Enforcing the rules v. impacting the game

So there I was, watching the Purdue v Michigan fastpitch softball game last weekend on the DVR. Early in the first inning, the Purdue pitcher gets called for an illegal pitch. Her stride foot landed outside the markings for the pitching lane. N

Once that happened I started taking more interest in that particular call. It seemed like she was outside the lane a lot. I know the angles can be deceiving on TV, but it seemed pretty clear that this was not a random occurence.

Later in that inning, Michigan had a runner on third and I clearly saw the Purdue pitcher land outside the lane again. No call, though. She did it several times, in fact, and didn’t get called for it.

So it makes me wonder. Have the umpires been told not to call it if it means scoring a run? Was it this particular umpire perhaps being unwilling to make a call that would affect the game?

What do you think? Should an umpire call an illegal pitch even if it means advancing a run home? Or is that going over the line? What if the pitcher is gaining a big advantage by making the ball run in too much on the hitter? And if you don’t call it does it penalize the other pitcher for pitching within the rules?

Let me know your thoughts on this. I don’t have an answer myself so I’m interested in yours. Except you spammers. You guys can take your garbage somewhere else.

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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 April 15, 2011, in College softball, Pitching, Rules and Umpires. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. In my opinion rules are rules and they should be followed regardless of the outcome. The pitcher was gaining an advantage by breaking the rules. if the rules aren’t going to be followed why have them? Teach the girls to play by the rules from 8U and that there is no short cuts.

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  2. Great article! Gotta teach the girls to play by the rules. I agree.

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  3. The umpires HAVE to make that call! Most of them seem like a bunch of weenies who don’t want to disrupt the Princess in the Circle. Who taught these kids to step so far off the power line, anyway?

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  4. Siobhan Corbett

    Why have rules if they are not enforced? I find it especially frustrating to watchpitchers whose illegal motion (e.g. crow hop) is giving them a speed advantage over both the batters- and the other pitchers who are making an effort to pitch with a legal drag. The first step is to educate the umpires and then require them to enforce it- the coaches certainly at the college level are aware when they/their pitchers are skirting the rules (or they should not be coaching at that level anyway). They allow it to pass BECAUSE the rules are not enforced. Start costing them a few games- then they will be sure to correct the mechanics!

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  5. That’s a great point. There is no reason to follow the rules if they’re not enforced. And if you can gain advantage by doing it, without penalty, why wouldn’t you? Especially if your job depends on it. If the umps will enforce it the illegal activity will stop. If they’re not going to do it, let’s just change the rules and let everyone gain the same advantage.

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