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 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

2020 Umpiring Memo #1

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

FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit

RE: 2020 Umpiring Memo #1

I would like to welcome everyone to the start of the 2020 CIF Baseball Season. It has been my pleasure to back in my instructional and supervisory role again with our umpiring staff as well as being of service to our member institutions. I would also like to give a warm welcome to our new administrators and head coaches for the 2020 season as these bulletins establish a line of communication between all of us. We are about two months away from the first pitch being thrown and we have some important updates for the regular season.

The Designated Hitter (3-1-4b):There is now a 3rd lineup option a team may have offensively. A player may now hold two positions in a lineup, that of a position in the field as well as that of the designated hitter (i.e. P/DH, 2B/DH, RF/DH, etc.). This new provision is often referred to as a “9-man Lineup w/DH” and a team may allow the defensive player/designated hitter to remain in the game as the DH if he is replaced defensively while now moving to a 10-man lineup.

Where this change becomes important deals with when the DH is banged during the course of a game. If a team begins the game with a “9-man Lineup w/DH,” they will lose the DH when the following occurs:

  • A substitute or former substitute for the defensive role subsequently participates in an offensive role.
  • The starting defensive player/DH is substituted for either as a hitter or runner.

Below are a few situations that illustrate this change and usage.

    • Team A lists Hampton as a P/DH in the 5 spot in the lineup. In the 6th inning, Jimenez replaces Hampton as the pitcher.
      • Ruling: Legal and no loss of the DH. Team A continues as they have gone from a 9-man lineup w/DH to a 10-man Lineup.
    • Team A lists Hampton as a P/DH in the 5 spot in the lineup. In the 6th inning, Pierre bats for Hampton.
      • Ruling: Legal, but Team A has terminated the DH because Pierre participated in an offensive role. However, Hampton may still re-enter in that position.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder.
      • Ruling: Legal. The role of a defensive player has been substituted. No Loss of DH and Team A is now in a 10-man lineup.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder. In the 7th inning, Andrews re-enters defensively in centerfield.
      • Ruling: Legal. Andrews is entitled to one re-entry on defense since he was a starter. The DH remains intact because Richardson never participated in an offensive role. Team A started with a 9-man lineup w/DH, moved to a 10-man lineup and compressed back to a 9-man lineup w/DH.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder and later comes to bat in the 5th inning.
      • Ruling: Team A has terminated its use of the DH because Richardson has participated in an offensive role. Andrews may still re-enter in that spot since he was a starter.
  • Keep in mind, that a team may still begin the game with a 10-man lineup or a 9-man lineup without a DH. All prior rules in 3-1-4a still apply only if a team begins the game with a 10-man lineup.

Lodged Balls in a Fielders Glove (8-3-3c):A fair-batted ball that lodges in a fielder glove is now an exception to 8-3-3c and no longer carries a two-base award from time of pitch. An example of this play now being legal is the infamous Jon Lester toss of the glove to first base several years ago.

Fielders Warming Up as a Pitcher During a Charged Conference (3-4-1):A team cannot have a fielder, who is in the game, throw a baseball for the purpose of warming up as a pitcher during a defensive conference or a pitching change. If the team desires to warm up a player in the game to prepare him to pitch, it would need to take him out of the game to warm up and then later re-enter him under the substitution rule.

Coaches at The Mound During Pitching Changes (3-4-1):There will be no charged conference if a head coach or non-playing representative stays at the mound while a substitute pitcher is warming up following a pitching change. We will not charge this team with a defensive conference provided that the coach has left when the new pitcher has completed his warmup pitches and has not delayed the game.

Coaches/Administrative Evaluation Form: This year, I am developing a more user-friendly coaches evaluation form. If you would like access to this, please reach out to me and I can forward you the link to it. Your feedback helps in our training, observation and development of our umpiring staff.

I will be making my rounds to various institutions this off-season. If by chance you would like me to speak to your teams, coaching staffs or administration, please reach out to me at the below address and I will be glad to be of service to you.

Best Regards,

Chris Maher

Instructional Chairman,

Regional Camps/Clinics

Regional Offseason Camps/Clinics

Black and Blue Umpire Camps (Sacramento and Riverside)

3-man Camp in Sacramento, CA (September 25-29)

2-man Camp in Sacramento, CA (October 2-6)

Advanced 3-man Camp in Riverside, CA (October 16-20)

*Please consult website for pricing and availability

Jim Evans California Classic (San Diego)

Clinic Listings

Classic Curriculum October 20-26
Classic + Advanced Course October 20-30
Advanced Course Only October 28-30

Tuition Options:
CA Classic (6½ Days) / $595 / Discounted Early Enrollment $525
CA Classic + Advanced Course (9½ Days) / $850 / Discounted Early Enrollment $750
Advanced Course (3 Days) / $450 / Discounted Early Enrollment $400

Western State Umpire Clinic (Las Vegas)

October 24-October 27

$325 if paid before September 1

$375 if paid after

CBUA Regional Camps (TBA)

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