Sports’ advancement in technology marks a sign of the times

Advancements in technology have presented a unique opportunity for use in the world of sports, as high-definition cameras and computer systems have enabled several sports to implement forms of new technology in its officiating.

The game of baseball is not ignorant to this fact. Major League Baseball’s replay system has made a splash in this field, and most everyone who has ever had a Cracker Jack has an opinion on it. While some may not like it, it’s here to stay, and it may not be alone.

Here are some forms of available technology that just might be used in our game sooner rather than later: Continue reading

“Travel Ball Rules: A Look Into The Positives & Negatives”

article by Justin Brown

article by Justin Brown

Summer is a time when all ages are in action on the diamond, specifically within the ‘travel ball’ circuit, a scene that has grown within past ten years. Parents and players are drawn to the travel ball environment to play against high-quality competition and in front of coaches and scouts. These tournaments have created the need for rules and bylaws to help things run effectively and smoothly, but can change the way the game is played:

Pitcher Workload Management

There is a clear push to limit the overuse of young pitchers in the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) rulebook. Sets of limitations have been put into place to manage the use of a young athlete and with the rise of arm injuries, a set of guidelines for pitcher workloads is a much-needed asset:

“7.05.C.2 ONE DAY MAXIMUM: The maximum number of innings a player can legally pitch in one (1) day. Rule 7.05.C.2 Example: In the 7U – 12U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of six (6) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to pitch the next day. Similarly, in the 13U – 14U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of seven (7) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to legally pitch the next day. Continue reading

New Approved Hit by Pitch Rule Could Change Approaches

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Former Arizona State star Andre Ethier is the Dodgers’ franchise leader in HBP (Click here for Los Angeles Dodgers tickets)

By Justin Brown

“Hold up!”

This spring there could potentially be a drop in one statistic across the country. How significant remains to be seen, but there is a new interpretation taking place that could effect on base percentages across the college landscape- the hit by pitch.

In previous years, if a batter was hit by a pitch while in the batter’s box, he was awarded first base by the umpire as long as the pitch was not deemed to be in the strike zone. This allowed the batter to lean in to pitches in an attempt to reach base. Often in the thrills of a close game if an inside pitch just missed the batter, chants of “wear it!” riddled the hitter as teammates in the dugout wished the batter would have actively attempted to get hit by the pitch in order to reach base, keep the rally going, and score runs to win the game. This is known by many as “taking one for the team” or “wearing” pitches. Continue reading

Need help on a baseball rule? Ask the Crew Chief-you won’t get ejected!

Hey Blue! What is the difference between obstruction and interference?

Typically, “interference” is an act that is committed by the offense that may prevent defensive players from making a play, and “obstruction” is committed by the defense, occurring when a defender gets in the way of a base runner or batter. Obstruction can occur whether or not there is a play being made on a base runner, and usually results in the umpire giving a runner an extra base (if no play is made on the runner) or just calling the runner safe (if his path to the base was obstructed).

There are several different types of interference, the most common being when a base runner prevents a defender from making a play on a batted ball. Other types of interference can involve a batter, umpires, players in the dugout and even fans! Believe it or not, some levels of baseball even have “verbal interference” rules, which can occur when opposing teams (or fans) yell “I got it” on a pop fly, thus hindering the defense from making a play.

Hey Blue! Isn’t it true that you have to slide into second base on a double play ball?

Actually, there is no rule that a base runner has to slide into second. However when they do, there are several guidelines they must follow. In most levels of amateur baseball, base runners are required to slide into second “in a straight line” between first and base, unless it is determined that their slide is in deliberate attempt to avoid contact with a defender. “Pop up” slides are legal, but going in towards a defender in any other direction or rolling through a slide is interference. It is also interference if a runner rolls through the slide in an attempt to disrupt a throw to first. It is up to the umpire to judge intent when a runner slides past second base.

Hey Blue! Are base runners ever allowed to pass each other during a play?

Base runners are never permitted to pass each other during a play. By rule, any runner that passes a preceding runner is ruled out. For instance, if there is a runner on first (runner A) and a fly ball is hit in the infield, that runner will typically retreat to first. If the batter runner (runner B) passes the runner on first, runner B will be declared out even if the ball is dropped and runner A makes it to second base safely.

This rule even applies to home runs: if a player hits a home run and passes anyone else that happens to be on base, then they are declared out (and given credit for a single, for you official scorers out there). An interesting twist to this rule is that when there are two outs and a batter hits a home run and passes a teammate on the base paths. Here, umpires have to determine whether any other runners crossed home plate before the base running violation occurred.

While runners are not allowed to pass each other, they can make contact with each other- holding, tackling, and even carrying teammates is permitted, just as long as a trailing runner does not pass anyone ahead of them!

Have a question of your own? E-mail for a ruling!

From the bleachers, from behind the dish

Former catchers sound off on last issue’s Block Party

“Block Party really stood out to me; Yadier [Molina] was my first collision- he ran into me. Blocking the plate was the first thing I was taught in professional baseball, and John Buck was right- set up inside the foul line and show the baserunner the back of the plate so they have somewhere to go. I don’t think it should be outlawed though, sometimes you just can’t help it with the timing. I think that when you get to that level it’s part of the game and as a pro, it’s part of your job.”


– Charlie Lisk- 12 year professional career as a catcher, Frontier League all-time HR and RBI leader

“I have experienced numerous collisions at home plate, some that have put me out of play for a few weeks, but I was never a guy that was scared about a collision. I tried to catch the ball and put the runner on HIS backside. I’ve been hurt both plowing the catcher and being plowed at the plate. I just think it brings an excitement to the game. Sure, it is dangerous, but its the final line before a run is added to the scoreboard.”

– Breck Draper- former All-American catcher at Univ. of Central Oklahoma Continue reading

Ask the crew chief

umpsNeed help on a baseball rule?  Ask the Crew Chief- you won’t get ejected!

The rules of baseball (written and unwritten) distinguish it from all other sports and establish the time-honored customs, rituals and etiquette that show respect for the game and how it is played.  With help from famed writer Paul Dickson, author of ‘The Dickson Baseball Dictionary’ and ‘The Unwritten Rules of Baseball,’ we’ll challenge your knowledge of baseball’s rules and code of conduct.

Hey Blue! This is my first time being around the game of baseball.  My son’s team was up by two runs the bottom of the last inning this past fall. The opposing team had runners on first and second with two outs and the cleanup hitter at the plate. Our coach decided to walk this batter to pitch to the next one, who had struck out three times already in the game. The instant this happened, nearly all of the dads went crazy and started yelling at our coach!

The next batter struck out for the fourth time and my son’s team won the game.  After the game, the dads that were yelling continued to talk about the ‘coach’s dumb decision.’  What am I missing? Continue reading