Answer to a common question as the MLB rules have allowed a return to two piece catcher's protection head gear:
Q: I have a question for you concerning catchers head protection in baseball. It is our understanding that the older style head protection consisting of the scull cap – (no earflaps) and the wire faceguard is illegal at the HS level. The newer hockey style head protection is legal and approved at the HS level for baseball catchers. Is this correct? Can you send me the ruling on this? We have a number of coaches and players wanting to order the style we feel is illegal.
A: You are correct. Those are illegal and have been for quite some time. They must have full ear protection.
Rule 1 Players, Field and Equipment
SECTION 5 PLAYER EQUIPMENT
ART. 3 . . . The catcher shall wear, in addition to a head protector, a mask with a throat protector, body protector, protective cup (male only), and baseball protective shin guards.
ART. 4 . . . The catcher's helmet and mask combination shall meet the NOCSAE standard. Any helmet or helmet and mask combination shall have full ear protection (dual ear flaps). A throat protector, which is either a part of or attached to the catcher's mask, is mandatory. A throat protector shall adequately cover the throat. The commercially manufactured catcher's head, face and throat protection may be a one-piece or multi-piece design. While in a crouch position, any non-adult warming up a pitcher at any location shall wear a head protector, a mask with a throat protector and a protective cup (male only).
PENALTY: Failure by a player to wear proper equipment after being so ordered by the umpire, shall result in ejection.
Effective immediately (posted 8/14/12) and until further notice, this bat (Reebok Vector TLS 32" length) should be considered a non-compliant bat and subject to NFHS Baseball Rules 4-1-3b and 7-4-1a. More information, click here.
Effective immediately (posted 3/26/12) and until further notice, this bat (Reebok Vector TLS 33" length) should be considered a non-compliant bat and subject to NFHS Baseball Rules 4-1-3b and 7-4-1a. More information, click here. | Bat Pix
Effective immediately (posted 2/21/12) and until further notice, this bat (Marucci CAT5 33" length) should be considered a non-compliant bat and subject to NFHS Baseball Rules 4-1-3b and 7-4-1a. More Information, click here. | Bat Pix
NFHS Approved Bat Listing - To determine if your bat is legal, it must be on this list.
Baseball Rules Committee Addresses Batter Interference with Catcher
Changes to high school baseball rules will include an additional example of how a batter can interfere with the catcher’s ability to field or throw.
This year’s rules changes were approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 2-4 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
“The committee felt that the game is in a very good state,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and staff liaison for baseball.
The committee voted to added “including backswing interference” to Rule 7-3-5c to address that specific type of batter interference. The rule now reads, “A batter shall not interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by making any other movement, including backswing interference, which hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner.
The committee also revised Rule 6-1-3 to state that the pitcher’s entire pivot foot must be in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate.
The committee also established several points of emphasis for the 2014 season, including malicious contact, coaching attire and umpire authority and enforcement.
“These are topics that I get calls and e-mails about during the course of a season,” Hopkins said. “I share those with the committee and if they are seeing the same types of problems, then the red flag goes up.”
Contact or a collision is considered to be malicious if:
The contact is the result of intentional excessive force;
The contact occurs close to the bag or home plate or above the waist of the receiving player; or
There was intent to injure.
Malicious contact can occur without these conditions if determined by the umpire, but these provide a starting point.
Even with cutbacks for uniform funds, coaches should still be dressed in a similar fashion to the players as a means of helping umpires recognize members of the coaching staff.
The final point of emphasis deals with umpires’ authority. The committee noted that coaches must set the example of appropriate behavior so the team and its fans can follow.
Disputing the umpire’s calls, failing to comply with an umpire’s command, exaggerating the time for offensive conferences, gamesmanship and challenging the umpire’s authority cannot be tolerated, the committee stated.
“We want coaches to be role models for civility,” Hopkins said. “The umpire has to make a final decision and the coach has to handle it with class and character.”
Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level, according to the 2011-12 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, with 474,219 participants nationwide. The sport ranks third in school sponsorship with 15,838 schools offering the sport.
This press release was written by Jason Haddix, a 2013 spring/summer intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. He is a senior at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis studying journalism and medical imaging.
6-1-3: Clarified the correct and legal position of the pivot foot in the set position.
7-3-5c: Clarified the rules for a specific type of interference by the batter.
Points of Emphasis
1. Malicious Contact
2. Coaching Attire
3. Umpire Authority and Enforcement
2013 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations
Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.
