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Is it time to change the rule?

What's on your mind?

by Tyler Durden » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:24 am

I watched some of the USSSA Pride vs. Chicago Bandits game yesterday. One thing that I have seen many times before, and still bothers me, is that both teams' pitchers (Cat and Williamson) are 're-planters".

Now, this is IMHO. Watching them pitch, TO MY EYE, they both clearly leap off of the pitching plate, RE-PLANT with advantage, and then release the pitch. I believe that if a Snap-Shot was taken at the moment after their re-plants, you would see them planted, pushing off of that back foot (now in the dirt), and the ball still gripped in their hand prior to release. This is IMHO. If you disagree, and are going to tell me that they are either "just dragging their toe" or "not re-planting for any advantage", then we can agree to disagree, and the rest of what I'm about to write is probably of no interest to you.

If you buy my premise that they are re-planting for advantage, then this is very bad for our sport. Those NPF games are supposed to be the pinnacle of our sport. The best players. And both pitchers are violating a rule that pitchers at the lower levels are (haphazardly) penalized for. We all know that there are re-planters at the travel ball and H.S. and college level. When watching a re-planting pitcher at one of these lower levels, we often lament "that poor girl has been improperly taught how to pitch, when she gets older, it will catch up to her and hurt her progress when they start calling her on it", and things like this.

Another problem I see is that, although Blue does his/her best to call IP when appropriate, there doesn't seem to be an ability to manage this rule violation well. I could write a thesis paper on the rule, it's interpretation, what re-plant 'means', whether it results in an unfair advantage, etc. But I'm not that smart, or that interested, so I won't.

My proposal would be one of two things be done. Frankly, I'm not aware of the reasons/Science of why the pitching distance at the upper levels is 43'. I assume that there is science that supports that distance as being equally advantageous to pitchers and hitters, based upon human reaction times. If 43' is crucial for the game to be played effectively, then move the pitching plate back enough where the average re-plant lands at that magic 43' distance. This will result in no net unfair advantage to the pitcher. I strongly believe that if this were to happen, it wouldn't take long before all pitchers were altering their mechanics to incorporate the momentum-building technique of the re-plant.

Or, just eliminate the rule against re-planting, if the science says that pitching from 41' isn't unfair to the batters.
Either of these results is fine with me. What isn't fine with me is the continued rule violation in our sport, that is broadcast nationally, and in fact glorified by Cat and others. I suspect the young pitchers out there, who are the future of our sport, are planning on emulating Cat and other re-planters. How do we explain to them that "If you do it, we will call you for an IP"?

Either way, we need to eliminate this rule.
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by Hurricane » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:46 am

Good Post, TD!

Yes, I agree, it is a HUGE advantage. "Replanting" is a huge advantage to pitchers. It really throws off the timing. Same goes with the "crow-hop".

It was done to our team at PGF, too. When our Head Coach complained, the ump said: "well, it's close enough!"

What? A rule is a rule. There should be a national debate on this rule. Either "replanting" is a foul or not. Enforce it or don't call it at all at any level.

Can you imagine what the baseball pukists (er, I mean, purists) would do IF a pitcher is allowed to reset in a stretch without stepping off the mound, or if the pitcher could alternate between coming to a complete pause and quick pitching? There would be many more no-hitters. The umps in baseball are real quick to call balks on illegal pitches.

I wonder if pitching coaches "coach" to skirt the rules and tell pitchers it's OK because they will get away with it? You know they tell them the umps won't call it that often. It's the old Jim Rome mantra: If you're not cheating, you're not trying.

Whether it's replanting or crow-hopping, I'm sure these pitchers are "coached" that way. Look at the results. Parallel that to PED's in MLB. It's an unfair advantage that needs to be addressed. All it would take if for the umps to call it EVERYTIME a pitcher makes an illegal pitch.

Great idea TD to get a "conversation" started on this topic: Replanting
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by Sam » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:00 am

Cat, Abbott and others have been pitching illegally for years. It was only enforced at the WCWS. My guess is that the NPF umpires didn't call it in the game referenced. Truthfully, I don't blame any of them for trying to get an edge, especially when the bats are artificially hot even before they are illegally modified to perform even better. It's obvious nothing will be done about the bats. The pitching rules should be changed to match the mens rules. Let them crow hop, replant, and do somersaults. They need all the help they can get since the bats alone have turned .220 singles hitters into .350 bombers.
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by fasterpitch92701 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:04 am

If viewed as a problem...there is only one way to stop it. Enforce the rule. The problem with that is the whiners who say there is unequal enforcement, my player doesn't, your player does, it's the blues fault, you didn't enforce it last year, her coach taught her that way, whine, whine, whine.

