Kevin A posted:
As a former catcher and a father of a current catcher..... What makes a person qualified to determine what "ordinary effort" is?
Now there’s a great question and it deserves a thoughtful answer. 1st of all what everyone has to understand is, the definition of Ordinary Effort in OBR isn’t in any other rule set I know of, but since this is HSBBW let’s stick with that venue. In the NFHS rule book, you don’t see much about ordinary effort. And when you do, there’s no definition because that was something MLB came up with to help scorers of professional games. So right off the gitgo, someone who only uses the NFHS rulebook and doesn’t understand how the rules are applied, is at a distinct advantage because they’re only guessing at what ordinary effort means.
What folks like myself who have been at this scoring stuff for quite a while do, is look to OBR as the “bible” when it comes to trying to interpret what something means in the rule book. FI, here’s the NFHS rule about wild pitches and the OBR rule for the same thing.
I you look closely they say pretty much the same thing, except for that underline part. Let me tell ya, there’s not a whole lot of pitches that hit ground before they reach the plate! That means every pitch touching the ground after it reaches the front of the plate requires a judgement. The problem with that is, people like yourself and a great many coaches who expect a lot, are gonna charge them as PBs if a runner advances. But that judgement isn’t required in games played under OBR. If the pitch touches the dirt and a runner advances, it’s a no-brainer. WP.
I choose to use the guidelines in OBR because it only makes sense to me that if the most knowledgeable people in the game agree that the best catchers in the world shouldn’t be expected to make that play, kids in HS shouldn’t either.
NFHS 6-1 A wild pitch shall be charged in the summary to the pitcher when a ball legally delivered to the batter is so high, or so low (including any pitch that touches the ground in front of home plate) or so far away from home plate that the catcher does not stop or control it with ordinary effort so that the batter-runner advances to first base or any runner advances a base.
OBR 9.13(a) The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball is so high, so wide or so low that the catcher does not stop and control the ball by ordinary effort, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball touches the ground or home plate before reaching the catcher and is not handled by the catcher, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance.
Part of that ordinary effort definition gives a lot of people who score at lower levels a lot of trouble is where it talks about what “a fielder of average skill is”. It talks about the average player in that league or classifications of leagues which in baseball played under OBR is pretty simple. There’s the 2 leagues in MLB, and the 4 in MilB. IOW, the average player in AAA ball is different than AA, A, and the Rookie leagues. That’s what the definition was for, and when it’s extrapolated for HS ball, the problems start. Why? Because there’s a huge difference in Fr, JV, and V HS baseball. Then on top of that, there’s often a huge difference between school divisions. IOW, the average SS in the smallest school division is not likely to be as good as the average SS in the largest school division. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean a CF in the smallest division can’t be better than the best one in the largest division. It’s the average we’re talking about. Now let’s throw in that school’s often play non-league games across divisions, i.e. a DI team playing a DIV team. Now what do you do?
Typically, not always but typically, what the better scorers will do is treat V teams pretty much the same, and do the same with JV and Fr teams, and depend on their experience with seeing a lot of games at that level to make the best judgements possible. And that’s where the next problem shows itself.
I’ve been scoring HS games since 2000, and haven’t had a child on a team I scored for since 2004. I often score for the Fr/JV teams in the summer to keep my understanding about the different level of play sharp, and believe me, the differences are glaring. Unfortunately, most schools don’t have the advantage of having a scorer similar to me. What’s typical is a parent who likely hasn’t spent more than a year or two scoring games at any HS level. It also isn’t unusual to have a player or student manager scoring the game, and for them to have scored games at any 1 level for more than a year is also unusual.
So now you’re stuck with a scorer who may be the most conscientious person in the world but just doesn’t have the experience to make the best judgements. But even that can be overcome by consistency. Having the same person scoring the games will eventually give that person the experience that makes them a better scorer.
ORDINARY EFFORT is the effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play, with due consideration given to the condition of the field and weather conditions.
(Ordinary Effort) Comment: This standard, called for several times in the Official Scoring Rules (e.g., Rules 9.05(a)(3) (Rule 10.05(a)(3)), 9.05(a)(4) (Rule 10.05(a)(4)), 9.05(a)(6) (Rule 10.05(a)(6)), 9.05(b)(3) (Base Hits) (Rule 10.05(b)(3) (Base Hits)); 9.08(b) (Sacrifices) (Rule 10.08(b)) (Sacrifices)); 9.12(a)(1) Comment ((Rule 10.12(a)(1) Comment), 9.12(d)(2) (Errors) ((Rule 10.12(d)(2) (Errors)); and 9.13(a), 9.13(b) (Wild Pitches and Passed Balls) (Rule 10.13(a)), 10.13(b) (Wild Pitches and Passed Balls)) and in the Official Baseball Rules (e.g., Definition of Terms, Infield Fly), is an objective standard in regard to any particular fielder. In other words, even if a fielder makes his best effort, if that effort falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have made in a situation, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.
Just because a parent has watched his kid play ball doesn't make him an official scorer! On a throw coming in to the catcher with a runner bearing down on him those throws are not the easiest to handle. Often they move at the bounce giving very little reaction time to a catcher. The hit dirt/grass edges and bounch, etc. Plus a catcher may rush the catch/tag knowing the runner has the jump. Errors on catchers are typically throw away plays, fastball is dropped or clips the glove or catcher tries to pick the ball instead of blocking allowing runners to advance. To hang an E on a catcher due to what YOU believe is an easy routine bounce isn't very objective. What if a single is hit to the outfield with a guy on third. Play at home runner rounds first. Catcher instead of trying to pick said bounced throw blocks the throw like a pitch to stop ball and throw out said runner going to second. In your mind you felt the catcher had a play at the runner coming home. Do you mark him as an error??
That is why I don't worry about score books kept by parents. Very few of them are familiar with the rules and, understandably, driven by emotions. May be hesitant to not give their child an E or a friend's child. I don't worry about any one else's kids errors but my own. I know what errors he may have made and will address with him at the proper time. He can pick behind the plate with the best of them. Some coaches yell "great pick". I yell...."Your not playing first base. BLOCK".
I am expect more from him and what may not be an error doesn't mean it is correct.
Your feelings are exactly what I was talking about. You don’t care what the rulebook says, you’re concerned with what you THINK should happen. That’s fine by me. I’m always in “discussions” with coaches, players, and parents about how I scored something. I always listen, then explain why I scored something like I did. If they can convince me I misapplied a rule, or prove to me I didn’t have the best vantage point for a particular play but someone who did convinces me I was wrong, I’ll change it. Over the years I haven’t changed many because normally when I explain why I marked it the way I did, the other person agrees.