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NFHS 2010 Baseball Rules Changes, Interpretations & Memo

DATE: January 25, 2010  UPDATED: February 3, 2010 (To reflect addition of 3-3-1-a and 3-3-1-j)

TO: CIF Baseball Coaches, CIF Umpires, Roger Blake, Ron Nocetti

FROM : Ken Allan, California State Baseball Rules Interpreter

RE: 2010 Rule Interpretations

The following information is provided to commissioners, coaches and
umpires in an effort to provide consistency in rule enforcement and
game management. Any questions should be directed to Ken Allan at:

3-3-1-a, 3-3-1-j 
Some dugouts have just one, narrow, entrance. In some cases, one or
more coaches have been outside the dugouts during a live ball.
Sometimes, when umpires request that coaches remain in the dugout, the
umpires are met with resistance. In 2010 there will be a change.
Beginning with the 2010 season, umpires are to strictly enforce rules
3-3-1-a and 3-3-1-j, which prohibits coaches and players from being
outside the dugout except as provided by rule.

This enforcement is in effect at all levels of CIF baseball.

For your information these are the rules in their entirety:

" A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall
not: (a) leave the dugout during a live ball for an unauthorized

" A coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not: (j) be outside the
designated dugout, (bench) or bullpen area if not a batter, runner,
on-deck batter, in the coach’s box or one of the nine players on

At the end of playing action, (for the first offense) the umpire shall
issue a warning to the coach of the team involved and the next offender
on that team shall be ejected.. 3-3-1 Pen

PLAY: One or more coaches or players are standing against the fence
outside and at the entrance to the dugout during a live ball. RULING:
Stop the game at the conclusion of play and warn the head coach that a
further violation by his team will result in the offending coach or
player being ejected from the game.

PLAY: One or more coaches or players are standing at the entrance to
the dugout but not on the playing field. RULING: This is legal.

PLAY: In the second inning, one of the two assistant coaches is warned
about being outside the dugout during a live ball. In the fifth inning,
a different coach or a player is outside the dugout during a live ball.
RULING: By rule, any coach or player outside the dugout after a warning
shall be ejected from the game.

PLAY: In the fifth inning, after a team warning, several players leave
the dugout during a live ball to congratulate a scoring runner. RULING:
As per 3-3-1-a and 3-3-1-j Pen, every player out of the dugout is
subject to ejection.

PLAY: After a team warning, the batter hits a three run homer outside
the park. Several players leave the dugout to congratulate the batter.
RULING: Since the ball is dead after leaving the park, there is no

Assistant coaches are now prohibited from leaving the vicinity of the
dugout or coaching box to dispute a judgment call by an umpire. There
is no warning. The penalty is that both the head coach and the involved
assistant coach will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of
the game. If the incident is severe enough, the umpires also have the
authority to eject the offending coach and either restrict or also
eject the head coach.

6-1-3 Case Book
The National Federation has relaxed its position on the so called
.gorilla stance.. Beginning with the 2010 season, the stance is legal
provided that the arm is hanging straight down and is not swinging. If
the arm is swinging, it is a balk because it will be considered the
beginning of the pitching motion. Umpires have been instructed to use
good judgment on this.

A provision has been added that a batter is out if he hits the ball
fair, foul or foul tip while either foot or knee is touching the ground
completely outside the lines of the batter.s box or touching home plate

On interference involving a foul ball, the person causing the
interference, including the runner, shall be called out. Previously,
the rule read that the batter would be called out for interference by
any member (including the runner) of the offensive team. The rule
change provides that if the runner interferes, the runner, and not the
batter, will be called out.
This is an editorial change to clarify that if a pitch hits a batter,
the umpire must only judge if the batter permitted the ball to hit him.
If the umpire believes the batter could have moved out of the way, he
is not awarded first base.

PLAY: On a 1-1 count, the pitcher delivers a change-up which hits the
batter, who makes no effort to move out of the way. RULING: The ball is
dead, the batter is not awarded first base and remains the batter with
a 2-1 count. Should the pitch be in the strike zone, the umpire will
call the pitch a strike.

PLAY: On a 1-1 count, the batter appears to .roll. out of the way of the pitch. However, at the
moment of impact, it is the batter who causes contact with the ball.
RULING: The ball is dead. The batter is not awarded first base and is
charged with a ball or strike as the case may be.

PLAY: On a 1-1 count, the pitcher delivers a fast ball which hits the
batter in the ribs. The batter makes no effort to move out of the way.
RULING: The ball is dead. In this case, it is quite likely the batter
.froze. and had no chance to get out of the way. He should be awarded
first base. This is strictly umpire judgment.

