Baseball Rules Changes - 2017 By NFHS on November 22, 2016 baseball
2-32-2c: Clarified when a base runner can slide through home plate in a straight line. 3-2-2 PEN: Clarified when a coach-assisted runner is declared out. 3-3-1 PEN: Developed a three-step process when administering disciplinary action to a player(s) or coach(es) for inappropriate behavior on the bench and in the field. 6-2-6: Clarified that the pitching restriction is based on number of pitches thrown. 8-3-6: Clarified when an umpire hinders the actions of the catcher in a defensive attempt and how baserunning awards are administered. 8-4-2s: A companion rule to support the above-mentioned 3-2-2 PEN modification regarding coaches’ and players’ conduct.
Points of Emphasis 1. Correct use of authenticated marked baseballs 2. Umpires asking assistance from partner on call 3. Positioning of team personnel 4. Legal slides
Beginning with the 2015 high school baseball season, teams will be allowed to use video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during games.
This revision to Rule 3-3-1 was one of five changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 8-10 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Previously, video equipment was permitted but it could not be used during games for coaching purposes.
“With advancements in technology, it was extremely difficult for officials to determine if teams were using video replay during games,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “The committee determined it was the right time to permit teams to use these technological aids if they so choose.”
To: TASO Beaumont Baseball Officials
It has come to our attention that some schools continue to try and let their catcher’s wear the skull cap and mask combination when behind the plate during a game or in the bullpen while warming up pitchers. THIS IS ILLEGAL IN BOTH SITUATIONS!!!!
Rule 1-5-4 states that the catcher’s helmet and mask combination must meet NOCSAE standards just like the batting helmets. At this time there are no skull cap and mask combinations that meet the NOCSAE standards.
This means that the only helmet and mask combination a catcher may wear behind the plate or in the bullpen is the hockey style helmet and mask combination. Please make sure this rule is enforced at all times. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We have had problems with the rubber sleeves that pitchers are wearing. These sleeves are LEGAL, if they are not white or gray! The pitcher DOES NOT have to have one on each arm. The arms DO NOT have to be uniform! If the pitcher has a sleeve on his right arm, he does not have to have one on his left arm.
You do have the option of deeming this look, sleeve on one arm not on the other, as distractive and make him remove it or add one to his other arm. Please explain to the coach why you are making him remove the sleeve. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The wind-up stance for the pitcher. Number 1, this is NOT a rule change. The rule has always stated that the pitcher’s non-pivot foot has to be ON or BEHIND a line that extended through the front edge of the rubber. ON the line DOES NOT mean butting up against it, IT HAS TO BE “ON” IT. We have let this situation go over the last few years and it has now become a big problem.
Below are graphics that show the legal and illegal positions of the pivot foot and non-pivot foot. The pivot foot is for a right-handed pitcher. The other graphics are for the non-pivot foot.
To: All TASO-Baseball Umpires
I would like to cover a couple of subjects that were discussed this last weekend at the State Meeting.
The first area concerns a Point of Emphasis in this year’s rule changes. This is a significant Point of Emphasis concerning the pitcher’s stance while in the wind-up position. The pitcher’s NON-pivot foot MUST be on or behind a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate (6-1-2). We have seen a growing number of pitchers using stances that do not conform to the rule. They are neither in a wind-up or set position. If the pitcher’s NON-pivot foot is in front of a line extending through the pitcher’s plate and he begins his pitching motion, the time-of-the-pitch, this becomes an illegal pitch and play should be stopped. A ball will be awarded the batter, and if a runner is on base, it is a balk.
I mention this to all of you mainly due to the fact that I will not be able to impart this information to the coaches on Friday. TASO’s presentation of the rule changes was removed from the program this morning. So, it is going to be up to you to get the message out to the coaches. This should be done either during coaches meetings that many of the chapters have, or during scrimmages before the season starts. It is very important that we get the message across to the players and coaches. We have received a large number of complaints from the coaches about this stance and the problems it is causing.
