off topic....Are on-deck batters prohibited from timing their swing with warm-up pitches

  • Sorry that this is off topic (non-LL situation), but I thought I'd ask hear since we have a lot of "rules gurus" here.

    I'm getting this question/situation second hand and it just doesn't sound right. An on deck batter was apparently timing their warm-up swings with the pitcher's warm-up pitches. An umpire told the coach, his on-deck batter was not allowed to do this. Does this make sense???? If we have a legal on-deck batter in a safe place swinging their bat, do we need to worry about how or when they are swinging their bats?

    Are there any baseball/softball organizations that prohibit an on-deck batter from timing their swing with the pitcher?

    Thanks for your help!



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  • No written rule against it, so the umpire needed to stay out of it.

    It's one of those unwritten rules, that gets dealt with as the kids get older. There are certain things you don't do, and that is one of them.

    What level of ball was this?

  • As Kyle said nothing in the book against it. After the on deck batter gets up to bat and gets plunked he might learn.

  • Thanks....This is High School Softball....If I notice a legal on-deck batter, I'll make sure they're not in a dangerous and/or distracting spot. But, I don't worry about how or when they're swinging their bat.

  • I've never heard of an organization whose rules prohibit on-deck batters from swinging as the pitcher pitches. Heck, on-deckers are allowed to take a warm-up bat into the circle with them; what are they supposed to do with it?

    There are some orgs that limit on-deck batters from certain things. For example, some won't allow the on-deck batter (including the leadoff batter in an inning) to be on the side nearer to the opposing dugout.

    But swinging the bat as the pitcher pitches is fine, as long as it's done within the circle, and not right next to the batter's box.



    Updated 59 months ago by the author.
  • I don't know if that same taboo translates over to softball, or not.

  • There's no rule against it at any level that I know of. As for an "unwritten rule" against it, I've never heard of such a thing. Any pitcher who's bothered by something so trivial probably isn't very good to begin with. The only downside to such a practice of swinging to time pitches is if a teammate is hitting and you're in his field of vision: You may end up distracting your teammate.

  • Missing a key point - where was the on deck batter standing?

    If they're in the on deck circle it's OK - by written or unwritten rule.

    If they go stand near the plate and do it all bets are off - at least with older players.

  • @Rich.....at this point I/we have no idea where the batter was standing. Just an umpire advising "you're not allowed to time pitches". As I'm thinking about this, my guess is an umpire attempted to advise a team the on-deck batter needed to be in their on-deck circle, but instead of stating to be in the proper spot, he/she "made up" a reason????? Making up stuff can get us into trouble. We need to know the rule and if questioned about a rule, pretty much just state the rule. If a coach asks why we have the rule....unless your organization put out a reason for a rule, you should only respond, "That's the rule."

  • Umpires need to umpire, coaches need to coach...as long as the "at bat" batter is away from the plate (or the on-deck batter is in the "circle"), I could care less what he or she does when he or she is swinging the bat. I had a partner last year that came to me and let me know he told the batter he couldn't time his swing with the pitcher warming up; I politely told him there is nothing in the rulebook - any rulebook - that says that a batter can or cannot do that and I reminded him that we umpire, not coach. I think this is one of those "myths" out there...

  • Again, it's one of those unwritten baseball things that you don't do. You don't step on the chaulked lines, you don't time pitches when the pitcher is warming up, you don't look back at the catchers signs or position, etc. Goofy baseball traditions you don't mess with. Some are just superstitions, and others are dealt with, at the upper levels, harshly. Looking back at the catcher, or timing pitches might get you a McRib sandwich at some level. Good coaches know this, and teach their kids the proper baseball etiquette at an early age.

    And that's what we're talking about here, baseball etiquette. But that's nothing that an umpire should be ruling on. Sure, he might want to point it out, and let the less experienced folks know what the ramifications might be later on, but he should also know his boundries for making up rules. There's a big difference between "shouldn't" and "can't".

  • You tend to not have beanball issues in softball from my experience. I think you tend to have more hard slide reactions if someone is bent out of shape. 43 feet away, beanballs can be dangerous on higher levels.

    Keep in mind also that softball diamonds tend to have less foul territory. I can say I've seen someone time pitches during a warmup sequence, but usually not right at the plate.

  • For what it's worth, here at the LLB World Series, the first batter of each half-inning is permitted to stand away from the batting circle and swing a bat while the defensive team and pitcher are warming up. Whether or not the batter is doing so to "time" the pitches is up to him/her. No other offensive team players with bats are permitted to be outside the dugout at this time.

  • I can recall watching a major league some years ago and an on deck batter was ejected for timing pitches in the on deck circle. If you watch an on deck hitter he will look like he is timing the pitch and then at the last second he will stop and relax.

  • Ejected? No.

    One in the back pocket? Yup.