57 Little League Rule Myths
- The ball is dead on a foul tip.
- A batted ball that hits the plate is a foul ball.
- The base coach can't leave the coach's box during play or he/she will be guilty of interference.
- A batter-runner cannot overrun first base on a base-on-balls.
- A fly ball that is deflected over the fence is a ground rule double.
- A base runner cannot be guilty of interference on a ground ball if he or she doesn't touch the fielder.
- A batter who bats of order is out.
- The pitcher gets eight warm-up pitches between innings.
- If a pitch hits a player's hands it's considered a foul ball, since hands are considered part of the bat.
- When the catcher blocks the plate without the ball, it should be called interference.
- The runner must always slide when the play is close.
- In order to be called out on a caught foul ball, the batted ball must go higher than the batter's head.
- On an overthrow out of play, the runners get 1 plus 1; the base he/she is going to plus one base.
- If a fielder holds a fly ball for two seconds it's a legal catch, even if he/she drops it thereafter.
- A runner who runs more the three feet away from a direct line between bases is out of the baseline and should be called out.
- In order to satisfy the mandatory playing rule, players must play six consecutive defensive outs.
- If a batter is batting out of turn, the scorekeeper should let the umpire know.
- When it's getting dark, the league president or safety officer can order the game halted.
- On a double play ball, it's mandatory for the runner going into second to slide or get out of the way.
- The runner is out if tagged when he/she turns to the left after crossing first base.
- It can't be an Infield Fly if the infielder is standing on the outfield grass.
- In order for a runner to be called out for interference, it must be intentional.
- The home plate umpire can over-rule another umpire if he/she has more experience or a better look at the play.
- When the batter backs out of the box when a pitch is delivered, it's an automatic strike.
- The batter is out when he/she hits the ball when he/she is touching home plate.
- A base coach cannot touch a runner. If he/she does, the runner is out.
- A runner cannot be called out if hit by a batted ball while standing on a base.
- In order to make a proper appeal play, the pitcher must first take the ball back to the mound.
Reality: As long as the ball remains live, there is no need for the ball to return to the mound before an appeal is made. Remember, one of the most common appeal plays is throwing behind a runner who has not retouched his or her base following a caught fly ball. The defense obviously does not throw the ball to the mound first in this case. Neither is it necessary for the ball to go back to the mound prior to appealing a missed base.
The most likely origin of this myth is the fact that the defense frequently requests "Time" prior to appealing a missed base. Usually, this is done so that the manager or coach can instruct his or her players on how to make the appeal. Once "Time" has been granted, the pitcher must have the ball on the mound before the plate umpire will put the ball in play again. It is the act of making the ball live, however, not the appeal, that requires the ball on the mound.
- A batter cannot change from the left-handed to the right-handed batter's box after two strikes.
Reality: The only prohibition on changing batter's boxes reads:
6.06(b) A batter is out for illegal action when ... stepping from one batter's box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch
Other than that, the batter may take position in either batter's box at any time. In theory, the batter could switch between batter's boxes after each pitch.
- A pitch that bounces as it comes in cannot be hit.
Reality: If a pitch bounces, the only thing that changes is that it can no longer become a called strike. With this single exception, the pitch is alive and in play.
- If the batter swings at the pitch and misses, it is a strike.
- If the batter hits the ball in fair territory, the batted ball is alive and in play.
- If the batter hits the ball foul, it is simply a foul.
- If the bounced pitch hits the batter, all the standard hit-by-pitch rules apply.
- The batter is not out for interference with the catcher if he/she stays in the batter's box.
Reality: Whether or not the batter may be called out for interference depends on the nature of the play. A few examples:
- If the catcher is making a throw to attempt to put a runner out, the batter is "protected" while in the batter's box, provided that he or she makes no deliberate attempt to interfere. Thus, for example, if a catcher's snap throw attempting to pick off a runner on first strikes a left-handed batter in the batter's box, interference is only called if the batter deliberately interfered with the throw. The batter cannot be expected to "dematerialize."