Robert B. Gardner, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2013
SITUATION 1: The coach discovers that a player’s bat has had the end cap removed and replaced. RULING: Once the bat’s end cap has been removed, the bat is considered to be an altered bat and hence is an illegal bat for future play. Certain manufacturers consider such alteration of their bats to be unlawful and subject to possible legal action. (1-3-2 Note, 1-3-5)
SITUATION 2: On a cold day, a player uses a warming device for his bat before he comes to bat. RULING: The bat is now considered to be an illegal bat for the duration of that game. If the player is discovered using the bat, penalties under 7-4-1a would apply. (1-3-5, 7-4-1a)
SITUATION 3: The head coach has a tablet computer with video capability in the dugout. However, he is only using the tablet to keep the score and both teams’ lineups. RULING: This is permissible. The use of a tablet computer or other mobile electronic devices are allowed provided they are not used to monitor or replay any of the game for coaching purposes. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 4: While in the dugout, the coach is using the video capability of his “smartphone” to record his pitcher’s delivery to the plate. He intends to use the video to help the pitcher correct a flaw when the team is in the dugout and not on defense. RULING: This is not allowed. The head coach will be ejected upon discovery of using the replay capability for coaching purposes. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 5: The coach in the third-base coach’s box has a stopwatch that he is using to time the pitcher’s delivery to the plate. RULING: This is legal. A coach may have in his possession, while occupying a coach’s box, a stopwatch, a hard copy of the rules book and a hard copy of a scorebook. (3-3-1i)
SITUATION 6: The coach in the first-base coach’s box has a smartphone that has the ability to score the progress of the game. RULING: This is not allowed. A coach may not have any electronic equipment, other than a stopwatch, while in the coach’s box, even if it is intended to be used only for scoring purposes. The umpire shall either restrict the coach to the dugout for the remainder of the game or eject him. (3-3-1i Penalty)
SITUATION 7: In the fifth inning of the game, F1 is ejected for vehemently protesting a pitch that was declared to be a ball and he thought should have been strike three. S1 comes in to replace F1. How many warm-up throws is S1 allowed? RULING: S1 is allowed eight warm-up throws. The umpire-in-chief, however, may authorize more throws for S1 because F1 left the game due to an ejection. (6-2-2c Exception)
SITUATION 8: With runners on first base and third base, the pitcher legally steps toward third and feints a throw. With his pivot foot now off the pitching plate, the pitcher turns and feints a throw to first base. RULING: This is a legal pick-off play by the pitcher. (6-2-4a,b)
SITUATION 9: With runners on first base and third base, the pitcher legally steps toward third and feints a throw. With his pivot still engaged with the pitching plate, the pitcher turns and feints a throw to first base. RULING: This is a balk. While engaged with the pitcher’s plate, the pitcher may not feint toward first base. The runner from first is awarded second base and the runner from third is awarded home. (6-2-4a)
SITUATION 10: A team plays its home games at a minor league park that has the ability to display radar gun information on the scoreboard. May the information be shown or must it be turned off? RULING: The radar gun information displayed on the scoreboard is permissible provided it is used for both teams throughout the game. (3-3-1f)
SITUATION 11: On a base hit to the outfield, the runner from third base comes home but misses touching home plate. The on-deck batter physically stops him and shoves him back to the plate, where he then touches it. RULING: Physical assistance by a teammate is not allowed unless both players are viable runners. The assisted runner is out and his run does not count. (2-21-1c, 5-1-2f, 3-2-2)
SITUATION 12: In the eighth inning, the coach comes out and replaces his pitcher. Two batters later, he asks for “Time,” and goes to the mound to discuss strategy with both the catcher and the pitcher. The opposing coach argues that he must now replace the pitcher. RULING: When the game is in extra innings, a team is allowed only one charged conference per inning, but since the coach removed the pitcher on his first visit in the eighth inning, it did not count as a charged conference. Therefore, the coach still had one charged conference available to him in the inning. His conference is legal and he does not have to remove his pitcher. (3-4-1)
SITUATION 13: The visiting first baseman comes to the batter’s box with eye black painted on his face from under his eyes extending to his jaw, looking like inverted “bat wings.” Is this legal? RULING: Unless the extensive eye black is deemed to be profane, intimidating or taunting intended to embarrass, ridicule or demean, the face paint is legal. (3-3-1g-2)
SITUATION 14: With one out, a runner on second base who is not moving on the pitch, and a count of 1-0, the batter attempts to hit the pitch to right field. The catcher reaches out for the ball and obstructs the batter, causing him to foul off the pitch. The coach, wanting the batter to stay at bat, tells the plate umpire he does not want the award for obstruction on his batter, and he elects to take the result of the play. RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. (8-1-1e)
