This is the third in a series of 2018 season weekly softball umpire bulletins. We will cover issues pertinent to softball including, but not limited to, game issues, rule interpretations, etc. This issue will cover items of importance observed to date.
TIMELINESS: We are just a days into the season and there are already instances of umpires not being on time. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before game time and be on the field a minimum of 15 minutes before game time. Arriving later than game time is both unprofessional and unacceptable. It is your responsibility to insure you arrive on time. Failure to do so sheds a bad light/reputation on you, your association and GHSA.
ILLEGAL PITCH PENALTY: The penalty for an illegal pitch is set out under Rule 6-1-1 Penalty. The penalty is a ball on the batter and each baserunner is awarded one base. The change on the base award is not effected until 2019. There is no excuse for not knowing the rule.
ILLEGAL PITCH: Per Rule 6-1-1b, the pitcher MUST “take (or simulate taking) a sign from the catcher”. She cannot walk through the pitch (step on the pitcher’s plate and immediately bring her hands together). We have already received complaints of umpires not enforcing this requirement. It is your job to enforce every rule as written and not selectively enforce some and not others. DO THE JOB YOU ARE PAID TO DO.
LIGHTNING: Upon arrival at the ball field you need to locate the game/site manager and ensure he/she has access to a lightning detector or if there is an automated system. If automated you must get the players off the field and not restart the game until the all clear is sounded. If the game manager has a portable lightning detector, it is his/hers responsibility to inform you of a lightning issue based upon county guidelines (lightning guidelines may differ county to county). The game cannot resume until at least 30 minutes has elapsed since the last lightning strike. Umpires have the authority to, and should, remove players from field prior to notification when they see lightning.