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Runners on first and third. Left-handed pitcher on mound. On first movement, runner on first takes off for second. Pitcher throws to first, first baseman starts the rundown chasing the runner. Runner on third takes off for home . First baseman throws home bouncing off the catcher into the dugout. The throw (I believe he means play at the plate) happens after the man running from first reaches second. Where should the runner on second end up?
Abingdon,  MD - 10/13/09

Third. Since it is the first play on the infield, it is two bases from the time of the throw to first.

When a pitch hits a bird that the pitcher has thrown to the plate,  like Randy Johnson did, what is the ruling.  Ball in play? (Batter swings, Ball, Strike, Hit by pitch) Ball out of play?  Do over?
John P Valier
Hampton, New Hampshire - 10/7/09

Any batted or thrown ball that hits a bird or any other animal is just in play as if it had hit a pebble or any other natural obstacle. This is found in the umpire manual.

Can the batter-runner get in a rundown between Home & First? If for some reason the batter-runner touching home plate during the rundown, What do you have?????
Denny Barnes
Aberdeen, Maryland - 7/13/09

The batter-runner may retreat toward the plate in a rundown.  If he gets back to the plate, he is out.
I've never seen this or heard of it occurring.

During the Cubs/White Sox game this weekend Steve Stone pointed out the Cubs first baseman was breaking the rules by having his heel in foul territory while holding the base runner on. What is this rule and what is the penalty? My 70 year old father and myself have been life long baseball fans and neither of us have heard of this rule. Please help us find the answer.
Jim McGlade
Opelika, AL - 6/30/09

Most announcers have no clue when it comes to rules. The rule book states that all defensive players, except the catcher, must be in fair territory.  As long as the first baseman's foot is on the line, he's good.  If the first baseman has one foot completely in foul territory, he should be told to correct it.  If not, the only penalty, since none is prescribed by the rule book, would be ejection.

Pitcher has the ability and the glove to pitch right or left handed. Is the pitcher allowed to alternate his delivery arm during the same at-bat? Or can a pitcher throw left handed to a batter and then throw right handed the next pitch?
Jeff Ryan
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA - 6/13/09

Both the batter and the pitcher may change position one time per at bat. If there is a pinch-hitter during the same at bat, then each player may again "switch" one time. (NAPBL Umpire Manual - 6.14)

Defender has both feet in fair territory and is reaching in foul territory for a pop up. The ball will clearly land foul if not touched. As the ball comes down, it hits the players glove and bounces in the air in to fair territory. Does that make it a fair ball? I say it is not fair as the ball was judged to be coming down foul by the umpire, does not matter that it strikes the glove. If I am wrong, what is the ruling?
Pleasant Garden, NC - 6/11/09

The ball is fair or foul based on where the ball is located when it is touched, not where the fielder is standing or where it lands.

A runner on 1st, 0 outs. The batter runs on the pitch and the batter hits a fly to center. The ball is caught and the throw to 1st from center flies into the stands. The umpire awards 2nd and 3rd to the runner. The runner did not tag up after the catch, since the ball had left the field of play. The play was appealed with a throw to 1st. The umpire then called the runner out, ruling that he should have tagged up. What is the correct ruling?
Rich Balbin
Tampa, FL - 4/27/09

The umpire followed the correct procedure. In your example, the runner would be award the appropriate bases. If he has violated a rule, he is then subject to being out on appeal. So, the umpire was correct in awarding the bases, and if the appeal was valid, the runner should then be called out. See rule 7.10.

Team has a runner on third base with two outs and two strikes on the batter. The batter swings at the next pitch and misses for what should be the third out. The runner from third crosses home plate before the batter is tagged out by the catcher. Should the run count since the runner crossed the plate before the tag (3rd out) was made?
Warren Massia
Natchitoches, La - 4/22/09

No. No run can score in a case like this unless the batter-runner reaches 1st base safely.

With a runner running from 2nd to 3rd (stealing), can the pitcher...while in contact with the rubber throw the ball (pick) to third base? Third base was unoccupied.
Tim Jenkins
Wallace, North Carolina - 3/27/09

Yes, if he does so in order to make a play. See rule 8.05(d). It is a balk if he does not step directly toward the base, 8.05(c).

Bases loaded, no outs. Batter hits fly ball that hits LF line and ump call fair. Runner on third, who had gone back to bag to tag up but stays on third after ball drops. LF throws ball to third. 3rd baseman tags runner standing on 3rd, and then tags runner going from 2nd to 3rd (never touched 3rd base bag). Is runner that remained on 3rd out? (ball was not thrown home to force him out but they tagged him while standing on the base).
Harry Liebergot
Port Saint Lucie, FL - 3/8/09

This is a double play. When the ball fell fair, the original runner on third is no longer entitled to third due to the force. He is out on the tag. The runner from second who is entitled to third, is out on the second tag, since he did not get to the third base bag.

If an improper batter hits a grand slam or some other multi-RBI hit, and then the defensive team reports that the batter was batting out of order before the next batter is pitched to, what is the penalty other than the proper batter being called out? Do all of the runs score? Thanks.
Jackson, MS - 2/24/09

No one scores. See rule 6.07(b.2) "...nullify any advance or score made..."

Men on 1st and second. Ground ball hit to SS and ball hits off forehead of SS. The umpire called dead ball and gave runners 2nd and 3rd when the lead runner could have easily scored. I never heard of a safety rule. The lead runner could have easily scored. If this is called, players would then claim hurt on all plays that hit them. Is there a safety rule under NFHS Rules.
Raymond Catena
Lake Worth, Florida - 2/23/09

I doubt a runner from 2nd could score on a ball still in the infield, but to answer your question, yes. Under NFHS rules, an umpire can call time immediately if a player has been injured, regardless of the circumstances of the play. It is the umpire's discretion to call time and to place the runners. Player safety always comes first.

Bases Loaded, 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning. The score is 3-2 for the visiting team. The batter hits a slow chopper to 3rd. The 3rd baseman throws home, since his momentum is taking him that way, and the throw does not beat the runner... but the runner does not touch the plate. The catcher then throws to third base, successfully retiring the runner going to third. After this, they have the batter-runner caught in a rundown between first and second, and eventually retire him. While this is happening, the runner who was originally on first base ends up touching the plate and scoring himself. What is the ruling on this play? (I know it's confusing, but this play actually happened in a district tournament over the weekend)
Jason Stubler
Manassas, VA / United States - 7/10/08

A runner that does not touch the plate (or a base) is considered safe pending appeal. Unless the runner that did not touch the plate left the field before touching, he scores. The force play can then be appealed.

Steve, the other night a team had a runner steal home. The batter had two strikes on him and the pitcher was throwing from the wind up allowing the runner time to steal home. What happens if the the runner crosses the plate before the ball gets there and the batter actually hits the ball. This was a very dangerous situation and the runner actually didn't get to the plate before the batter hit it, but we were wondering if the runner is safe?
Cando, ND - 7/9/08

If there are 2 outs, no runner can score unless the batter-runner reaches first safely. Other than that, it's a stolen base depending on the play.
R3 stealing home as the pitcher is set, but before he has begun his delivery. Pitcher disengages correctly and throws home. Is this an illegal pitch or...? What if the batter swings... interference? Swedish baseball! Thanks for your time.
Jim Gage
Västerås, Sweden - 6/24/08

This is not a pitch, it is a play at the plate. If the batter swings or otherwise interferes, it is interference. With less than 2 out, the runner is out. With 2 out, the batter is out. If the throw hits the batter, the umpire must decide if it was interference or just a bad throw that struck the batter. See 7.08(g), 7.09(d).

One out. Runners at first and second. The batter hits a ball toward the shortstop. The ball glances off the runner. The shortstop fields the ball and throws to first base before the batter/runner crosses the base. The umpire called the runner at second out and the batter out. I interpret as the runner at second is out, the ball is dead, the runner at first is awarded second because the batter is awarded first. Are either of us correct or what is the correct response.
Kansas City, Mo - 6/15/08

When the fair ball hits the runner the ball is immediately dead (5.09f) and the runner is out (7.08f). The play by the shortstop is moot. The batter gets first base (6.08d, 6.09c, 7.04b). Runners advance 1 base if forced or return to their base at the time of the pitch without liability to be put out.

Bottom of the 6th two outs runners on 2nd and 3rd. A 3-2 count on the batter. Pitcher in a full windup delivers the pitch as the runner breaks from third. Pitch is ruled a strike as the runner from 3rd slides across the plate, however the catcher drops the 3rd strike. Catcher throws to first runner is called out for the third out. Does the run count?
Ron Prokop
Billings, Montana - 5/9/08

No. No run can score when the third out is made by virtue of the batter not reaching first base safely. 4.09 a 1

This is a "Dumb Question" but the local umpires are convinced and have made a point to call this at all occasions.
SITUATION : Cal Ripken League ages 11-12 yr. olds. - Runner on 1st base. First baseman plays defense approx. 6'-8' from 1st base bag DIRECTLY in the base path between 1st and 2nd base. Umpires have decided that the 1st baseman will be called for OBSTRUCTION for being in the base path. Of course, the umpires think this is interference!! I see NO description of this situation in rules book. I need to correct this problem in this league. THANKS again for your time and assistance.
Ron Kinnaman
Logansport, IN - 5/5/08

I believe that the Ripken league uses their own rule book, which modifies pro rules. If I have a copy, it is very old. That being said: If anything, this would be obstruction. If the runner caused a problem for the fielder, it would be interference. There should be no obstruction call unless a play ensues and the 1st baseman in some way obstructs the runner. The fielder beginning the pitch in that area in itself cannot be obstruction. Also, there is no rule anywhere in any rule book that I am aware of that lists an obstruction violation for being in the base path at the time of the pitch., or any other obstruction  for defensive positioning at the time of the pitch. If the play proceeds and the runner is some way obstructed by the fielder, then obstruction should be called. If I understand what you have said properly, the umpires in your league should immediately stop making such a call.


