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Umpires to Issue a Call for 10-Run 'Mercy Rule'


The California Baseball Umpires Assn. plans to formally propose that the 10-run "mercy rule" be adopted and used in Southern Section high school games.

Bud Bellinfante, president of the organization, said he will appear before the section council in the fall to make the proposal.

The mercy rule is used in 44 states, Bellinfante said. Under the rule, games in which one team holds a lead of at least 10 runs would be halted after the fifth inning. Regulation high school games last seven innings.

"Sometimes we need to end it early since the game is over early," Bellinfante said.

If passed by the council, the rule could be in place by the 1994 season, said section administrator Bill Clark.

Safety and liability concerns were the primary reasons for the proposal, Bellinfante said. Lopsided games sometimes result in flared tempers and frustration among players.

"That's a big concern," Bellinfante said. "Usually it happens to a team that's losing, or sometimes it's to a team that's winning big and thinks it owns the place.

"Either way, sometimes things can get out of hand."

Section junior varsity games already are subject to a time limit, he said.

City Section Commissioner Hal Harkness said the association has not approached him about implementing the rule. At any rate, Harkness predicted that City baseball coaches would oppose its adoption.

"Baseball coaches, to a man, oppose the 10-run rule," Harkness said. "There's not a snowball's chance in you-know-what that this would fly. They want to play."

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