The second item concerns the set position. This past weekend this was brought up during my presentation and I erroneously gave those in attendance the wrong ruling. I sincerely apologize for this false information. The position concerns when a pitcher is on the pitcher’s plate in the set position. Remember the pivot foot must be completely in front of the pitcher’s plate (6-1-3). The stance in question concerns when his NON-pivot foot is outside the edge of the pitcher’s plate, toward 1st base, leaving his shoulder wide open toward 1st base. I was asked if this was legal. That ruling has not changed, it is legal! The problem is that somewhere down the line I was told that when he came set (brought his hands together) with his NON-pivot foot in front of the rubber (what we would deem a normal set position), he could no longer attempt to pick off the runner on 1st. He could now only step off the back of the pitcher’s plate or make a pitch. That part is what was incorrect. He still has the right to attempt a pick off the runner on 1st. Again, I apologize to all those in attendance at the state meeting.
Let’s get the message about the correct wind-up stance out to our players and coaches.
SITUATION 1: A head coach uses vulgar and profane language when addressing the base umpire. The base umpire ejects the head coach without first issuing a warning. RULING: When an unsportsmanlike act using profane language directed at an umpire is judged to be a major violation, the penalty is an immediate ejection. No warning is necessary. (3-3-1f2 Penalty) SITUATION 2: A written warning accompanied by a bench restriction must occur prior to an ejection. RULING: If an unsportsmanlike act is judged to be a major violation, an ejection may be made without a prior warning being given. Additionally, there are specific acts in Rule 3-3-1l-q, where the penalty is an immediate ejection. (3-3-1f-k Penalty, 3-3-1l-q Penalty) SITUATION 3: A head coach is upset about a close call at home plate. During an animated discussion, he bumps the plate umpire. RULING: The head coach is ejected. Physical contact with an umpire, even if unintended or accidental, shall result in an ejection of the offender. (3-3-1q Penalty) SITUATION 4: The first base assistant coach is upset over an “out” call on a steal at second base. The assistant coach goes to the area around second base and, while arguing the call, kicks dirt on the base umpire. RULING: The assistant coach is ejected; no warning is needed prior to the ejection. The head coach is restricted to the bench for the remainder of the game. (3-3-1q Penalty, 3-3-1f6 Penalty) SITUATION 5: During the course of the game, the plate umpire has utilized numerous non-verbal, preventative warnings to the head coach. In the sixth inning, the coach continues to complain about various calls and is ejected by the plate umpire. RULING: Unless the last event was a major unsportsmanlike act, the head coach must first receive a written warning and be restricted to the bench before an ejection. (3-3-1f Penalty, 10-2-3j) SITUATION 6: Having previously received a written warning and a restriction to the dugout for a minor unsportsmanlike outburst, the coach again loudly complains about the plate umpire’s strike zone and performance. RULING: The coach is ejected from the game. Having been previously warned and restricted to the bench, any subsequent minor or a major violation results in ejection. (3-3-1f Penalty) SITUATION 7: What is a head coach who is restricted to the bench allowed to do? RULING: Even though the head coach is restricted to the bench and may not occupy a coaching box, he is still the head coach. He still represents the team in communications with umpires and may address and coach base runners, the batter, defensive players and other coaches. He may hold team conferences at the dugout or bench area. He may leave the bench/dugout area to attend to a player who becomes ill or injured and may request to talk to an umpire concerning a rule or rule enforcement. However, he shall be ejected for any further misconduct. (3-2-1, 3-3-1f Penalty) SITUATION 8: What may a coach who is ejected do? RULING: A coach who is ejected shall immediately leave the vicinity of the playing area and is prohibited from further contact – direct or indirect – with the team during the remainder of the game. His presence away from the field shall be such that he cannot be seen or heard from the playing field. He may return when requested to attend to an ill or injured player. (3-3-2) SITUATION 9: A pitcher comes to the mound wearing a “camouflaged” compression sleeve that does not extend below the elbow. RULING: A camouflaged compression sleeve worn by the pitcher is legal. (1-4-2) SITUATION 10: A pitcher is wearing a compression sleeve on his pitching arm that extends to his wrist. The compression sleeve is a solid black color. RULING: This compression sleeve is legal. Compression