There is no such thing as a grounds rule triple.

I have the bases loaded, no one out or two out!!! The pitch to the batter is ball 4. Everyone advances but the 3rd base runner fails to touch home as he passes the plate. He is then tagged by the catcher.. Is he out immediately? Can the runner retouch after the tag? At what point can an appeal on missing the plate be made?
Joe Willoughby
Columbia, MS, Marion - 4/8/08

The batter is out immediately. A base on balls is a award which ends at the awarded base. Since the runners are forced, they are awarded the next base. Once he crossed the plate, the runner is subject to an appeal. By tagging the runner, technically the catcher is making an appeal which should be upheld by the plate umpire. The runner can retouch is he does so before being tagged.

If a pitcher, with runners on base, while in contact with the rubber, drops the ball and it hits his leg and rolls into foul territory considered causing a balk or is it a ball on the batter?
Jerry McCoy
Rootstown, Ohio, U.S.A. - 4/3/08

I can't believe this could actually happen, but if the ball is dropped from the rubber and crosses the foul line, it is a pitch. If it does not cross the foul line, it is a balk.

Bases loaded, two outs, batter hits home run. While between first and second bases, the batter runner passes the base runner ahead of him. I know the batter runner is out, however, what runs, if any score? Is it a dead ball timing play?
Dan Davis
Boise, Idaho/USA - 3/20/08

The ball is dead as soon as it goes over the fence. The technical call is a 4-base award for the batter-runner and all other runners score ahead of him.
The batter-runner is out for the 3rd out and all other runners score.

If 3 players (P,C,3rd) are in front of the dugout attempting to make a play on a foul fly ball and players from the dugout are yelling "I've got it" and the ball hits the ground, should verbal obstruction be called and the batter be called out?
Mike Kimmons
Adamsville, TN - 3/12/08

If you are using NFHS rules and you feel there was verbal interference, you should make the call. Dugout offensive players calling for the ball certainly qualifies. There is no verbal interference under Pro rules.

During a recent discussion (tailgate training) a question was posed regarding "catch" or "no catch" per the following scenario: Centerfielder makes a spectacular catch on the run, and immediately collides with the Left Fielder. This collision causes his glove (with the ball still in it) to fall to the ground (again, with the ball still in it). Is this to be considered a "catch" since (per the definition of a catch), the player has the ball firmly in his hand or his glove. One umpire says he ruled it a "no catch" but was later overruled (and the game had to be replayed from that point).
David Boone
Georgetown, TX - 12/28/07

As you describe it, this is no catch. Not only must the outfielder have possession of the ball, he must regain control of his body: i.e.. if a ball is in an outfielders glove, his momentum carries him into to a wall 10 feet away and he drops the ball, it is no catch. This call was correct and should not have been overturned.

There was a rule which prohibits infielders from warming up when there were base runners during pitcher warm ups. I can not find this in the new rule book. Is it still in effect?
Ted Weiland
Madison, South Dakota - 7/10/07

Yes. It is in the NAPBL umpire's manual.

If a game is postponed because of rain, when play is resumed do both teams have to start with the same lineup as before the rain delay or can lineup changes be made right before play is resumed?
Monte Mansfield
Austin, Tx - 7/02/07

Generally they have to re-start the game with the same lineup. Before beginning, they may make a substitution with an eligible player as in any other game. I have seen this rule waived by leagues under unusual circumstances.

If a pitcher has pitched for 4 innings and comes out to the mound in the fifth inning and throws 1 warm-up pitch is it legal for a sub to come in for him or does he have to throw to one batter since he has already toed the rubber?
lisa boudreaux - 6/28/07

He has already pitched in the game. The pitcher may then warm up and be replaced before the 1/2 inning begins. A pitcher who warms up (1 warm up pitch) and has not yet pitched to a batter in the game must pitch to a minimum 1 batter.

If a 1st baseman or a 3rd baseman has a foot in foul territory at the time of the pitch is this a balk?
Jerry McCoy
Rootstown, Ohio- 5/21/07

No. But he must be in fair territory. If you let them know, this usually solves the problem. The only possible penalty is ejection if they don't comply.

Runner on third, 1 out; batter hits a ball that strikes the field umpire in front of a fielder. What is the call and where do runner(s) get placed?
Peter Fazzino
Monroe Township, NJ - 5/17/07

If an umpire is struck by a batted ball before it has passed a fielder (not including the pitcher) the ball is dead, the batter gets first, is credited with a single and runners advance if forced. If the ball has passed a fielder (not including the pitcher) the ball is live and play continues

Here is my question. Between innings, the catcher is waiting for his pitcher (for the warm-up pitches). Then the shortstop, who is the catcher's best friend, mounts on the plate and delivers a pitch. The opposite manager comes to me and tell me the shortstop should be the new pitcher according to 3.08 a). Is he right?
Geoffray Gregoire
Ramillies, Belgium - 5/10/07

Yes. If someone goes to the mound and throws a warm-up pitch, he has to pitch to one batter.

There is a dispute in our Little League (15-17yr olds) on balks with a runner on first. The question is whether a right handed pitcher must always take his foot off the rubber before attempting a pick-off to first. They say it's physically impossible to otherwise stay on the rubber and quickly turn to throw to first without it looking like the pitching motion. Can you help us?
Rod Qatar

The pitcher does not have to step off the rubber to throw to first, provided he steps toward first. For a snap throw with no step, the must remove his pivot foot from the rubber before throwing. When he does so, he becomes and infielder as any other infielder. Any throw out of play then becomes a 2-base award.

My understanding is that a left or right handed pitcher attempts a pick off to first base, he must step directly toward first base. The umpire told me this weekend that a left-handed pitcher has a 45 degree angle on the mound to land his forward foot. I can't find anything in the rules pertaining to 45 degree landing area when stepping toward first for a pick off move. This 15 yr. old AAU Ball.
David Rose
Smithfield, North Carolina - 10/2/06

Technically, both left and right-handed pitchers must step past the 45 degree angle toward first base though it is not strictly enforced. Many years ago, MLB put a 45 degree line on the field during spring training and it was found that most left and right handed pitchers were technically balking and the line was never seen again. The step toward first rule is 8.05(c) but does not mention a 45 degree angle. The wording "directly toward a base" infers that. I believe AAU uses modified Pro rules.
The NAPBL umpire manual mentions "direction toward and distance to the base." but also does not mention a 45 degree angle.

Game is being played under High School Rules: Our game was in the bottom of the 7th with two outs and two runners on base (1st and 2nd) with our team losing by one run. The opposing coach calls time and goes to the mound to talk to his pitcher, catcher and SS. Then while the first coach is still on the mound a second coach goes onto the field and behind the mound on the infield grass calls in all the outfielders and remaining infielders to go over defensive strategy. I ask the umpire if this constitutes a second conference/visit and required pitching change. Obviously, this was a critical time in the game and the ump tells the opponent's head coach one of them has to leave the field. Neither leaves immediately and ultimately they both leave the field and the game resumes. What is the correct call?
jim tatera
st paul, mn - 6/15/06

The HS Case Book, page 34, 3.4.1 E has a play to cover the situation. While one coach is having a conference with a player, another coach of the same team may also have a conference with other players and it is only one conference. The Case Book makes it very clear. If the second coach should delay the game (which I don't see ever occurring if they are informed), a second conference may be charged.

With one out and runners on 1st and 3rd, a batter hits a clean single. Run scores and the trailing runner is thrown out at 3rd. The batter (now on 1st base) thinks it's out number 3 and starts toward the 3rd base dugout. Coach yells, and runner returns before being tagged. Umpire calls runner out for leaving the baseline. Offence protests ruling. All defensive players return to the dugout, with runner remaining on 1st. Umpire consults rules and decides it may be a possible appeal play. Defense argues that he didn't appeal as the umpire had already called him out to end the inning? Offence counters that the incorrect call brought into question a possible appeal, which would have not been made otherwise and the fact that the defense had all left the field nullified any possible appeal.
Craig Sinon
Madison, CT - 6/3/06

If the base runner leaves the base and starts walking towards his dugout or towards his position as if he believes he is out or that the inning is over, he is called out for abandoning his right to run the bases. He does not have to walk into dead ball territory. Once the runner takes more than a couple of steps in the direction of his bench, or his position, he is called out. Rule 7.08 (a) (2).

This happened in a real game, runner on 1st and 2nd no outs. A fly ball is hit between center and right field. The center fielder has a beat on the ball and catches the ball, but at the same time his gloves falls off his hand with the ball in the glove. The runner on first went to 2nd and runner on 2nd went to third. The center fielder picked up his glove and ball and threw the ball to second. The infield umpire called the batter out and the runner on 3rd out. The runner now on second started to run back to first but the first base coach and all right thinking fans were cheering for the runner to return to 2nd. He did and was tagged. Triple play was called. Please tell me if a fielder catches a ball but at the same time the glove falls off his hand is it an out? What is the ruling as to how long it has to be in the glove or if he has to attempt to take it out of the glove?
Douglas Maune
Washington, MO/US - 5/18/06

There is no catch on this play. In order to make a catch, the outfielder must have "voluntary release" of the ball. Since the ball is still in his glove, there was no release of the ball at all. If it was a catch before the glove came off, the fact that the ball is in the glove would be irrelevant.

Runner on first. Batter hits a fair ground ball to the first baseman, but the runner on first does not leave the bag. The first baseman fields the ball, runs over and steps on first (removing the force) and then tags the runner still on first. The question is since he tagged the base first removing the force, does the runner on 1st still have to attempt to go to second (in which case he is out) or is the runner safe at first?
Doha, Qatar - 4/7/06

Safe at first. When the fielder steps on the bag, the force is removed and the runner originally on first can now retreat safely to 1st base.

