Each year NHFS compiles a list of rules for coaches and officials to emphasize during the course of the baseball season. This year there are six rules that will require extra attention. Baseball Rules Academy has three videos that will help you. Click here to go to Baseball Rules Academy.
The NFHS has received calls about the compliancy of baseballs with the NOCSAE/SEI performance standard mark that do not match the image that is depicted in the NFHS Baseball Rules book or other NFHS publications (see below). If the baseball has the words NOCSAE®/SEI printed on the ball, then the balls are compliant with NFHS playing rules (see images & red arrows below) for possible examples of approved markings on baseballs. Thanks and enjoy the start of baseball season!
The study guide is finally online and ready for you to take. Remember that you may take the test as many times as you need to pass with 80%. Also, please remember that it closes at 11:59pm on February 9, 2020–no exceptions. Please do not wait until the last minute to complete it; the internet always crashes when you procrastinate. You can access the test at https://cbuaump.org/cbua-2020-exam.
We are still “patiently” waiting for the study guide to be posted online. We have no idea when it will actually get up there. Nevertheless, the deadline to complete it online is Sunday, February 9, 2020, 11:59 p.m. As soon as it is online, I will send out an email blast and post here. In the meantime, you can download a PDF version of it here.
At our previous meeting, we attempted to cover rules 3, 4, 5, and 6, although I don’t think we got very far due to the long general meeting. At our next meeting on January 6, 2020, I will be presenting a Prezi on those rules. If you would like to preview it, you may check it out at http://bit.ly/2020Rules3456. Hopefully we’ll be able to cover a bit of 2-man mechanics at that meeting as well.
The 2019 football season is winding down with state finals this weekend. The 2019-2020 basketball season has started and is in full swing. And now, the 2020 baseball season is upon us. Our first meeting was on Monday, December 9, 2019, and we covered last year’s new rules and this year’s new rules and points of emphasis. Please click here to see the Prezi shown at that meeting.
Another area in which we need more consistency is the hybrid position. “Hybrid” is not a word that you will find in the rule book, but the definition of a hybrid something that is made by combining two things together. A “hybrid” position is a combination of the windup and the set positions.
Rule 6-1-1 states, “The pitcher shall pitch while facing the batter from either a windup position or a set position. the position of his feet determine whether he will pitch from the windup or the set position.” Further, it states that the pivot foot must be in contact with the pitcher’s plate.
Interestingly, “non-pivot foot” is not defined in the rule book. However, Rule 2-28-6 defines the pivot foot as the “foot with which the pitcher contacts the pitcher’s plate when he delivers the ball”. Logically, the non-pivot foot is the foot that does not contact the rubber when the ball is delivered. For a right-handed pitcher, the right foot is the pivot foot, and the left foot is the non-pivot foot. Conversely, for a left-handed pitcher, the left foot is the pivot foot, and the right foot is the non-pivot foot.
Rule 6-1-2 defines the wind-up position stating, “The pitcher’s *non-pivot foot* shall be in any position *on or behind* a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate.” In other words, the heel of the non-pivot foot can be as far forward as touching the front edge of the rubber. It can also be so far back that the toes are entirely behind the rubber. Remember that this year’s editorial change made it so that the entire pivot foot no longer needs to be in contact with the rubber. As long as part of the pivot foot is touching the plate, the pitcher has met the conditions for the pivot foot.
Rule 6-1-3 defines the set position, stating that “he shall stand with his *entire non-pivot foot in front of a line *extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his *pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel* to the pitcher’s plate. Note that it does not say which direction the non-pivot foot has to face. It can be perpendicular to, at an angle to, or parallel to the rubber. It also does not give lateral restrictions to the non-pivot foot–it does not have to be within the side edges of the rubber.
To help us all understand what is legal and what is not, please review the pictures below. (Note that some images use the word “free” rather than “non-pivot”.)
We are always striving to be consistent–not only in our own personal games but as a unit as a whole. One area where it seems that there is a lot of inconsistency is the Hit by Pitch rule. It seems like a pendulum, where some umpires are placing an unnecessary burden on the batter to get out of the way and others put them on anytime they get hit. As with most things, the middle ground is the best way to go.
There is no rule that states that the batter has to make an attempt to get out of the way of a pitch. Rule 7-3-4 states, “A Batter Shall Not permit a pitched ball to touch him.” When a fastball is inside and a batter freezes, that is not permitting a pitched ball to touch him; he should be awarded first base. When a batter misreads a curveball that doesn’t break and gets hit, he is not permitting a pitched ball to touch him; he should be awarded first base. When a pitch is so far inside that the batter turns his back to the ball and gets hit squarely in the back, that is not allowing a pitched ball to touch him; he should be awarded first base.
In football, we look for certain “indicators” to call certain fouls. We can apply that to HBP as well. If a batter has opportunity to get out of the way but sticks out his arm or leg, that is an indicator that he permitted the ball to hit him; he should not be awarded first base (unless it was also ball four). If a slow pitch is inside and the batter makes no move, that is an indicator; he should probably be kept at home.
Now, just because an indicator is present, it doesn’t mean that we are going to keep the batter home. That’s where we have to use our judgment. Did the batter have a reasonable chance to get out of the way and did he make a reasonable effort? That’s your judgment.
This is a safety rule. When I keep a player at the plate because he permitted the pitch to touch him and a coach complains that it is a safety rule, I respond by saying, “That’s right, coach. It’s not safe for your batter to let the pitch hit him.” That being said, when in doubt, error on the side of safety and send the batter to first.
Congratulations to Tim Triplett for being elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer for the 2020 season, and to Will Fortner, Richard Ilizaliturri, and Louis Ortiz for being elected as Board Members at Large for the 2020-2021 seasons.