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Excerpt: The 2013 BRD

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  Excerpt: The 2013 BRD
  Excerpt: The 2013 BRD
  Excerpt: The 2013 BRD

(new) 369 PITCHER: CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTED FOR  

FED: No provision.

NCAA: (changed) When the game pitcher crosses the foul line on the way to the mound to start an inning, he shall pitch to the first batter until such batter is put out or reaches base unless a pinch hitter is substituted or the batter or the pitcher sustains an injury or illness, which incapacitates him from continuing. (9-4f) Last edition: no provision.

ALSO: penalty: None listed.

OFF INTERP 312-369: PARONTO: (see play 203 below) The first baseman is not the new pitcher. No substitution has been announced by the defensive team. Example: If a left fielder, who would be the new shortstop if the present shortstop is brought in to pitch, warms up in the defensive half of the inning with the other infielders, is he required to be positioned at short when the inning begins? No, he goes back to his outfield position until such time he is called upon to replace one of the infielders. I see this scenario in the same light. The continuing pitcher has 90-seconds to complete his warm-ups and get the new half-inning started. The pitcher of record is still Smith, and the first baseman will return to his position to warm up the infielders within the amount of time that is remaining. (email to cc, 8/21/12)

Play 203-369: Smith, the game pitcher, is on third when the half-inning ends. He heads for his first-base dugout. Meanwhile, his teammates hustle onto the diamond. The game catcher, Jones, is standing at the plate. The first baseman goes to the mound to throw some pitches to warm-up the catcher while he's waiting for Smith. Now Smith crosses the foul line and goes to the rubber. The offensive coach goes to the UIC and says: "Wait. The first baseman must pitch until one batter finishes his at-bat." (5-5g-2 or 3.08a-1, depending on the level of the game.) The defensive coach counters: "Look, my pitcher of record crossed the foul line. He must pitch until one batter finishes his at-bat." (9-4f or 3.05d) Ruling:

Note 360: A first for the BRD. On August 21, 2012, I sent the above play to Jim Pronto and Hunter Wendelstedt. They both replied within the hour. OFF INTERP has Jim's ruling; OFF INTERP, Hunter's.

OBR: (changed) Same as NCAA. (3.05d) Last edition: no provision.

ALSO: penalty: None listed. 

OFF INTERP 313-369: WENDELSTEDT: I would say that it depends on the judgment of the umpire as to the intentions of the first baseman/warm-up pitcher. For your situation, specifically, I would say the first baseman has not entered the game as the new pitcher. Smith is still the pitcher, and since he has now crossed the foul line, he must pitch to the first batter. (email to cc, 8/21/12)

Note 361: After I posed the play, I added: "The sticking point, as I see it: Play need not commence when the "unreported substitute" is a pitcher, batter, or runner. Therefore, both guys gotta pitch to one batter. I hope the mound is big enough to hold them both. The UIC will also need a left- and right-handed batter."

Note 362: You will see that neither NCAA nor OBR lists a penalty. That's because there cannot be one! The manager decides, too late, he wants a new pitcher. Hunter is the UIC: "You can't do it, Ozzie." Ozzie sends out a new pitcher anyway, The crew won't forfeit the game: That penalty would be Draconian. They might eject the pitcher. Who cares? Ozzie wanted him gone anyway. They might eject Ozzie. OK, and then ...?

Note 363: This is a significant departure from traditional baseball: A starting pitcher must pitch to at least one batter; a reliever, to one batter or until a third out is recorded. I understand the point is to prevent managers from sending the game pitcher out to the mound to warm up, with no intention of leaving him in the game. But the cure might be worse than the disease.


Carl Childress is the Editor-in-Chief of Officiating.com. He's been writing professionally about amateur "hardball" umpiring for thirty-five years. The 2013 version of his unique Baseball Rule Differences, known as the BRD, is available at Amazon.com. You may reach Carl at carl@carlsbrd.com.



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