sleeves worn by the pitcher that extend below the elbow shall be solid black or solid dark color. (1-4-2) SITUATION 11: The pitcher has a white compression sleeve that extends only to his elbow on his (a) pitching arm, (b) non-pitching arm or (c) both arms. RULING: This is legal in (a), (b) and (c). Compression sleeves worn by a pitcher that extend only to the elbow may be white, gray, solid black or a dark color. Compression sleeves may be worn on one arm (pitching or non-pitching) or both arms. (1-4-2) SITUATION 12: The pitcher is wearing a long, dark black compression sleeve to his wrist on one arm and a white compression sleeve that extends only to the elbow on the other arm. RULING: This is legal provided the plate umpire does not judge this to be distracting to a batter. (1-4-2; 6-2-1f) SITUATION 13: The pitcher has a compression sleeve that extends to his wrist. The portion of the sleeve that is below the elbow is a dark solid color, while the portion of the sleeve that extends to the elbow is white. RULING: This is illegal. A compression sleeve that extends below the pitcher’s elbow must be solid black or a solid dark color. (1-4-2) SITUATION 14: The home team is wearing a vest-type uniform with a white shirt worn underneath. The sleeves of the shirt under the vest extend only to the elbow. RULING: This is legal. A pitcher’s shirt worn under the vest is not an undershirt. It may be white, provided it does not extend below the elbow. (1-4-2) SITUATION 15: The visiting team is wearing a vest-type uniform with a white shirt worn underneath. The sleeves extend to the players’ wrists. The plate umpire informs the coach that this is not legal for the pitcher. The pitcher changes to a black shirt under the vest with sleeves that extend to his wrists. The opposing coach argues that this is not legal as uniforms must be of the same color and style. RULING: It is legal, in this instance, for the pitcher to wear a shirt under his vest of a different color than the rest of the team. Any sleeve worn by the pitcher that extends below his elbow must be a solid black or a solid dark color. (1-4-1, 1-4-2) SITUATION 16: The catcher helps warm up a pitcher in (a) the bullpen or (b) on the field. He takes a crouch position and is wearing a skull cap and a catcher’s mask that is not attached. RULING: This is not compliant equipment for the catcher. The catcher’s helmet and mask combination shall meet the NOCSAE standard and shall have full ear (dual ear flaps) protection. (1-5-4) SITUATION 17: A left-handed pitcher attempts to pick-off the runner at first base. Simultaneously with his throw, the pitcher picks up his pivot foot and places it behind the pitcher’s plate. The throw bounces off the first baseman’s glove and goes into dead-ball territory. The base umpire awards the runner third base, ruling that the pitcher was an infielder and the award is two bases. RULING: The award should be second base; only one base. The status of the pitcher at the time he made the attempted pick-off throw was still that of a pitcher, not an infielder. After the pitcher places his pivot foot on the ground clearly behind the pitcher’s plate, his status then changes to that of an infielder. Moving his pivot foot at the same time he attempts the pick-off does not change his status as a pitcher. (6-1-3, 8-3-3d) SITUATION 18: With a runner on first and no outs, the batter hits the pitch in the left-center gap and R1 attempts to reach third base. The center fielder overthrows third base and the pitcher, backing up the play, catches the throw, and then steps into the dugout. RULING: This is a two-base award to both runners, awarded from the time the pitcher stepped into the dugout. The throw from the outfielder was complete when the pitcher caught it, and the subsequent action is a new one. If both runners are between second and third, they both will be awarded home. If they were both between first and second, R1 is awarded third and the batter is awarded second base. (5-1-1i, 8-3-3c2, 8-3-5) SITUATION 19: R1 is attempting to score from third base and is obstructed by the catcher who tags him on the play. After the play is over, the home plate umpire declares “Time” and awards the runner home. R1 does not touch home plate. The next batter enters the batter’s box and the plate umpire announces “Play.” The pitcher next requests “Time” and appeals the runner not touching home plate. RULING: This is a legal appeal. The runner will be declared out and the run will no longer count. All bases must be touched, even on an award. A dead-ball appeal may be made before the next legal or illegal pitch. (8-2-1, 8-2-5 Penalty) SITUATION 20: The batter singles to right field and (a) the ball rolls to a stop and the right fielder, attempting to pick up the ball, kicks it into dead-ball territory; or (b) the bounding ball strikes the right fielder’s leg and deflects into dead-ball territory. RULING: In (a), the right fielder applied the impetus that caused the ball to go into dead-ball territory, the same as if he had thrown it there. The award to any runner is two bases from the base occupied at the time of the kick. In (b), the force on the batted ball caused the ball to go into dead-ball territory, so the award to any runner is two bases from the base occupied at the time of the pitch. (8-3-3c, 8-3-5)