Resolution: NCAA and ASA jointly take 500 photos, some 100ms apart, to show the replant. Take 10 videos showing flagrant replanting AND legal pitching. Send the photos/videos via email to every NCAA coach and say "starting in 00/00/00 (whatever the date) we WILL enforce issues with hopping/replanting. You have been warned. Do not complain that you have not been informed. If you get called for an illegal pitch 23 pitches in a row, the pitcher has thrown 23 illegal pitches in a row. Get over it".

Train blues on what is and is not illegal. Everyone plays by the same book. Post the photos on line and on all major SB sites for all pitching coaches, players, parents and others to see. Provide a "no excuse environment" that clearly defines correct from illegal, then enforce it.

For the first 30 days there will be whining mayhem. People will complain that games were decided not by the players but the blues because the blues called illegal pitches. The complaints are worthless as the game, if decided by illegal pitches being called, is the result of the pitcher pitching an illegal pitch and being called for it. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's called "accountability", something severely lacking in many venues.

And.. if you don't think it's a problem or the rule shouldn't be enforced... maybe someone will generate a double/triple hop placing them, say 36-37 feet away. Sort of a cricket pitch. After all, if your not going to enforce it...

I am sure this post will generate flames but, unless you have a better, constructive solution, I won't pay much attention.

Enjoy in good health.
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by Hurricane » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:44 am

Interesting!

I wonder if the replies here in this post will be: HItter's Dads vs. Pitcher's Dads

The difference here is that the Hitters' bats are LEGAL! The pitchers' footwork is ILLEGAL.

Now if a hitter is using an "illegal" bat (rolled, shaved, etc.) then they should get a severe punishment. But for the most part, the bats we buy our DD's are LEGAL.

So, either call the ILLEGAL pitches ALL THE TIME or let the cheaters take over (illegal bats for illegal pitches).

But you can't equate the two because one is LEGAL and the other is not.

Now, if you want the hitters to go back to wood bats, then fine. Make the rule. But you have to call out the ILLEGAL pitches ALL THE TIME.

(FWIW: Kind of like the argument of alcohol vs. weed: one is legal and the other is not)
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by ontheblack » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:57 am

One of my kids is a pitcher, one is not.

From Day One I have taught the pitcher to get it right. No crow hop, no replant. Teach it correctly at the onset and enforce it starting at the lower levels and you wont have an issue later. Muscle memory will win out.

FWIW, I dont believe its that much of an edge. Cat and Abbott would win just as often pitching completely legal.
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by Sam » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:00 am

Hurricane wrote:Interesting!

I wonder if the replies here in this post will be: HItter's Dads vs. Pitcher's Dads

The difference here is that the Hitters' bats are LEGAL! The pitchers' footwork is ILLEGAL.

Now if a hitter is using an "illegal" bat (rolled, shaved, etc.) then they should get a severe punishment. But for the most part, the bats we buy our DD's are LEGAL.

So, either call the ILLEGAL pitches ALL THE TIME or let the cheaters take over (illegal bats for illegal pitches).

But you can't equate the two because one is LEGAL and the other is not.

Now, if you want the hitters to go back to wood bats, then fine. Make the rule. But you have to call out the ILLEGAL pitches ALL THE TIME.

(FWIW: Kind of like the argument of alcohol vs. weed: one is legal and the other is not)


So shaving and rolling of bats is now legal?
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by Ks softball fan » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:04 am

I have watched a lot of travel ball the last 6 yrs...don't see crowhopping much. When we do see it - its not called either - but again very seldom.

Keep it right at young ages and it will die out. If the blues see it - call it. Only takes a few times and the pitcher will learn - not many can have it called and keep it together mentally for that game.
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by Hurricane » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:58 pm

Sam

I think shaved bats/rolled bats are NOT legal.

What I was trying to say was that IF they are going to allow replanting and hopping, then bring out the shaved/rolled bats and just say anything goes (for pitchers and batters). Save the umps all that trouble. Make EVERYTHING legal then.

that's all...kind of tongue & cheek remark.

I would prefer that umps call the replanting/hopping early on (EVERY pitch if they have to) to make sure pitchers are doing it correctly.
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by Sparky Guy » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:23 pm

Phone rings...

Umpire Assignor: "Hello"

Tourney Director: "Hi, this Mr. X from Tournament XYZ. You have an umpire named Mr. A. Please do not assign him to my tournament."

UA: "Why don't you want him to work your tournament?"

TD: "I've had too many complaints about him from coaches."

UA: "What kind of complaints?"

TD: "He calls too many illegal pitches."

UA: "Are there any other complaints about his umpiring?"

TD: "No."

UA: "Why don't you want to use Mr. A if he is enforcing the rules?"

TD: "I have too much to do keeping the tournament running smoothly. I don't have time to listen to coaches complain about illegal pitches."

UA: "OK, I will not have Mr. A work your tournament."

TD: "Thank you. That's one less problem I'll have to deal with."

And that's why illegal pitches are not called enough to stop the problem.
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