EXTENDING A DUGOUT The rule now reads: “When the dugout is temporarily extended, for any reason, it shall be extended toward the outfield on a line to the foul line. The extension of the dugout area shall be applied for both teams.” The rule change deleted the word “recommended” and replaced it with “shall.”
EXTENDING A DUGOUT Key Points – Both dugouts must be extended equally. – Applies only to a temporary extension, chalk line etc. – If a team wants to make a permanent alteration, with a fence, brick or other permanent material, this rule will not preclude them from making the change in any needed direction that works best for the particular field.
2012 BAT STANDARD RULE Effective in the 2012 season. All non-wood bats shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark has to be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.
2012 BAT STANDARD RULE Key Points – All bats that were legal last season are legal for – All BESR bats will be legal for 2010 and 2011 seasons. – Any bat labeled as BBCOR that is in play for the 2010 and 2011 season is legal for play. The BESR standard is part of the BBCOR certification. BBCOR bats will swing like current BESR bats, and perform in closer alignment to the performance of a wood bat.
ASSISTANT COACH BEHAVIOR 3-3-1g-6(New) “Any member of the coaching staff who was not the head coach (or designee) in shall not leave the vicinity of the dugout or coaching box to dispute a call by an umpire.” Penalty: Both the head coach and the offender shall be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game, or if the offense is judged severe enough, the umpire may eject the offender and restrict or eject the head coach.
ASSISTANT COACH BEHAVIOR 3-3-1g-6(New) This rule change is sportsmanship based with a focus on the educational benefits of high school baseball. In other words, what are we teaching players? For the past several years, emphasis has been made on sportsmanship, coaching behavior and roles, with particular emphasis to assistant coaches. Across the nation, there were some areas where an increasing number of instances caused concern for State Associations and the NFHS.
ASSISTANT COACH BEHAVIOR 3-3-1g-6(New) Intent is to reinforce that it is the Head Coach who is to represent their team in communications with game officials. Certainly acceptable for an assistant coach to ask for clarification, but not acceptable for an assistant coach to charge an umpire, go after him, argue a judgment call, thus becoming disruptive. There should not be in an increase in ejections from this rule change – situations that merited an ejection should have previously resulted in an ejection.
ASSISTANT COACH BEHAVIOR 3-3-1g-6(New) Acceptable questions are acceptable. If an assistant stays in location, but behavior exceeds g, he can be restricted or ejected, no impact on the head coach. Rule is not intended to invoke a penalty where the coach is “two inches” out of the box and severe behavior is not present. An assistant coach heading back to the dugout is not in violation of the rule, provided his action does not exceed other aspects of Rule 3-3.
ASSISTANT COACH BEHAVIOR 3-3-1g-6(New) If a head coach is already restricted, a violation would not result in his ejection. Each situation is to be judged individually and on its own merit. Officials are not to be overly sensitive, but coach behavior is to be educationally appropriate and in line with sportsmanship principles. Be aware of emotional, heat of the moment comments, that are within accepted bounds.
RUNNER INTERFERENCE RULE 7-4-1f A batter is out when: “any member of the offensive team or coach other than the runner(s) interferes with a fielder who is attempting to field a foul fly ball.” If a coach or other team personnel interferes with a fielder’s attempt to field a foul fly ball, the ball is dead, the batter is out, and runners return.
RUNNER INTERFERENCE RULE 7-4-1F Old rule stipulated that the batter was out if a runner interfered with the play on a foul fly ball. Now, the respective runner is out. Ball will be declared dead, the interfering runner is out, other runners return to their bases. – A double play is possible, primarily if a runner was standing on the next base and is judged he could not have returned to his previous base had the foul been caught. – The batter stays at bat with a foul added to the count. If his count was 1-1 at the pitch, it would now be 1-2. If his count was 0-2, it will remain 0-2.
PITCHER’S UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS RULE 1-4-2; 6-2-1i This is a clarification change only, no modification to last year’s rule. Pitcher cannot wear white or gray exposed undershirt sleeves, or any white or gray sleeve that extends below the elbow. A vest and coordinating shirt that is worn underneath is viewed as a type of uniform top. Medical sleeves are okay on either arm as long as they are not white/gray if worn on pitching arm, or distracting.
VEST TYPE UNIFORMS Legal as is Not legal if white. Legal as is Legal if white Legal if not deemed to be distracting.
RULE BATTING INFRACTIONS A batter shall not: “Hit the ball fair or foul while either foot or knee is touching the ground completely outside the lines of the batter’s box or touching home plate.” Some batters, while bunting, are getting down with a knee on the ground that is outside the batter’s box or touching home plate. This clarifies that they would be out if they make contact with the ball.
BATTER TOUCHED BY PITCH 8-1-1d1 “If he permits the pitched ball to touch him, or if the umpire calls the pitched ball a strike, the hitting of the batter is disregarded except that the ball is dead. It is a strike or ball depending on location of the pitch.” Change makes the wording of 8-1-1d1 and consistent. Batter cannot permit the pitch to strike him. Movement to avoid the pitch may or may not be such an indication.