There has been confusion regarding Blue Book Article 150 1500 (d) regarding an appearance by the pitcher.

This is the rule: An appearance is defined as a pitcher pitching at least one pitch.
The interpretation is that a pitcher, who delivers one pitch then is
later removed from the mound and then returns to pitch later in the
same game, shall be charged with two appearances.

PLAY: The starting pitcher is removed from the game as a pitcher in the
3rd inning and either a) moves to another defensive position, or b)
goes to the dugout. In the 5th inning, the same pitcher returns to the
mound. RULING: The pitcher is charged with two appearances.

COACHES I.Sometimes there will be a situation in a game where opposing
coaches may agree to set aside a rule. An example would be throw-down
bases. By rule, this is prohibited. As much as a cooperative attitude
by coaches is appreciated, umpires are required to enforce rules as
written, not based on whether both coaches agree to set aside a rule.

COACHES II.There are situations where, for example, an umpire, during
pregame inspection of equipment, may declare a helmet cracked and thus
not allowed for play. Sometimes the response from a coach is: .We.ve
used that helmet all season and you are the only umpire to say
anything.. There are countless other examples of, .You are the only
umpire...., etc. etc. Bottom line: Umpires rule on such matters on a
game-by-game basis.
GAME MANAGEMENT: Some fields are still not being marked with a
three-foot runner.s lane. In accordance with rule 1-2-5, please be sure
the three-foot running lane is properly marked.

PREGAME EQUIPMENT/BAT INSPECTION: Coaches continue to do a good job in
making sure bats and helmets are out of the equipment bags for pre game
inspection by the umpires. Please continue doing this as it makes it
much easier for umpires not to have to go on a .treasure hunt. to find
bats and helmets for inspection.

COACH.S UNIFORMS: As per rule 3-2-1, coaches must be in the uniform of
their team. As a guideline, the following is acceptable: Baseball
shoes, baseball pants, a jersey top similar to what the team is
wearing, either a tee shirt with a team logo, wind shirt with a team
logo, a jacket and a baseball cap. The following is NOT acceptable at
ANY level: Coaches who are wearing shorts, or other nonbaseball attire
such as, but not limited to, sweatpants, jeans, tennis shoes or
sandals. These items are not permissible. This rule has been in effect
for the past few years. The penalty for non-compliance is that the
coach is restricted to the dugout. If the team.s only coach is in
non-compliance, he will be allowed on the field to participate in the
pre-game meeting with the umpires
In order to eliminate further delay by a coach after a crew conference,
the following continues to be in effect. It began with the 2008 season
and appears to have been well received by both coaches and umpires.

Umpires are not required to hold a conference if the calling umpire is
sure he got the play right. However, if, at the request of a defensive
coach, the crew gathers to discuss a call, the coach must return to the
dugout before the crew discusses the call. The coach must also remain
in the dugout if the decision has been upheld .

If the conference is made at the request of the offensive coach, he
must return either to the coaching box or the dugout as provided above.

A requesting coach returning to the field to continue the discussion
after a decision has been upheld is subject to being remanded to the
dugout for delaying the game, or if behavior warrants, ejection from
the game.

If the call is changed, the opposing coach is permitted on the field
only for the purpose of getting an explanation of the reversed call.

Currently NFHS rules cover the conduct of players and coaches during a
game. There is no coverage of a penalty for coach or player conduct
after a game. As a result, there have been instances of coaches and/or
players, knowing there is no penalty, acting with non-sporting behavior
toward umpires after a game.

In the event of post-game behavior by a coach or player that would
result in an ejection during a game, the coach and/or player will be
informed by the umpires that his behavior will be reported as an
ejection. This policy is in effect until the umpires leave the game

This issue should be addressed by each CIF section to decide whether or not to adopt this policy.


1) Please remember that many of the umpires assigned to lower level
games are fairly new and that mistakes will be made both in the
application of rules and game management. Tolerance toward umpires in
this respect would be greatly appreciated. However umpires, regardless
of their level of experience, are expected to conduct themselves in a
professional manner and CIF umpires are held accountable for their
actions. If you have, or hear of, any problems regarding umpire
professionalism, please advise your local liaison or assigner.

2) Please review the item above concerning coaches. uniforms. Most of
the violations seem to occur in lower level games. Finally, I would
like to thank all coaches for their cooperation and good luck for the
2010 season.

