SPORTS

New rule in high school baseball over the top

Posted

In two different cases this spring, I have seen baseball umpires warn teams about the new rules regarding cheering during the game.

Now to be clear, I am not sure if these are hard rules that have been spelled out in the rulebook or if they are sort of, should I say new etiquette standards that are being enforced.

To explain the new protocol, players that are in the dugout are no longer allowed to make noise while the opposing pitcher is in the middle of their windup to throw the pitch. Once the ball has left their hand and before they begin their windup, the kids are allowed to cheer, yell, make noise, whatever. Once the pitcher is in motion though, silence is required.

As you probably can imagine, the response from the coaches was confusion at first, then disbelief. I, myself, was perplexed by the whole situation. It made me ask myself: Have we finally softened to the point that we have to ban kids from cheering on their teammates?

If the rule was something to the effect of, kids can’t holler directly at the pitcher or they weren’t allowed to use profanity, something like that, I could understand. From my observation, it seems to be that kids are simply not allowed to make noise in the middle of a pitcher’s windup, period.

From the time kids are in tee-ball, they are taught to cheer on their teammates when they are batting. It’s one of the oldest and purest forms of sportsmanship that you will find in America. Cheering from the dugout for your teammate is something that nearly every child has been taught to do.

Now, that is being disallowed. For what reason? Because it’s distracting for pitchers? Ridiculous.

Here’s the thing, I understand that these are high schoolers that we’re talking about here. I get that these kids are not fully matured adults, and I also understand that having fun is what it’s all about. But at the end of the day, if the opposing team making noise is enough of a disturbance to prevent you from being able to pitch the ball, then maybe you should find another position or sport to play. Especially if we’re talking about players with college aspirations, the noise is all part of it and you need to work through it.

Again, there are definitely times when teams are going out of their way to get in the opposing pitcher’s head. It’s absolutely a tactic that can be taken too far. To outlaw all noise though is silly and is taking away from the game.

The numbers in baseball over the past decade have been steadily declining in favor of other sports that have been emerging. Am I saying that this new procedure is contributing to the downfall of America’s Pastime? Well, no, but it certainly doesn’t help.

You saw it in the labor negotiations in the MLB this past winter. Players at that level have routinely shown that they are difficult to please and have become entitled. The owners travel on the other side of the two-way street, but still, baseball players have egos that exceed most other athletes, in my opinion anyway.

It is thanks to rules like these. Oh, it’s not fair for pitchers to have to battle through a dozen kids getting rowdy on the sidelines? Boo hoo, get real. If crowds bother you, then maybe you shouldn’t play sports where there will always be one watching.

I just found it interesting and a little sad to be honest with you. In a world where we are censored enough as is, we are now going to be telling teenage kids when and when not to cheer their teammates on during a baseball game? Give me a break.

I am sorry to be so negative, but I have one more gripe that I need to touch on here and this goes out to the coaches in our coverage area. Some of them, not all.

At the beginning of each season, finding numerical rosters is always tough. I get it, coaches are more concerned about putting a team together and preparing it for the start of the season. Sometimes technical difficulties arise, sometimes there are unforeseen issues in finalizing rosters, I totally understand.

Having said that, I implore coaches to upload their numerical - numerical being the key word - roster to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League website. This is the league website that includes schools, schedules, and rosters, all of the important information needed for media members like myself to cover their teams.

It is becoming more and more difficult to find these rosters online. Many coaches use sites like MaxPreps and GameChanger. Each of those sites are user friendly, but nothing is more frustrating than scrambling through multiple websites every time you are simply trying to find the name of a player.

Sure, the coaches are always willing to accommodate you, it’s not like I have been in a situation where I can’t figure it out. But I am asking as a favor, if you could upload a numerical roster to the RIIL site as soon as possible, it would be greatly appreciated. Or, if you’d like to send me the roster directly, my email is alexs@rhodybeat.com. Many coaches already have my phone number as well.

The same thing goes for any scores, stats, updates. I try my best to follow teams on social media when I am unable to make an event, but I am almost always able to fit in any scores and stats that coaches, players or parents would like to submit. Again, my email is always open, and there is almost always space each week to include an update on your club.

Thank you all for helping out and allowing me to have the best job in the world. Let’s have a great spring.

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