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Coaches "Warming Up" a Pitcher


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#1 Packerbacker

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:51 PM

For "warm-up" catchers in the bullpen or on the field in between innings, there is the interpretation that distinguishes between "playing catch" with the pitcher (i.e., not crouching when receiving from the pitcher) and squatting and receiving throws from the pitcher -- the latter circumstance requires more safety equipment to be worn by the catcher.

Locally, some managers have been interpreting this as follows: (1) to "warm up" a pitcher, one must be crouching; and (2) consequently Rule 3.09 (which explicitly addresses "warm up" of a pitcher by an adult) does not prevent a manager/coach coming out between innings, standing up, and receiving throws from the pitcher (e.g., while waiting for the catcher to put on his gear).

This does not seem to be within the spirit of maximizing the involvement of players in all game activities.

Any help in constructing a clear cut rules-based counterargument or official Little League interpretation would be most appreciated .

I see that there are a number of manager/coach activities that are explicitly allowed within the rules, and that "playing catch" with the pitcher is not one of them.

Thanks in advance. 

 

  



#2 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:15 PM

"Locally, some managers have been interpreting this as follows ..."
Managers interpretting rules/regulations, talk about letting the inmates run the asylum!!! ;o)
Sorry, whether the manager/coach is standing up or crouching down he/she is "warming up" the pitcher.
Tell him/her to get back in the dugout and send a player out to perform that task.
If you don't have a "spare player" to warm-up the pitcher, let the pitcher "play catch" with the 3rd baseman until the catcher arrives.

Managers/coaches are supposed to remain in the dugout unless they are doing things like coaching a base, visiting a pitcher, discussing a call with an umpire or tending to an injured player.

#3 AdeleMc

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 11:29 PM

The way I explain to my managers is if the player is assuming the stance, on the mound, and making the motions as if to actually pitch the ball, then yes, they are pitching.



#4 Ron

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 04:39 PM

I am new to umpiring, and have been handling AA games.  I had two situations involving non-crouching and standing someplace other than behind the plate.

 

One game, a manager came out and stood 10 feet toward 3B, on the line, and took pitches from the pitcher.  My back was turned as I was getting water.  As I turned around I approached him and instructed him not to warm up the pitcher.  He said home plate is over there (and pointed), and he took another pitch.  I stated the rule "verbatim" to him as he took another pitch.  I then stated , that is your pitcher, he is warming up, and you are a coach, stop (as he took another pitch).  I then stated, take one more pitch and you get to leave the game.  He was upset and stopped.  As he walked away he said if I was a coach I would understand. (FYI I coach majors and am a AAA Manager, having coached and managed for 10 teams in 7 years)  We had a detailed discussion at the end of the game about warming up pitchers, and respect for umpires.

 

Next game.  Same coach is in the dugout this time as the game is progressing.  I see out of the corner of my eye, the opposing team in the bullpen with a coach warming up the pitcher.  I call, "My Time".  I here the last coach I talked to at the prior game say, "Watch this".  I proceed to the bullpen and have him stop, with almost the same dialog, except that this time the coach was not "crouching".  They stop, and at the end of the game I have the identical detailed discussion with another coach.

 

It is going to happen every year, with new coaches.



#5 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:13 PM

Does your league have a manager/caoches meeting prior to the season where the rules and regulations are discussed?
This is one of the rules that should be addressed so that they all know it's a no-no.

I can tell you this, I have seen managers/coaches warming up pitchers in the "bullpen" or on the "sidelines" before a game where an umpire will walk right on by and not say a word to them. It seems as though some just don't care.

Come Tournament Time as a TD (even in State Level Tournaments) I've had to stop managers/coaches from warming up pitchers and have been told on more than one occasion that "we do it all the time in our league" - my answer: maybe so, but you're not doing it here !!!I

#6 Ron

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 08:29 PM

Our league has a meeting, but the newer managers and coaches try to be creative.

Lou, I hear that statement all the time" we do it all the time".
I don't understand why people think doing it all the time, makes it proper.
I guess it's because they never read the rules, so they think because everyone is doing it then it must be in compliance.

#7 rsnyder6

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 04:49 PM

Just stumbled on this as I was looking up something else. (I know this is old, but the issue continues.)

One problem is a number of leagues don't enforce this. I've been watching tournament games at another complex while summer season games are also going on. Coaches are warming up kids all the time.
Even saw a parent come on to the field and warm up his kid.
So I do hear, "They let us do it at XX League."
(This is enforced in the Tournament games.)

I often get "How long has that been the rule?"
I don't even bother to get into how that doesn't matter.
I just say 1957 and walk away.

(1957 is my stock reply to that question for any rule.)

#8 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 05:32 PM

Last year 9-11 BB State Tournament.
First game, top of the second inning.
When the defense takes the field a Coach comes out with them.
He stands behind the plate and, in his words: plays catch with the pitcher while the catcher puts his gear on.
Ump gives him the heave-ho to the parking lot.
His "argument" - we've done it this way for years.
He also "argued" that he couldn't be ejected without a warning.
Sorry, wrong again!

