FanDuel - WFBC

May 05, 2009

No Handslaps Until You Touch Home!: College softball team loses after hitting a walk-off home run. Why? Because she slapped hands with teammates before touching home plate.

posted by TheQatarian to other at 11:35 PM - 28 comments

Welcome to yet another example of the death of common sense. It seems that the only person who knew the rule was the opposing coach, and pulling it out like a trump card to win on a technicality seems awfully lame. Even worse is that she seems proud of herself about it. Sure, one can argue that "rules are rules", but I'd like like to think that a little sportsmanship would have been a better course to take.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:44 PM on May 05

Actually, it seems like the rule is pretty fairly written:

Offensive team personnel, other than base coaches and runner(s), shall not touch a batter or base runner(s) who is legally running the bases on a dead-ball award until the player(s) contacts home plate. For a first offense, the umpire shall issue a warning to the offending team.

Emphasis is mine. You don't want the entire team out there on the third base line for every single home run.


The problem here is that the rule was incorrectly applied. A warning should've been given (assuming it was indeed the team's first offence that game).

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:00 AM on May 06

What a shame. One, that a coach would even try to bring a rule like that up. No class whatsoever.

Two, that the officials, with benefit of time to research the rules, somehow didn't apply a warning. ( This had to be the first offense, or the coach wouldn't have had to get the rule book out.)

posted by dviking at 02:25 AM on May 06

Olbermann placed the coach as his "worst person in the world" Tuesday night, and he noted the part of the rule which she conveniently forgot. She ought to stay where she is; I don't think she deserves to coach a Little League team!

posted by jjzucal at 05:59 AM on May 06

That is a disgrace to win a game that way. The coach who invoked the rule said you don't want to win that way, so why did you? Sportsmanship should rule the day, it is sport after all. The coach of CLC said it best "Almost every other coach came up to me after the game and said they would have said, 'Nice hit' and shook hands," But no seems to me the coach of Rochester is the type who would "take her ball and go home" when things don't go her way. Shame on her.

posted by soocher at 08:58 AM on May 06

Welcome to yet another example of the death of common sense.

This has nothing at all to do with common sense. If it's against the rules, it's against the rules -- letting umps decide which rules to enforce and which rules to ignore would make a mockery of the game. If it's a bad rule, lobby to get it off the books for next season.

The problem here is that the rule was incorrectly enforced.

posted by rcade at 09:58 AM on May 06

You don't want the entire team out there on the third base line for every single home run.

But it wasn't just a "single home run", it was the winning run and because of a technicality, the homer was overtured. Where was the warning? Oh wait, there wasn't one.

posted by BornIcon at 11:14 AM on May 06

There's a few people in Brainerd who aren't so okay; I'll tell you that.

posted by holden at 11:24 AM on May 06

I don't think they should've lost the game because of it, but the coach should've known the rules. My coach in college made sure we knew about it. And I'm pretty sure I was taught this in high school too.

posted by goddam at 11:44 AM on May 06

In response to rcade, I agree that if the rule were correctly enforced, there's no problem, but if I were the umpire, I'd have told that coach to take a hike even if the rule had said it was an automatic out. Why? Because common sense dictates it would have been the right outcome, and nobody but the lawyers would be able to complain. It's a lot like the golf scorecard, which I've ranted about a couple of times when players have been DQed for a paperwork error as opposed to actually cheating on the course, except that at least in that case, everyone knows the rule.

This actually reminds me a lot of the Pine Tar Incident back in 1983. George Brett hits a home run to give the Royals the lead, Billy Martin storms out of the dugout with the rulebook pointing to some obscure rule no one has ever heard of (and that had nothing to do with the home run), and the umpires overturn the call. At least this one won't involve a court case...I hope.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:54 AM on May 06

So, the players and coaches alike should have known the rules, but what about the umpires? Shouldn't they know the rules too? Isn't it kinda their thing?

posted by BoKnows at 01:38 PM on May 06

Does not matter who does or does not know the rule if it is enforced correctly. The unpire blew it. yes, they should have been warned. THATS THE RULE. They are not up for debate regardless of common sense. I would bet the coach who called the umpire on this rule didnt mention the part about a warning. shame on the ump for not knowing. If it had been enforced correctly, no one would have a problem.

posted by Debo270 at 02:34 PM on May 06

You know, I don't think this is a black and white issue.