No outs. Runners on first and second. Ball hit deep into the outfield, the runners go thinking the ball will drop. Fielder catches the ball. The runner from second has not reached third but the runner from first has tagged second. The runner from second retreats in time to beat the throw. Who is out? Our ump called the batter and runner from first out leaving a man at second.
Jeffrey Ouellette
Easthampton, Mass, USA - 9/26/05

If the runner from 1st has re-tagged or not passed 2nd, and retreated to 1st, no one is out except the batter. If both runners are standing on 2nd and are tagged, the runner from 1st is out, the runner from 2nd is safe, since he is entitled to the base.

Hello Steve. High School Federation Rules. Bases loaded one out. Pop up, umpire calls infield fly rule. 2nd baseman, without intent, drops ball. Bottom line, at what time do the runners, if they wish to advance, have to retouch the bag. Is it when the ball touches the fielder’s glove? Does the runner have to retouch when no fielder touches the ball while in flight?
Haverstraw, NY - 6/21/05

At any level, if the ball is not caught the runners do not have to tag up. If the ball is caught, then they can't leave the base until it is touched by the fielder. The batter is already out in either case.

Hi Steve. I got a question for you. A ball is hit to the first baseman. He bobbles the ball or had to dive to get it. He gets a hold of the ball in his throwing hand. Now he dives over to first base and reaches it with his glove before the runner gets there. He still has the ball in his throwing hand and under control. Is the Runner out or safe. The Rules say that the glove becomes part of the ball in a tag-play situation. It doesn't say anything about the glove becoming a part of the ball when holding it in your throwing hand.
Erik Braun
Heinsberg, Germany - 11/14/04

The runner is out. This is similar to the first baseman catching a throw in his glove while having his foot on the base. Any contact with the bag by his body with the ball in his possession and the runner is out.

I need a clarification. I maintain a batter can interfere with a catcher even though he remains in the batters box. In a game I recently umpired, a manager insisted that as long as his batter remained in the box, he was protected by an interference call, no matter what, and that the catcher had to throw around him, in any passed ball situation. I maintain interference can be called if it occurs accidentally or not. Please advise.
Len Raffa
Carnegie, Pa - 7/9/04

You are correct. If the batter is in the box and leans out over the plate and interferes, it is interference.

There is a runner on 1st & 2nd, the hitter hits the ball up the middle and it hits the runner on 2nd base but he never left the bag. Is he out?
Jane Phelps
Alabaster, Alabama/USA - 6/19/04

Yes. A base does not protect the runner when struck by a fair batted ball.

Two possible interpretations of a play: 1) An inside pitch strikes a batters bottom hand while he is in the batters box actively retreating from the pitch and making no effort to swing the bat, then hits the knob of the bat handle before rolling into fair territory. 2) An inside pitch strikes the knob of the bat handle, ricochets into the batters hand as he actively retreats from the pitch making no effort to swing the bat, and rolls into fair territory.
I contend that in situation 1) the batter should be awarded first base because the pitched ball hit a part of his body as he attempted to avoid it and was a dead ball at that point. In situation 2) I contend the ball should be declared 'foul' because it struck the bat first but then the batter while he was in the batter's box. The game call was 'fair ball', based on the pitch striking the bat handle knob with no consideration given to the ball also striking the batter. What's your call??? Thanks in advance.
Mickey Crooks
Mooresville, North Carolina - 6/11/04

You are right. The plate umpire seeing all of this is virtually impossible. You have to go on what you believe occurred. The ball striking the bat and then the hand while the batter is in the box is no different than the ball striking the bat and the the batter's leg while in the box.

This play happened tonight. A runner on second, the batter hits the ball to the pitcher, the runner at second never leaves the bag, the pitcher then overthrows the first baseman. Now my question. The runner on second who never even came off the bag, does he get home and then the batter gets second? This is played on Cal Ripken rules. This is what I called but was told the runner on second should have only got third base. What would be the right call? Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
John Del
Oakland. Maine - 5/6/04

What the runner did is irrelevant. The award is two bases from the runner's and batter-runner's position at the time of the pitch.

This occurred in a recent high school varsity baseball game. Runner on first, ball is pitched and batter squares to bunt and is hit by the pitch without the hitter ever pulling back the bunt attempt. The ball bounces off of the hitter and lands in front of the plate. The ball is picked up by the catcher who throws to first to get runner who was attempting to take second base on the bunt. The runner sees that the bunt has not been laid down and attempts to get back to first. The first baseman tags the runner out. Both the field ump and the home plate ump both call this a dead ball strike because the batter was attempting to bunt but was hit by the pitched ball. Can you tell me if this is the correct call or should the runner be called out after being tagged.
Kenneth Romero
Albuquerque, New Mexico - 3/31/04

When the ball strikes the batter, it is immediately dead. If he attempted to bunt it, it is a strike, or if the pitch is a strike and he did not attempt to bunt it, it is also a strike. It seems that the correct calls were made. When the ball strikes the batter, it is immediately dead. If he attempted to bunt it, it is a strike, or if the pitch is a strike and he did not attempt to bunt it, it is also a strike. It seems that the correct calls were made.

We had a strange situation last season. The opposing right handed pitcher took the stretch position (runner on 2B) backward. (Left foot on the rubber.) When our runner didn't bite, he stepped off the rubber with the left foot and took up the normal position. I can't find anything in the Official Rules which forbids this, but it seems to violate the spirit of the balk rule, ie, that the pitcher shouldn't deceive the runner.
Steve Farmwald
Munich, Germany - 2/29/04

This is not permitted. When the pitcher steps on the rubber backward, it is a balk and the ball is dead.

The batter squares to bunt the ball, with the bat across the plate, the pitch is high and outside. The batter does not motion at the ball with the bat nor does he pull the bat back before the ball crosses the plate. Is this a strike or a ball?
Rob Haas
Stanton, CA - 2/20/04

This is a ball. The batter must attempt to bunt the ball. The bat out over the plate in the strike zone with no attempt to bunt the ball is not a strike.

R1 on first. One out. Batter hits fair fly deep to right field fence. F9 leaps and contacts top of fence as ball appears to enter glove. Base umpire spins and indicates legal catch. As R1 retreats to tag up batter passes R1.Plate umpire immediately rings batter up. Double play right?? WRONG. F9 contacted top wires of chain link fence and is now writhering in pain lying on ground in fair territory. As plate umpire goes out to ascertain whereabouts of ball both 1st base coach and batter insist they saw ball fall from glove into home run territory the instant of contact. Upon arrival ball is indeed seen lying on ground beyond the fence in home run territory. Plate umpire immediately reverses both "out" calls and awards both runners home plate scoring two runs. Defensive manager officially protested the game. WHAT'S THE RULING?? Any idiot can call ball/strike, fair/foul, safe/out but is he qualified to apply rules correctly??
chuck johnson
belle vernon, pa - 2/12/03

This is a bad situation regardless of the ultimate call with the circumstances presented and the fact that the batter passed the runner.

Off the top of my head, based on your facts, I would say the umpires made the proper call, the batted ball should be a home run. If it is further determined that the runner retreated and hence was passed by the batter due to the improper initial call, that call should also be reversed. The main objective is to get the call(s) right. I would deny the protest, again based on the facts as presented. Various persons have a variety of qualifications to apply the rules. In my experience, it is a rare occasion for a coach or player to be on that list for situations such as this one.

Please give your opinion as to the proper way to fill out a high school baseball team line-up as to where/how the DH (when used) is listed on the line-up card.
Brandon, Mississippi - 2/2/04

The lineup card should be filled out with the appropriate player in the proper position in the order. His position and number must be included. All eligible additional players must be listed on the back of the card or at the bottom. The player being DHed for and the DH should be on the same line thusly: Player 1 / Player 2. If space does not permit this, the next line can be used for that spot in the order with the number for that spot and all below it crossed out and corrected to reflect the correct spot in the batting order.

what is considered an interference? i.e chicago cubs. Let's say i root for the home team. I am in the park, homerun territory. If the ball is heading in my direction and looks catchable, can I help my team by reaching and interfering with an outfielder (who jumps while for the ball while I reach out) where i ended up getting the ball and bringing it in. Will this be considered a homerun?
seattle, wa - 10/15/03

If the ball is on the field and a fan interferes, it is fan interference. If the ball is in the stands, it is not interference, even if it is catchable.

What is the maximum number of outs one team can get in one inning? I've been told more than 3 but i cannot find the rule. My first response was "3rd strike dropped pitch and the batter makes it to first base safely." But I'm looking for maximum number of charged outs in one inning, can you help. Also 3rd strike dropped is not the answer, I'm told.????
William Self
Daytona Beach, FL - 10/13/03

Under some circumstances, a fourth out may be recognized when an appeal takes precedence. See rule 7.10 End Notes. What you are referring to is a possible 4th strikeout.

Runner at first, one out. Batter hits a fly ball to center. The centerfielder traps the ball. The runner at first is a few feet off the base, and does not advance because he is unsure whether the ball has been caught. The batter runner touches first and passes the first runner. The batter runner is out. Question: must the runner at first advance to second or has the force come off and may he return to first?
Jim Glasgow
Union City, Tennessee - 10/6/03

The force is off. The runner may retreat to first.

Is it illegal for the 3rd baseman to have one foot in fair territory and one in foul territory at anytime while on the field in position. I can not find any rule anywhere concerning this matter, please help.
arlington, tx - 8/10/03

Yes, it is. All defensive players, with the exception of the catcher, must be in fair territory. See rule 4.03

Strike Zone, If a player gets hit by a ball trying to get out of the way of a pitch coming at him and he gets hit in the head which is above the normal area that we call the strike zone or on the feet below zone as he is trying to evade a pitched ball but he comes in over the plate area. Strike or 1st base.

If a batter is hit anywhere by a pitch that is in the strike zone, it is a strike, the ball is dead and the batter does not get first. If it is not in the strike zone, the ball is dead and he is awarded first.

