Simulated Taking a Sign on the Pitching Plate?

Discussion in 'The Umpires Life and Rulings' started by Tallmadge Force Gold, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Tallmadge Force Gold

    Tallmadge Force Gold Active Member

    Can someone tell me the different rules for a simulated taking a sign on the pitching plate for softball.

    Today, I was told this was a college only rule. Just wanted confirmation whether any or all the sanctioning bodies have or don't have this rule.


    Basically, pitcher takes the sign behind the pitcher's plate, steps directly on the pitcher's plate, and starts her motion almost immediately.
  2. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    I can speak definitively for the sanctions I work, USA softball and NFHS/high school ball. This is probably the same for most sanctions, but consult your rule book.

    That's not a "college only" rule. Once the pitcher engages the rubber, she must have her hands separated and must either take, or simulate taking a signal for the catcher. In effect, she must pause before starting the pitch. This rule is designed to stop exactly what you described- stepping into the pitching plate and immediately pitching, to catch the batter off balance.

    Failure to take this required pause/signal results in an illegal pitch. For all the complaints I hear about pitchers leaping or crow hopping, failure to take/simulate taking a signal is by far the most common pitching violation I see.
  3. SonicMojo

    SonicMojo Active Member

    This comment strikes me as a little funny. I know you are on top of things and so this doesn't apply to you, but this is exactly why people complain about replanting. It's because it's not called that there is so much complaining about it. There's no need to complain about hands separated or double touches--umpires are not afraid to make those calls.

    It's kind of like saying "Prison populations have been increasing despite drop in crime rates." ;)
  4. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    It may seem like an odd comment, but I’ll stand by it. Just as an example...

    This high school season I’ve called two pitchers for leaping. But I think that I’ve had to address stepping on the pitcher’ plate with hands already joined, or being the hands together immediately after stepping on, almost every single game. It’s epidemic!
    SonicMojo and daboss like this.
  5. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    One of the obstacles I encounter every winter while giving pitching instruction is the parents attitude towards the proper protocol of the pitcher to keep them totally within the limits of the rules. I wish I had a dollar for every time a parent has said "they don't call it" while referring to the very things you just mentioned. I've gone as far as telling kids to simulate taking a sign from the catcher if for no other reason than to acknowledge to the umpire you are ready to start your pitch. I tell them if for nothing else it is a courtesy thing while the parents believe it has no merit. The same with taking the pitching plate with the hands apart and I teach that the ball be exposed in the open hand. I try to tell them that as long as they do these things they'll never get in trouble for doing them but to not do them leaves things open to that umpire that notices----------and he'll be right. Geez, just do it!!!!

    Short cuts and lack of details can and will eventually bite somebody in the butt. The problem with never learning the proper way to do things will leave a pitcher scratching her head once she encounters that umpire that knows and enforces everything to the letter.

    Why is it so difficult for so many to believe it's okay to fudge things? Just follow the rules. It's much easier to stay within the rules than waste so much time and energy trying to argue the points of interest simply because you don't believe it should matter.
  6. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    its like math. 2+2 = 4 if you teach them the correct way from day 1- they dont know anything else.
  7. SonicMojo

    SonicMojo Active Member

    Simple. Because they see the rules aren't enforced against others, so they believe they won't be enforced against them/their daughter. When the most celebrated pitcher in the sport of the last decade is featured on national TV over and over again, pitching illegally every pitch, but it never gets called, why should they think they need to change? I can pitch correctly within the rules of the game, or I can pitching illegally and pitch in the SEC. Which would you choose?
  8. jt7663

    jt7663 Active Member

    The REAL Queston nowadays DOES 2+2 = 4
    DanMaz likes this.
  9. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    It’s great that you try to teach the correct pitching requirements! When I call these, the coach and pitcher always act like they’ve never heard of it before. I tend to believe that they haven’t.

    Just one note: Don’t worry about teaching them to hold the ball exposed in the open hand. That’s not a rule. As long as the hands are separated the ball can be in the glove or, say, in the bare hand held behind the hip or back. There’s no need to make the ball visible to the batter or umpire.

    Unfortunately, you might run into an umpire who thinks that’s a rule, or a coach that wants to make the other pitcher “present the ball”. But there’s no rule basis for it. From what I understand, this was a rule before it was changed- back in the 1980’s! That was a little before my time as an umpire, so I can’t confirm that myself! Today, it’s a “rule myth”, and one that pops up every once in awhile.

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