On the one hand, the rules are there for a reason and should be enforced correctly. In this case, the coach was aware of the rule and brought it up. It is the umpire's responsibility to know the rule and punishment (or look up the rule and punishment) in the event of a dispute. Not to quote Walter Sobchak, but softball isn't Vietnam - there are rules.

On the other hand, where the coach was at fault was not being familiar enough with the rules (I'm being generous and assuming that she didn't know what the correct punishment was). Had she been firmly aware of the rule, and been aware that the penalty was so minor, she (in theory) wouldn't have brought it up. Anyhow, either she didn't know the rules as well as she thought she did, or she decided to take a chance that the umpires wouldn't know the rule especially well.

Either way, it sounds like this is a rule that is either rarely enforced or doesn't usually need to be enforced.

None the less, the punishment did not fit the rule violation and the fault for this lies squarely with the umpires. I can run out yelling and whining about any imaginary rule violation I want, but the umpires should know whether my complaints warrant attention or not.

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:59 PM on May 06

Does not matter who does or does not know the rule if it is enforced correctly.

The only person capable of enforcing the rules would be the umpires, so yes, it does matter who knows the rules.

posted by BoKnows at 03:20 PM on May 06

Well if the coach had a rule book in her bag as she said in the article then she knew what the correct punishment should have been. Yet she chose to ignore that part of the rule. She said she didn't want to win that way but rules were rules, yet she seems to agree with that only when the rules are in her favor.

As far as the rule book in her bag comment. I remember seeing a coach get launched in a 18U Gold qualifier game once for bringing a rule book on the field. The ump said it was illegal equipment. LOL

posted by scottypup at 03:29 PM on May 06

As far as the rule book in her bag comment. I remember seeing a coach get launched in a 18U Gold qualifier game once for bringing a rule book on the field. The ump said it was illegal equipment. LOL

I'm laughing with you 'pup. The only rule concerning what a coach is allowed to have on the field deals with base coaches. A head coach coming onto the field could bring anything he wants, but as soon as he produced the rule book, any good umpire would run him on any pretext he could think of.

When I was first getting serious about umpiring, I apprenticed for high school softball. I never took my on-field exam because I wound up traveling when it was scheduled, so I was never accredited. In all of my rules studies, I don't remember the note concerning a warning before calling an out for contacting a runner. In baseball the rule is better defined and pertains only to assisting a runner in advancing when the ball is alive.

posted by Howard_T at 05:07 PM on May 06

... if I were the umpire, I'd have told that coach to take a hike even if the rule had said it was an automatic out. Why? Because common sense dictates it would have been the right outcome, and nobody but the lawyers would be able to complain.

No offense, but with that attitude you'd be a terrible umpire. Common sense is completely subjective. When a rule's clear, it should be enforced, no matter how stupid it seems to be. Would you want to find yourself on the right side of a rule, but losing a game because the ump decided the rule stinks?

posted by rcade at 05:48 PM on May 06

The coach in question here is clearly trying to have her cake and eat it too. She's quick to say that the "rules are the rules", but didn't seem to care too much that they were applied incorrectly.

Obviously, a warning would do her no good, however, if she was truly a steward of the rules, that is what she would have demanded.

I still think that the official completely blew this. I am quoting from my umpire's guide, on what an umpire should do in a case like this..."Carry your rule book. It is better to consult the rules and hold up the game ten minutes to decide a knotty problem than to have a game thrown out on protest and replayed."

They should have taken the extra few minutes to get the call correct.

posted by dviking at 06:03 PM on May 06

I've been reading up some more on this. Apparently, the "offending" team had been lining up for high fives whenever a homerun was hit all season.

On the other hand, commentators at several sites with articles on this subject have mentioned that other teams have had runs discounted for exactly the same reason.