RULE PENALTY RUNNER IS OUT Clarified that for an illegal slide that causes illegal contact and/or illegally alters the actions of a fielder in the immediate act of making a play, or on a force play does not slide in a direct line between the bases (can slide to opposite side of base where play is being made), the ball is dead immediately. Took out of the penalty the situation where a runner is more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged. This is not interference, runner is out, but the ball should remain alive and in play. If he is out of the base path more than three feet and hinders a fielder, it is interference and the ball is dead.
RULE 9-1-1d SCORING A run does not score:“When a third out is declared during a play resulting from a valid defensive appeal, which results in a force out (this takes precedence if enforcement of it would negate a score). Wording change to be in compliance with the appeal rule in Rule 8.
SET POSITION RULE Remember, the position of the pitcher’s feet determines if the pitcher is in either the wind-up or set position. Rule 6-1-3: “For the set position, the pitcher shall have the ball in either his gloved hand or his pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or behind his back.” The “Gorilla” stance is a legal stance and in compliance with as long as the pitcher’s arm does not swing. If his arm is swinging, this is considered a means of deception for the batter and runner(s). The intent of the rule was for the pitcher in the set position to hold the ball such that the batter and runner(s) can see it. The ball, held in this position with no motion, is discernable and poses no illegal deception. If the arm swings, it is an illegal pitch.
RULE 8-4-2k RUNNER CONTACTED BY BATTED BALL Rule 8-4-2k is concerned with a fair batted ball. There was an old Approved Ruling that had a runner in foul territory, contacted by a fair batted ball (caroms off a base) to also be out and the ball dead. The new ruling will have the ball remain alive and in play unless the runner moved intentionally. PLAY: Runner at third is taking his lead in foul ground when a batted ball hits third base and is deflected into foul ground where it contacts the runner. RULING: The runner is not out. The ball stays alive and in play, unless the runner moved intentionally so that he contacted the ball.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS
BEHAVIOR OF ASSISTANT COACHES
Coaches are viewed by their players as teachers and role models. When their behavior jeopardizes the constructive “teaching moments” of an athletic contest, then the educational value present in the game is diminished. Coaches are present to teach and inspire young adults to do their best, be fundamentally sound in their respective skill sets and to represent their school in an exemplary manner.
BEHAVIOR OF ASSISTANT COACHES The behavior of coaches has been a NFHS repeated point of emphasis. The inappropriate actions of coaches undermine the main purpose of high school activities – EDUCATION. Coaches are encouraged to assist umpires, parents and administrators to work collectively to make the game of baseball the best positive experience for all who participate.
ALTERATION OF BATS The practice of altering bats is becoming more frequent. Some players believe they can gain an illegal and unfair advantage by using an altered bat. This practice will eventually drive up the cost of bats as governing bodies may require manufacturers to produce “tamper-proof” bats. There is existing rule coverage that deals with altered bats, but we hope that a sense of fair play will preclude the need for additional legislation.
PREGAME EQUIPMENT CHECK It is imperative that umpires check bats and helmets prior to a game. It is a rules driven opportunity to ensure that only legal and functional equipment is used. It is an important responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Coaches and team members should cooperate with the officials as they fulfill this duty.
CONCUSSIONS Studies are showing that concussions are more prevalent and serious than most players and coaches believe. Trauma to the brain is to be taken very seriously. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is concerned that players are returning to competition too soon. The NFHS has excellent guidelines pertaining to the handling of concussions. Please refer to the NFHS Sports Medicine Handbook.
LIGHTNING SAFETY From the time thunder or a lightning flash is detected, play should be suspended for a minimum of thirty minutes from the last sound of thunder or observed lightning flash. The old practice of “flash to bang” shall not be used for determination of suspending a game. All participants should seek appropriate shelter. All NFHS rules books contain appropriate procedures for handling lightning situations.
THREE-FOOT RUNNING LANE Studies are showing that this rule is not being enforced consistently or taught properly. Some runners are moving intentionally to block the throw to first. Batter-runner is required to be in the running lane when the ball is being fielded or thrown to first base, from an area around home plate. Batter-runner is allowed to run outside the running lane to avoid contact with a fielder who is in the act of fielding a ball.
THREE-FOOT RUNNING LANE Batter-Runner is required to run within the 3 foot lines during last 45 feet from home plate to first while ball is being fielded or thrown to 1st base. (8-4-1-g) Key Points: – Both feet must be in or on lines of running lane. – If play is in fair ground, can run in foul ground; if play is in foul ground, can run in fair. – Ball does not have to hit base runner. – Must be thrown, however. – Play must be from behind batter-runner.
GOOD SPORTING BEHAVIOR Need not to look far in today’s society to understand this Point of Emphasis. Umpires and coaches need to work together for the benefit of the players. Game situations provide “teachable” moments to reinforce proper behavior and perspective. The positive values that are learned will serve the players long after their high school careers have ended.