Donate to - Amount:

Welcome Anonymous !

Your Fastpitch Softball Bible

The Umpire Corner

Catchers mask part of the field?

Rule question? Get it answered here.

by UmpSteve » Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:07 pm

azepfan wrote:
Comp wrote:I dont have all my rule books with me so cant get you citations. It does not appear that USSSA directly addresses the catchers helmet. But, a catchers helmet is a required item of equipment for the catcher and no she is not required to keep it on during defensive plays and how could she possibly be expected to make a throw if she is also required to hold onto the helmet? I do have the NCAA reference as follows:

9.8 Equipment Blocked Ball
9.8.1 No loose equipment (that is, gloves/mitts, hats, helmets, jackets, balls,
on-deck batter’s bats), miscellaneous items, or detached parts of a player’s
uniform, other than that being legally used in the game at the time, should be
within playable territory as it could cause a blocked ball. Official equipment
that may be within playable territory with no effect includes the batter’s bat,
the catcher’s mask or helmet, umpire paraphernalia, and any helmet that has
inadvertently fallen off the head of an offensive or defensive player during
the course of play.

As for the other items you have mentioned, a fielders face mask is not a required item of equipment. It is an item that is allowed to be worn by a player and must be worn and used properly. There was a case play in one of the associations a few years back about a defender removing the facemask and discarding it into the path of a runner who trips over it. The ruling is it is considered to be obstruction. Gloves, hats, visors etc are all the same, they must be worn properly.

As for the catcher purposely throwing the helmet down the line to obstruct the runner, if I judge it to be intentional the coach will need a new catcher.

according to this rule, if the equipment INADVERTENTLY falls off then there is no effect. however if the cathers purposely throws the mask onto the field then doesn't that negate that rule?

No. You are misplacing the comma in that rule. Parse it THIS way:

Official equipment that may be within playable territory with no effect includes:
1) the batter’s bat,
2) the catcher’s mask or helmet,
3) umpire paraphernalia,
4) and any helmet that has inadvertently fallen off the head of an offensive or defensive player during the course of play.

Is that easier to understand?
User avatar
Premium Member
Premium Member
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:38 am

by soupy62 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:09 am

The NCAA rule calls it out that's easy to see. But does ASA, NSA or the other youth association's? USSSA doesn't call out legal equipment that can be left on the field that I see. Thanks for the help!
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:39 am

by Makina » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:51 am

Great feedback on question. I had some experience with a catcher that flipped her mask off on every single hit. Even if it was a grounder hit to an infielder or a routine ball hit to outfielder with nobody on base. On one play on a hit to the outfield and runner on 3B she flipped the mask which landed on the plate. The runner had to hop over the mask in order to touch the plate, with no play at the plate.

I warned the catcher that she needed to stop flipping the mask as it was dangerous for all and would call obstruction if she continued to do this with a play at the plate. Subsequently the coach got very upset with me for telling the player to stop flipping her mask. This was a 16U travel tournament and obviously this coach had taught her to flip her mask off every time.

I have seen quite a few plays at the plate where the catcher has taken her mask off and has either been hurt by a sliding player that inadvertently elbowed, kneed or shoulder had hit them in the facial area. I have also seen a catcher hit in the face from a thrown ball that they did not field. I am not a coach, but all of the top travel ball catchers and college catchers seem to never take off their masks! Also I was told by a UCLA catcher that she never takes off her mask!

Just thinking out loud and hoping if your daughter is a catcher, that you don't get upset when she doesn't take her mask off on every hit ball.
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:40 am

by MTR » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:18 am

I find it interesting how many are trying to find a way around a rule because it isn't specific as to what a player can do to accommodate a belief. I wonder how many can find a specific rule that states what the player cannot do? There are a lot more of those, but none to the point of this thread.

It's real simple, The catcher's mask, just as a batting helmet, discarded bat, a cap, an unintentionally detached glove, etc. becomes part of the playing field.

An umpire who imposes their own rules because it is what they believe are usually the umpires about which this group often complains.

That said, this doesn't mean a player cannot be ejected for UC if the umpire determines there action to be intentional for the purpose of affecting the play at hand.

Also on the coaching side, anyone who directs a catcher to arbitrarily discard their mask is a fool. A catcher should never discard the mask until it has been determined where a play is going to occur and if it involves he catcher. If it doesn't involve the catcher, the mask should never leave the catcher's hand. If a play involving the catcher is imminent, only then should the mask be discared and to an area away from where the ball is coming and where the play will occur.
Posts: 2312
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:21 am


Return to The Umpire Corner