Baseball Umpire and Rules Discussions

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.


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

 

 


What Makes the Ball Fair or Foul March 17 2017, 0 Comments

as we get started with the baseball and softball seasons  were going to have this question come up again I was at a game the other day for my grandson, but it doesn't make any difference whether it's peewee baseball or major-league the rules are exactly the same.  There are three or four cases that come up every year that coaches, parents, and players don't know what makes a ball fair, what makes a ball foul.

So I'm going to break them down in the simplest of terms: 

1. the first and foremost decision to be made on whether a ball is  fair or foul is where is the ball located when it is touched by a player. with a player touches it  it is where the ball is located that makes it fair or foul, where the player is located makes no difference at all. The most common is that a player at third or first is still it fair territory reaches across the foul line to field the ball and touches the ball while it's over foul territory that makes it foul.

2. A ball that hits off of home plate is neither fair nor file until somebody touches it.

3. the one that seems a little contrary is the one that where the ball hits in fair territory and then lands in foul territory and the umpire calls it fair.  Here's the reason why  a ball that hits in front of first or third in fair territory then passes over  first or third  or inside first or third then lands in foul territory is a fair ball because it passed over first or third after it hit the ground in front of those two bases. If it  lands  for the first time passed first or third in where it lands is determined  fair fell.

4. The line is considered in fair territory, if it just touches any part of the line that is a fair ball.

5. One extremely rare situation, I've only seen it twice in 50 years of umpiring but it's there so I say it if a ball hits the pitching rubber and then rebounds into foul territory before it is touched by a player then it is  a foul ball, because it never passed first or third.

One last case for you to think about that you seen all the time it really illustrates what I've said above that a player is underneath a pop-up, to the infield, they miss it completely and it lands on the ground and you hear the coaches say let it go foul, let it go foul because they want the ball to land and be touched in foul territory.. Or the reverse of it a ball is rolling down the line from a queue shot and the coaches tell the players  touch it touch it in foul territory so that is  ruled a foul ball.

Where the ball is been touched that's what makes it fair or foul in front of the bases,, behind first or third it's where it lands.

Arnald Swift umpire 50 years plus (at all levels)  coaching 40 years plus


Catcher Throw Hits the Bat January 11 2017, 0 Comments

COPY CREDIT TO SITE STUMP THE UMP.

Dave from Clearwater, FL asks:

In game 5 of the Toronto and Texas 2015 ALDS, when Shin-Shoo Choo was in the box but his hand was left on the line of the box, Russel Martin went to throw back to his pitcher and the ball hit off of the batter's bat.  How is this not interference since Choo's bat was on the line or almost in the field of play (close call) on Choo as Martin inadvertently hit Choo's bat on the throw back to the mound?   Thus Rougned Odor scored from 3rd.  Furthermore, umpires made a different call (which had the ball being dead and returning Odor to third) before reversing it to allow Odor to score. Why were they allowed to reverse it?  Very confused as the rules in baseball are so complex compared to other sports.  Thank you!

This play has caused a lot of confusion but this scenario is covered in the Major League Baseball Umpire's Manual. Ruling 29 of this book, which refers to MLB Rule 6.06(c), covers exactly how to handle throws back to the pitcher where the batter potentially interferes. This interpretation states that, as long as the batter does not intentionally interfere with the throw, then, if the batter is standing in the batter’s box and he or the bat is struck, then there is no infraction and the ball is still alive and in play. Even though Choo's bat was potentially out of the box at the moment when the ball hit it, since Choo himself was still in the box and he did not attempt to interfere with the ball, the ball should have remained live allowing the runner to have the chance to score.

The second part of your question is a part that I came across a lot tonight while reading comments on game recaps; why were the umpires allowed to reverse the call after already calling the play dead? It is always the first and main priority of the umpires to get the call right, even if that means reversing a call or making an unpopular decision. Being as this is a very unusual play and one that is not even covered in the general MLB rulebook but instead in their secondary Umpires Manual, it is hard to blame Dale Scott for freezing for a few seconds before calling this play dead. However, as the umpires are expected to do, they paused the game, got together to discuss the play, and then reversed it to ensure they got what very potentially could have been a game deciding call correct by deciding what would have happened if the play hadn't been stopped.

Answered by: Jonathan Bravo
Keywords: MLB Rule 6.06(c), MLB Umpire Manual, Choo, Odor, Martin, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers


Running on Droped 3rd Strike January 08 2016, 0 Comments

Question

What happens if the base ump fails to call a batter out on 3rd strike when 1st base is occupied? The runner ran for 1st, the catcher overthrew 1st base and the runner that was on 1st advanced to home. After the fact, the batter was called out, but the runner was not made to return to 1st. Is this legal or can it be heard by a protest committee if the team continues to play under protest?

