To: NFHS Baseball Administrators and Baseball Rules Committee Members
From: B. Elliot Hopkins, MLD, CAA, Baseball Rules Editor and National Interpreter
Subject: The Usage and Allowance of Cheek and Jaw Protectors attached to Batting Helmets
Date: February 15, 2019
NYSPHSAA approved an addition to NFHS Rule 3-1-4:
The designated hitter and the pitcher may be the same person. If the pitcher opts to bat for himself, he is treated as two separate positions – a pitcher and a designated hitter (abbreviated P/DH on the lineup card) – and may be substituted for as such (i.e. if a player who starts the game as the P/DH is relieved as the starting pitcher, he may not return to the mound even if he remains in the game as the DH, and he may not play any other defensive position after being relieved as the pitcher.
Modified That Baseballs Meet a NOCSAE Standard by January 1, 2020 (1-3-1) — To maintain a consistent and uniformed standard for high school competition, every baseball manufactured should meet the same level of quality and playability. However, due to the number of baseballs that some high schools have in their inventory, the implementation date was moved back to accomodate that surplus. The effective date is January 1, 2020.
Removing an Element of the Pivot Foot Requirement (6-1-3) — This rule change eliminates the requirement for the entire pivot foot to be in contact with the pitcher’s plate. Many pitching mounds are constructed such that it is problematic for a pitcher to have his entire pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate. No advantage is gained by having some of his pivot foot not in contact with the pitcher’s plate.
Umpire Signal – Correct Rotation — When using a 3- or 4-person mechanics, the umpires indicate to their partner(s) where they are rotating to a specific base for coverage of an anticipated play. The umpire(s) points with both hands in the direction of the base that he/she is moving toward.
Umpire Signal – Information Available — The game umpire indicates to his/her partner that he/she has some information that is relevant by tapping two times over his/her left chest (heart).
SITUATION 1: The pitcher, in his delivery motion, comes off the pitching plate and replants his pivot foot in the dirt in front of the pitching plate prior to releasing the ball. His coach says this “crowhop” is legal. RULING: This is an illegal pitch. The pitcher cannot replant his pivot foot during the delivery. (6-1-1, 6-1-2, 6-1-3)
SITUATION 2: The batter comes to bat wearing a helmet with a “jaw and cheek protector” attached to the helmet. His coach states that the combination is legal while the opposing coach maintains that the helmet is now illegal and cannot be worn. RULING: With all the possible combinations of products on the market, it is not feasible for an individual umpire to know what is legal and what is not. It is the responsibility of the head coach to know if helmets with the “jaw and cheek protector” attached are compliant. (2-10-2, 4-1-3b)
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