2010 Baseball Rules Changes (Include Bat Standards Adjustment)


Contact: Elliot Hopkins

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 6, 2009) - The clarification of baseball bat specifications was among four rules adjusted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its annual meeting June 7-9 in Indianapolis. The rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

A change to Rule 1-3-2 regarding bat specifications was made in the hope it will clarify bat compliance. The rule, which will be effective January 1, 2012, specifies that the bat should be a "smooth cylinder implement from the top of the cap to the top of the knob."

"The committee was looking to clarify the rule and make the purchase of bats an easier process," said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. "We want to make sure that kids and parents know what is permissible."

The change will also require that all non-wood bats meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, which is the standard used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Formerly, non-wood bats had to meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) standard.

The new rule also states that non-wood bats must be labeled with a rectangular certification mark "a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color." The new standard ensures that performances by non-wood bats are more comparable to those of wood bats. It's also expected to minimize risk, improve play and increase teaching opportunities.

"After working with the NCAA and having access to its research, we've concluded it's in our best interest to make this change," Hopkins said. "BBCOR includes the BESR standard, so we're actually expanding upon our current standard, which will be more appropriate for our age and skill level."

Another major rule addition applies to assistant coaches and their behavior during the game. Rule 3-3-1g6 prohibits any member of the coaching staff who is not the head coach from leaving "the vicinity of the dugout or coaching box to dispute a judgment call by an umpire." The penalty for this infraction is that both the head coach and the offending coach will be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game. If severe enough, the umpire also has the authority to eject the offending coach and/or the head coach.

The intention of this change is to cut down on the disruptive and counterproductive behavior of assistant coaches. It also reinforces to head coaches that they are responsible for their staff and players.

"The committee found that assistant coaches were taking license with their roles and becoming disruptive," Hopkins said. "By doing that, they're sending the wrong message to their players. It's one thing to ask the official for a clarification, but it's another to challenge and charge an umpire. We cannot and will not allow that."

A clarification was made to Rule 1-2-4 concerning the temporary extension of dugouts. The modified rule explains that when the dugout is to be temporarily extended, it shall be extended toward the outfield and not toward home plate.

The final adjustment was made to Rule 7-4-1f, concerning the instances when a batter will be declared out. The change reads that the batter is out if "any member of the offensive team or coach other than the runner interferes with a fielder who is attempting to field a foul fly ball." The addition of the phrase "other than the runner" clarifies the responsibility of the runner and that the runner - not the batter - will be declared out for the runner's interference.

"Previously, it just wasn't fair to the batter," Hopkins explained. "If the runner interferes with the defense, it's not the batter's fault. It was the runner who created the infraction, so the runner will be called out."

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport among boys at the high school level with 478,029 participants during the 2007-08 season, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS. It also ranks third in school sponsorship across the nation with 15,720 participating schools.

NFHS 2010 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 F. Kanaby, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2010
Direct Link: http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=3828

SITUATION 1: While in the set position, F1 has his pitching hand hanging straight down in front of his body, stationary, as he gets the sign from the catcher. RULING: The use of the “gorilla” stance in the set position is legal provided the arm is not moving. The batter, runner(s) on base, and coaches are able to view the pitcher and the ball and are not placed at a disadvantage. (6-1-3)     

SITUATION 2: While in the set position, F1 has his pitching hand hanging straight down in front of his body, swinging back and forth, as he gets the sign from the catcher. RULING: This is not legal and is an illegal pitch or a balk if there are runners on base. While this “gorilla” stance is legal if the pitching hand is stationary, it is illegal if the arm is swinging back and forth. (6-1-3)     

SITUATION 3: While in the set position, F1 has his pitching arm resting on his thigh and his pitching hand is at rest in his lower abdominal area. RULING: This is illegal. Having his pitching hand at rest in this area gives the offense little to no visibility of the baseball and action by the pitcher. (6-1-3)     

SITUATION 4: R1 is at third base and is taking his lead a few feet down the line in foul ground. B2 hits a sharp ground ball that hits third base and caroms off the base and (a) hits R1 accidentally, or (b) R1 intentionally moves so that he is hit by the fair ball. RULING: In (a), the ball remains live and in play. In (b), the ball is dead, R1 is out for his interference and other runner(s) are returned to the base they occupied at the time of the interference. B2 is awarded first base. (8-4-2k, 2-5-1e)

SITUATION 5: R1, with one out, is on second base and is off with the pitch as B2 hits a high foul fly ball near third base. As F5 moves in foul territory in an attempt to catch the foul fly, (a) R1 runs into him or (b) the head coach does not vacate his position in the coaching box and F5 contacts him in his attempt. RULING: In both situations this is interference and the ball is immediately dead. In (a), R1 is declared out and in (b), B2 is declared out and R1 is returned to second base. (7-4-1f)     