SITUATION 1:The coach discovers that a player’s bat has had the end cap removed and replaced. RULING:Once the bat’s end cap has been removed, the bat is considered to be an altered bat and hence is an illegal bat for future play. Certain manufacturers consider such alteration of their bats to be unlawful and subject to possible legal action. (1-3-2 Note, 1-3-5)
SITUATION 2: On a cold day, a player uses a warming device for his bat before he comes to bat. RULING: The bat is now considered to be an illegal bat for the duration of that game. If the player is discovered using the bat, penalties under 7-4-1a would apply. (1-3-5, 7-4-1a)
SITUATION 3: The head coach has a tablet computer with video capability in the dugout. However, he is only using the tablet to keep the score and both teams’ lineups. RULING: This is permissible. The use of a tablet computer or other mobile electronic devices are allowed provided they are not used to monitor or replay any of the game for coaching purposes. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 4: While in the dugout, the coach is using the video capability of his “smartphone” to record his pitcher’s delivery to the plate. He intends to use the video to help the pitcher correct a flaw when the team is in the dugout and not on defense. RULING: This is not allowed. The head coach will be ejected upon discovery of using the replay capability for coaching purposes. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 5: The coach in the third-base coach’s box has a stopwatch that he is using to time the pitcher’s delivery to the plate. RULING: This is legal. A coach may have in his possession, while occupying a coach’s box, a stopwatch, a hard copy of the rules book and a hard copy of a scorebook. (3-3-1i)
SITUATION 6: The coach in the first-base coach’s box has a smartphone that has the ability to score the progress of the game. RULING: This is not allowed. A coach may not have any electronic equipment, other than a stopwatch, while in the coach’s box, even if it is intended to be used only for scoring purposes. The umpire shall either restrict the coach to the dugout for the remainder of the game or eject him. (3-3-1i Penalty)
SITUATION 7: In the fifth inning of the game, F1 is ejected for vehemently protesting a pitch that was declared to be a ball and he thought should have been strike three. S1 comes in to replace F1. How many warm-up throws is S1 allowed? RULING: S1 is allowed eight warm-up throws. The umpire-in-chief, however, may authorize more throws for S1 because F1 left the game due to an ejection. (6-2-2c Exception)
SITUATION 8: With runners on first base and third base, the pitcher legally steps toward third and feints a throw. With his pivot foot now off the pitching plate, the pitcher turns and feints a throw to first base. RULING:This is a legal pick-off play by the pitcher. (6-2-4a,b)
SITUATION 9: With runners on first base and third base, the pitcher legally steps toward third and feints a throw. With his pivot still engaged with the pitching plate, the pitcher turns and feints a throw to first base. RULING: This is a balk. While engaged with the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher may not feint toward first base. The runner from first is awarded second base and the runner from third is awarded home. (6-2-4a)
SITUATION 10: A team plays its home games at a minor league park that has the ability to display radar gun information on the scoreboard. May the information be shown or must it be turned off? RULING: The radar gun information displayed on the scoreboard is permissible provided it is used for both teams throughout the game. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 11: On a base hit to the outfield, the runner from third base comes home but misses touching home plate. The on-deck batter physically stops him and shoves him back to the plate, where he then touches it. RULING: Physical assistance by a teammate is not allowed unless both players are viable runners. The assisted runner is out and his run does not count. (2-21-1c, 5-1-2f, 3-2-2)
SITUATION 12: In the eighth inning, the coach comes out and replaces his pitcher. Two batters later, he asks for “Time,” and goes to the mound to discuss strategy with both the catcher and the pitcher. The opposing coach argues that he must now replace the pitcher. RULING: When the game is in extra innings, a team is allowed only one charged conference per inning, but since the coach removed the pitcher on his first visit in the eighth inning, it did not count as a charged conference. Therefore, the coach still had one charged conference available to him in the inning. His conference is legal and he does not have to remove his pitcher. (3-4-1)