Obviously the umps in his league allow it but so did the umps in Districts and Sectionals.

======
By the way, I was playing Tee-Ball in 1957! B)
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#9 rsnyder6

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:05 PM

>> He also "argued" that he couldn't be ejected without a warning.

I've heard that one before. Nice try.

We had one umpire several years ago that at pre-game would say things like "I expect you all to behave and follow the rules." Etc. And then say, "you have been warned."



>>By the way, I was playing Tee-Ball in 1957! B)

Diapers for me.


I do know none of our coaches were coaching back then.
(Not sure why I picked 1957. Maybe because I once had a 57 Chevy.)


#10 Mr. Dill

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 04:18 PM

This also happened in my 9-11 State Tournament last year.

#11 rsnyder6

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 04:51 PM

Walking by other games last night to a Sectional game I see starting at the first field.

10U game with an on deck batter behind the backstop swinging two bats, (umpire could not see because the backstop is screened), but the coaches were sending kids there.

An approximately 3-year-old kid in team jersey with a bat in the dugout of another 10U game, (as I approached he stepped outside the dugout, swung the bat and ran off, I guess his wearing a helmet made this OK).

Same game on the other side, on a hit to the outfield two of the defensive coaches ran out of the dugout towards home plate to direct their players.

Next field two late teen young women in the dugout with a dog.

And (I'm assuming) grandmom in the dugout handing out ice pops while the team is batting.

This is casually walking by.
I'd guess more, but I didn't really want to see, and I was in a hurry to catch the Sectional.

The Sectional game was OK (I only saw the last inning).
And the two games which had umpires from our league seemed fine also (though one manager was going on about the "must slide" rule, even though his coach was telling him there is none).

Some of these are real safety issues.

We have many really good umpires that work to shut down what they see, but a lot of these are this league's in-house guys who take their cue from this league, which allows this sort of thing.
I've said things in the past, but it was clear my input was not welcome.
I'm just hoping no one gets hurt.

#12 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 01:18 AM

I sure hope no one gets injured but from what you described it very well could happen.
Hate to see a serious injury and heaven forbid a subsequent lawsuit.

You said there were Sectionals going on.
I'd let the DA know what you saw and voice your concerns.
Maybe if he (or she) is at those fields for Sectionals he can look around and if he sees similar problems and it so then he can work with the League President to get them resolved.
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#13 SeattleSooner

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 10:51 PM

I asked my District UIC the purpose of this rule as I thought it was a safety issue.
He said it was strictly to get kids on the bench a bit more involved in the game.

#14 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 11:04 PM

The game is for the kids not the manager/coaches.
Personally I'd like to go back to kids coaching the bases!!!
As for warming up the pitcher, it's an opportunity to train a new catcher, and, as you say, it keeps the "bench" players active during the game.

=============
As for a safety hazzard, a number of years ago in Tampa an adult warming up a pitcher was killed (wasn't wearing a mask/helmet, it was too small).
Pitch glanced off the top of his glove and hit him in the head.
Rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
It was not Little League.
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#15 Plesh

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 01:12 PM

I love kids coaching the bases. In LL and even travel I almost always let a kid coach a base, sometimes both. It really gets them engaged and forces them to analyze the game from a coach's perspective. Great learning experience.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for coaches warming up the pitcher, I know the rule is there because it's a kid's game, but having a kid catch 3 or 4 pitches isn't going to develop them into a catcher.

 

Normally it goes like this:

 

Timmy (the catcher) was on base as the inning ended.

Teams runs out to take the field.

"Hey I got three guys on the bench, who's warming up the pitcher?"

My back-up catcher is warming up the right fielder, one kid forgot his cup, leaving the other kid to do it.

"Go grab the mask and glove"

"Where is it, I can't find the glove"

"It's over there"

"Oh, got it, but the mask doesn't fit"

"The back stretches, pull it back"

Kid fights the mask halfway between first and home.

Finally gets it on and squats down.

Regular catcher ready to go.

 

The alternate is:

 

Timmy (the catcher) was on base as the inning ended.

I grab a glove, run out, 4 pitches, regular catcher comes out, coming down, play ball.
 
The time difference there is big and adds up over the course of the game.


#16 SeattleSooner

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 04:29 PM

Plesh-
I'm with you!
There's little to no benefit to this rule and it does not provide a good development opportunity.
I'd prefer a coach out there getting the warm ups started and keeping the game moving.

#17 Ron

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:19 PM

Plesh, it does not have to play out that way.  I was a Manager for over a decade for both my boys' teams.  When the lineup is prepared I always assigned a player to warm up the pitcher for every inning, just in case the regular catcher is not ready.  I can count on one hand how many times your scenario played out on my team.  However, I did see it regularly on other teams that were not preparing the players to run the whole game.