- If a runner is attempting to score, the batter is required to vacate the area, if necessary, to avoid interfering with the defense. If the batter remains in the box, and his or her presence interferes with the play, interference should be called, even if the batter did not commit any deliberate action. An exception to this would be a squeeze play - the batter is allowed to stay in the box because he has the right to try to hit the pitch. In this case, however, the batter must still avoid doing anything to deliberately interfere with the defense's play on the runner once the pitch is past him or her.
- If the batter's followthrough strikes the catcher and interferes with his or her attempt to throw out a runner who is stealing, interference can be called, even if the batter did not leave the box. The batter is responsible for his or her followthrough.
A general "rule of thumb" is that the box protects a batter who is struck by a thrown ball, except when a play at home is under way. The batter must not, however, interfere with a play at the plate, physically contact the catcher outside the batter's box, or deliberately interfere with any play.
If the batter leaves the batter's box, he or she is completely responsible for any interference that might happen.
With R2 on second, the pitch is wild, going all the way to the backstop and then rebounding up the third base line. The catcher retrieves the ball and throws toward third, attempting to retire R2. When the pitch passed the catcher, the batter backed out of the box toward the third base fence. The catcher's throw strikes the batter.
In this situation, 6.06(c) applies:
6.06(c) A batter is out for illegal action when ... interfering with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher's play at home base.
EXCEPTION: Batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out, or if runner trying to score is called out for batter's interference.
Thus, the batter can be called out for interference, and R2 returned to second.
- All appeals must be made verbally.
Reality: When an appeal is being made, a clear indication of the infraction being appealed is necessary. This indication does not have to be verbal, however. If a runner fails to retouch his or her base following a caught fly ball and the defense throws behind the runner, this is an appeal play. No verbal appeal is necessary in this situation, since the nature of the infraction (failure to retouch) is clear.
An appeal of a missed base, on the other hand, typically does require some kind of verbal indication on the part of the defense in order to clearly communicate to the umpire what is being appealed. This is particularly true when multiple runners have passed the base in question, since the defense must indicate not only which base was missed, but which runner missed it.
- Tagging the runner running from first on a ground ball is a tag play, not a force out.
Reality: Whether an out is a force out or not does not depend on how the runner is put out, merely where the out occurs. Any out on a runner forced to advance is a force out provided (a) the runner has not yet touched the base to which he or she is forced and (b) no following runner has been put out. Thus, any of the following are force outs:
- A forced runner is tagged before reaching the next base.
- The bag to which the runner is forced is touched before the runner reaches it.
- A runner is called out on appeal for missing a base to which he or she is forced.
- A runner is called out for a head-first slide before reaching a base to which he or she is forced. (Majors and below only)
Once a runner touches the base to which he or she is forced, any subsequent out made on that runner is no longer a force play. Similarly, if any following runner is put out, the force is removed.
- Judgment calls can be appealed if the manager feels that the umpire missed the call.
Reality: The word "appeal" is frequently misused. Judgment calls by umpires are not subject to question or objection by a manager or coach.
9.02(a) Any umpire's decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.
The only "appeal" of this nature that a manager may make under the rules is if the manager feels that the umpire has misapplied a playing rule. In this case, rules 9.02(b) and 9.02(c) apply:
9.02(b) If there is reasonable doubt that any umpire's decision may be in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. Such appeal shall be made only to the umpire who made the protested decision.
9.02(c) If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to reverse or interfere with another umpire's decision unless asked to do so by the umpire making it.
Thus, for example, when a manager thinks the base umpire "blew" a safe/out call at first base and goes to the plate umpire saying, "Can I appeal that?" he has no basis under the rules for the request. The safe/out call is a judgment call, and thus not questionable. Even supposing it were, the question should have been directed to the base umpire, not the plate umpire. The plate umpire should, therefore, simply answer "No" to this question.
