Kudos to the men in blue

I’ve made no secret about my feelings regarding teaching players to push the rules cheat. One of my biggest pet peeves is teaching baserunners to leave the base early on a steal under the premise that the umpires probably won’t call it.

Apparently it’s a pet peeve of one of the umpires at the game I was watching yesterday too. Late in the game one of the teams had a runner on first. This team is fairly well known for its aggressive play, and this was a speedy runner with a high likelihood of stealing. As the pitcher delivered the ball, the field umpire yelled out “dead ball, no pitch.” As we were wondering what happened — was it an illegal pitch? — he informed everyone that the runner left early and was out. It was the third out in the inning and killed a potential scoring opportunity since there was a good hitter at the plate.

Kudos to the Blue for keeping an eye on it. The team hadn’t had many baserunners so there wasn’t much evidence that it might occur. But he did his job and made the call.

Now, it may have been a mis-timing on the runner’s part, but I don’t think so. I think she was doing as she’d been taught — getting an early jump. How nice that instead of getting a free base she was out. Justice is served! Considering this runner probably didn’t need to get that jump to steal the base due to her speed, what a shame that she’d been taught to do it anyway (assuming she has).

Your best bet is play within the rules. They’re there for your protection, and to keep the game fair. It’s also the right thing to do.


About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on March 30, 2008, in Rules and Umpires. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This topic reminds me of one of the great lines I have heard. I recall a game we were playing a few years ago. It was a championship game that was to have two umpires but one of the umpires was late in arriving so we started the game with only a home plate umpire. Runners for the opposing team left very early on several steal attempts but the home plate ump just couldn’t pick it up or didn’t care. When the second ump showed up the runners quit leaving early. It became obvious at that point that the runners were being taught to do it and how not to get caught. I mentioned to Ken how much that bothered me and he said “Not to worry Rich. If Karma has it’s way one of those kids will end up managing the coaches retirement account.”


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