 

In the event we were only playing with 9 players and my catcher had to get ready, a fielder went out with his own glove, and the catcher helmet and glove.  After taking a few pitches, as the catcher comes out, the catcher gets his helmet and glove from the fielder. Most time the temp catcher would see the catcher coming out and he would place the glove and helmet on home plate and go to his position.  Seamless.

 

Had this scenario play out several times in District All Stars, and in Sections.   At Sections the plate umpire complimented my team half way through the game for how they worked the warm-up with the temp catchers (even with a few injured players that limited us).

 

On my son's Travel Ball team (that I did not coach) all of the catchers were tested for how quickly they could get their gear on and get behind the plate.  The coach wanted it done in under a minute.  All of the catchers, including my son, easily put the gear on in less than one minute without appearing rushed because they put it on and take it off all the time.  One of the catchers would put the legs on, except for the top snap.  Chest was on, and he was catching.  In between pitches he would finish putting the legs on.  the kids are smart, they just have to be challenged and try.

 

many times in travel ball the catcher would run from being on base, and be out behind the plate just a few seconds after the pitcher gets the ball and gets ready to pitch.  I was amazed at how quickly those kids moved.



#18 richives

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:49 PM

 

I love kids coaching the bases. In LL and even travel I almost always let a kid coach a base, sometimes both. It really gets them engaged and forces them to analyze the game from a coach's perspective. Great learning experience.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for coaches warming up the pitcher, I know the rule is there because it's a kid's game, but having a kid catch 3 or 4 pitches isn't going to develop them into a catcher.

 

Normally it goes like this:

 

Timmy (the catcher) was on base as the inning ended.

Teams runs out to take the field.

"Hey I got three guys on the bench, who's warming up the pitcher?"

My back-up catcher is warming up the right fielder, one kid forgot his cup, leaving the other kid to do it.

"Go grab the mask and glove"

"Where is it, I can't find the glove"

"It's over there"

"Oh, got it, but the mask doesn't fit"

"The back stretches, pull it back"

Kid fights the mask halfway between first and home.

Finally gets it on and squats down.

Regular catcher ready to go.

 

The alternate is:

 

Timmy (the catcher) was on base as the inning ended.

I grab a glove, run out, 4 pitches, regular catcher comes out, coming down, play ball.
 
The time difference there is big and adds up over the course of the game.

 

 

Don't ask - tell.

 

Cup not required.



#19 Plesh

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:56 PM

Plesh, it does not have to play out that way. I was a Manager for over a decade for both my boys' teams. When the lineup is prepared I always assigned a player to warm up the pitcher for every inning, just in case the regular catcher is not ready. I can count on one hand how many times your scenario played out on my team. However, I did see it regularly on other teams that were not preparing the players to run the whole game.

In the event we were only playing with 9 players and my catcher had to get ready, a fielder went out with his own glove, and the catcher helmet and glove. After taking a few pitches, as the catcher comes out, the catcher gets his helmet and glove from the fielder. Most time the temp catcher would see the catcher coming out and he would place the glove and helmet on home plate and go to his position. Seamless.

Had this scenario play out several times in District All Stars, and in Sections. At Sections the plate umpire complimented my team half way through the game for how they worked the warm-up with the temp catchers (even with a few injured players that limited us).

On my son's Travel Ball team (that I did not coach) all of the catchers were tested for how quickly they could get their gear on and get behind the plate. The coach wanted it done in under a minute. All of the catchers, including my son, easily put the gear on in less than one minute without appearing rushed because they put it on and take it off all the time. One of the catchers would put the legs on, except for the top snap. Chest was on, and he was catching. In between pitches he would finish putting the legs on. the kids are smart, they just have to be challenged and try.

many times in travel ball the catcher would run from being on base, and be out behind the plate just a few seconds after the pitcher gets the ball and gets ready to pitch. I was amazed at how quickly those kids moved.


It doesn't have play out that way, but it does for 99.9% of teams.

Don't ask - tell.

Cup not required.


Even if you tell little Johnny that he's warming up the pitcher at the end of the half inning, it's often a slow developing process.

And I know it's not a rule, but there is no way I'm putting a kid back there without a cup.
You can, but if a kid gets hurt, guess who is getting sued for putting a kid in without the proper safety equipment.
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#20 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 10:12 PM

A little pre-planning goes a long way.

With 2 outs have your catcher put on his shin guards, grab his chest protector and helmet & mask and "get ready" to go.
If your team gets a hit or two so the catcher needs to bat all he has to do is take off the shin guards.

With 2 outs and the catcher batting or on base tell the player who is going to warm up the pitcher to get ready (get the helmet & mask and glove/mitt).
We always kept the catcher's gear at the end of the bench by the dugout opening that way it was easy to find.

If you wait till the third out is made to get the process started, that's what causes delays.

Now, if by chance, there is one out and the catcher is up or on base and a double play ends the half inning then it's time to scramble, but that really doesn't happen often.
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