A ball is hit down the first base line, it hits foul then bounces back up. It is caught by the first baseman who is standing in fair territory. Is the ball fair or foul?
Benton Harbor, Michigan - 7/30/03

If it cross the first base bag fair, it is a fair ball. Where the fielder is standing has no bearing.

Bases loaded, one out. a ball is hit down the third base line, fair. the runner on third steps off for a second, stops to avoid being hit by the ball, then seeing the third baseman field the ball close by, steps back on third before runner from second gets there. the fielder touches the bag, then tags the runner still standing (now with the second runner) on third, throws to first -- who drops the ball. runner on third goes to home and is called safe. Who is out at third? Both runners, or just the runner from second?
doug e. lewis
pasadena, california - 7/23/03

The runner from second is out. The force play is then removed and the runner from third may retreat safely to third. If the fielder initially tagged the runner from third and then steps on the bag, they are both out, on the tag and on the force. In your example, the run scores.

A runner takes his lead in foul territory from third base. The catcher attempts to throw out the runner as he goes back to third in fair territory and hits runner with the ball. Runner out or live ball?
Randy Famiglietti
Pittsburgh, PA USA - 6/12/03

A runner is never out when hit by a thrown ball in playing action in which he has not interfered. The ball is live.

Pitched ball hits the ground and then hits the batter. Is this a hit batsman? and the batter advances to first base? Could the batter hit the ball after it hits the dirt? I could not find a reference in the official rule book. Could you pass that along.
Jim Breaugh
White Lake, MI / USA - 6/10/03

Yes, yes and yes. The only restriction is that a ball the bounces into the plate cannot be a called strike, even if it passes through the strike zone. See rule 2.00 (ball).

Force out.....Runners at 1st and 2nd, ball is hit to short stop, who collects and moves in on the runner who is forced to 3rd. The runner stops and retreads back towards 2nd.The short stop then continues to make the out at 1st. Is the runner out that retreated back to 2nd?
Raymond Engels
Durban, South Africa - 6/09/03

No. The force play is off after the batter-runner is out at first. The runners now must be tagged to be out. The only time a runner is out for re-tracing his base path is if the batter-runner retreats and touches home plate.

what is the rule on this play? a batter is waked, the coach calls time, the infielders, coach and pitcher meet on the mound. the ball is handed from the pitcher to the 1st basemen and the coach leaves the field . play is resumed, the runner on 1st is tagged while taking a lead while the pitcher is on the mound. is this an out or a balk?
jeff pollack
miami, fl - 6/1/03

This is something that should not and technically can not occur. After a time out, action is not again live until the batter is in the batter's box, the pitcher is on the rubber with the ball and the plate umpire again puts time in. If time had never been called, it is a balk if the pitcher "stands on or astride the pitcher's plate..." (rubber) without the ball.

Two outs, runner on second. The ump calls a balk during delivery. The batter hits the ball for a double, but he misses first base. The defensive team wins the appeal at first. Does the run count? Is the batter out? Should the umpire have stopped the play when he reached second?
Norb Komorowski
St. Louis, Mo - 5/28/03

If all the runners, including the batter-runner advance at least one base, the balk is ignored. If the batter-runner is out at first on appeal for the third out, the run does not score, as the batter did not reach first safely. This sounds contradictory, but a runner that misses a base is assumed safe pending appeal, hence the balk is nullified. He is then out on appeal, nullifying the run. If there were less than two outs, the batter-runner is out on appeal and the run would score. The umpires should not stop any playing action.

Steve, I am trying to understand rule 7.08(f) (runner hit by a batted ball) the rule says "if the ball has not passed an infielder". Runners at first and third, 2nd baseman is playing on the infield grass. Batter hits the ball which goes past the 2nd baseman and hits the runner. Is the runner out? Is the ball dead or does play continue?
Thanks, Joe
Joe Evans
Germantown, Maryland - 5/26/03

If the ball passes an infielder, other than the pitcher, regardless of where he is positioned (i.e.-infield in), the runner is not out. The ball is live.

Our centerfielder made a diving attempt at a fly ball in the right-centerfield gap. While airborne and just before he hit the ground, he momentarily caught the ball in his glove. As his glove came down and made hard contact with the ground, the ball popped loose, vertically, and was caught by our right fielder. My teammates say this is a valid catch, I say this is not a catch since the ball made contact with the ground, even though it was contact through the glove.
Meriden, CT - 5/25/03

The ball cannot contact the with the ground "through" the glove. A ball cannot pass through a glove, unless it has a hole in it.
The catch is valid.

Steve, runner from 2nd steals 3rd, and base coach calls time-out, umpire did not give time out and runner steps off base and is called out. base coach argues that time should have been called when requested but ump stated base coach cannot call time for runner, runner has to call time out. what is the ruling on this? can a base coach call time for the runner?
David Hurst
El Dorado, Arkansas - 5/23/03

Absolutely not. No one can call time except an umpire. Others may request time, but there is no requirement that it be granted. It is the responsibility of the coach and runner to know if time has been called.

In a recent game, two of the first four batters were awarded 1st base after catcher's interference calls. Catcher noticed the batters moving out (back foot entirely out) of the batters box, waiting until he received the pitch and chopping down on the mitt, hoping to get the call. The coach questioned the situation and was warned back to the dugout. How much responsibility does the plate umpire have to be certain that when players make contact with the ball or catcher that they are in a legal hitting position? If the batter was out of the box what would be the ruling if ball was hit fair? hit foul? just hit the catcher's mitt?
Jon Abbey
Evansville, IN - 3/29/03

If a batter hits a ball (fair or foul) with one or both feet on the ground entirely out of the batter's box (the lines are part of the box), he is out. The plate umpire has all the responsibility. If the batter is stepping in outside of the box, he should be told to get in it. If he gets in the box and then moves a foot out, I'd wait for contact with the ball, and I'd be watching him like a hawk. This is a bit difficult to do, as the pitch is the plate umpire's primary responsibility and should have his eyes on the ball. In this type of situation, you have to look at his feet.
If a batter made contact with the catcher's mitt but not the ball while out of the box, I would not give him first. I'd call him out for batters interference, since he has hindered the catchers ability to properly field the pitch. This would immediately correct the situation.

There has been considerable conversation and disagreement over the obstruction rule among the umpires in our association since the Santiago obstruction non-call in the World Series. Some interpret the rule to mean that in Section (b) of the rule, if in the umpires judgment, the runner would not have reached the next base after the last base touched, then the runner could and should be returned to the last base legally touched. I think most of the consternation arises from the verbiage "if any". Others say that as in Section (a) of the rule when obstruction is called the runner is always entitled to the next base after the last base legally touched and that the "if any" is a reference to additional bases the umpire reasons should be awarded to negate the act of obstruction. What is the correct interpretation of this rule?
Vince Bova
San Diego, CA - 12/26/02

I did not see the play to which you are referring. I am assuming you are referring to the obstruction rules 7.06 a & b. Only one of these rules applies in any given situation. Type a obstruction applies to a batter-runner who is obstructed before reaching first base or to a runner who is obstructed while a play is being made on him. The ball is immediately dead. The obstructed runner gets at least one base beyond the last one legally touched . Other awards are possible, if warranted. i.e..- no force, runner from second obstructed by third baseman going into third while being chased by the shortstop with the ball. Ball is dead, runner gets third.
Type b obstruction applies in all other situations. The play(s) is allowed to continue to completion, time is called and any awards are made. An award to a base runner will be given only if, in the umpires judgment, it is warranted. i.e..- batted ball in outfield, a runner obstructed going into second continues and makes third. If the umpire determines that third is as far as he would have gotten had there been no obstruction, there is no award.

Runner hit by ball: I recently read where a runner was called out after he/she was hit by a batted ball while standing on a base. Certainly this must have been a mistake. I have always thought that if a runner was hit by a batted ball while touching a base that he/she was safe.
Greg Messina
Meriden, Connecticut - 11/25/02

Unless it is an infield fly situation, a runner standing on a base who is hit by a batted ball is out. Contact with the base does not protect the runner.

Defensive coach makes a pitching change in the middle of an inning. While his pitcher throws prepatory pitches, he throws a ball to the first baseman for the infield to throw around while his new pitcher warms up. Is there an actual rule for this or what is the correct answer?
Houston, TX - 11/24/02

If there is a change in infielders, 5 warm up throws are allowed for that infielder (3.03 notes). If no infielders have been substituted, this should not be allowed.

You are in the bottom of the ninth and a tie game. Runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. A pop fly is hit deep to the out field. The runner on 3rd obviously scores, but the runner on 1st thinking there were two out doesn't tag and the ball is thrown to 1st getting him out on the force making it three outs. Should the run from 3rd count winning the game?
Jeremy Hespen
Glendive, MT - 11/15/02

This is not a force play. Technically it is an appeal play. If the runner from third crosses the plate before the runner is doubled off first, the run scores. Unfortunately this is a common misconception. A force play can only be caused directly by the batter. The fact that there is no tag required does not make it a force play.

On a walk the base runner runs through the base as if he hit the ball. The opposing team throws to first and tags the runner while he is still off the base because of running through the base. Is the runner out?
Kris McCrea
Yukon, OK - 9/19/02

Yes. A base on balls is a 1 base award. The award and the protection from being put out end when the runner attains the awarded base.


This is not a double play. The batter-runner is out on the line drive. He is no longer entitled to the base; the force play is removed. The runner is safe on first. If the 1st baseman is standing on the bag, the batter-runner is out on the line drive and the runner is liable to be put out if tagged before returning to first or getting to second.

runners on second and third no one out. pop fly to short center is caught. throw to second to double off runner. second baseman thinking it is third out flips ball to the base umpire who catches the ball then realizing not third out drops it. runner from third then scores from third. what is proper call? this really did happen.
Dan Neugebauer
Parkston, SD - 8/6/02

As soon as the umpire handles the ball, it is dead. The runner goes back to third.