That being said, if the manager approaches the base umpire and requests that he ask his partner to see if he had a better angle, this is not an "appeal," simply a request. The base umpire is under no obligation to go to his partner, but may do so if he feels that his partner may have information that bears on the call.
- When a relief pitcher replaces an injured pitcher, he/she gets as many warm-up pitches as he/she wants.
Reality: Pitchers are normally limited to a maximum of eight warm-up pitches, not to exceed one minute. However,
8.03 ...If a sudden emergency causes a pitcher to be summoned into the game without any opportunity to warm up, the umpire-in-chief shall allow the pitcher as many pitches as the umpire deems necessary.
Note that it is the umpire, not the pitcher, who determines who many warm-up pitches the pitcher may take in this situation.
- Contact must occur for interference or obstruction to be called.
Reality: The definition of offensive interference in 2.00 INTERFERENCE reads:
Offensive interference is an act by a member of the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.
Note that the word "contact" does not appear in the definition, while the word "confuse," while does not require contact, does. In fact, there are at least two actions that do not necessarily involve contact that are specifically cited as interference in the rulebook:
7.09 It is interference by a batter or runner when...
(e) any member or members of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of teammate or teammates
(j) with a runner on third base, the base coach leaves the box and acts in any manner to draw a throw by a fielder
A runner could also easily intefere with a fielder by standing in front of him to block his view of a batted ball, or by shouting at the fielder as he passes behind him. Each of these actions also can be considered interference.
The definition of obstruction reads
OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. A fake tag is considered obstruction. (NOTE: Obstruction shall be called on a defensive player who blocks off a base, base line or home plate from a base runner while not in possession of the ball.)
A runner can easily be impeded without requiring contact - the simple act of "taking a detour" around an obstructing player will certainly cause a runner to take longer to get to his destination. Thus, even if contact does not occur, this can constitute obstruction.
- If a fielder runs into an umpire while chasing a fly ball, this is interference and the batter should be called out.
Reality: There are two, and only two, situations in which umpire's interference is called:
Umpire's interference occurs (1) when an umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher's throw attempting to prevent a stolen base, or (2) when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder
In any other situation, an umpire is considered part of the field. While getting oneself into a situation where a fielder runs into you may represent poor umpiring mechanics, it does not constitute interference, and the ball remains alive and in play.
- The batter-runner is always out if he runs outside the running lane after a bunted ball.
Reality: The relevant rule is:
6.05(j) A batter is out when... in running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, the batter-runner runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire's judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base; except that the batter-runner may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball
- The batter is not required to be in the three-foot running lane until he/she is half-way down the line toward first base. Prior to that, the batter may legally be in either fair or foul territory.
- In order to be called out under this rule, the batter must be in a position to interfere with the throw to first base. For example, in Juniors and above, if the catcher fails to catch the third strike, and ends up throwing to first from the foul side of the line, a runner who is running in fair territory is very unlikely to interfere with the fielder taking the throw at first. Thus, in that case, this rule does not apply. In addition, notice that it is the fielder taking the throw with whom the batter-runner must interfere. If, because of the batter-runner's position, the catcher does not throw, this rule does not apply.
- The batter-runner, in fact must leave the three-foot lane in some cases in order to avoid interfering with a fielder retrieving a batted ball.
- Any Little League player who slides headfirst at any time is out.
Reality: The headfirst slide rule applies only in Majors and below. Juniors and above are free to slide headfirst if they so choose.
In addition, the relevant rule - 7.08(a)(4) - only applies when a runner slides headfirst while advancing. It does not apply while the runner is retreating. Thus, for example, a runner between first and second is prohibited from sliding headfirst into second, but may dive headfirst back towards first.
- If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, it's a strike.