Answer

This is legal because, according to the comment on rule 7.09(e),"if the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not, by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders." By this clause in the rule, the offensive team should not be penalized just because the batter continued to run the bases. Since this was the right call, any protest would not be upheld by a committee, but it is protestable because it is a rule interpretation.

Even though the offensive team should not be penalized for this, there are some things that should have been done to prevent this scenario from happening. First and foremost, the defensive team should know the situation and, since first base was occupied with less then two outs, any batter who has a dropped third strike when he is at bat is still out. Also, what I was trained to do in that situation is, when the plate umpire sees the batter start to run up the line towards first, he should follow the batter up the line saying "he's out, he's out, he's still out," while giving the out signal. By doing this, there would be no confusion and everyone would know that the batter is out, even though it was a dropped third strike.

Bases on Overthrow August 09 2015, 0 Comments

Just saw this on TV this past weekend in a professional game, on the MLB channel. And thought it was worth a quick discussion to try and clarify again.

Situation was a runner at first base with one out. A line drive was hit to the second baseman who caught it for the second out. He then tried to throw to the first baseman to double off the runner but he hit the runner in the head which caused the baseball to bounce into the dugout.  The umpires awarded the runner third-base, then you could see on TV the manager holding up two fingers and talking to his coach and saying is that right.

The answer is it was correct the rule states runners shall be awarded two bases from the base they last possessed at the time of the throw-- key issue here at the time of the throw not when it left the field--.   This runner possessed first base, it makes no difference that he was going back to first, when the throw was made and then went out of play so he was awarded third.  I would also interject here that if a pitcher throws the ball while touching the rubber, almost always during a pickoff attempt, then there is an exception it is only one base if a pitcher throws it out of play.  However keep in mind if the pitcher steps back off the rubber he now becomes an infielder not a pitcher and you would award a runner two bases if the ball would go out of play.

I just thought it worth noting that even at the highest level of play coaches and players are not aware of the rules, I think one of the best things a coach can do is know the rules. You can argue all you want about balls and strikes, safe and out and you'll never get anything done but if you know the rules then you have a chance to make your point and get something accomplished positive to your ballclub.

Umpire Arnald Swift

10 rules That are Called Wrong July 14 2015, 0 Comments

  1. You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.

You may tag the base with any part of the body or glove as long as you have firm and secure possession of the baseball in your hand or glove/mitt.

  1. The ball is always immediately dead on a balk.

You are correct in high school baseball but in NCAA and professional rules, the ball is dead sometimes immediately but when the balk is followed immediately by a pitch, the ball is delayed dead and we wait until the end of the play and then either enforce the balk or allow the play to stand.  If all base runners, including the batter-runner advance one base or more after the balk, the play stands.  The coach or manager does not have an option on this rule.

  1. If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball.

It is the location of the baseball when it is touched or touches the ground that determines it being fair or foul and not the position of the fielder’s feet.

  1. The ball must always be returned to the pitcher before an appeal can be made.

If the ball is live, you may go directly to the missed base or the runner and tag him for missing the base or leaving it too soon on a fly ball that is caught.

  1. With no runners on base, it is a ball if the pitcher starts his windup and then stops.

For a balk to be awarded, there needs to be runners because the penalty is 1 base awarded.

  1. The pitcher must come to a set position before a pick-off throw. 

The pitcher need only come to a complete and discernible stop prior to pitching the ball and not for a pick off attempt.

  1. The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw.

In fact, if he does step off first and the ball is thrown away into dead-ball territory, the award is 2 bases.  From the rubber, it is only a 1 base award.

  1. If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a home run.

If the catch occurs before leaving the field of play it is a catch and not a home run.

  1. The ball is dead anytime an umpire is hit by the ball.

This is only true on a batted ball that the ball is dead.  On a thrown or pitched ball, it is unfortunate but the ball remains live.

  1. The home plate umpire can overrule the other umps at anytime.

The home plate umpire has no more right to overrule his partner(s) than they have to overrule him.  In certain situations the UIC may have to change a call because of more correct information but no umpire has the right to overrule another. 


Throws That Leave the Field of Play June 22 2015, 0 Comments

Here is  a situation  that really happened .  

