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Technical Bulletin – 2014 – 03

Mar 30, 2014

New Rules:

The following are the major revision to the WBSC Official Rules of Softball.  There are other changes not noted here that are merely housekeeping changes which involve revisions to grammar, sentence structure or clearer wording.  Housekeeping changes do not affect the intent or meaning of the rule.

Some revisions are repeated in other subsection of rules for clarity.

Rule 1 Section 2

 Sec. 2.           APPEAL PLAY.

A live or dead ball appeal is a play or situation on which an umpire cannot make a decision unless requested by a manager, coach or player of the non-offending team.

Note: A coach or manager may only make a dead ball appeal, after stepping onto the playing field

Rationale: Removed the wording contained in the Note from the body of the definition as it is not part of the definition of an appeal play.  Placing the wording in a Note, clarifies when a coach or manager may make an appeal.

Case Play:  The Coach of Team “A” yells out from the dugout that Team B’s previous batter was batting out of order.  The umpire allows the next batter to enter the batter’s box and the pitcher delivers a pitch that is a ball.  The Coach of Team A, now comes onto the field and argues that the plate umpire should have dealt with his appeal of batting out of order.  The umpire correctly rules that as the coach did not come on the field to make his appeal before the next pitch, that Team A’s coach’s appeal was not made in time and could not be considered.

Rule 1 Section 51

Sec. 51. INELIGIBLE REPLACEMENT PLAYER.

An Ineligible Replacement Player is a player who may NOT enter the game to replace a player who must leave the game to attend to an injury that has caused bleeding. An Ineligible Replacement Player is one who:

  1. Has been removed from the game by the umpire for a violation of the rules,
  2. Is in the current line-up.
  3. Is not in the current line-up, but eligible to re-enter the game.

 

Rationale: A starting player who has been substituted for but is still eligible to re-enter may not be a replacement player under Rule 4 Section 11.

Case Play:  In the 5th inning, Player A is cut and bleeding as the result of a play.  Player A’s coach asks to put in a replacement player because the bleeding cannot be stopped in a reasonable amount of time.  The coach asks the umpire if he can use Player B, who was a starting player but was substituted for in the 3rd inning.  The umpire says no since Player B is still eligible to re-enter the game.  A substitute not in the game or a starting player who has been twice substituted for may be used as a replacement player.

Rule 1 Section 97

Sec. 97. TEMPORARY RUNNER. (FP ONLY)

A Temporary Runner is a player who may run for the catcher of record from the preceding half inning, who is now on base with two out.  The use of the Temporary runner is optional for the offensive coach.  The Temporary Runner must be the player, who at the time of taking the option, is scheduled to bat last and is not on base at the time the option is taken.

Rationale: In an effort to speed up the game, a runner may be used for the catcher who is on base with two out.  This will give the catcher time to put on the catching equipment and be ready to take warm up pitches at the start of the next inning.

Case Play:  In the 1st inning, Player A, the first batter in the line-up, hits a single, Player B the second batter flies out, Player C the third batter hits a single, runner now on 1B and 2B.  Player D, batting 4th, flies out for the second out.  Player E, the catcher, batting 5th hits a single.  Bases are loaded with 2 out. The Offensive Team’s coach approaches the umpires and tells the umpire that he is exercising his option and is putting in a temporary runner for Player E, the catcher.  Player D, in the 4th spot of the batting order is the player is now scheduled to bat last in the line- up and is not on base so Player D is used as the temporary runner

Rule 2 Section 4 Note

  1. Once a runner returns to the fair portion, should he stand on the foul portion only, it is considered not in contact with the base and the runner shall be called out, if
  1. He is tagged with the ball, or
  2. He stands on the foul portion of the base, while the pitcher has possession of the ball within the pitcher’s circle.

 

Rationale: Clarifies when a runner can be called out when standing on the foul portion of a double base.

Case Play: The batter hits a single to right field and over runs first base.  Upon returning to first base the runner stands on the foul portion of first base.  The first base player who has the ball, tags the runner.  The umpire calls safe as the runner has yet returned to first base and the ball is not in possession of the pitcher in the pitcher’s circle.  This is the correct call

Rule 3 Section 3

  1. In Co-ed Slow Pitch play, Male batters will be pitched to with the 12” ball and Female batters with the 11” ball

EFFECT 2 g If the incorrect ball is used, the offense will have the option to accept the result of the play or request a re-pitch using the correct ball at the same ball and strike count.

