Amateur Baseball Rule Change
The South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association has adopted the American Legion Collision Rule for the 2005 season. The rule is printed below. This rule makes intentional collisions illegal at any base. If a collision is judged to be illegal the runner is out. If the collision is judged to be malicious or flagrant the runner may also be ejected. Not all collisions are illegal. Some just happen as part of the game. Read the rule to understand the difference.
Collision Rule. The intent of this rule is to encourage base runners and defensive players to avoid collisions whenever possible.
1. When there is a collision between a runner and a fielder who clearly is in possession of the ball, the umpire shall judge:
a) Whether the collision by the runner was avoidable (could the runner have reached the base without colliding) or unavoidable (the runnerís path to the base was blocked) or
b) Whether the runner was actually attempting to reach the base (plate) or was he attempting to dislodge the ball from the fielder.
PENALTY - If the runner, a) could have avoided the collision and reached the base, or b) attempted to dislodge the ball, the runner shall be declared out, even if the fielder loses possession of the ball. The ball is dead and all base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
Ruling 1: - If the fielder blocks the path of the base runner to the base (plate), the runner may make contact, slide into, or collide with a fielder as long as the runner is making a legitimate attempt to reach the base or plate.
Ruling 2: - If the collision by the runner was flagrant, the runner shall be declared out and ejected from the contest. The ball shall be declared dead.
Clarification Ruling 2: If the defensive player blocks the base (plate) or base line without the ball, obstruction shall be called. The runner is safe and a delayed dead ball shall be called.
Ruling 3: - If the runner collides flagrantly, he shall be declared safe on the obstruction, but will be ejected from the contest. The ball is dead.
Malicious Contact: Any player who, in the judgment of the umpire, maliciously runs into another player is automatically ejected and is declared out. The American Legion is concerned that some coaches may not have explained to their players that malicious contact is illegal. The majority of intentional collisions occur at home plate where the catcher is blocking the plate. Runners should be instructed to slide directly to the plate, or away from the catcher, to avoid making contact with the catcher, especially when the defender is in possession of the ball. Umpires have been instructed that, if there is any intentional and excessive force or if there is any intent to injure another player, the offending player shall be ejected from the game. The malicious contact penalty will be enforced whether committed by an offensive or defensive player. Any player ejected by an umpire is automatically removed from the Tournament, unless the Tournament Director reinstates that player.