There's clearly a problem with the officiating at these games, since there doesn't seem to be a consistent enforcement of this particular rules. The offending team should have been warned much earlier in the season. The punishment set by the rule book should have been followed. The teams who had runs discounted on their first offense should have been warned instead.

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:47 PM on May 06

I don't disagree that I'd make a terrible umpire. I don't suffer fools very well. :-) (Not saying you are a fool, rcade.)

Obviously, an umpire can't just cast aside any rule he feels like. And again, the rule was misapplied. All I'm saying is that if common sense were used, the right team would have won, but instead the umpire (incorrectly) enforced the rule and the wrong team won. (And I'd bet large sums of money that if you disagree that the wrong team won, you would be in a very vast minority. I think even most of the people on the "winning" team would agree if you pressed them that the wrong team won.)

But of course, your mileage may vary.

posted by TheQatarian at 07:55 PM on May 06

This has nothing at all to do with common sense.

I agree completely.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:46 PM on May 06

Why is bringing up a rule of the game considered "bad sportsmanship" but gathering on the third base base line to high-five a runner is fine even though it breaks said rule?

posted by Folkways at 09:47 AM on May 07

I'm just thinking how complete opposite this is to the story last year of the girl who hit the walk off game winner and twisted her ankle rounding first base. Her team mates could not help her or they would have been interfering, so the opposing team carried her around the bases, even though it meant they lost the game and the league championship.

The coach in question here could learn a lot from those girls. Coaches are supposed to be the ones teaching good sportsmanship and regardless of the rule or application, bringing up the rule and winnign a game on a technicality is poor sportsmanship in my eyes.

posted by scottypup at 10:28 AM on May 07

At the foundation, the truly technical problems are regarding a poorly written rule and an umpire(s) who didn't know how to enforce the rule. However, unlike others here defending the coach by saying "rules are rules", I think the issue would stop there ONLY only if it had been the umpire who took it upon themselves to apply the rule. Then, you could simply shrug and say "although it might've been nice for the ump to turn the other cheek, but he was just doing his job."

But the situation turns sour when the opposing coach intervenes. She throws common sense and sportsmanship out the window when she decides to bellyache about the high-fives. Common sense = regardless of "rules are rules", the high-fiving had absolutely no bearing on the game. Sportsmanship = "I know the rule, and I'm going to use it to my advantage. And since apparently noone else is aware, I'm going to lie about it (via omitting the part of the rule that isn't in my favor)." If she wanted to go so far as to warn the umps and the "offending" team after the game was official, "Hey, I didn't say anything before, but did ya know that you actually broke the rules back there" - I would've still considered the coach a bit of a sourpuss, but at least that would've gotten her point across.

The rule needs re-worked, yes. And, the ump deserves some blame. But for her part in relaying only part of the rule, this coach should be ashamed and shunned.

posted by littleLebowski at 12:54 PM on May 07

Apparently, the "offending" team had been lining up for high fives whenever a homerun was hit all season

That point was also brought up in the original article stating that the practice was commonplace for the team. Knowing that, it may be safe to assume that the other coach knew, and was saving the rule book intervention for when it benefited her team. Apparently, none of the other teams or umpires in the past games felt the need to employ the rule.

posted by BoKnows at 10:18 PM on May 07

I have been to hundreds of college and ASA/AFA summer games over the years and nearly every team either lines up on the third base line or else waits at home. Even the ones that don't, the player will generally slap the coaches hand as they round third. In some cases the 3rd base coach is a player.

So it is not like this is an unusal practice.

posted by scottypup at 11:11 AM on May 08

I'm just thinking how complete opposite this is to the story last year of the girl who hit the walk off game winner and twisted her ankle rounding first base.

Glad I read this whole thread, because that was the first thing I thought, scottypup. But it was much more than a twisted ankle.

Oh, and this is eponysterical, BoKnows! ...

The only person capable of enforcing the rules would be the umpires, so yes, it does matter who knows the rules.

posted by BoKnows at 03:20 PM on May 06

posted by scully at 10:49 PM on May 13

I knew that:)

posted by BoKnows at 11:36 PM on May 13

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