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2012-366 Day 270 – Rules

I was swamped today, taking care of multiple problems in our Singularity database. In the meantime I’ve also had to rework our Softball schedule after the extra fields fell through and also dealing with a couple of rules questions that came up over the weekend. In an effort to give you some insight as to how my rules-oriented brain works, I’m reproducing the rules and my opinions on them here (also because I wrote a good amount for it). The rules issue arose from two custom rules we implemented ourselves:

A) Everyone starts with a one ball – one strike count. If a male batter batting ahead of a female batter walks on three straight pitches from the beginning of the at bat, they are awarded second base after the initial walk.

B) Each team is required to have three female players in the field and the lineup (minimum). If they are only fielding two females, they play with 9 players in the field and take an automatic out at the end of the lineup. If they only have one female, they can only play with 8 fielders and take two outs at the end of the inning.

Two questions arose.

1) When a female leaves in the middle of a game, is the out taken at their lineup spot, or is it moved to the bottom of the lineup as per the rules we had written before? Which would be better?

2) The second situation occurred when rules A and B collided. The main question was, if the automatic out rule is in effect and there was a male batting at the end of the order before the out, did the two base walk still apply since the automatic out was technically in the place of a female batter?

Here’s what I wrote for each situation:

1a) In the long run, it is statistically inconsequential when the out is recorded. Had the rule been in place this week, assuming all at-bats proceeded with the same result (which we have no way of determining what would have happened otherwise, so we have to), Dennis would have batted with two outs with one automatic out following him rather than what actually happened (one out with two automatic outs following). One could argue that this was actually beneficial to the team missing the female, as it allowed a previous rally more time (rather than taking the automatic out earlier) without affecting the later rally (either way, the game was over after Dennis batted). Coupling that with the difficulty that we don’t require submitted lineups (maybe we should, that’s another discussion), I’m okay with leaving it at the end (the only place the current rules allow for it).

2) This unfortunately sits at the intersection of two rules which are intended to penalize the offense and the defense, respectively. Let’s break this up according to the offense and the defense:

Offense: The automatic out is intended to handicap the team that is playing without the requisite number of female players. Awarding the extra base with an automatic out following seems to me an undue reward for the team missing the female, especially considering the scarcity of female leadoff hitters in our league (the leadoff hitter is, by definition, the next batter since automatic outs can only currently happen at the end of the order). Assuming there are less than two outs (we will look at that situation in a minute), a runner is now in scoring position and, should there have been other runners on second and/or third, a run may have scored who may not have been had a fully legal lineup been constructed (with all necessary females).

Defense: It is only strategically beneficial to offer an intentional walk in this situation if the automatic out will be the third out. In this case it is irrelevant who bats after the automatic out, and a single base extra penalty is not going to prevent the intentional walk except for very narrow circumstances (circumstances in which, of course, the pitcher will be trying to throw strikes). In this weekend’s final game, such a situation presented itself in the final at-bat, and the only difference would be to the final score (17-15 to 17-16, also let me state that in this case I do not believe it was an intentional walk, the pitches were sufficiently close – especially the last one – to be hittable). Any other situation will result in (an) additional runner(s) in scoring position with one or two outs and the leadoff hitter coming up, a pretty steep penalty for unintentional wildness.

2a Conclusion: Thus, if the intersection of the rule intended to handicap the offense with the rule that is intended to merely limit the defense results in a situation that rewards the offense and very rarely helps the defense, I’m going to have to land on the interpretation (automatic outs are gender-less and thus no extra base is awarded) that most closely follows the original intention of the rules.

I love games and rules, although I suppose that sometimes I can go a bit overboard.

Weight: 226 Loss: 14 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 304 miles (+3.2 miles)
Softball Stats: Game 1 – 3/3 (1.000), 2 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI Season – 3/3 (1.000), 2 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI
Fitocracy Level: 26 ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , .

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