Baseball Umpire and Rules Discussions

Strike Zone What Do You Think???? June 05 2020, 0 Comments

Coach's players fans all question umpires strike zone- but let me ask you what is the strike zone.

First let's talk about the width of the strike zone the plate itself is 17 inch across and a BB has a diameter of three and half inches and softball is a diameter of 5 inches. So now the question is does the ball have to be completely over the white 17 inches or can it be just touching thought white to be considered over it and a strike.   If that's true were really expanding the strike zone anywhere from 3 inches to 4 inches depending on the game or playing. Most umpires believe it just has to touch the white and it's my personal belief that players, coaches and fans like to see that it keeps people swinging let's pictures throw better and keeps the game more interesting.

But what do you think????

Catch or No Catch February 04 2020, 0 Comments

When is a catch -- a catch and when is a catch a bobble

Running on Drop Third Strike July 10 2019, 0 Comments

Let's revisit drop third strike. Once again I watched ballgames have umpire ballgames that this gets to be an issue. First a drop third strike is any third strike that's called or swung at that strikes the ground before goes into the catchers glove or falls out of the catchers glove and goes to the ground, not being held securely from the pitch or from the swing.

Now that we've defined that when can you run you can run on third strike meets the definition above any time for spaces open. But here's where the confusion comes if first space is occupied with less than two outs (0 or 1) then the batters out automatically even if he attempts to run deficient not play he cannot advance in the runners can only advance at their own risk.  Now here's where the confusion comes in with two outs in the same exact play occurring the batter can run even with first base occupied. Now normally the catcher would just simply throw to the first baseman and the batter would be declared out but we need to keep in mind that all the force rules are still in play. The one that we see most of the time is bases-loaded missed/dropped third strike catchers picks it up and touches home plate which is legal and the runner coming from third base is the one that's declared out.

We got into this discussion just the other day when one of the parents said they couldn't run with the runner at first base because the play before with less than two outs the umpire declared the batter out then sure enough with two outs the batter struck out again with the catcher dropping the ball and they allowed him to run to first with no throw because coaches didn't know the rule and everybody was safe. In the course the coaches one complain that he was out a minute ago and now you changed your ruling and now I safe of course that's not true the difference is one time was with less than two outs. The other time was with two outs.

We need to add to this a little bit, if a catcher does not touch the batter and the batter leaves the batters box and no play is made the runner could be told to run and go directly from where he stands to first base. This is a very valid rule in high school, college, Pro now when you what's major-league ball on TV you see this occur you see the catcher facing the batter in the batter is walking away that's considered a play in the runner has given up and become out but the catcher must acknowledge the runner and the runner must either start to first base or if he gives up he declared out. There's no such thing as leaving a box and being automatically out or leaving the baseline and being automatically out.

Umpire Arnald Swift

Foul Tip on Pitch March 08 2019, 0 Comments

Lets look at this play from 2 directions.

1. Rule it is a foul tip if the ball goes directly from the bat to the catchers glove or hand.

Now what if it misses the glove/hand and comes off his chest protector or mask.  It is not a catch only a strike and is ruled a foul ball.

What if it hits his glove then to chest protector/mask and back to his glove it is a catch and shall be ruled a foul tip.

Here is the rule out of the book:

(2) A third strike is legally caught by the catcher;

Rule 5.09(a)(2) Comment (Rule 6.05(b) Comment): “Legally caught” means in the catcher’s glove before the ball touches the ground. It is not legal if the ball lodges in his clothing or paraphernalia; or if it touches the umpire and is caught by the catcher on the rebound.

If a foul tip first strikes the catcher’s glove and then goes on through and is caught by both hands against his body or protector, before the ball touches the ground, it is a strike, and if third strike, batter is out. If smothered against his body or protector, it is a catch provided the ball struck the catcher’s glove or hand first.

Parents and the Umpires November 21 2018, 0 Comments

This is not really a rule but more of a discussion and I thought question that I experienced a couple weekends ago.  This would apply to any level but especially the youth baseball and softball.