SITUATION 6: R1, on second base, rounds third and runs into F5 as he attempts to field a foul fly ball. This action occurred with (a) a count of 1-1; (b) a count of 1-2; or (c) two outs. RULING: In all three instances, R1 is out for his interference. In (a), the batter returns to bat with a count of 1-2 and in (b), the batter returns to bat with a count of 1-2 as the pitch is treated as a foul for the batter’s count. In (c), B4 will lead off in his team’s next offensive half-inning.  (7-4-1f)     

SITUATION 7: B1 lays down a bunt that is fielded by F2 in fair territory a few feet in front of home plate. As B1 is 60 feet from home base, he is running outside the running lane with one foot completely in fair ground and not touching the lines of the running lane. F2 fields the ball and (a) attempts to throw to first but throws high into right field as he tries not to hit B1, or (b) does not attempt a throw. RULING: B1 is required to be in the running lane the last 45 feet to first base when the ball is fielded and thrown from an area behind him.  In (a), this is interference and B1 is out and the ball is declared dead. In (b), since there was no throw, there is no interference. F2 is not required to hit B1 to demonstrate that B1 is out of the running lane, but a throw must be made for the interference to be declared.  (8-4-1g)     

SITUATION 8: F1, while on the pitcher’s plate in either the windup or set position, (a) adjusts his cap, or (b) shakes off the signal with his glove, or (c) shakes off the signal with his head. RULING: In (a), (b) and (c) these are legal actions, provided these movements of the arms and legs were not associated with the pitch. (6-1-1, 6.1.2D case book)

SITUATION 9: R1, on third base, attempts to score on a squeeze play. B4 attempts to bunt, but misses the pitch and F2 comes up with the ball and gets R1 in a rundown between third and home. F2 eventually attempts to throw R1 out at third, but makes a bad throw into left field. R1 steps on third, but his momentum takes him several steps down the foul line behind third base. R1, seeing the bad throw, turns, misses third base as he advances to home. After R1 has touched home plate and enters the dugout, the defense calls “Time” and verbally appeals R1 missing third. RULING: R1 is out on the valid defensive appeal. R1 must touch third base again on his way to home plate. (8-2-1, 8-2-6c)     

SITUATION 10: The visiting team is wearing “quarterback-style” wristbands that have defensive plays listed under a Velcro flap. The pitcher is wearing a black wristband down near his fielding glove. The home coach claims that the wristbands are illegal, and all players must take them off. RULING: Provided the wristbands are not dangerous, they are legal. If the plate umpire judges the wristband worn by the pitcher to be distracting, he would need to remove it. Otherwise, it is legal for the pitcher as well. (1-5-9, 6-2-1f, penalty)

SITUATION 11: R1 is on third and R2 on first with one out. B4 hits a sinking line drive to center field. R1 tags properly and goes home, while R2 is off with the hit. F8 makes a great catch. R2 is beyond second base as F8 throws back to first in an attempt to double up R2. The ball goes into the dugout with R2 still between second base and third base. R2 touches second base and goes back to touch first base. RULING: The ball is dead and R1’s run will count. R2 will be awarded two bases from the base he had at the time of the pitch (first base), so he will be awarded third base. If the defense properly appeals R2 being beyond second base at the time the ball went dead, R2 will be declared out. R1’s run would still count. (5-1-1g-3, 8-2-5, 8-2-6d-1, 8-4-2q)     

SITUATION 12: With no outs, B1 has a 2-1 count when his nose begins to bleed. He is not able to get it stopped and as a result cannot finish his at-bat. The team has no substitutes available. His coach believes that the batter next up in the order can assume his count. RULING: B2 cannot assume B1’s count. With no substitutes available, B1 is declared out and B2 will come to bat with one out. An out will be called each time that spot in the batting order comes to bat. When an eligible substitute becomes available, the team may return to playing with nine players. (4-4-1f, Note 1, Note 2)     

SITUATION 13: R1 is on third and R2 is on second with no outs. Both runners attempt a double steal. As R1 gets into a rundown between home and third, R2 advances and stays on third base. With R2 on third base, R1 commits interference during the rundown. RULING: The ball is dead immediately. R1 is declared out for the interference. R2 will be kept at third base since he had legally reached third at the time of the interference. (8-2-9, 8-2-8)     

