1. The age and developmental abilities of the players.
2. The diamonds we play on.
3. The philosophy that the league is a recreational league where as our unofficial motto states: “The player comes first”.
4. The opinions of the coaches who must try to teach the game to their players.
Umpires are expected to know the rules and to apply them fairly and consistently. Often the interpretation of whether the call was missed is based on line of sight and the overall understanding of the rules for the specific division. Rules change subtly between division.
Answering two simple questions will make most tense situations much easier to manage since they are all that can be debated.
- “Was the umpire in a position to see all they needed to see?”
- “Was the correct interpretation of the rule applied for this situation?”
Coaches – NOT FANS have the opportunity to ask for an explanation based solely on these two questions. Coaches are expected to assist the umpire as another set of eyes if and only if the umpire decides they need it. Most of our umpires are unpaid volunteers and some are young players currently in our Senior division. Umpires should never be spoken to disrespectfully.
ALL parents signed a behavioural contract at registration. The league takes umpiring seriously. If you are interested in helping in this area please let us know.
POP QUIZ – for the would be umpires:
Some specific examples will show the sometimes subtle nature of calls
# 1 The catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher after a ball was called. The pitcher misses it and the ball rolls towards second base. A runner standing on second picks it up and hands it to the pitcher. Is the runner is out for showing good sportsmanship?
Answer: Runner is not out in Novice and Junior where stealing is not allowed. In Senior stealing is allowed on an errant throw to the pitcher so all runners are active so the runner on second put themself out.
# 2 A ball is hit back very hard to the fielder who makes the catch and twists their ankle in the field going after the ball. Can the other runners advance while the next nearest fielder tries to play the ball – like in the majors?
Answer: The batter is out on the fly ball catch but after that all play stops on an injury time out. All runners return to their original bases.
What would happen if the ball was hit to a player who didn’t catch it but was seriously hurt in the attempt?
Answer: The play is immediately called “dead ball”. Following treatment of the player the umpire replaces any runners to their pre hit positions. Batter returns to the batter’s box as if the pitch had not occurred. Rationale: This is children’s softball and safety comes first.
If ever you question the rationale behind an application of a rule please feel free to contact the league. We are always interested in improving the experience for everyone.
Game timing and diamond set up
Home team is expected to arrive with the equipment bag and set up the diamond by 6:00 so both teams can have an opportunity to warm up so that games can be under way by 6:30.
The decision to cancel or stop a game is made at 6:30 or when conditions dictate by a majority decision of the coaches (and umpire if present). The definition of “rain” is subjective. Players may agree to play in a light rain but NEVER in a situation where lightning is present. For the purposes of a weather based decision a complete game is viewed as a minimum of 3 full innings. It is acceptable to take a “rain delay” to see if the rain will diminish but this should be no more than 20 minutes. If the game is rained out, a full replacement game will be rescheduled at another time and place agreed on by both teams.
The final inning cannot be played if light or weather conditions make it unsafe. As a general principle but NOT A HARD RULE – the last inning should not start after 8:00. Common sense and safety should be the determining factors.
The Mercy Rule applies – no game will continue if the trailing team has no chance to at least tie. The home team does not bat in the last half of the last inning if ahead.
1) Hit by bat: Two situations have the potential of leading to a player being hit by a bat.
Thrown bat: A bat is considered thrown if it leaves the immediate area of the batter’s box. One warning per person given in Novice and one per team in Junior and Senior followed by an out.
On deck batter too close to the plate: There is no “on deck batter” in Novice, a safe distance down the base path is required in Junior and Senior.
2) Contact at first base: Fielder on white, runner touches ONLY ORANGE. Runner is out if they contact fielder who is on the white base. Runner is safe if fielder contacts them on the orange base or blocks their path to second if they are not attempting to make a play at first. A bonus base is awarded if the runners movement to second is impeded.
3) Contact at home plate: Contact at home plate is to be discouraged in all situations. This is the responsibility of both the catcher and the runner:
Catchers only touch the home plate not the runner to make the play. No tags of the runner are allowed between the commit line (one third of the way back to third from home plate).
Runners are encouraged to NOT touch home plate but to run BEHIND it. They can touch the plate BUT this is discouraged.
4) Contact on the base paths between fielders and runners: A runner is out if they contact a fielder who is attempting to field a ball (thrown or hit). A runner is safe and given a bonus base if they are slowed down by contact with a fielder who is not actively fielding a ball.
5) Hit by a batted ball: If any player is injured by a batted ball all play stops immediately as a dead ball rule until the damage can be assessed. Following any required first aid the batter returns to the batter’s box as if the pitch had not occurred.
6) Safety always comes first – and stops every play