Is it in or out?

Take a look at this baseline mark and tell me what you think… is it In or Out?

This is actually a recreation of a mark we discussed in a doubles match this week. Our opponents first called it out; then studied the mark and gave us the point.

After the change over, he suggested that I look at the mark to see what I thought. He said he thought the ball actually should have been called out because:
• there was granular material between the mark and the baseline
• and there was also material still on the line

My opinion was:
• If you “complete the oval” of the mark, it would have skimmed the line
• The material between it and the line was because the line was raised
• And the material on the line could have been “blow back” from the ball going by

When I was making the mark and taking its picture, my Pelican Bay pro Mike Lewis looked at it and said he would have called it in; and showed me how it happens… He dragged his toe back across the slightly raised baseline onto the court and lo and behold: a mark just like the one I created, with material between it and the line.

How would you call it?

5 thoughts on “Is it in or out?

  1. george. this ball is in. there is no way anyone could call this ball out. if you think about it, a ball that strikes the ground (and not the line) will leave a circle or oval depending on the angle of the shot (lob, serve, groundstroke, or volley). if you can’t complete the oval then the ball might have struck something in the way. the line perhaps?
    calling it out because there are granular pieces between the mark and the line is very weak (and desperate, i might add)

  2. I think most bad calls happen because the ball was moving so fast, the person was not able to see where it actually hit. Instead, they made a best guess of where they thought the trajectory might take it. An easy way to simulate this is to turn your head quick left to right and see how the eye and brain blur the background. The eye might have been tracking the ball fairly well, but it can’t focus with exact detail on two different distances at the same time, so the brain it fills in the details, looking for a mark or evidence to support what they saw.

    Terry – very scientific! tks… george

  3. 90% in! I saw an opponent call a serve on the line out and then proceeded to circle a ball mark that was 90 degrees to the serve — in other words the serve would have to be hit from the ad rather than the deuce court! Go figure.

  4. This ball is in… the oval clearly shows a portion overlapping the line. End of story. But not really…. I once played a USTA singles match on Har Tru that taught me a lot of lessons. The match was very important to both teams, because the teams were tied in the season and the winner would go on to the playoffs. Moreover, the match had been postponed from a few days earlier, by mutual agreement of the team captains, when my team (the “aways”) showed up at the home team’s courts only to find that two of their six clay courts were out of commission due to flooding. So, the captains decided to play 4 out of the 5 matches first and, if one team won 3 of them, the teams would not play the fifth match. If there was a tie, however, then the fifth match would be played later, time TBD. After drawing straws, my match at second singles was the postponed match. So I went home.

    That afternoon, my captain called to say that the teams were tied 2 to 2 and my match had to be played later. So I returned to the courts later in the day only to discover that there were just 3 people there — myself, my opponent and my captain. Then the “fun” started.

    I had played this opponent before and knew that I should be able to beat him fairly easily from past experience. That held true in the first set, which I won 6-1. But in the second set, I started to get a LOT of bad line calls. So many, that I quickly drew the conclusion I was being hooked big time, and very deliberately. My captain saw it too, and although he tried to keep me calm as I was getting hooked left and right, I could see that he was almost as upset as I was… almost. It wasn’t just that there was a bad line all here or there. My opponent was literally hooking me on every other shot.. and on game points to boot. Whenever I asked him to show me the ball mark, he would point to a spot 6, 7, 8 even 12 inches away from where the ball had actually landed. As the match wore on, it only made it easier for my opponent to cheat because the more ball marks there were, the more there were locations that he could point to to falsely claim an “in” ball was “out.”

    I started to get so angry that he no longer needed to hook me. I could not control my shots anymore because my adrenaline was pumping so hard all I REALLY wanted to do was jump the net and beat the hell out of my opponent physically. It was very, very bad. I lost the second set 4-6.

    At the beginning the the third set, my captain did something brilliant. He “encouraged” both players to take a break and go get some water, which we did. (I could not even talk to my opponent as we walked to get water, because I felt I might have jumped on him and beat him to a pulp if I did.) Anyway, when we returned, we found my captain finishing sweeping the court of ALL residual ball marks.

    To make a long story short, even though my opponent tried several more times to hook me in the third set, he really could not because there were simply no other ball marks that he could point to on the freshly swept Har Tru. Several times he called a ball out, but then had to concede he was “mistaken” when I asked him to show me the ball mark and the only mark that was visible showed my ball was really in. I won the third set 6-1, as I probably should have won the second set.

    Moral of story…. if there is a mark, and it shows even a portion of the ball has hit the line, the ball was GOOD. No debate.

    Marty – good story! (good thing that was the SHORT version!) geo

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