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Discussion: Definition of Altered Softball

Posted Discussion
Jan. 14, 2023
The real deal
Men's 70
106 posts
Definition of Altered Softball
SSUSA Staff:

Item 5 (from National Rules Meeting) refers to the penalty for using an "altered softball". Can you give us the definition of this? Can we assume this refers to putting a ball into play that has been stored in an ice chest? If this is correct, at what temperature is a ball considered illegal, and how is this temperature determined?
Jan. 14, 2023
SSUSA Staff
3314 posts
TRD ... The most common example of an "altered softball" is the chilled ball example you mentioned ... At the Rules Committee meetings, a member of the committee reported that there are commercial online businesses that will also take a standard ball, remove the cover and replace the inside of the ball with a extra-hard core before slipping the cover back on and re-stitching it ... While that seems like a lot of effort, apparently it can be had, resulting in a ball that flies like a kid's Super Ball, for around $20 per ball ...

As to determining the altered chilled ball, most umpires and directors use a touch test ... If the umpires are following the official mechanics, they should be introducing all balls into play and should feel the ambient temperature difference ... If a ball is just tossed in by the opposing dugout, the pitcher is the next line of recognition ... There's no official temperature difference required, and I've never heard of a team appealing an altered softball ruling because some theoretical temperature gradient of X wasn't met ...

My favorite chilled softball story came out of Carson City about 15 years ago in a Saturday night last-game-of-the-evening Men's 40's game ... Umpire called me over the the fence and hollered that I needed to bring the First Aid Kit ... When I got there and asked "What's happening?", the pitcher was standing there with a ball in his glave, offered it to me and said "Frostbite" ...

Jan. 14, 2023
Duke
Men's 65
908 posts
My only experience with an iced down ball, was not acknowledged by the umpire. The other team tossed in an iced ball for me to pitch. I instantly complained it was altered, and threw the ball to the umpire. The umpire said pitch it or we could call over the Director for determination. At this tournament, the Director was too far away, and would have taken 15 minutes away from our game. I declined and said lets play. The umpire said let's play ball. On my first pitch, I hurled it as far as I could into foul territory, and said to the umpire...ball one. The opposing team laughed and threw in a legitimate ball. Even the umpire laughed.
Jan. 15, 2023
Omar Khayyam
1357 posts
Duke, I love that!
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