A sign that I’m learning

The other night I was out watching a high school softball game (no surprise there) when I ran into an interesting situation. I was watching with some guys I knew from outside the left field fence, pretty much looking down the third base line.

At one point, a bouncing ball was hit down the line, then crossed over into foul territory where it was snagged by the third baseman. “Foul ball” cried the umpire. Then some blowhard parent who was also out there said “That’s not a foul ball. It has to hit the ground in foul territory.” I’m pretty sure he said it because he was rooting for the team in the field and the third baseman made a great play to grab it and make a throw.

Anyway, at that point I decided to correct him for the benefit of everyone out there. “No, it’s foul,” I said. “It doesn’t matter where the fielder is standing. If the ball is touched in foul territory it’s foul.”

A few minutes went by and the guy decided to pipe up again. He again insisted the ball had to hit the ground in foul territory to be foul, and he was pretty belligerent about it.

I was about to argue with him again, but then realized it was pointless. Without a rulebook in my hand there was no way to prove I was right, so I just decided to let it go. A sign of maturity, right? I’m sure Mr. Blowhard Parent was convinced that he’d won the argument because A) he was louder than I was and I didn’t argue again.

But no matter how loudly you proclaim your point, the rules are the rules. When I got back to my car I looked it up, just to be sure.

So to you, Mr. Blowhard Parent, I say look up Rule 1 in the ASA Softball rulebook, the one that’s for definitions. It clearly says that a foul ball is defined (among other things) as a ball that has hit the ground (regardless of being fair or foul) and is then touched by a player when the ball is in fair territory.

Ok, guess I haven’t matured as much as I thought since I felt compelled to address it here. But there’s no doubt I was right – again. So ha!

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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 May 4, 2013, in Rules and Umpires. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree that as spectators we should know the rules before we argue about the call, but ASA has not made it easy for that information to be found. Their site only allows for officials and registered teams to purchase the rule book and they do not provide a PDF version for viewing. Its hard to be an informed fan when the governing body doesn’t alloy you to see the information. They should take a lead from USA Hockey which makes it easy for all participants, players, coaches, officials, and fans to review playing rules on their website. Say what you will but it may not be the fan that is wrong, he just doesn’t have access to the information.

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  2. It’s not so much that he was wrong. It’s that he was so adamant that he was right. That’s the stuff that gets me – the angry “I’m right and you’re wrong” tone and attitude. If he said “I don’t think so” that would be one thing. But there was no doubt in his mind that he was right and was going to let everyone know. Notice that one of the reasons I stopped arguing was I had no way of proving the point right then, so to continue the dialog was pointless. And in this case, I’m pretty sure the rule is the same in baseball and softball, so not having access to the ASA rulebook is not an excuse. That being said, I do agree with you that it would be nice if ASA would make their rulebook readily available. Having to request it through your local commissioner is so 1950s. What state secrets are contained within that they have to keep it under such tight control?

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