As normal with these kind of games the parents are quite intense and certainly don't see things the way they really were, or as the umpire sees them.  And of course the umpire has to make the decision in a split 2nd and trying to get it right.  When it's close is always going to be somebody that thinks it was the other way around.  Obviously 99.9% of the time player that was affected negatively.

Now the discussion part normally the umpire would just have to take the parents verbal conversation and/or abuse or they would have to toss the parent out very very poor choice by the way, or go to management and get the parent compound or removed.

I become aware that several organizations Triple Crown, USAAA, youth baseball and softball plus I'm sure other organizations have taken another tactic in getting this particular problem handled.  This is what I saw at the ballgame and actually after 40+ years of umpiring is the 1st time I've seen this but I believe it to be effective and a good approach that kind takes care of it but at the same time defuses it before it gets out of hand.  On this never going to work every time nothing ever does the tell me what you think now that this is becoming more normal.


The parent gets on the umpire for call and just won't let up, so he/she turns the fan and as calmly as possible indicates they need to stop.  99/100 times this won't stop but now the umpire has at least indicated they have a choice.  The next as I find different and actually encouraging he calls the coach out of the dugout and tells the coach you need to talk to that parent and have them quit otherwise the consequences are going to be you as the coach and the parent are going to be removed from the field and the stands.  When I saw this in action for the 1st time I was truly amazed  it stopped things  completely and we went on with the ballgame.  I grant you  neither the coach nor the parent were probably happy but the situation was handled the play stood, as it always will, and the parent was quiet.  I'm sure the fear of being removed and the coach being removed her big and I'm sure the coach didn't want to be removed for what is parent was doing.  I suspect there's this further consequences whatever play out to the coach being ejected, the parent being told to leave, and anything would happen after that during the game or even after the game is being confronted but I really thought it worked.

What would be your thoughts and comments may be your youth are playing and you will see this or even that you will think about it as an alternative to your actions or the parents around you.  Your opinion please.

Arnald Swift the umpire

Dropped 3rd Strike August 07 2018, 0 Comments

drop 3rd strike and what to do  and when to do it

Foul Ball or Foul Tip??? March 19 2018, 0 Comments

situation for the umpire to make a ruling on what is  yours: 

Runner on first base, batter with a 2-2 count.  The pitches made in the batter swings at the pitch and tips the ball so that it goes directly into the catchers chest protector and then drops into his glove. The runner  takes off the second and a throw was made in the runner called out.  The coach protest at the runner is not out  sent back to first base.

Now the question is is the right and why, and then what would we do with the batter. =================================================

now hopefully before you read this answer you thought about the question. The answer is it's a foul ball any ball that does not go directly into the catcher's glove is considered a foul ball. And all the actions undertaken when a foul balls made are taken in this case so the runner goes back to first, and foul balls call on the batter so the count stays 2-2.  If it had been a foul -tip  directly into the catcher's glove and in the play proceeded as described the runner would've been out in the batter would have been out on strike three. So it's important to know the difference between a foul ball in a foul tip.

Instant Replay October 30 2017, 0 Comments

As an umpire at the lower levels, high school and youth, I'm confronted with  parent saying look at my video camera you can see  an instant replay that he was safe, out, whatever their trying to convince you of. Course the rules do not allow it but parents are influenced by instant replay we see on TV and all the professional sports. It's never going to happen at a level below college at best because of the technology and manpower needed to create it accurately and efficiently. But with that said this is an opinion question I'd like to hear from you:

When we watch baseball on TV and a player slides into the base and is clearly safe but because of his slide he hits the base hard enough to cause him to pop up above the base by a fraction of an inch. Therefore he's ruled off the base when the tag is held there or applied at the precise moment he gets above the base by the physical force. This is not a case of sliding past or sliding over the base when you caused your own problem this is simply a matter of physics to create this instantaneous, and microscopic distance between the foot the base and because we can freeze-frame it  players are getting called out when that's not the intent of the rule.. I believe were calling too much of the letter of the law  and not the intent. Instant replay has been beneficial I don't deny that  but it can't get down to the point being a detriment with all these Popoff plays.

