This is the second in a series of 2019 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.
STRIKE ZONE: Rule 2-56-3 defines the strike zone as “… the space over home plate which is between the batter’s forward armpit and the top of the knees …” It is not as some umpires have told coaches “my strike zone”. The strike zone is set by rule and it is your job to enforce that strike zone and not “your strike zone”. Please enforce the designated “strike zone” as described in the rules book.
COURTESY RUUUNER: Rule 8-9 covers courtesy runners. In particular Rule 8-9-3 states “Players who are currently in the game or have participated in the game in any other playing capacity are ineligible to serve as courtesy runners.” In order to ensure there is no violation you must mark all courtesy runners on your lineup card. In a recent game the plate umpires never looked at his lineup card at any time during the game. As such, during the game players who were ineligible to be used as courtesy runners, but were entered as courtesy runners. The umpire didn’t check the lineup card and the rule was violated. It is your job to know and enforce the rules.
TOBACCO: Rule 10-1-6 states “No game official shall use alcohol or any form of tobacco product … beginning with arrival at the competition site until departure following completion of the contest.” This includes; cigarettes, smokeless tobacco in any form, and vape.
UNIFORMS: Rule 3-2 covers uniform requirements. Rule 3-2-2 requires a number on the back of the jersey that is at least 6 inches high. As long as that requirement is met they can also have the number on the front or sleeve of the jersey or the pants. In a recent game an umpire ruled that a team could not have a number on the sleeve in addition to the back of the jersey. That is incorrect. As long as they meet the requirement to have a number on the back of the jersey they can also have it elsewhere. It is your job to know and enforce the rules.