SITUATION 14: With R1 on third base and no outs, B2 hits a pop fly in fair territory in front of home plate. The catcher misses the ball completely, never touching it, and the backspin on the ball causes it to move back toward home where it strikes R1 in fair territory. The ball continues to move into foul ground, where it comes to rest. The offensive head coach claims R1 is not out since the batted ball “passed” an infielder. RULING: The ball is dead immediately and R1 is declared out for being contacted by a fair batted ball. B2 is awarded first base. The action of the ball in this situation is not considered to be “passing” an infielder. Had the ball contacted R1 in foul ground, the ball would be dead immediately, R1 would be returned to third and B2 would remain at bat. (8-4-2k, 5-1-1f-1)     
SITUATION 15: With one out, R1 is on third base and R2 is at second base when B4 misses the sign for the squeeze bunt. B4 hits a high chopper near first base as R1 touches home plate. F3 fields the ball, touches first to retire B4 and sets to throw to third in an attempt to put out R2 who got a late start going to third base. As F3 releases the throw, B4 intentionally reaches out and hits his arm for obvious interference. RULING: R2 is declared out for the third out due to B4’s interference. R1’s run will count as he had legally acquired home before the interference occurred. (8-4-2g, 8-2-9, 5-1-1e)     

SITUATION 16: The head coach requests “Time” and goes to the mound for a visit. He removes F1 and brings in S1 to pitch from the bullpen. The coach remains at the mound talking with S1 as he takes his eight warm-up throws. The opposing head coach claims that this is a charged conference because the defensive coach stayed at the mound until S1 had completed his warm-up throws. RULING: There is no charged conference to be recorded on the defensive team since F1 was removed as the pitcher. As long as the head coach leaves when S1 completes his warm-up throws and does not delay the game, no defensive conference will be charged. (3-4-1)     

SITUATION 17: With R1 on first attempting to steal second base, B2 swings and misses as the ball hits the catcher’s mitt and pops up in the air. B2’s follow-through hits the ball to the backstop. RULING: This is batter interference and the ball is declared dead. B2 is out and R1 is returned to first base. (7-3-5c penalty)     

SITUATION 18: With R1 on first, a pitch hits the catcher’s shin guards and is deflected toward the dugout. R1 had left first base headed for second as F1 released the pitch and is standing on second base when the deflected pitch rolls into the dugout. R1’s head coach argues that R1 should be awarded third base. RULING: R1 is awarded one base from where he was at the time of the pitch. R1’s award is second base and he will remain at second, and not be advanced to third base. (8-3-3d, 8-3-5b)     

SITUATION 19: Bases are loaded with two outs and a 1-1 count on B6. The scoreboard has a 0-2 count. The plate umpire gives the correct count and verbally states “1-1.” B6 swings and misses the next pitch to make the count 1-2, but F2, thinking it is strike three, tosses the ball toward the mound as the infield players begin to leave the diamond. The third-base coach has his runners running and all of them cross home plate. The visiting defensive head coach protests that the runs should not score since the scoreboard was in error and it put them at a disadvantage. RULING: The umpires did not err on the play and both teams are responsible to know the count and the number of outs. The play stands and all three runs count. (10-2-3g)     

SITUATION 20: Two outs, R3 at second base. On a 1-2 pitch, R3 attempts to steal third base as the batter attempts to check his swing. R3 is thrown out at third base for the third out. The defense now wants to appeal the check-swing on B4 so that if he went around, he struck out and would not come back to bat in the next half-inning. U1 checks with the base umpire and U2 confirms that B4 did indeed swing at strike three. RULING: Since B4’s out is a “fourth” out, the defense may select the out which is most to its advantage. B4 is out for out No. 3 and the batter following him in the lineup will bat first in the next half-inning. (2-20-2, 9-1-1d)


NFHS rule changes

The change regarding the assistant coaches was over due, many times the head coach stands bye only to watch one of his assistants yell at the umpires. When I think back at my ejections it has never been a head coach , always one of the assistants. One game the head coach told me to dump him if you want , just don't get me for what he had said. How about that a head coach throwing his own assistant coach under the bus , I had to laugh. Neither coach was tossed and both stayed quiet for the rest of the game, go figure .
    Thanks Swanny for getting these changes posted so soon,
                                   Larry Loeffler 

NFHS Assistant coaches

It's amazing how assistant coaches tried to be "the hunch man" on situations they have nothing to say other than to yell at the umpires while the head coach on the top stair of the dogout watches and laughs. I for one, had tossed a couple of assistant coaches and on those occassions, the head coach did not even asked why I dumped his assistant. I did not laugh, but, it made me feel good. I also want to thank Swanny for posting these changes way ahead of time.
Manuel Provedor



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