This is the fourth 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 observed during games.
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 observed umpires not enforcing this requirement. When questioned their response is “I did not see it”. My question then is “What are you looking at when the pitcher steps on the pitcher’s plate?”. 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.
TOURNAMENT GAMES: Varsity tournament games can have a 90 minute time limit. HOWEVER, THERE MUST BE A WINNER. This is due to Power Rankings. This was covered in the clinic. A response from umpires of “I forgot” is not acceptable. It is your responsibility to know the rules (both NFHS and GHSA). If you do not then you need review them. If the game is tied when the time limit expires you go to the tie breaker ant the start of the next inning and play until you have a winner.
GETTING HELP: There is nothing that prevents you from asking your partner for help, especially when requested to do so by a coach. We had a situation where the home plate umpire misapplied the catcher interference rule and then refused to ask his partner for help. Your job is to do everything you can to get the call right.
JEWELRY: Rule 3-2-12 prohibits players from wearing any type of jewelry, including cloth and string types. Umpires have been seen allowing players to wear cloth friendship bracelets. This is considered jewelry and cannot be worn. It is your job to enforce the rule as written. There is nothing in the jewelry rule open to interpretation. The rule is clear – NO JEWELRY OF ANY TYPE. The only exceptions are religious medals and medical alert medals, both of which must be taped. You cannot wear tape over earrings. The earring must be removed or the player cannot play.