PITCH IN THE DIRT…NOW WHAT?
Scenario – The pitcher rocks and burns a fast ball toward the plate. Unfortunately for all, the pitch is a 44-foot fast ball that hits in front of the plate and strikes the batter before he/she can even think about getting out of the way. Now what are you going to call? You hear one manager yelling that it is a hit batsman and he/she should get first base. The other manager is yelling it hit the dirt so it is a dead ball and the batter stays in the batters box. When I get this question presented to me over the telephone the first thing I ask the caller is; “If you had the winning runner on 3rd base with two outs in the bottom of the last inning and the pitched ball hits in front of the plate and gets by the catcher to the backstop, would you not want the winning run to score? Of course every caller says “Sure, I want the run!” Then I add “so what is the difference in a ball hitting the dirt and hitting the batter and a ball hitting the dirt and getting by the catcher to allow the winning run to score?” “The ball is not dead because it hit the dirt, but is dead because it hit the batter. Give him/her first base and play ball.”
Andy Konyar, UIC, Little League Baseball and Softball