Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm back...

Sorry, loyal readers. I had good intentions when I started this blog, but then life got in the way. Had a tough summer, not going into it here, but had very little time for updates. I will try to start posting more regularly.  If I don't have time for long, thoughtful, insightful, posts, I will at least add small nuggets of info as I come across them.

Today's nugget is something I came across while reading my good friend's (who is a  fellow umpire) blog, Red Sox Nation Alberta.  It was a throw away line in the middle of the post that referred to what is commonly miscalled a ground rule double.

So... When is a ground-rule double, not a ground-rule double?

When the baseball rule book covers situations where a batter gets a set number of bases, then there is no ground-rule.  For example, Rule 6.09(e) says that " A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands...advance two bases".  There is no ground-rule here. It is just a regular rule.
A ground-rule double refers specifically to special rules NOT covered in the official baseball rules.  For example, Wrigley Field has one of baseball's most commonly known ground rules.  It states simply: "Fair batted ball lodges in vines on bleacher wall: Two Bases".   The ivy that Wrigley is famous for is not a normal part of a baseball field, therefore the regular rule book does not cover that special case, and a ground-rule is needed for it.  For your interest, several other MLB ground rule peculiarities are listed here.

But if you are an Umpire, or a Coach, more important is learning the ground rules of any of the parks that you are playing or officiating in.  I assume none of you are on MLB fields.  Ask you league's Umpire-In-Chief for a set of ground rules.  I have found that often they don't exist, other than in the minds of individuals which always makes for fun pre-game meetings:
Me: Hey, home team coach, is a ball that bounces/lands/thrown over there in play or not?
Him: Nope.
Other coach: Last time we played here the umpire said it was.
Continue for about 10 minutes, until we come to an agreement on a hypothetical situation that will probably never occur.
To avoid this situation, please ask your leagues to put all ground rules in writing. And preferably give copies to all Coaches and Umpires.  Among other things it will make my life easier.

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