  1. Adult men’s slow pitch and male players in adult Co-ed slow pitch will use the 30,5 cm (12”) ball with either COR .47 and under with 375 pounds compression, or COR .52 with 300 pounds compression.
    • Rationale: Use of difference size balls levels the playing field when playing co-ed slow pitch.
    • Case Play: Team A pitch a 12” ball to a female batter on Team B who hits a double. When the ball is returned to the infield, the umpire notices that the ball is a 12” ball.  The Umpire correctly tells the Coach of Team B that he can take the result of the play or have a re-pitch using the correct size ball.  The Coach of Team B elects to take the result of the play.

Rule 3 Section 4

  1. The pitcher’s glove may be any combination of colors, provided none of the colors (including the lacing) are the color of the ball. Gloves worn by any player other than the pitcher may be any combination of colors.

 

Rationale: Allows players other than the pitcher to wear a glove that has or contains the color of the ball.

Case Play:

  1. In the top of the 1st inning in a game using the yellow optic ball, all the players on Team A including the pitcher, enter the field on defense, wearing gloves with lacing the color of the ball.  The umpire correctly requires the pitcher only to wear a different glove that does not have the color of the ball on it.
  2. The pitcher enters the field using a white glove. The game ball is yellow. This glove is legal to use.

 

Rule 3 Section 6PROTECTIVE LEG/ARM GUARDS may be worn by the batter and batter-runner.

Rationale: Our rules did not cover the situation of the batter wearing protective equipment.

Case Play: The batter wears a protective guard on his elbow.  The batter hits the ball and reaches 1B safely.  Once all play has stopped, the base umpire calls time and correctly requires the batter-runner on first base to remove the protective guard that he is wearing on his elbow.

Rule 3 Section 8

  1. UNDERSHIRTS. Players may wear a uniform colored undershirt (it may be white). It is not mandatory that all players wear an undershirt but if one player wears one, those that are worn must be alike. No player may wear ragged, frayed, or slit sleeves on exposed undershirts.

NOTE: A warming (compression) sleeve may be worn, however it will be treated in the same manner as a long sleeve undershirt.  Both arms must be covered and both sleeves must be of the same color as the undershirt worn by players wearing long sleeve undershirts.

 

Rationale: Changes provide for players to wear undershirts and should they do so they may be of any color provided that all players who chose to wear an undershirt must wear one that is the same sleeve length and color of all other players wearing an undershirt.  Players may wear a warming or compression sleeve provided both arms are covered and the length and color match the undershirts worn by other players. No longer must be a solid color undershirt.

Case Play: In the top of the 1st Inning, the umpire notices that 6 of the players of Team A who are on defense are wearing red, long sleeved undershirts, 2 players are not wearing undershirts and one player is wearing blue short sleeved undershirt.  The umpire advised the coach of Team A that the player wearing the blue short sleeved undershirt must remove it.  The umpire advises the coach that the player may either wear a red long sleeved undershirt or no undershirt.

Rule 3 Section 8

  1. DISTRACTING ADORNMENTS.  No exposed items, including jewelry, judged by the umpire to be distracting to opposing players may be worn or displayed.  The umpire shall require the item to be removed or covered.  Medical alert bracelets and/or necklaces, if deemed distracting shall be required to be taped to the body in such a manner that the medical alert information is visible.

 

Rationale: Allows an umpire to require a player to remove or cover jewelry that is distracting to other player.  Player are responsible for their own safety and the safety of other players.

Case Play: An umpire may judge a pitcher’s necklace that reflects light as being distracting to the batters and may ask the pitcher to either remove or cover the necklace.

Rule 4 Section 5 f

NOTE: When the FLEX Player plays offense for the Designated Player, the Designated Player is now considered to have left the game and may re-enter once in his place in the batting order. This change must be reported to the plate umpire.

and

Rule 4 Section 5 h

NOTE:  When the DP plays defense for the Flex, the Flex is considered to have left the game and may re-enter once in in the 10 spot in the batting order or in the DP’s spot. This change must be reported to the plate umpire.

Rationale: Clarifies that when the DP plays for the FLEX and when The FLEX plays for the DP, the player being played for is deemed to have left the game and the team is reduced to nine players.  The player who left the game may re-enter the game once.