Reality: Actually, if the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, it should result in a trip to the Emergency Room. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)
Whether or not a batter actually attempted to hit a pitch is completely and utterly a matter of judgment on the part of the umpire. There is no single "hard-and-fast" rule that can be applied. A player can easily attempt to hit the ball without breaking his/her wrists. Think about a bunt, or the "slap bunt" that is sometimes used in softball - players rarely break their wrists while doing this. Conversely, it is possible (although unlikely) that a player who swings very, very early, could break his wrists and then pull the bat back enough to convince an umpire that it was not a legitimate attempt to hit the ball.
Granted, in the vast majority of cases, if the batter breaks his wrists the umpire will call a strike. The point to be taken away is that this is neither a requirement, nor the sole determining factor.
- If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, it's an automatic strike.
As a result of a rule change made mid-way through the 2010 season, this is actually now only "half a myth."
Softball: This is true. Rule 2.00 BUNT now includes language that says that holding the bat in the strike zone is considered an attempted bunt, and thus is a strike.
Baseball: As with the "breaking the wrists" myth, in baseball the position of the bat during a bunt attempt has nothing to do with whether the pitch is a strike or not. It is solely a question whether, in the umpire's judgment, the batter made an attempt to hit the ball.
When a player squares to bunt, he is simply adopting a different batting stance. This stance may or may not involve the bat being in the zone. If the batter makes no attempt to move the bat towards the ball, he or she has not attempted to hit it. Thus, in this situation, if the pitch is outside the strike zone, it must be called a ball.
Granted, it is better practice for a batter who does not want to bunt a pitch to move his bat away from the ball and out of the strike zone, since this is much more likely to convince the umpire that he/she was not "offering" at the pitch. A batter who does not do this, however, and who made no motion toward the ball, has not met the criteria for a called strike.
- Tie goes to the runner.
Reality: Bill Klem, a Hall of Fame umpire, who worked the National League from 1905 through 1941, and then served as Chief of National League Umpires until his death in 1951, has been quoted as saying, "There's no such thing as a tie - it's either this, or it's that!"
If you want a literal reading of the rulebook, however, you will find that it is split on the issue. Regarding a batter,
6.05(i) A batter is out when... after hitting a fair ball, the batter-runner or first base is tagged before said batter-runner touches first base
Thus, to gain the out on the batter-runner, the base has to be tagged before the runner touches it. This would imply that, under this rule, a tie would go to the runner, since the defense failed to touch the base "before" the runner did.
Regarding a runner, however
7.08(e) A runner is out when... failing to reach the next base before a fielder tags said runner or the base after that runner has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner.
Here, it is the runner who has the obligation to get to the base "before" the tag of the base is made. In this case, if a tie truely happened, the runner would be out, because he/she did not reach the base before the tag.
Thus, if you want a literal interpretation of the "black and white" in the rulebook, a tie goes to the runner at first, but to the defense at any other base. Like Bill Klem, however, umpires generally do not recognize the existence of a tie - the runner either beat the throw, or he did not, and that's that.
- Runners may not run the bases in reverse order.
Reality: In fact, there are situations in which a runner is obligated to run the bases in reverse order.
7.02 In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order. If forced to return, the runner shall retouch all bases in reverse order, unless the ball is dead under any provision of Rule 5.09. In such cases, the runner may go directly to the original base.
Thus, for example, consider a runner who takes off from first at the crack of the bat. After rounding second, however, he realizes that an outfielder has caught the batter's fly ball. The runner must return and retouch first, or he is liable to be put out on appeal by the defense. In this situation, as he retreats, he is required to touch second base on his way back. If he fails to do this, the defense can appeal the missed base, and get an out that way.
The only prohibition on running the bases in reverse is:
7.08(i) Any runner is out when ... after acquiring legal possession of a base, the runner runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game. The umpire shall immediately call "Time" and declare the runner out
Here, you can see that the umpire must be convinced that the runner is doing this deliberately and without justification in order to call the runner out.
- A runner may not steal on a foul tip.
Reality: Rule 2.00 FOUL TIP explicitly says that a foul tip is a live ball, which means that it is perfectly legal to steal following one.