Runner on 1st base and a runner on 2nd base, 2 outs, batter has a 3-2 count on him.  The pay off pitch is a half swing that I ruled a ball (no swing) the catcher argues with me and says it was a strike, I say no.  Then he notices the batter/runner trotting to 1st base and tries to throw the ball to the 1st baseman but instead of getting the 1st baseman the ball hits the runner in the back of the head and the ball goes over the fence near the dugout out of play.  Now the question: what do you do with the runners and why do you make that ruling.

(Think of your answer before you read below)


Ruling. It really is just like a throw from the field, which leave the field of play our goes out of play- which is 2 bases from the base the runner last possessed at the time of the throw.  So the Runner on 1st and 2nd are awarded 2 bases. and the batter runner awarded 2 bases from home plate. Therefore the runner at 2nd scores, the runner at 1st to 3rd and the batter runner goes to 2nd.  Granted it was confusing to the fans and the coach was not happy but they agreed that the ruling was correct and we played on.

Umpire-Player-Coach Relationship on the Field June 11 2015, 0 Comments

Umpiring and Coaching

I would like to write an article about the relationship between a coach and an umpire.  Having been a coach for 34 years and umpire for 21 years I feel like I have some expertise in this area.

The first and foremost thing is to realize that both of you are out there to do a job.  This truly should not be an adversarial relationship though sometimes it reduces itself to that.  I'm always kept in mind when I coached younger kids that the umpires themselves were just starting out and probably do not have the experience nor the expertise to handle every situation that comes up in a ballgame.  They certainly don't have the maturity to handle a coach that is on them from the first pitch and about every call, nothing really good as going to come of this kind of interaction.  The umpires going to become very defensive about his calls and in fact the less experience they have with coaches and situations they are very likely to eject a coach or a player over something that was really just part of the ballgame.  The other possibility is the umpire will take any amount of the static from both from the coaches, players, and fans and therefore loses control of the game besides ruining it for everybody.

It is always been my opinion and experience that coaches and umpires realize why they're both out there on the field.  It's not the umpire's job to make everybody happy every call this the least bit close is going to disappoint 50% of the people. H should look at the play, make a decision, then be firm in announcing it and go on with the game.  You've never seen a umpire change a ball- strike or out -safe call that is just the way it is and should be.  Coaches have every right to an explanation of a rule and the application of the rule; in fact that was always my rule of thumb. When I would talk to umpire as a coach the rule was I wanted the rule and application of that rule explained and wanted the application changed.  The application of rules is what can be changed not the call itself.  As umpire I always appreciated and gave the utmost consideration to a coach that knew what he was talking about and only complained or questioned the rule.  I’ll guarantee you that you'll get more done going out there and say I need you to explain to me or why did you call it that way.  If you go out there and are argumentative that's what you get an argument.  I will say right now that the umpire that is worth his or her being out there will win each and every argument, that is the way it has to be that's why they're working the game.

When you are arguing with an umpire there are words that you should never use and they are not always the obvious ones such as cussing, depending on the level of the game a coach can be more vocal.  But no umpire in the world likes to hear the word "you", or “cheater" in front of any statement that you may make.  When I was working college or high school we discussed things very adamantly at times but the minute coach put "you" in front of his words he stood a good chance of getting tossed.

Remember the umpires are there in the game just as you and your players.  To try an manipulate him is the same is trying to manipulate your players.  I will agree if an umpire makes the wrong call by applying the rule incorrectly then you have every right to try to get it changed but you are creating a situation that you really don't want when you just complained about balls - strikes, safe -out.

Fair or Foul Ball April 22 2015, 0 Comments

A situation in a ballgame this past week about what constitutes a fair or foul ball.  There's one overriding rule in baseball the ball is what is fair or foul not player.  The original question was the ball hit home plate and the umpire called it fair, correctly, but the coach thought it should be foul because it hit home plate NO, what makes it fair foul is one of the following criteria: 

1. If the ball hits the ground and then passes over or inside first or third then it doesn't matter where it lands past the base it is a fair ball. 

2. If the ball is in front of first or third base then it's where the ball is touched NOT, the player position of the ball is what determines fair or foul not player. 

3. What are the common ones is that the batted ball is hit into foul territory then comes back into their territory, too many times players or coaches or fans think that because the ball landed in foul territory then got into fair territory that it still foul ball. Again it's where it's touched in front of first or third base.  We never think about the ball that hit fair and then rolls foul everyone call that a foul ball, but the truth is the exact reverse of it is also correct it can land in foul territory and roll into fair territory (as long as it is in front of first or third) and it will still be a fair ball.  Just something they came up this weekend that's always been true.