Case Play: In the 3rd inning, Team A’s DP plays 3rd base for the FLEX.  The Flex is now considered to have left the game and Team A is now playing with nine players.  The DP is playing both offense and defense.  In the 5th inning, Team A re-enters the FLEX on defense to play 3rd base.  The umpire correctly allows this.  Team A is now again playing with 10 players.  The DP is playing offense only and the FLEX is playing Defense only.

Rule 4 Section 7 Effect 7 a-c

NOTE: Any action that occurs while the illegal Re-entry (Player) is in the game is governed by Rule 4, Section 8 g 4 Effect 2-4.

Rationale: If an illegal re-entry occurs the actions of the illegal player while in the game are governed by Rule 4 Section 8 g 4 Effect 2-4 in the same way the actions of an illegal substitute are governed.

Case Play: Clarification through a case play is not required.

Rule 4 Section 12

Sec 12 TEMPORARY RUNNER (FP Only)

A Temporary Runner is legal for a catcher, of record from the previous half inning, who is on base with two (2) out.  The following provisions apply:

  • It is optional for the offensive team manager;
  • The Temporary Runner may be used any time after the 2nd out occurred;
  • The Temporary Runner is the player scheduled to bat last and who is not on base at the time the option is taken.

NOTE: If an incorrect player is used as a Temporary Runner, the error shall be corrected when noticed without penalty.

Rationale: In an effort to speed up the game, a runner may be used for the catcher who is on base with two out.  This will give the catcher time to put on the catching equipment and be ready to take warm up pitches at the start of the next inning.

Case Play:  In the 1st inning, Player A, the first batter in the line-up, hits a single.  Player B the second batter flies out.  Player C the third batter hits a single, runner now on 1B and 2B.  Player D, batting 4th, flies out for the second out.  Player E, the catcher, batting 5th hits a single.  Bases are loaded with 2 out. The Offensive Team’s coach approaches the umpires and tells the umpire that he is exercising his option and is putting in a temporary runner for the catcher. Player E.  Player D, in the 4th spot of the batting order is the player is now scheduled to bat last in the line- up and is not on base so Player D is used as the temporary runner

 

 

Rule 4 Section 13

Sec 13 VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES

  1. Team members shall not make disparaging, or insulting, remarks to, or about, opposing players, officials, or spectators, or commit other acts that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
  2. The penalty for violations by a team member shall be
  3. For a first offense, the offender may be warned.
  4. For a second offense, or if a first offense is considered serious enough by the umpire, the offender is EJECTED.

 

NOTE: In the event the Head Coach is ejected from a game, he shall submit to the umpire the name of the person who is to assume the Head Coach duties for the remainder of the game.

  1. A team member EJECTED from the game, shall go directly to the dressing room for the remainder of the game, or leave the grounds.
  2. Failure of a person so EJECTED, to leave the game immediately, will warrant a forfeiture of the game.
  3. An officiating umpire may report a team member for offensive conduct, language or physical abuse any time after a game has been called, in which case the reported team member will appear before the organization under which the game or tournament is played.

 

Rationale: Moved penalty section from rule 10 to Rule 4 where it is more appropriate.  Eliminate the option to remove from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Such actions will now result in an ejection.

Case Play: Clarification through a case play is not required.

Rule 5 Section 3 f

  1. If, after warning by the umpire, any one of the rules of the game is willfully violated. EXCEPTION: If the pitcher continues to repeatedly violate the pitching regulation he shall be excluded from the pitching position for the remainder of the game.

 

Rationale:  In situations where a pitcher continues to pitch illegally, this change allows the umpire to remove the pitcher from the pitching position without having to forfeit the game.

Case Play: The Pitcher for Team A continues to pitch illegally.  After calling numerous illegal pitches the umpire advised the coach of Team A that the pitcher is removed from the pitching position and can no longer pitch.  The action of the umpire was correct.

 

 

Rule 6 Section 3

NOTE: (h-i) It is not a step if the pitcher slides either foot across the pitcher’s plate, provided contact is maintained with the plate and there is no movement backwards off the plate.  Lifting the pivot foot off the pitcher’s plate and returning it to the plate, creating a rocking motion, is an illegal act.

  1. The pivot foot must remain in contact with the pitcher’s plate, or push off and drag away from the pitcher’s plate or be airborne prior to the stepping (non-pivot) foot touching the ground.

