Stupid Little League Rule
One of the stupidest Little League rules is the one that does not allow an on deck batter. Batters on deck gain so much insight into the pitcher and the come to the plate much more prepared to hit. That is the obvious downside of this rule, a more subtle one is the on deck batter’s responsibilities to the runners.
On Deck Batter’s Responsibilities
What you ask? The on deck batter is supposed to help the runners? Yes, this subtle and often overlooked skill can save you a few runs over the length of a season. The on deck batter must help the runner coming home and alert them to:
2. Stand Up
3. Which side of the plate to slide on
This is done very simply. Let’s assume there is a runner on second base, the batter hits a single and there is an inevitable play coming on the the runner at home. The on deck batter should line up beyond home plate, but out of the path of play. Basically, continue the third base line through the batter’s box, over the plate, and into the space where a runner would run if he overran home plate. That is where the on deck batter should position himself.
How to Communicate
This position gives the runner the best opportunity to see him without and additional effort. We do, after all, want the runner going full speed, there is a play being made on him. The runner approaches third, picks up the third base coach and gets the go signal. At this point he rounds third base and heads for home. About halfway home he should pick up the on deck batter. The on deck batter should signal to the runner what to do in the following manner:
Stand Up-The on deck batter should stand tall and hold their arms up in the air while yelling "your up, up, up, up, up"
Slide Left (inside the plate)-The on deck batter should bend down and swipe his hands in the direction right of the line or inside the plate shouting "get down, get down, get down"
Slide Right (outside the plate)-The on deck batter should bend down and swipe his hands in the direction left of the line or inside the plate shouting "get down, get down, get down"
The swipe should be a big two handed wave similar to a "swoosh" or big loco wave motion. How does the on deck batter decide which way to tell the runner to slide? He has to watch the play develop and watch where the throw is going to end up.
How to Decide
If the catcher is moving towards the pitchers mound or "leaning in" to the field of play, he tells the runner to slide outside. If the catcher has to go up the line a bit or has to go into foul territory to make the play the runner should slide inside. If the throw is on the money and the catcher is in perfect blocking position, then the runner is probably going to be out, but since the catcher usually reaches towards the inside of the diamond to catch the ball then reaches back to make the tag, the default location to slide is outside.
So how do we accomplish this in Little League? Well, the first runner is on their own, but if they score standing up, they should turn around and assist any trailing runners.
This often overlooked fundamental of the game will help you pick up a few runs during the season. Don’t neglect it in the older divisions, and make sure to use it for trailing runners in the younger divisions.
Do you have another overlooked fundamental you like to focus on?
Today I saw a call incorrectly made that I wanted to clarify. A
ball is foul based on where it is touched, not where the player is or where the players feet are. The ball is called based on the position of the BALL at the time it is contacted.
Therefore, if a player is standing fully in
fair territory and reaches over into foul territory to make a play, and contacts the ball when the ball is in foul territory, the ball is foul. The position of the player or the player’s feet is irrelivant.
This is a call that is often made wrong and rarely understood in the stands.
Do you know any other strange rules that come into play often?
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