the foul line will be ruled as “no pitch” according to the State Rules Interpreter.

Substitution (3-1-1a-d): A substitute has entered the game when the ball is live and:
– A runner takes the place of the runner he has replaced
– A pitcher takes his place on the pitcher’s plate
– A fielder reaches the position usually occupied by the fielder he has replaced.
– a batter takes his place in the batter’s box.

In a situation where the starting pitcher does not face one batter, he may play another position, but not return to pitch.

Calling “Time”: When granting “time”, we need to make sure we are signaling it if we are also vocalizing it. We should also be signaling “time” when a partner(s) signals “time” during a game. This is a preventative mechanic and when it is not used is the time that chaos erupts.

Mechanical Enforcement of Catcher’s Obstruction: When catcher’s obstruction is acknowledged by rule (BR has not reached first base or all runners have not advanced one base), we are to enforce the catcher’s obstruction penalty first. If the head coach would like to take the result of play instead of the catcher’s obstruction enforcement, we will then enforce accordingly. The reason behind this mechanic is that the head coach has to have the opportunity to make the election of which option to take and it is not up to us to make that decision for him in the event there are options.

I would like to thank everyone for a great 2019 regular season. We made a lot of improvements as a group this season and the best part is that we are still continuing our efforts to get better. The game is going to be in a better place going forward if we continue to improve our craft. Many of you have worked extremely hard to get better every game and it is showing in your work. The offseason will be full of opportunities for improvement with various camps/clinics/umpire schools to help hone your skills. For those of you looking to improve your standing with group and/or advancement, I strong encourage you to attend one. If you are interested in attending one of these camps, please contact me and I can help direct you. I will also be developing a list of all opportunities on my instructional webpage

Congratulations on a great season and good luck to those working the postseason at any level.

Best Regards,
Chris Maher
Instructional Chairman
(714) 292-6345

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