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Discussion: What's the correct call?

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July 8, 2021
RDSinNEOHIO
Men's 60
27 posts
What's the correct call?
Here's a new one. Bases loaded, one out, bottom of 7th. Batter nearly swings and misses but "foul tips" the ball backwards. After a brief time in the air, the ball hits the very back of the mat and bounces up. The catcher then catches the ball after the bounce and tags the batter. Umpire rules that the mat was part of home plate and therefore a fair ball even though the ball was now behind the batter. In addition, with the hit, the runner on third came halfway down the line, the ump ruled he passed the commit line and therefore he was called out in addition to the batter, GAME OVER. Protested to no avail that the ball should have been ruled a foul ball. What was the right call?
July 8, 2021
stick8
1905 posts
The strike mat is considered fair territory. Since the batted ball hit the mat and bounced up and then catcher caught the ball in the air that is a fair ball.
The batter is out after being tagged.
Since the runner at third came down the line and presuming he passed the commit line as you say did the runner go back to third and cross back over the commit line? Or did the catcher step on the mat with the ball in his possession?
Sounds like the umpire may have made the correct call!
July 8, 2021
txnighttrain
105 posts
The strike map is not necessarily in fair territory. The SSUSA rules only defines fair territory and there is a diagram in the rules showing the mat and home plate separate. The foul lines are marked from the rear corner of home plate. I believe this would be a judgment call to whether the ball was touched over home plate or behind the plate. The position of the player is not relevant only the position of the ball. If the ball was over home plate when touched then it would have been fair, otherwise it was foul. For an umpire to make that call, he would have to be absolutely sure or he would need to call it foul.
July 8, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3516 posts
tnt ... The Official Rule Book disagrees with you on whether or not the strike mat is defined as being in fair territory ... [Emphasis added]

1.23 FAIR TERRITORY
Fair territory is that part of the playing field within, and including, the first and third base foul lines from home plate to the bottom of the playing field fence and perpendicularly upwards. (NOTE: Any batted ball first hitting any portion of the strike mat then settling in fair territory is a fair ball. Fair territory includes the strike mat.)

July 9, 2021
B.J.
904 posts
yes it's a good call.. and I agree with both stick and DD if after the ball struck the strike mat and bounced up that the ball was actually STILL OVER the mat and not behind it where the catcher usually stands

I actually had a similar play a few years ago that caused a big argument during the game just after SSUSA added this last sentence to rule 1.23
"Fair territory includes the strike mat"


July 9, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
298 posts
The way it is stated, the ball bounced back towards the catch, so he touched it behind the foul line."FOUL BALL"
July 9, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3516 posts
Manny ... You may want to re-read the original premise ... It says "..the ball hits the very back of the mat and bounces up.." ... No mention is made of it bouncing any further back ... As simply described by RDS, the ball was above fair territory, defined as the strike mat, which makes stick8's and B.J.'s analysis correct ... FAIR BALL ...
July 9, 2021
grayhitter59
Men's 60
298 posts
Dave, how does a catcher standing behind the plate( been there many a time) catch the ball in fair territory?

No Pugh Rodriguez's playing in our divisions that I am aware of.

Once touched by a defensive player in foul territory before first or third base the ball is foul. unless it is in the air.

Stated ball touched the mat (Floor) bounced up, Catcher touches it, behind the mat, before the first or third base bag, ball is foul!!!



July 9, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3516 posts
No argument with your theory on catcher mobility/range, but the fact pattern as originally stated has the ball bouncing UP, not back ... Maybe the catcher stepped forward? ... Who knows? ... This discussion is the perfect example of why so many threads end up being dozens of random posts deep instead of just a couple accurate responses (like the ones by stick8 and B.J.) ... Because people fudge the facts just a bit and it's no longer an answer to the original question ... But each of those little modifications results in an opinion that is non-responsive to the original fact pattern, so off we go into the seemingly never-ending cycle of redundancy ... So long as you accept the premise that the ball bounced UP, the call has to be: FAIR BALL ... Cheers!

July 9, 2021
Dbax
Men's 65
1971 posts
Just like the foul lines, its where the ball is, not where the player is standing. Fair ball!
July 9, 2021
DirkPitt
12 posts
Whether it hit the mat or not is irrelevant and discussion of such only serves to confuse the issue. It's where the ball is when it's touched by an umpire or a player. If touched by a defensive player or an umpire while in/on/over fair territory it is a fair ball. If the strike mat is defined as being in fair territory and the ball was over the strike mat when touched or if the ball settles on the strike mat - fair ball.

Sounds like the umpire made a judgement call on where the ball was when touched by the catcher and then ruled correctly based on that judgement.
July 9, 2021
LMR
9 posts
Just out of curiosity, why (by rule) is the mat considered to be in fair territory?
July 9, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3516 posts
The reasoning at the time was that the mat overlays the actual home plate, making it difficult, if not impossible, to precisely determine what part of the mat is above the plate and which part overhangs it ... Defining the entire mat as being "fair territory" eliminates that factual determination issue ...
July 11, 2021
LMR
9 posts
Makes sense. Thanks Dave
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