Bottom of the last inning, two outs and a man on 2nd base. The score is tied. The batter hits a home run. As the batter approaches first base he is jumping up and down. He jumps right over the first base and then proceeds to touch 2nd, 3rd and home. What is the correct procedure for making an appeal of a missed base in the scenario mentioned above? As I understand it, the ball becomes dead after it goes over the fence. Since there is not a next batter because the home team hit in the winning run, what is the correct way to appeal the missed base? Can you reference that in the rule book? I have not found any type of scenario in the rule book when it comes to ending the fame in this fashion.
Floyd Edwards
Utah - 7/19/02

Should the defense request an appeal, you give the pitcher a 'new' ball. He toes the rubber with the catcher in the catching position. The Plate umpire puts the ball in play. The pitcher must then make a proper appeal of the missed first base, in which case the runner who hit the home run is out. Because it was the third out and the batter-runner did not reach first safely, the runner on second does not score. The defensive team can make the appeal if at least one of the infielders, including the pitcher, has not left the field and is still in fair territory. (5.11, 7.10b)

Runners are on second and third with two outs. The batter hits it to the third baseman, who tags out the runner going into third, no force play. The runner from third crosses home plate before the tag. Does the run count?
Terry Aden
Park View, Iowa - 6/29/02

Yes. This is simply a time play. If the batter NEVER touches 1B at all, the defense could appeal and then the run could be wiped out, but otherwise the run counts.

Situation: runner on second, batter hits a sharp ground ball up the middle. Shortstop moves towards second in an attempt to field the ground ball but has no real chance at it because of the velocity of the grounder. Runner on second runs towards third and there is a collision between the runner and the shortstop. Is this obstruction, interference, or nothing?
Paul Winfree
La Mesa, CA - 6/22/02

With these calls, the umpire does not make a decision that the defensive player could or could not have made the play. If the collision took place before the ball passes the shortstop, it is interference.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Keep in mind that these are general answers to questions concerning plays I have not seen. As suggested by a reader, does this mean a fielder can "run into" a runner to get a call? Of course not. If the ball is hit to the third baseman, and the shortstop makes contact with the runner before the ball clears the infield, it is most likely obstruction. Also, the defense must have some possible chance of making a play. These are judgment calls. Use some common sense, folks. It could be interference, obstruction or nothing depending on what you actually see.

Hi Steve, The fielding percentage champion of the local team rests on your reply :). A line drive is hit at the shortstop. The sun is directly behind the batter and it is obvious the shortstop never really sees the ball. He sticks his glove out in the area he thinks the ball will arrive; the ball glances off his glove. Is this an error simply because ball hits leather? What is the general rule regarding a bad sun or extreme wind? thanks!
Rick Steele - KRYD radio
Montrose, Colorado - 6/21/02

There is no "general rule" to which you refer. The position of official scorer relies heavily on the personal objective opinion of the official scorer when evaluating a play such as you describe. The direct answer to your question is; No, it is not an error simply because it hits leather. What the scorer determines is based on his/her opinion of what has been seen. Depending on the level of play, replays are often available to assist.

Runners on 1st and third. Ball is hit to the 2nd baseman who is in position to field the grounder. Runner on first is hit by the batted ball while running to 2nd. Ball has not passed any infielder. Runner on third goes home. Interference, runner is out, dead ball, runner on third should be put back on third since he wasn't forced home. Batter should be put on first. (Rule 5.09f and 7.09m) Is this the correct call? Umpire coordinator for the franchise says runner on third should score.
Cincinnati, Ohio - 6/18/02

You are correct, he is not. The runner is not forced and goes back to third. The references you are looking for are 7.04(b) and 7.08(f). Also 6.08(d) and 7.09(m).

If a coach disputes an umpire's call, can they approach the umpire with the rule book during the game?
Germantown, MD - 6/17/02

They can and often will do whatever they are allowed to. I will not permit a coach to approach me during a game with the rule book. I will offer to discuss a rule after the game, but simply give an explanation of my ruling and move on with the game.

Steve; One out, tie game, runner on second, bottom of the seventh. Batter hits ball to gap in left-center. Runner scores, batter runner reaches second, game over. Home team (including batter-runner) starts celebrating when the visiting dugout yells for someone to make an appeal on the runner at third. In the commotion, the batter-runner runs back toward second and is tagged before reaching the base. The appeal is then made and upheld. The resulting question was: is the batter-runner out or should he be returned to second and restart the game, bottom of the seventh, two outs? Seven experienced umpires are 4-3 on this one. Your call?
Anchorage, Alaska - 6/16/02

If time was not out, the batter-runner is out on the tag. The runner from second is out on appeal. No run scores, the game continues.

There are two outs. Runners on second and third. Two strikes on the batter. Third strike is dropped by the catcher. The batter-runner begins to first base. The catcher retrieves the ball and throws to the first baseman who is not on the bag. In the meantime, the runner from third base crosses home plate. After the runner crosses home, the first baseman catches the ball and TAGS the batter-runner out before he crosses first base. Does the run count? One side argued no, the run doesn't count because the play at first was a force play for the third out and thus the run does not count. The other side argued yes, the run does count because once the first baseman elects to TAG the runner rather than the base, it is no longer a force play and thus the run counts as long as it scored before the third out (which it did). Furthermore, does it no longer become a force play situation when a tag is made rather than stepping on the base?
Ben C
Fairport. NY - 6/10/02

Force or tag is not relevant in this case, but it is still a force play. In order for any run to score in this situation, the batter-runner must reach first safely. Since this did not occur, no run scores. This is not a time play.

Steve, a third strike dropped by the catcher with less than two outs and the first base occupied, is an automatic out on the B-R. I understand this because the philosophy on this one is to avoid a faked drop for a double play. But if the ball goes into a dead spot in which the runners are awarded the next base anyway, why should the batter be called out instead of awarding him first like in a two outs situation? Do the rulings in this case need a revision to make them more reasonable? I'd like to hear your opinion. Thank you. Pablo
Pablo Rodriguez
Valencia, Venezuela - 6/6/02

The batter-runner is out with no chance to safely get to first because first base is occupied at the time of the pitch. That is the rule.

Runner on 3rd, no outs, and batter doesn't have a count. Runner is stealing home, the pitcher balks on the throw to the plate, and the batter interferes with the catcher. What is the ruling? What would be the ruling if there were two outs?
Norb Komorowski
St.Louis, Mo - 6/2/02

Play can only continue on a balk if all runners, including the batter-runner advance at least one base. When the plate umpire determines that the batter-runner cannot possibly reach first safely, time should be called before any interference occurs and the balk enforced. Same thing with two outs.

When a pitched ball bounces off the ground and the catcher catches the ball and the batter swings and it's the third strike can the batter run to first base? Where can this be found in the rule book if it's true? I know the batter can run if the catcher drops the ball on the third strike.
Blake Galloway
Northport, Alabama - 5/30/02

Yes. The ball must be caught "in flight" by the catcher. See rule 6.05(b) notes

I had this situation arise in a game and no one appealed, so I did not have to make a decision, but I would like to know the answer. Two outs, runners on second and third, batter hits triple in gap. Batter runner misses first and second base and slides in under tag at third safe. If defense appeals to first, do the runs count on third out on appeal?
Joey Tucker
Mayfield, Kentucky - 5/27/02

Runners who cross a base without touching it are considered safe pending appeal. The batter-runner must reach 1st safely for any runs to count.  If the defense appeals first, he is out, the inning is over and no runs score.

Rules state the when ball is put in play that all defensive players must be in fair territory. My interpretation of this is that at the time the pitcher is in position ready to pitch, first baseman must not have a foot entirely out of fair territory (same ruling as a catcher having to be in catchers box, meaning that one foot cannot be COMPLETELY outside of box). Is this interpretation correct, and is the remedy the same as for a catcher starting out a play out of position, which would be a balk?
David Maxwell
Bothell, WA - 5/27/02

The first baseman must have both feet in fair territory. The foul line is fair territory, so his feet must at least be touching the line.  The remedy is to tell the first baseman to get into fair territory, not a balk.  If he continues, he should be ejected. Be careful with this one.  If the first baseman is slightly off the line and no one is complaining, let it go.  I will usually only bring it up if he is in foul ground with both feet, which rarely occurs.  If the opposition brings it up, enforce the rule.

Situation: Batter hits ground ball, ball is deflected off pictures glove, ball then hits runner, running from 2nd to 3rd. Shortstop and second basemen are playing at double play depth. Is this situation left up to the officials perception weather the infielders would have had a play at any of the runners or is the runner going to third automatically out and the ball is dead?
Steve Stanovcak
San Carlos, California, USA - 5/25/02

Neither. Since the ball deflected off a defensive player, the runner is not out and the ball is live. The infielders possibly having a play is not relevant.

Runner on second base, one out. Runner on second has a big lead, he runs to steal third, third baseman covers third base for the throw from the catcher , batter hits a ground ball to third , third  baseman comes off the bag, runner is in the act of sliding, runner while sliding bangs into the third baseman, third baseman drops the ball, runner makes third. What if any is the call?
Brian Feeney
Whitman, Ma - 5/14/02

This is interference on the part of the runner. He must allow the 3rd baseman to field the ball unimpeded.

Can you find anywhere in the Major League Rules (NOT HIGH SCHOOL) that says that the pitcher can not wear a batting glove on his Glove hand? As an umpire, I have always 'heard' you can not wear a batting glove. But have never been able to find a rule against. The only thing I could find that comes close, is the rule that states the glove can not be multi-colored.
Utah - 5/10/02

The NAPBL Umpire Manuel, Section 1.16 states "No pitcher shall wear a golf glove while pitching." (They were called golf gloves before they became batting gloves)

If the catcher steps in front of home plate before a pitched ball crosses the plate and catches the ball to tag out a runner trying to steal home is it obstruction? Is the runner awarded home and the batter first base?
William R. Topoly
N. Ridgeville, Ohio - 5/7/02

It is a balk, interference, the batter is awarded 1st base on the interference and the ball is dead. (7.07)

Is there, or has there ever been a rule which would prevent a batter from switching to the other side of the plate during the same at bat?
phillip davis
Vincent, Al - 5/6/02

The batter is out is he steps from one batter's box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch. 6.06(b)

If you clearly see a runner miss the plate (tag play) or a bag but he beat the throw do you signal safe? How do you approach that call?