Much of the confusion surrounding this probably comes from a misunderstanding of what a foul tip actually is:
A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher's glove or hand. A foul tip can only be caught by the catcher.
Thus, it is only a foul tip if the catcher catches the ball. A ball that hits the bat and goes straight back to the backstop is a foul ball not a foul tip.
- It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball.
Reality: There is no single rule that explicitly deals with this in its entirety, however the required information is available spread across several rules.
2.00 A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses the right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner.
Thus, when the batter hits the ball, a runner who began on first is forced to advance, and loses his/her right to first base.
7.08(e) ...However, if a following runner is put out on a force play, the force is removed and the runner must be tagged to be put out...
By "following runner," the rule means another runner who is behind the runner in question. The batter-runner is behind all other runners, thus if he/she is put out, such as on a caught fly ball, the force is automatically removed on all other runners. As a result, if a runner is put out for failing to retouch a base, it cannot be a force out, since the defense must have caught the batter's fly ball (putting him/her out) for the situation to arise.
The rule that covers retouches is:
7.08(d) A runner is out when ... failing to retouch the base after a fair or foul fly ball is legally caught before that runner or the base is tagged by a fielder. The runner shall not be called out for failure to retouch the base after the first following pitch, or any play or attempted play. This is an appeal play.
As you can see, this is explicitly an appeal play. In addition, an Approved Ruling under 4.09 re-emphasizes that this is not a force play:
4.09(a) APPROVED RULING: One out, Jones on third, Smith on first and Brown flies out to right field for the second out. Jones tags up and scores after the catch. Smith attempted to return to first but the right fielder's throw beat Smith to the base for the third out. But Jones scored before the throw to catch Smith reached first base. Hence, Jones' run counts. It was not a force play.
Thus, in summary, although an appeal of a missed base can be a force play, an appeal for failure to retouch can never be a force play.
- An appeal on a runner who missed a base cannot be a force out.
Reality: This is directly related to the preceding myth regarding retouch appeals. Unlike a retouch appeal, an appeal for a missed base can easily be a force play, if the missed base being appealed is one to which the runner has been forced, or if the batter misses first base.
Although primarily designed to illustrate another concept, the Little League Casebook has an example play that covers this explictly:
Play 7-17: Runners on first and third, two outs. The batter singles to left field. The runner on third scores and runner on first is thrown out trying to reach third, missing second on his way, for the third out. The defensive team is leaving the field when the defensive coach yells at the right fielder, the last player in fair territory, to pick up the ball, step on second, and make a verbal appeal that the runner missed second base.
Ruling: The runner is out on a force at second. The fourth out takes precedence over the third out, and the run scored is nullified.
- Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called.
Reality: The rulebook explicitly states otherwise:
2.00 INFIELD FLY ... The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of that ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched or caught, the same as on any fly ball...
- The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces.
Reality: When a pitch bounces, the only things that change are:
- It can no longer be a "called" (non-swinging) strike.
- It cannot be legally caught for the purposes of 6.09(b) (the "third strike not caught" rule).
Other than that, the pitch is still alive and in play, and all the standard rules about whether or not the batter is awarded first still apply.
- You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.
Reality: If you stop and think about it, players don't touch the bag with their foot. Unless they're playing barefoot, they touch the base with their shoe. The relevant definition reads:
A TAG is the action of a fielder in touching a base with the body while olding the ball securely and firmly in the hand or glove;
A related rule reads:
The PERSON of a player or an umpire is any part of the body, clothing or equipment.
If the fielder is holding the ball securely and firmly in the hand or glove, they may touch the base with any part of their person - that is, with the body, clothing or equipment. Thus, for example, a player could have the ball in his or her bare hand, and touch the base with his or her glove, and the tag would be legal. After all, a glove and a shoe are both pieces of his/her equipment.
The rule for tagging a runner, of course, is different. The second half of the "tag" definition goes on to read:
...or touching a runner with the ball or with the hand or glove holding the ball, while holding the ball securely and firmly in the hand or glove.