SITUATION 13: The visiting first baseman comes to the batter’s box with eye black painted on his face from under his eyes extending to his jaw, looking like inverted “bat wings.” Is this legal? RULING: Unless the extensive eye black is deemed to be profane, intimidating or taunting intended to embarrass, ridicule or demean, the face paint is legal. (3-3-1g-2)
SITUATION 14: With one out, a runner on second base who is not moving on the pitch, and a count of 1-0, the batter attempts to hit the pitch to right field. The catcher reaches out for the ball and obstructs the batter, causing him to foul off the pitch. The coach, wanting the batter to stay at bat, tells the plate umpire he does not want the award for obstruction on his batter, and he elects to take the result of the play. RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. (8-1-1e)
SITUATION 15: With a runner on first base and no outs, the batter hits a high fly ball near the dirt/grass intersection between first base and second base. The runner was stealing on the pitch and, with his coach yelling for him to return, turns around and heads back to first base. The runner, as he returns, brushes the second baseman, who does not catch the pop fly. The second baseman quickly picks up the ball and throws to second base for an apparent force-out. No one says a word as the next batter comes to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. RULING: As soon as the runner from first contacts the second baseman attempting to catch the pop fly, interference should be declared and the ball made immediately dead. The runner is out for his interference; and because his interference prevented the catch of the pop fly, the batter-runner is also declared out. The next batter comes to bat with the bases empty and two outs. (8-4-2g)
SITUATION 16: With runners at second base and third base and one out, the infield is playing in to prevent the runner on third from scoring. The sharply hit batted ball goes up the middle, passing the pitcher, and the second baseman and shortstop. There is no other infielder in position to make a play on the ball. The batted ball hits the runner while he is standing on second base. RULING: The ball remains live and in play. The runner at second is not out as the ball had passed an infielder and no infielder was in position to make a play. (8-4-2k)
SITUATION 17: With a runner on second base, Smith, who is a pure pull hitter, comes to bat. The defense puts on a shift that has the shortstop playing near third base and the second baseman playing almost directly behind second base. The batter hits a sharp ground ball that contacts the runner who is standing on second base at the time. RULING: The ball is dead and the runner on second base is declared out. The second baseman is in position to make a play, and the base does not protect the runner when it is not an infield-fly situation. (8-4-2k)
SITUATION 18: With runners on third base and first base, there is one out and a count of 2-2 on the batter. The batter swings and misses the pitch for the third strike, as both runners are stealing on the pitch. The batter steps out across home plate and interferes with the catcher’s throw to second base. The throw is still made and is in time to retire the runner stealing from first base. The runner from third scores before the out on the runner at second is made. RULING: Since the throw from the catcher resulted in the out at second base, the interference by the batter is ignored. The run by the runner from third base will count since it occurred before the third out was declared at second base (time play). (7-3-5 Penalty, 9-1-1)
SITUATION 19: The runner at first base takes off in an attempt to steal second base. The pitcher legally makes a spin move and throws to unoccupied second base to easily retire the stealing runner. The third-base coach argues, saying the pitcher cannot throw to an unoccupied base. RULING: A pitcher may throw or feint a throw to an unoccupied base in an attempt to put out or drive back a runner. The out stands. (6-2-4b)
SITUATION 20: With runners at first base and second base, the runner at second bluffs a steal of third by running hard to third before he stops and retreats back to second base. The pitcher, seeing the runner take off hard to third base, legally throws to the unoccupied third base. The third-base coach wants a balk called on the pitcher since the runner from second stopped. RULING:A pitcher may throw or feint a throw to an unoccupied base in an attempt to put out or drive back a runner. As long as the umpire judges that it is reasonable for the pitcher to believe he had a play at third, even though the runner stopped, it is a legal move. (6-2-4b)