At the plate, the plate umpire simply gives no signal as to the outcome. They usually quickly figure it out. As to your bag question, a runner is considered safe if he has crossed the bag without touching it, pending appeal.

Are the batters hands considered part of the baseball bat? When the batter is struck by a pitch on the hands is he awarded first base or is it a foul ball?
Gary Vaden
Lawton, Oklahoma - 4/30/02

A batter's hands are not part of the bat. When was the last time you bought a bat and it came with hands? Unless the batter is swinging or the pitch is a strike, it is a hit by pitch.

A batter hits a short fly ball down the left field line, and in attempting to field the ball, the left fielder misjudges the ball, and it hits him on the head (in fair territory), and goes over the fence in foul territory. Since the ball did not touch the ground and was fair when contacted by the fielder, is this a home run?
Rod Pudlo
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada - 4/29/02

No. This is a two base award.

runners on second and third. two outs. batter hits a line drive down the third base line. the runner on third is on the base but jumps up in the air in attempting to avoid the ball. while the runner on third is in the air, he is hit by the ball.  what is the call?
huntersville, NC 4/21/02

If the runner is hit by a fair batted ball, he is out. No matter what. If he is standing with his foot on the base and is hit by a fair batted ball, he is still out.

Steve, 2 strikes on the batter. Batter swings at the next pitch. The ball hits only his hand and not any part of his bat. Ball rolls to 1st baseman who steps on 1st. Is this a fair ball ground out? Hit by the pitch?  Or is it considered a dead ball, and in that case, would it be strike 3?  Can any runners advance on this play?  Thanks.
Brandon West
Sarasota, Florida - 4/20/02

This is strike 3 and the ball is dead. No runners may advance.

Steve - Great site! A fairly simple play I regularly see called different ways by different plate umpires. no one on base, 2 strikes to a batter, on the next pitch the batter swings and misses at a pitch in the dirt. The catcher cleanly picks the pitch with no bobble or drop. Does the catcher need to make a play on the batter or is the batter out?
Martin Russo
Allentown, PA - 4/20/02

If the pitch hits the ground it can not be caught "in flight" by the catcher. The batter can attempt to reach first safely.

Batter standing in batter's box. Pitcher throws pitch which bounces in front of home plate and then strikes batter in the leg....batter has not swung at the ball. Does the batter get first base (hit by pitch), is the ball dead? What's the correct call? Thanks.
Jeff Bragman
San Carlos, CA - 4/16/02

Batter is hit by the pitch and awarded 1st base. The ball is dead.

I continue to be frustrated with umpires who allow infielders to block the bag without the ball. The typical response I get is that the fielder was "in the act of catching the ball." Help me with an approach to resolving this kind of a dispute. Thanks Steve.
Mike Hunter
Edmond, OK - 3/31/02

If, in fact, the ball is on the way to the fielder, he has a right to be there. If this is not the case and the umpires are unwilling to call obstruction, there is really nothing you can do on the field other than make your opinion known. Perhaps you can take it up with the authorities in your league who can pass down a directive to the umpires to consider those circumstances as obstruction, when warranted. Also, keep in mind that all that an obstruction call guarantees is that the runner cannot be put out at the base to which he is being obstructed. Any further award is at the discretion of the umpire if he feels the runner would have advanced further had he not been obstructed.

High School substitution rule. A starter was replaced by a substitute. Later in the game the starter returns to the field but the coach moves the sub to pitch instead of removing him from the game. Several pitches are thrown before this is caught. What is the corrective action?
Bethlehem, Pa - 3/28/02

Firstly, the plate umpire should never permit this to occur. If you are not taking lineup cards prior to the game, keeping track of subs and having each coach report any changes to you, you should start doing so yesterday. Any player re-entering the game must do so in the same position in the batting order. Since these two players can not both occupy the same spot in the order, the player who re-entered the game is considered an illegal sub, since the other player was still in the game. The illegal sub is ejected from the game and replaced immediately upon discovery. If that player was involved in a play, and there has not been another pitch thrown after that play, the team at bat has the option to let the play stand, or to let the batter bat again. This includes a play that ended an inning, as long as the first pitch of the next half inning has not yet been thrown. I presume that if the illegal sub was involved in a play involving something other than the batter, like a caught stealing or a pickoff, that the offensive team would have the option to negate that play, as long as the next pitch has not been thrown.

Scenario: 2 outs. runner on third. batter strikes out swinging on pitch in dirt. Batter walks slowly to dugout. Catcher does not throw to first nor tag batter. Umpire has not yet called batter out. runner from third sneaks home. Batter enters dugout and is ruled out. Does the run count? Also, if the catcher were to tag the runner prior to the batter being called out, would the batter leadoff the next inning?
Rowlett, Texas, USA - 3/21/02

The run cannot score. The batter-runner must reach first base safely for the run to score [4.09(a)]. He is out the moment he steps into the dugout. The run scoring is not a time play, he must reach first safely. The batter would not lead off the next inning as his time at bat is over. He is struck out with the possibility of reaching first safely. The strikeout is the third out, but the tag would end the inning, since the batter-runner then could not reach first safely under any circumstance.

Man in outfield goes to catch the ball, one foot in the field of play and one foot out . The ball hits the defensive player in the glove and drops out foul . Is the ball foul or live?
Douglas Shartzer
Saugus, California - 3/11/02

The ball is fair or foul based on the location of the ball when it is touched by the defense.

SCENARIO: A fly ball to right field which is not caught. The batter-runner is obstructed by the first baseman as he rounds first and heads for second. As the BR nears second, the throw has already arrived so he decides to retreat and ends up in a pickle. He is eventually put out.
QUESTIONS: Is the obstruction still valid or did the runner forfeit the obstruction when he retreated towards first base? If it is still valid should obstruction have been called as soon as the BR held up and started to retreat or should the pickle have been allowed to play out assuming that there could be an error during the pickle and the BR could possibly advance past second base?
Paul Winfree
La Mesa, CA - 3/10/02

The obstruction is still valid. The responsible umpire should point to the obstruction when it occurs, stating "That's obstruction" and allow the play to continue. Time should not be called until all action has ceased. The batter runner is, in this case, protected from liability to be put out at second if he continues to second. In cases of obstruction, the umpire may award the offended runner the base that he feels he would have gotten to had the obstruction not taken place. An award need not be given if the umpire feels the runner would not have advanced had the obstruction not occurred. In your example, the runner is not out and would be awarded second.

It is stated that there is no necessity to turn to the right when running through first base. The batter may turn left or right be in fair or foul territory. What is the criteria used to evaluate whether an "intent" has been made by the runner to move to second? What if the runner rounds first, angles into fair territory then stops and returns to first? Is the runner fair game for a tag? How are arguments minimized in this case?
Ted Peterson
Los Osos, California - 2/23/02

Intent is a judgment call by the corresponding umpire. Generally, if the batter-runner takes a definitive step toward second, even a quick split-second step, he is liable to be put out. Angling into fair territory is OK, assuming it is within reason and no step toward second is taken. In the event your judgment is questioned, state what you saw (no step toward second was taken by the batter-runner) and walk away.

Hitter hits to 1st baseman. The runner and 1st baseman approach each other at midpoint of baseline. Then the runner stops and retreats back toward home plate in an effort to avoid tag. Meanwhile the runner on 3rd breaks for home and the 1st baseman throws home to get the runner from 3rd. The hitter then advances on to 1st base. Question: Can you go backwards (while in the baseline) going from home to 1st? I know you can avoid tags at other bases...but what about home to first?
Brandon, Mississippi - 2/20/02

Yes. If the batter-runner does return to home plate, he is then out.

Runner hits a grounder and beats the throw at 1st. However, he misses the base. Do you call him out or are you going to wait for an appeal? One opinion I've heard is that he is out on appeal even if the appeal is made after he's back and standing on the bag.
Rick Wood
Arlington, Texas - 2/8/02

You would never simply call a runner out if he has missed 1st and he or the bag was not tagged or touched by a defensive player with the ball. He is safe pending appeal even though he has not touched the bag. If someone with the ball tags the batter-runner or steps on 1st after the b-r has crossed the bag but without touching - that is considered an appeal play and he is out. When the batter-runner gets back to the bag, assuming no one has tagged him or the base as above, he is safe.

I am 19 years old, and umpire 11-12 year olds. I was working the plate one night, and the following play occurred. One out, man on second. The pitcher pitches the ball to the plate, and it gets by the catcher. Seeing this, R-2 heads for 3rd. The catcher picks up the ball and throws it and hits the batter who is standing out of the box in the helmet, and the ball goes into left field. At the time the ball was thrown, the runner was not yet at 3rd, but he scored because it went into left. I nullify it by declaring the batter out due to interference, and send him back to 3rd. I just wanted to clarify this, because I had a hard time finding it in the rule book, but the closest thing that I found was rule 6.06 (c). Thanks.
Ari Shaban
Pembroke Pines, FL - 12/01/01

As described, you made the correct call. 6.06 (c) is the relevant rule. However, the runner should be placed back on 2nd, since he had not reached 3rd at the time of the interference.

Where exactly is written in rules book that a pitcher much have to leave the pitch plate before to pick off to the First base ? Thank you very much to give me an answer.
Jean Yves Esteban
Chatellerault, France - 11/22/01

It is not necessary for the pitcher to step off the pitcher's plate before attempting a pick-off to first base. If he does step off and attempt a pick-off to first and throws the ball out-of-play, he is considered an infielder (8.01e) and any award to the base runners is based on an errant throw by an infielder.
Rules 8.02 (a-d) addresses forbidden items and 8.05(a-m) addresses balks.