Thus, when we're dealing with a runner, a tag is much more restrictive than when we're dealing with a base.
- The ball is always immediately dead on a balk.
Reality: Under certain rule sets, NFHS ("Fed") for example, this is true. Under Little League rules, however, it is not. Rule 8.05 includes this section:
PENALTY: The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk.
Clearly, if the batter can hit the ball and runners can advance after a balk, the ball cannot be automatically dead when the balk occurs.
When a balk occurs during a pick-off move, the batter clearly cannot advance. As a result, the ball becomes dead at that time, and the penalty is enforced. If a balk occurs during a pitch, however, the play is allowed to continue. If the batter-runner and all other runners advance at least one base safely, the balk is ignored. As soon as it becomes apparent that this will not happen, however, then the ball becomes dead and the penalty is enforced.
Thus, a balk is what umpires refer to as a "delayed dead ball," in the sense that the ball may not become dead for some time after the infraction, if at all.
- If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball.
Reality: The position of a player's feet have nothing to do with whether a ball is fair or foul. The "condition" of the ball is based solely on where the ball is with respect to the foul line. The rule book emphasizes this by including the following phrases:
Under 2.00 FAIR BALL:
A fair fly shall be adjudged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on fair or foul territory at the time such fielder touches the ball.
Under 2.00 FOUL BALL:
A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on foul or fair territory at the time that fielder touches the ball.
- If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a home run.
Reality: If a fielder catches a fly ball before it leaves the playing field and retains possession of the ball, the catch stands, and the batter is out. All runners currently on base are then awarded one base from the time of the pitch because the fielder fell out of the field of play.
7.04(b) Each runner, other than the batter, may, without liability to be put out, advance one base when ... a fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators are on the field or falls into any other dead-ball areas;
- The ball is dead anytime the ball hits an umpire.
Reality: There are two, and only two, situations in which umpire's interference is called:
Umpire's interference occurs (1) when an umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher's throw attempting to prevent a stolen base, or (2) when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder
In any other situation, an umpire is considered part of the field, and any ball that touches him/her is alive and in play.
- Runners must stay on their bases until the pitcher releases the ball.
Reality: In Majors and below (both baseball and softball), runners must stay on their bases until the ball reaches the batter.
In Junior softball and above, runners must stay on their bases until the pitcher release the ball.
In Junior baseball and above, of course, runners may leave their bases at any time.
- The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first after a dropped third strike.
Reality: When the catcher does not catch a third strike, the batter is not obligated to go directly to the base. He or she may take any path desired to the base, including walking right over to the dugout door. Once the batter leaves live ball area, however, he or she is automatically out, so if the batter actually steps into the dugout, he or she may not return and run to first. Other than that, however, there are no restrictions on how the batter goes to first. This is explicitly covered under Rule 7.08(a):
APPROVED RULING (Junior/Senior/Big League): When a batter becomes a runner on a third strike not caught and starts for the bench or his/her position, that batter may advance to first base at any time before entering the bench. To put the batter out, the defense must tag the batter or first base before the batter touches first base.
It's worth noting that the pro rule was changed a few years ago. Originally, that rule and the Little League rule were the same. Now, in the pros, if the batter heads for his dugout and gets outside the dirt circle surrounding home plate, he forfeits his right to run on the dropped third strike. (This is covered in the pro rules in a Comment to 6.09(b)). Little League has not, however, chosen to change their rule to match.
- The pitcher must come to a set position and stop before a pick-off throw.
Reality: The pitcher must stop prior to pitching, but he is not required to stop prior to a pick-off move.
8.01(c) At any time during the pitcher's preliminary movements and until the natural pitching motion commits that pitcher to the pitch, said pitcher may throw to any base provided the pitcher steps directly toward such base before making the throw.
The "coming set" movements are considered preliminary, and do not yet commit the pitcher to pitch, thus he may make a pick-off throw prior to stopping his motion.
- The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw.