As Referees, our goal at Mojo Kickball is to follow the three most important guidelines. In order they are:
- Make the game fun
- Make the game safe
- "Fair" is a luxury
That being said, there are plenty of times when the Referee makes a bad call. It's nearly impossible to keep up with everything that is going on at all times. And since we don't have the luxury of instant-replay, usually the bad call just has to stand as it is. As Referees, it is important to let the players know that this kind of call is expected. But all things being equal, there is a good chance that there will be an equal number of bad calls on the other team as well. Again, the main purpose of the game is for everyone to have fun.
But let's also be as fair as we can by knowing the rules when there is a close call. I call this section the "Close Calls" section. In this next section we describe some very common close calls that Referees will probably need to make somewhere in the game.
It is important to remember that any calls shown here, and any calls you may make as a Referee, are almost always pulled from the constructs of more basic rules. That stated, let's continue on to "Close Calls".
Fielders may catch pop-flies that are foul AND past the Bunt Zone.
Fielders may NOT field ANY ball that that has not passed the Bunt Zone, nor may they interfere with its trajectory.
A ball kicked into any other member of the Kicking Team is foul. This includes the Pitcher, the Chasers and any Runners.
The Referee acts as part of the field. That means that if the ball gets kicked into the Referee and then goes foul, then the ball is foul. If the ball gets kicked into the Referee and goes fair, then the ball is fair.
A ball is called foul if it touches another ball in the ball corral. (Hitting the ball corral itself is fine though).
Pitching and Kicking Interference
A Fielder may enter past the Bunt Zone. However, if the Fielder interferes with the trajectory of any unfielded ball while in the Bunt Zone, the ball will be considered an automatic run and the ball will be considered dead.
A kicked ball that hits a Fielder within the Bunt Zone will be called fair/dead or foul/dead depending on where the Fielder was when the ball hit him/her.
Running Past the Bunt-Zone before the Ball
If a Runner runs past the Bunt Zone before his/her kicked ball makes it past the Bunt Zone, then the ball is foul.
Tagging the Ball of a Runner or Fielder
Balls are considered neutral area. If a Chaser touches a Fielder's ball, but not the Fielder themselves, then the ball is still "live".
Runners Tagged with a Ball
If a ball hits a Runner and the Runner fails to catch the thrown ball, the Runner will be "out". It does not matter how many people, or who a thrown ball bounces off of before the Runner touches it. As long as the ball does not hit the ground before it hits the Runner, the Runner will be "out".
"Stripping" or "Swatting" the Ball
This can be a tough call. If a Fielder tags a Runner, and the Runner does not make any visible attempt to knock the ball out of the Runner's hands, then the Runner may not be penalized for stripping the ball. The ball is dead.
However, if the Runner does "strip" or knock the ball out of the Fielders hands on purpose (or seemingly on purpose) then the Referee is obliged to reverse the "dead-ball" status. The Referee is not bound to this however, given extenuating circumstances.
Running Outside the Baselines
Runners may run within 3 feet of either side of the baseline without being called "out".
Runners may run outside of the 3-foot grace-zone if the natural course and force of their run takes them outside that grace-zone and they are not avoiding a tag.
Runners over-running First Base
Runners may over-run first base. A Runner who over-runs first-base essentially is on first base by proxy. (Also known as 'ghost-man' on first). At that time, no other Runner can arrive on First base until the original Runner has tagged up with First Base and continued on to the next base.
Any other Runner that arrives on First Base after the original Runner has over-run it will cause the incumbent Runner to be "out" -- just as if there were two people on the same base.
Runners Catching a Ball
If a Runner, who then attempts to catch a ball thrown by a Fielder, then that Runner must make a "clean" catch. The Runner may bobble and then catch the ball. But the ball must never touch anything else from the time that the Runner makes initial contact with the ball.
Put more succinctly, a Runner can't bounce a ball into the Chasers arms who bats it back to the Runner, who then catches it. The Runner must catch the ball by him/herself without any assistance.
Fielders have no business being on the basepath without a ball firmly in their possession. If a Runner is running along the basepath, or within the 3-foot grace-zone and a ball is within his/her grasp, then that Runner has full right of way to catch or attempt to catch that ball. Any Fielder in the way will be penalized.
If a Fielder and a Runner both go up for a ball at the same time, and it is questionable as to who has right of way, then tie goes to the Runner. Fielders with no ball should always give the Runners a significant berth to allow the Runner to run freely.
This being said, even if the Fielder is at fault and receives the penalty, the Runner is still "out". However this can be up to the Referee's discretion, depending on the severity of the offense.
A Ball Kicked into a Dead Ball
A ball that lands on top of, or is kicked into a dead ball on the Field, plays like another ball would play. If the ball lands foul, then it is foul. If the ball lands fair, then it is fair.
Runners Holding Chasers / Chasers Holding Runners
Runners may never hold onto Chasers and vice versa. This is for safety reasons. Runners will be called "out". Chasers will receive a penalty.
Runners may place a hand on Chasers but may never apply any force (as in pushing) or they will be called "out".
Outer Chasers Dismissed
Outer Chasers who continue to shag, pick up, or alter a dead-ball's place in the field after they have been dismissed will be penalized. They may not relinquish their belt until after the penalty is up.
Outer Chasers Illegally Tagging Fielders
An Outer Chaser may only successfully tag a ball-holding Fielder if ANY part of that Fielder is within the Outer Chaser's area.
If a Fielder mistakenly voluntarily drops a ball on an illegal tag, the Referee is obliged to let the Fielder pick the ball up again and reverse the "dead-ball" status. The Referee is not required to do this however.
Chasers must give a 3-foot berth to all newly kicked balls until they are fielded. The Chaser must avoid getting in any Fielders way as the Fielder progresses towards the newly kicked ball. This gives ample room to a Fielder to successfully field the ball without having to negotiate the placement of the Chaser.
Once a ball has been fielded, Fielders may not interfere with the procession of the Chaser toward a ball-wielding Fielder. This is Blocking and will force a penalty on the Fielder.