Steve, I got some problems trying to find this one. Runner on first. B-R hits in the gap and runners end up on 3er. and 2nd. bases. Appeal is made B-R missed first base. On the appeal pitcher balks. Question No.1. What I am supposed to do now with the runners?. Question No.2. How about if pitcher during appeal throws the ball into dead territory. Again, what do I do to both runners in  this case?. Please help. Thank you.
Pablo Rodriguez
Valencia, Venezuela - 11/22/01

Rule 7.10 (end notes) states "If a pitcher balks when making an appeal, such act shall be a play...." A valid appeal must be made before the next pitch or play (6.07b). In both cases, the appeal in invalid. Since the ball is live, the runners are awarded the proper bases based on the infraction committed.

With a runner on third base, the pitcher is in a stretch. The runner from third takes off for home while the pitcher is still on the rubber. The pitcher steps off the rubber correctly throws the ball home attempting to throw the runner out. The batter in the box swings at the ball thinking it is a pitch. What is the ruling in this situation please. Thanks.
Bob C.
Modesto, CA - 11/06/01

Assuming that the runner is safe on the play or the pitch is hit, it is interference on the batter. "Thinking" it is a pitch is not a valid exception. The runner is out and any other runners return unless there are two outs, in which case the batter is out and the inning is over (7.08g, 7.09d).

If a batter running to 1st base runs in fair territory (inside the 3 foot lane) and is hit by the thrown ball is he out? (for instance on a bunt that the catcher fields). I looked up Major League baseball rule 7.09 (k) and it appears to be interference on the runner's part if so judged by the ump... is this so?
Mike Proctor
Olalla, Washington - 10/19/01

Yes, in the situation you site, the runner is out. The throw, however, must be a true throw (able to get the runner out). The fielder cannot simply see the runner out of the lane and hit him with the ball.

When there is a tie at first base, the call usually goes to the runner. Is there an official "tie goes to the runner" rule? Thanks!
Las Vegas, Nevada - 10/15/01

There is no "tie" in baseball.

Steve, recently while working the dish at a fall senior league game the following play occurred: runner on first, 1 out, 2 strikes on the batter. On the pitch the runner breaks for second. The batter swings and misses for strike 3, the pitch is dropped. I called the batter out. The offensive manager argued that first base was no longer occupied because of the steal, therefore the batter should have had the chance to advance to first.  I argued that at the time of the pitch, regardless of the runners intent to steal second, first base was still occupied. the base is considered occupied until the runner is retired or he legally advances to the next base. Was my call correct? I could not locate a rule reference on this play in either Babe Ruth or Federation rules. Thanks. 
Paul Romagnoli - 10/04/01

Yes, you were correct.  The base was occupied at the time of the pitch.

If the fielder is attempting to catch a foul ball (in the outfield) and it tips off of his glove into fair territory, is it a fair or foul ball?
Nicole Davey
Williamsburg, Ontario, Canada - 09/09/01

It is foul. It is not where the ball lands, but where it is touched.

Runners on first and third, one ball to the outfield. Runner on first does not tag up runner on third does and scores. The throw comes back to first for the double play after the runner from third crosses the plate. Does the run count?? I was working the plate and called it as a force play on the double play at first and did not allow the run.
Jim Curlis
Herndon, Virginia - 8/30/01

Sorry, but you blew it. This is not a force play. Technically it is an appeal play. If the runner from third crosses the plate before the runner is doubled off first, the run scores. Unfortunately this is a common misconception. A force play can only be caused directly by the batter. The fact that there is no tag required does not make it a force play.

I can't find any reference to this play but can you give me the rules interpretation? Runner is off third base with his left foot clearly in fair territory and his right foot clearly in foul territory. A batted ball which is hit down the line in foul territory strikes his right foot which is in foul territory. My call is foul ball because of the position of the ball. Right or wrong?
Larry Paieski
West Pittston, PA - 8/28/01

You are absolutely right. Every reference to consequences of a runner being hit by a batted ball refers to a fair batted ball. In this case, the runner was hit by a foul ball.

A runner on first base starts for second on a ground ball hit at the second baseman. The runner is in the baseline when he collides with the second baseman who is attempting to field the ground ball. Who is out?
Charlie Jennings
Foristell, Missouri - 8/24/01

This is interference on the runner. He must allow the first fielder attempting to make a play on the ball to do so. The runner is out. If appropriate, the batter-runner may also be called out. See 7.09 (l).

With a runner on first and no outs an fly ball is hit to the second baseman. He noticed the batter not running and let the ball fall, stepped on second and threw to first to complete a double play. The umpire ruled he must catch the ball and ruled the batter out and returned the runner to first with one out. I can't find this in the rule book. Is this correct?
Thor Mims
Atlanta, GA - 08/21/01

No, it is not correct. If an infielder lets a ball fall untouched, it's a live ball. Play continues. This is NOT an intentionally dropped ball.

What would happen in a Major League game if one of the fielders caught a fly ball with his cap, instead of his glove? Is this an out? A live ball? Ground rule double?
Recently on "Hollywood Squares" somebody said (I'm assuming incorrectly) that it's a "ground rule triple."
Los Angeles, CA - 8/20/01

The guest on Hollywood Squares is mostly correct. The batter-runner gets third with the ball remaining live.
Rule 7.05(b): "Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home at his peril;"

There are men on first and second. The batter hits a ground ball up the middle, which is fielded by the SS, who makes a diving stop. The SS is unable to step on second or relay the ball to the 2B for the force. Instead he tags the base with his bare right hand, while the ball is in his gloved left hand. Is the runner at second base forced?
Robert Reinking
Sun Lakes, Arizona - 8/19/01

Yes, he is. This is analogous to the first baseman catching the ball in his glove while his foot is on the base.

Runner on first - no outs.  Batter hits ground ball to first basemen. Runner never leaves first base. Fielder tags runner, who is standing on the base. He then steps on first base before hitter reaches first base.
Who is out?
Nashville, Tennessee 7/31/01

Double play. When the ball is hit, the runner on first is no longer entitled to first base. Tagging him, even though he is standing on the base, is an out. Stepping on first puts out the batter-runner.

There is a runner on second base. During a conference at the mound, the pitcher secretly slips the ball to his second baseman (yes, the ol' hidden ball trick) who returns to his position with the ball hidden in his glove. Is the pitcher only required to be off the rubber or must he be completely off the mound in order for the second baseman to tag out the runner leading off from second base?
Michael Hoffman
Eagan,  Minnesota  - 7/20/01

Off the rubber only.  Of course, time must be in. If time was granted for the conference, it should not be placed back in until the batter is in the box and the pitcher is on the rubber with the ball.

Game is tied 6-6 in bottom of last inning . Runner on 3rd and 2nd. Pitcher throws wild pitch past the catcher. The catcher chases bad pitch. The ball bounces up and sticks in backstop screen, about elbow high. The catcher quickly picks stuck ball off screen tosses to pitcher who tags runner at home. Plate umpire calls runner out. The base umpire says the ball was dead when it momentarily stuck in screen so runner advances 1 base (home) safely, thus ending the game on the dead ball call. Home plate umpire did not see ball stick in screen and argues that he made the right call The base umpire says he called dead ball as soon as he realized it stuck making the put out void. Further stating his call comes first overriding the plate umpire. Base umpire declares game over and leaves the field. Is that the right call?
Jeff Hoy
Julian, PA - 7/19/01

Yes, the call is right, the ball is immediately dead. The way it was handled was wrong. Right or wrong it is the plate umpires' call (umpire-in-chief). No umpire has the authority to overrule another umpire. If there is a crew chief, it would be up to him to decide which ruling is correct. The base umpire should have gotten together with the plate umpire alone and discussed it. If the plate umpire did not see it as stated, the base umpire should explain what he saw. Had the plate umpire not agreed to correct his call (hard to believe this would occur), the call should stand and a protest logged by the offended team, if permitted.

Who is allowed to argue balls and strikes with the umpire?
Michael McGuire
Hollywood, Florida - 7/19/01


Bases loaded, 2 out, tie game, bottom of ninth, new batter. As pitcher is delivering the ball, the Umpire looses his balance, and attempting to regain balance bumps the catcher forward as the batter swings. The bat hits the catchers glove, and misses the ball.  What is the call?  A friend had this happen to him (he was the catcher).
Dave Miles
Comox, British Columbia, Canada - 7/17/01

This is very unusual and not addressed anywhere in the rule book that I know of. Obviously, as you describe it, the umpire interfered. The play produced catcher's interference, by it was due to the umpire's action.  To me, this falls into the category of 9.01(c) which gives the umpire authority to make rulings on items not specifically covered in the rules.  I would call no pitch.  It's not fair to the defense to call catchers interference and cause them to lose the game, and it's not fair to the offense to let the pitch stand as a strike.

I am working the dish, runner on first 2 outs. Batter is at the plate with a full count. On next pitch, batter swings and misses but catcher drops third strike. Batter takes off for first, runner on first takes off for second, catcher has no play at first decides to throw to second. My question is, is the play at second a force play or a tag play? I feel that with two outs the runner at first must run to allow the batter/runner to get to first base thus loosing his right to first ,thus creates a force at second. My partner said it is a tag play. Who is right? We both can't find the rule. Please help us.
John Caggiano #4
Long Island, NY Approved Umpire Assn. - 7/12/01

You are correct. It is a force play. The runner on first is forced to second by the action allowing the batter-runner to attempt to get to first safely. This is why in the same situation with the bases loaded, the catcher can step on the plate for the third out.

With the batter in the box, the pitcher starts into his motion. Can the batter call timeout? Is there a point where he can not call time out if the above answer is yes.
Grant Williams
Modesto ,CA - 7/8/01

The batter can never call time out. He may only ask the plate umpire to give him time, which is granted at his discretion based on the circumstances and when requested.