SITUATION 15: With a runner on first base and no outs, the batter hits a high fly ball near the dirt/grass intersection between first base and second base. The runner was stealing on the pitch and, with his coach yelling for him to return, turns around and heads back to first base. The runner, as he returns, brushes the second baseman, who does not catch the pop fly. The second baseman quickly picks up the ball and throws to second base for an apparent force-out. No one says a word as the next batter comes to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. RULING: As soon as the runner from first contacts the second baseman attempting to catch the pop fly, interference should be declared and the ball made immediately dead. The runner is out for his interference; and because his interference prevented the catch of the pop fly, the batter-runner is also declared out. The next batter comes to bat with the bases empty and two outs. (8-4-2g)
SITUATION 16: With runners at second base and third base and one out, the infield is playing in to prevent the runner on third from scoring. The sharply hit batted ball goes up the middle, passing the pitcher, and the second baseman and shortstop. There is no other infielder in position to make a play on the ball. The batted ball hits the runner while he is standing on second base. RULING: The ball remains live and in play. The runner at second is not out as the ball had passed an infielder and no infielder was in position to make a play. (8-4-2k)
SITUATION 17: With a runner on second base, Smith, who is a pure pull hitter, comes to bat. The defense puts on a shift that has the shortstop playing near third base and the second baseman playing almost directly behind second base. The batter hits a sharp ground ball that contacts the runner who is standing on second base at the time. RULING: The ball is dead and the runner on second base is declared out. The second baseman is in position to make a play, and the base does not protect the runner when it is not an infield-fly situation. (8-4-2k)
SITUATION 18: With runners on third base and first base, there is one out and a count of 2-2 on the batter. The batter swings and misses the pitch for the third strike, as both runners are stealing on the pitch. The batter steps out across home plate and interferes with the catcher’s throw to second base. The throw is still made and is in time to retire the runner stealing from first base. The runner from third scores before the out on the runner at second is made. RULING: Since the throw from the catcher resulted in the out at second base, the interference by the batter is ignored. The run by the runner from third base will count since it occurred before the third out was declared at second base (time play). (7-3-5 Penalty, 9-1-1)
SITUATION 19: The runner at first base takes off in an attempt to steal second base. The pitcher legally makes a spin move and throws to unoccupied second base to easily retire the stealing runner. The third-base coach argues, saying the pitcher cannot throw to an unoccupied base. RULING: A pitcher may throw or feint a throw to an unoccupied base in an attempt to put out or drive back a runner. The out stands. (6-2-4b)
SITUATION 20: With runners at first base and second base, the runner at second bluffs a steal of third by running hard to third before he stops and retreats back to second base. The pitcher, seeing the runner take off hard to third base, legally throws to the unoccupied third base. The third-base coach wants a balk called on the pitcher since the runner from second stopped. RULING: A pitcher may throw or feint a throw to an unoccupied base in an attempt to put out or drive back a runner. As long as the umpire judges that it is reasonable for the pitcher to believe he had a play at third, even though the runner stopped, it is a legal move. (6-2-4b)
NATIONAL FEDERATION ALLOWED ADAPTATIONS
Printable Version - Please print and place in your rules book.
a. Ten Run Rule (4-2-2) shall be used in all regular season and WIAA tournament series competition.
The game shall end when the visiting team is behind 10 or more runs after 4 1/2 innings, or after the fifth inning if either team
is 10 runs behind and both teams have had an equal number of times at bat.
b. A game called for any reason, where a winner cannot be determined, will be treated as a suspended game (Rule 4-3). If the
game is to be completed, it will be continued from the point of suspension and a suspended game will be completed unless
both schools agree not to do so.
c. If a regular season game is called prior to the completion of any full inning, NFHS Rule 4-2-3 will be applied. If a WIAA tournament
game is called prior to the completion of any full inning, after the fifth inning, the game becomes a suspended game
if the visiting team has scored one or more runs to tie the score or take the lead and the home team has not retaken the lead
d. Courtesy Runners
(1) The team at bat may use courtesy runners for the pitcher and catcher at any time. The same runner may not be used for
both positions. Neither the pitcher nor catcher will be required to leave the game under such circumstances.
(2) Players who have participated in the game in any other capacity are ineligible to serve as courtesy runners.
(3) A player may not run as a courtesy runner for the pitcher or catcher and then be used as a runner or batter for another
player in that half inning.
Penalty: For illegal substitution, such substitute shall be ejected.
Two Umpire Mechanics
Three Umpire Mechanics
Four Umpire Mechanics
Pace of Game Play
The NFHS baseball committee identified these areas in need of improvements that detract from what otherwise is an exciting and enjoyable game:
WIAA Season Regulations
WIAA Tournament Procedures
NFHS Approved Bat List
Baseball Rules Q&A
NFHS 2013 Interpretations
NFHS Baseball Rules Website
Baseball Field Diagram
NFHS Baseball Rule Publications
Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association
NCAA Eligibility Info
Rules Meetings & Exams
NFHS HS Today
Guide for Officials
Become an Official
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