NOTE: The pitcher may leap, from the pitcher’s plate, land and, with a continuous motion, deliver the ball to the plate.  The pivot may push off and/or follow through with his continuous action.  This is not considered a Crow Hop.       

k.:  It is legal to drag, leap or hop and then land and throw as long as the original push starts    from the pitcher’s plate.  It is not legal to step off with the pivot foot and then drag, leap or hop and throw.

  1. As the pitcher pushes from the pitcher’s plate all movement of the pitching arm must be continuous.

Rationale: Clarifies the rule so that the pitchers foot may move in any direction provided contact is maintained with the pitchers plate.  Other changes are better wording to align with the way pitchers pitch.

Case Play: Clarification through a case play is not required.

Rule 6 Section 9a (Second Sentence)

At the start of each half inning (after the first inning) the pitcher from the previous inning shall have one (1) minute to throw up to three (3) warm up pitches.  If one minute has expired or is about to expire, the umpire shall restrict the pitcher to one (1) warm up pitch

 

NOTE: When the catcher was; on base, at bat or the on-deck batter, and another defensive player is not used as a warm up catcher, the pitcher shall be limited to one (1) warm up pitch.

EXCEPTION 1:  A new pitcher shall have one minute to throw up to five (5) pitches to warm up.

Rationale: Pitchers and catchers were taking too much time to warm up between innings.  If pitchers and catchers take too long, the umpire may restrict the pitcher to one warm up pitch.

Case Play:  After the last out of the Top of the 2nd Inning, the Pitcher from Team A goes to talk with his coach.  Team A’s catcher is at home plate.  The pitchers talks to his coach for one minute.  The umpire correctly restricts the pitcher to one (1) warm up pitch.

 

 

Rule 7 Section 1

  1. May take a position within either on-deck circle so he is behind the batter and not on the batter’s open side

 

Rationale: This change is for safety of the on-deck batters.

Case Play: Clarification through a case play is not required.

Rule 7 Section 2 d Effect 2-d 2 c

NOTE: If the player who was the improper batter was called out, his turn at bat, shall not take place in the same inning, until all other batters in the batting order have completed their turn at bat.  If his turn at bat occurs before this happens, go to the next batter.

    

     Rationale: Clarifies when a batter, who is put out on a play while batting out of order, can come to bat again.

 

Case Play:  No one out.  B3 was due to bat but B4 comes to bat and flies out to F3.  The team on defense appeals that B4 batted out of order and that B3 was the correct batter.  The umpire agrees and calls B3 out for batting out of order.  Now B4 is the next scheduled batter however since he was out on the play, B5 is the next correct batter and B4 does not bat again until all other batters have batted.

 

Rule 7 Section 3

  1. After the batter first enters the batter’s box he must remain in the batter’s box between pitches by keeping at least one foot in the box including taking signals and practice swings.

 

Exception to Sec 3d

  1. If the ball is hit fair or foul
  2. On a swing, or an attempted swing, which includes a slap or checked swing provided the momentum of the swing or attempted swing carries the batter out of the batter’s box
  3. If forced out of the box by a pitch
  4. (FP ONLY) on a wild pitch or passed ball
  5. If there is an attempted play
  6. If “Time” has been called
  7. If the pitcher leaves the pitcher’s circle (FP ONLY) or the catcher leaves the catcher’s box
  8. On a three ball pitch that is a strike that the batter thinks is a ball

 

Effect Sec 3d:                 

If the batter leaves the batter’s box, delays play, and none of the exceptions apply; the umpire shall call a strike.  No pitch has to be thrown and the ball is dead.

 

Rationale: Keeping the batter in the batter’s box as much as possible will help speed up the game.

Case Play

Batter A takes a called strike one. The batter steps out of the box with both feet to take the signal, but steps back in (with one foot?) before the pitcher has the ball in the circle and the catcher is ready.

The coach of the other teams asks the umpire to call a strike on the batter. The umpire refuses because Batter A did not delay the game. This is a correct action by the umpire.

 

 

Batter B takes a called strike one. The batter steps out of the batter’s box with both feet to take a signal. The pitcher has the ball in the pitching circle and the catcher is ready, the batter is still out of the box (with both feet?) The umpire calls time and awards an additional strike against the batter. This action is correct.

 

Rule 8 Section 1

Sec. 1. THE BATTER BECOMES A BATTER-RUNNER.

  1. When he legally hits a fair or foul ball.

 

Rationale: A batter becomes a batter-runner if he hits a fair or foul ball.