I like to hear the opinion of other fans, players, umpires people that are involved how do you feel about players being called out when they really worked off the base as part of the action of being safer out.

question from umpire  Arnald Swift



Two People on the Base at the Same Time August 12 2017, 0 Comments

I was coaching in a youth game in the day and this came up and while it's been talked about many times is still a problem  that comes up so I thought I'd go over a couple of situations that you're going to see especially with the younger ballplayers, and if you happen to be in umpire hopefully you'll be able to handle it correctly.. It's confusing enough that there is a famous case in the World Series where it was called wrong.

Situation = two runners on the same base there are couple of things to consider but the first and foremost is who has the right to that base. The other player is the same as being off the base and can be tagged out on matter where he standing.

First situation = runner on first and second base ball hit to the shortstop who bobbles it but picks it up in time  to get in front of the runner at second going to third that runner turned around  and goes back to second. Who's out?  The runner that was on second originally because of the bases behind him being occupied the ball was hit he had to run, he was forced, so therefore he had no right to second base and when he was touched regardless of priesthood he's out in the runner coming from first base was safe at second because he had the right to that base. Now a little twist on that that you see every once in a while the runner from first turns and starts back and is the first one gets touched, he's out but now the runner that was originally on second no longer has to run  and therefore he's safe.. So defense the player really should  tag the runner that is advancing to the next base then many times in the runner will panic and leave  and you can get a double play.

second situation = runner at third and second nobody on first. The ball is hit to the third baseman and the runner on third does not run but the runner on second does run and comes over and touches third base. Now the third baseman goes to third base and touches both runners. Now the question is who is out-- the runner coming from second base, he didn't have to run therefore he had no right to third base  so the original runner on third base is safe.

The defense the players need to be aware of in what order to tag a runner(s) when there are two on base  at the same time..

Thoughts  from umpire Arnald Swift



Umpires call on Balk to third base June 12 2017, 0 Comments

This season has started out really very well with not a lot of controversy, you always have some question about balls and strikes, safe and out,, Fair  or foul but those are things every umpire is faced with every game.

The interesting question has come up  recently  about throwing to an unoccupied base,, I've seen it several times now in the real young baseball were when a guy gets on base  they're going to steal and the cancers aren't able to stop them.  This can certainly come up  at any level but it's more prevalent here. Here's the situation   And how I read the rule book and how I call it is an umpire. Runner is at first base, no one has at second has the right handed picture comes set and even lift his leg but makes no move to home, and that's important makes no move to home he sees the runner break so he continues to pivot to second base and throw the runner out. Almost the same thing runner at second base and no one on third as the pitcher comes set and raises his leg again making no move toward home plate  the runner breaks  he simply steps the third and throws the ball in the runners tagged out.

Now what most coaches want to call is a balk, because they  through to an unoccupied base,, what they don't know is the rule that follows that first statement where it says except to put out or drive back and advancing  runner.   That's all that pitcher did. He never made moved home plate  in the throw to second it was just the inside out move, spend move, that every pitcher does going back to second base, when he went to third base it's the same exact move every left-hander  does going to first base  only this time he went to third two put out or drive back and advancing runner.

 Just to finalize this  I looked up in the major-league rule book the following:  The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;

Rule 6.02 (a)(4) Comment (Rule 8.05(d ) Comment): When determining whether the pitcher throws or feints a throw to an unoccupied base for the purpose of making a play, the umpire should consider whether a runner on the previous base demonstrates or otherwise creates an impression of his intent to advance to such unoccupied base.

((d)    The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;

Rule 8.05(d) Comment: When determining whether the pitcher throws or feints a throw to an unoccupied base for the purpose of making a play, the umpire should consider whether a runner on the previous base demonstrates or otherwise creates an impression of his intent to advance to such unoccupied base.

So next time the pitcher throws to a base that somebody advancing to it's not a balk.

Umpire for 40+ Arnald Swift