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You Make the Call: The Use of an Offensive Timeout

Situation: All divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® -- With a runner on first base, and one out, the third batter in the half inning steps into the batter’s box. After the count goes to one ball and one strike, the third-base coach asks the third-base umpire for “Time” so that he may speak with the batter. Time is granted, and the player and coach have a conversation. Following the brief meeting, the coach returns to the coach’s box, the player steps back into the batter’s box and the umpire puts the ball in play.

The batter eventually draws a base on balls and the following batter reaches base on an infield hit to load the bases. As the next batter approaches the plate, the catcher signals to his defense, which shifts the alignment of the shortstop to the right side of second base. As the third base coach sees the shift, he asks the third base umpire for ”Time” so that he can talk to the batter. In this instance, the coach’s request is denied.

Why was “Time” not granted for the coach to speak to the batter?

Answer: To assist us with this ruling, we reference the Official Playing Rules in Section 2.00 -- Definitions of Terms and rule 5.10(d).

The definition of “Time” – “Time” is the announcement by the umpire of a legal interruption of play, during which the ball is dead.

Rule 5.10(d) -- The ball becomes dead when an umpire calls "Time." The Umpire-in-Chief shall call "Time" - when a manager requests “Time” for a substitution, or for a conference with one of the players; (NOTE: Only one offensive time-out, for the purpose of a visit or conference, will be permitted each inning.)

In the situation described, the coach had used his one offensive time out when he chose to speak with the third batter in the half inning. The umpire was obligated by rule to deny the second “time” request made later in the half inning.

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Fairball | January 2015 | URC | Registry