Case Play: On a fair ball, he is a batter-runner until he reaches 1st base safely or is put out before 1st base.  On a foul ball, he is a batter-runner until he is out on a caught fly ball or until all play has stopped.

Rule 8 Section 1 g

  1. Is contacted by a fielder who is in dead ball territory and the ball in the judgment of the umpire, would have gone over the fence in fair territory.

 

and

Rule 8 Section 1 g Effect 1g Exception

  1. A fair batted ball is contacted by a fielder who is dead ball territory and in the judgment of the umpire, the ball would not have gone over the fence in fair ball territory, the batter-runner shall be awarded two bases from the time of the pitch.

 

Rationale: Players may leave the field of play in the outfield and make contact with a playable ball while still in dead ball territory.

Case Play: The Center Fielder leaps over a small fence in the outfields and before getting back into playable territory, reaches up and catches a fly ball.  The umpire judges that a) the ball would have cleared the fence in fair territory had it not been touched, or b) the umpire judges that the ball would not have cleared the fence in fair territory.  In a) the umpire should award a home run.  In b) the umpire should award 2 bases from the time of the pitch.

 

Rule 8 Section 2 h

  1. When he intentionally interferes with a play at home plate to prevent an obvious out at the plate.

 

NOTE: The runner is also out.

and

Rule 8 Section 2 k

  1. When a member of the team at bat, who is not a batter, batter-runner, runner or on-deck batter, interferes with a fielder attempting to catch a batted fly ball over foul territory or with a batted fly ball over foul territory that a fielder is attempting to catch.

EXCEPTION:

If this interference in the judgment of the umpire, is an intentional interference, to prevent a double play, then the runner closest to home shall also be called out.

 

Rationale: Change requires interference at home plate or with a foul fly ball or attempt to catch a foul fly ball must be intentional.

Case Play: 8 2 h  With the runner from 3rd base running home, the batter-runner remains at home plate to block the catcher from playing the ball which is being thrown by the short stop.  The plate umpire calls time and rules intentional interference on the batter-runner and calls the batter-runner out.  The runner from 3rd base is also out.

Case Play 8 2 k:  With one out and a runner on 2nd base, the batter-runner hits a fly ball that the 3rd base person will easily catch near the dugout of the team on offense.    The runner on 2nd base thinks there are two out so he heads towards third base, however he trips and falls about halfway between 2nd base and 3rd base.  Upon seeing this, a player in the offensive team’s dugout reaches out and deflects the ball away from the 3rd base person.  The plate umpire calls dead ball, rules intentional interference by the player in the dugout and calls the batter-runner out and the runner who was on 2nd base out.

 

Rule 8 Section 9

  1. When runners switch positions on the bases.

EFFECT – Sec. 9 aa.

This is an appeal play.  When properly appealed, each runner discovered to have switched positions on the bases shall be declared out and the Head Coach shall be ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.  The order of outs shall be determined by the location of the runners immediately after the switch.  The runner who switched bases and is closest to home plate after the switch shall be called out first.  The next runner who switched bases and is the second closest to home plate shall be called out second and so on.

Rationale: Clarifies the order in which runners are called out when they switch bases.

Case Play: Clarification through a case play is not required.

 

Technical Bulletin 2014 – 02

The incorporation of a white, grey or yellow optic circle giving the appearance of a ball on the uniform or official equipment or within the team name or logo.

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Rule 3, Sec. 1m

A reminder to all National Federations and your coaches, players and umpires that the current WBSC bat certification standard (adopted at the 2005 Congress) is the ASTM high-speed batted ball test (100mph).

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Rule Reference – Rule 3 Sec 4

Any player may wear a glove, but only the catcher and first base may use mitts.
b. Gloves worn by any player and may be any combination of colors, provided none of the colors (including the lacing) are the color of the ball.

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Rule Reference – Rule 7 Sec 1 f Effect and Rule 8 Sec 2 k

There is a possibility of a misunderstanding when reading the aforementioned rules together. Unfortunately it will take a rule change to totally clear up, however we cannot do a rule change this year. Until the rules change, we will have separate rulings under Rule 7 Sec 1 f Effect and Rule 8 Sec 2 k. Exception. Rule 8 Sec 2 k Exception will not apply to the on-deck batter who is covered under Rule 7 Sec 1 f Effect.

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