The runner is hit by a batted ball while he is still on the base. I can only find one reference to a runner being hit by a batted ball while he is still on the base. It refers to an infield fly that hits a runner on the base, the runner cannot be out. Situation: runner on first or third and the batter hits a ball down the first or third base line. The ball hits the runner still on the base. The fielder is playing behind the base and runner and cannot field the ball before it hits the runner. Is the runner out?
Jack Brymer
Hoover, AL - 7/11/01

Yes, the runner is out.  Contact with the base does not protect the runner when hit with a fair batted ball, with the exception of an infield fly situation.

In a recent game our pitcher attempted a spinning pick off move of a runner leading off of second base. After spinning off the rubber the pitcher realized that the second baseman hadn't yet broken for the base.  Instead of throwing directly over the base where there was no fielder, the pitcher threw to a position a few strides from the base where the second baseman was after his delayed break.  The play was ruled a balk for throwing to an unoccupied base.  Is this an accurate call?
Kevin Crawford
Missisauga, Ontario, Canada - 7/04/01

No, it is not a balk. This is permitted on a pick-off to second or third. The pitcher may throw to a fielder off the base or not throw at all in the circumstance you described.

Need some help finding this one in the rule book. Is a runner required to go back to his current base and tag-up after a foul ball? In my case, the batter hit a foul, the runner never returned to first, and stole second on the next pitch.  I appealed the play at first and was told the runner does not have to tag-up.  Did I go about appealing incorrectly or do I just not understand the rule?  Thanks for the help.  This one is killing me.
Ernie Giardini
Aurora, CO - 7/1/01

Technically yes, the runner must retouch. In reality, no. Rule 5.09e states: "A foul ball is not caught: runners return. The umpire shall not put the ball in play until all runners have retouched their bases;"  What this means is there can be no further play until the runners retouch. Since time can not be "in" without a retouch, the runner can not be called out under any circumstances.   This however, is not how it is done.  When the pitcher is on the rubber with the ball and the batter is in the box after the foul, the plate umpire takes a look around and puts the ball in play.  He would not do so if the runner is still heading back to his base or for some other reason is obviously not ready to go, but once the runner is back to where he is going, he becomes liable to be put out when "Play" is called or indicated , regardless of the fact that there was no retouch. This is one of the primary reasons the plate umpire must put the ball back in play after EVERY foul ball with runners on base. Also, there is no reference to this situation under rule 7.10, "A runner shall be called out on appeal when..."

My son plays on a 13-14 year old youth rec league. Question: bases loaded, winning run on third. The ball is hit down the 3rd base line. Neither of the two umpires see if it is fair or foul. They are yelling to each other whether either saw it. They both claim they did not. Home plate umpire claimed due to not seeing it, he HAD to rule it fair. The winning run scored.  What are your thoughts. Thanks.
Twinsburgh, Ohio - 6/29/01

I don't believe that they HAD to rule it fair. There is no rule that supports this position. In a case like this, it's a best guess situation with a 50-50, or close to it, chance of being correct. I had the same thing happen to me in a American Legion NJ state championship game last year when a base runner blocked my view just as the ball reached 3rd base. I ruled it fair because I thought it was, and was told later by an umpire that I knew with a view who was watching the game that I was incorrect. It did not affect the outcome of the game. The tournament director saw it and knew what happened. They used three umpires for the balance of the tournament, which is the solution to preventing this situation from occurring. Had a third umpire been working the game, it would have been his call and he would have been right there.

i coach in little league (11-12yr old) division. we were on the defensive side of the play...bases loaded one out...pop fly to our 2nd baseman....i am yelling to my defensive squad that this is an infield fly rule...our 2nd baseman drops ball...umpire does NOT DECLARE infield fly (we use 13-14 yr olds as umps) runner DOES NOT tag up on 1st base and is tagged out as he is standing on 2nd. runner on 3rd does tag but does not score before runner on 2nd is tagged out. discussion with umps and coaches is as follows....ball was definitely "catchable" by our 2nd baseman and there was no JUDGMENT call as to whether it was or was not and infield fly....ump did not "declare" infield fly even though it was obvious it the immediate following discussion with ump he DECLARED he missed the call and it should have been declared an infield fly... he also called the man on 2nd out because he did not tag up after ball was touched (dropped)...3 outs inning is over...other coaches argued as follows: ump "must" declare infield fly rule for it to be in effect and runner on 1st does not have to tag up if ball is reading of the little league rule book (section 2.00 def.) indicates that the ump "SHALL" declare infield fly rule ONLY for the BENEFIT of the runner...bottom line questions are as follows: if ump does not declare infield fly because he missed the call is the batter still runner on 2nd which did not tag up out...does ump need to declare infield fly rule if it is obvious that ball is catchable by infielder and if he does not what is the ruling.
thanks for your patience and i look forward to you response
Mark Robinson
Webster, NY - 6/25/01

I am not familiar with LL rules, but I believe an infield fly is the same everywhere. If you are using 13-14 yr old untrained umpires, keep in mind that you have to go with their calls, for better or worse, and be a gentleman at all times. You are utilizing children, after all, which I applaud. Assuming that the fly ball qualified as a genuine infield fly, not a line drive and able to be caught with ordinary effort: An infield fly is an infield fly without regard to it being called by the umpire. Some rules books state this directly. The runners and situation should be placed in the proper positions as if the correct call had been made.  The batter should be declared out, etc. In general, when it is realized that an incorrect call has been made and it is possible to correct the situation completely after-the-fact, it should be corrected. In this case, the situation could have been fixed with no adverse consequences to anybody, egos notwithstanding.

I am a catcher who plays on the local over 30 baseball league. Recently, I was involved in a play that has stirred some controversy in the league: With a runner on third and a left-handed batter at the plate, the pitcher threw a wild pitch that bounced about ten feet to the right of the catcher. The catcher noticed that the pitcher was not breaking to cover the plate and heard his teammates screaming that the runner was trying to score. The catcher picked up the ball and turned around and at the same time, lunged for home. The batter was still standing in the batters box with his back to the catcher. The catcher collided with the batter who was standing directly between the catcher and home. The catcher was never able to put a tag on the runner. The ruling: The runner was ruled safe because it was felt that the runner would have been safe even if the catcher was not impeded by the batter; that if the catcher would have been able to make a play on the runner, he would have been called out. Was this correct?
Kenny Lucas
Colorado Springs, Colorado - 6/19/01

No, in my opinion it was not correct.
Rule 7.09(d) states that it is interference on a batter or runner when...."Before two are out and a runner on 3rd base, the batter hinders a fielder in making a play at home base; the runner is out;". Your description notes that the batter did indeed hinder the catcher. There is no regard as to weather he would be safe or not. Again, according to your description, the batter knew or should have know that a play at the plate was imminent, is required to clear the area for the play and had ample time to do so. This address "before two are out", but the intent is clear.  With two out, 7.09(e) would apply: "...any member of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out...". Again there is no reference to the potential outcome. Also, the ruling should not have made based on the potential or perceived possible outcome of the play.
Other batter interferes with catcher rules: 6.06(c), 7.09(a), 7.09(l, notes), 6.06(c), 7.08(g).

In a pony league baseball league for 11-12 year olds that I coach in, a team had the bases loaded with two outs. The batter struck out, but the catcher missed the third strike. Can the catcher pick up the ball and step on home for a force out or does he have to tag the runner? Or must the play be made on the batter, either by tagging him or making the play at first?
Brian Hall
Terre Haute, Indiana - 6/18/01

Any of the methods you mentioned will complete the play. They all will result in the third out.

11-12 year old Cal Ripken league play. With no outs and a runner at 2nd, the batter hits a line drive about 2 foot off the ground directly back at the pitcher, the pitcher pulls his right leg back to avoid getting hit by the ball. The runner standing on second base jumps to avoid getting hit in the knee but the balls hits his toe while he is in the air. What would the call be? Is the Pitcher considered an infielder? Would rule 7.08f apply (hit before the ball has touched or passed and infielder?) What about Rule 7.09h where is stresses willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball? Also 7.09m says that if the ball goes through or by an infielder and touches a runner immediately back of him....the umpire shall not declare the runner out for being touched by a batted ball? (The runner was obviously only trying to keep the ball from hitting him in the did the pitcher....the ball was sharply....very sharply hit, and it appeared that instinctively the pitcher and then the runner on second were simply avoiding the ball....not trying to stop a double play since nobody was on first. the second baseman and shortstop were in their normal positions and didn't even have time to move toward the ball.) I would love to hear your opinion on this situation and the rule you would apply!
Barbara Atchley
Smackover, AR - 6/17/01

I see you spend some time with a rule book. I do not know Cal Ripken-specific rules. As you describe the situation, the runner was hit by a fair batted ball. He is out, the ball is dead. The pitcher in this instance is not an infielder. Think for a minute, if 7.08(f) applied, no runner would ever be called out between 1st and 3rd for getting hit with a batted ball because the ball would always pass the pitcher first. According to your description, there was no intent to interfere by the runner, so 7.09(h) would not apply.
7.09(m) protects the runner, but not in this circumstance.

Steve: I loved the site. Umpire heckles made me laugh out loud.
Do you have any idea of the origin of the phrase "a can of corn" ? Play ball.
Monty Green, fan
Seabrook, TX - 6/01

My understanding is that many years ago, small grocery stores would stack canned goods very high.  In order to retrieve a can from the top, a clerk would knock one down with a stick and easily catch it.  Hence the term catching a "can of corn".

Created: June 17, 2001
Steve Orinick is not liable in any way for any event or situation whatsoever arising from these responses, including errors and omissions or negative consequences, perceived or otherwise. All answers are purely his personal opinion. Proceed at your own risk! Read your rule book.
Check with your association for specific interpretations.
Answers copyright © 2001 - 2009 Steve Orinick. All rights reserved.

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