Baseball Umpire and Rules Discussions

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.


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.

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((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


Foul balls Advances & Put Outs September 07 2015, 0 Comments

I was watching major league baseball the other night in a situation occurred that I thought we discussed a little bit so that umpires wouldn't forget, and more important coaches could learn from it and use it to their advantage.

A foul ball is treated like any fly ball whether it's fair file with runners on base. Coaches tend to forget that they can tag up in advance on a catch from a foul ball.   Every flyball whether fair or foul can be advanced on if the runner is tag up and touching the base when the player that's catching the ball touches the ball, side note here it does not have to catch only be touched, and then advances to the next base.

With that said runners and coaches shouldn't forget that when a foul balls caught a need to get back to their base, or the defense can touch the base first and the runner will be declared out on the appeal. I know nobody says anything in the everybody just does it and automatically the umpire calls out the runner if he's left the base to early is trying to return. But that really is an appeal play.

Remember you can advance on a foul ball that's caught or you can be put out a foul ball that caught just something to keep in mind.


When is it Running Lane and Interference July 25 2015, 0 Comments

Running Lane and Interference

The batter is out if, in running to first base, the batter-runner is hit by a throw while running outside of the 3 foot running lane, or interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base. He could be called out even if he is not hit by the throw, if the umpire judges that by being outside the lane he interfered with the fielder’s attempt to field the throw. There must be a throw before interference can be called and the throw must be a quality throw. Rule 6.05(k).

A runner is not free from interference while in the lane, nor automatically guilty when out of the lane. If he is out of the lane he is in serious jeopardy of being called for interference, but it is not automatic, unless he is hit by the throw, or commits an intentional act of interference. The rule states that he is out when out of the lane AND causes interference with the fielder taking the throw. If he is out of the lane and is hit by the throw, that is always interference. If he is in the lane he could still cause interference, but it would have to be something obviously intentional (like grabbing the fielder's arm or glove, or deliberately touching a thrown ball). If the catcher does not make a throw because the runner is outside the lane, this is not interference. Interference with a thrown ball must be intentional. Such as, deliberately making contact with it. Or in this case if the runner is hit by the throw while outside the lane. The lines marking the lane are part of that "lane," but the runner must have both feet within the lane or on the lines marking the lane, to be judged as "in" the lane. Rule 7.09(k) casebook, N.A.P.B.L 4.14.

If the runner is hit by the throw or a collision occurs on his last step before touching the base; generally interference is not called. The runner has to step into fair territory to touch the base that is in fair territory.

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. 


10 More Rules that are False July 07 2015, 0 Comments

These are all false but players, coaches, parents and fans think they are always true

  • 21. The runner is always safe when hit by a batted ball while touching a base.
  • 22. A runner may not steal on a foul-tip.
  • 23. It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball.
  • 24. An appeal on a runner who missed a base cannot be a force out.
  • 25. A runner is out if he runs out of the baseline to avoid a fielder who is fielding a batted ball.
  • 26. Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called.
  • 27. No run can score when a runner is called out for the third out for not tagging up.
  • 28. A pitch that bounces to the plate cannot be hit.
  • 29. The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces.
  • 30. If a fielder holds a fly ball for 2 seconds it's a catch.


Reasons and Rule


21. The bases are in fair territory. A runner is out when hit by a fair batted ball, except an infield-fly.
Rules: 5.09(f), 7.08(f) Official Baseball Rules
22. There is nothing foul about a foul-tip. If the ball nicks the bat and goes to the catcher's glove and is caught, this is a foul-tip by definition. A foul-tip is a strike and the ball is alive. It is the same as a swing-and-miss. If the ball is not caught, it is a foul ball.
Rules: 2.00 FOUL-TIP, STRIKE Official Baseball Rules
23. A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will count.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, 4.09 Official Baseball Rules
24. A runner must touch all the bases. If the runner misses a base to which he was forced because the batter became a runner and is put out before touching that base, the out is still a force play. If this is the third out, no runs may score. The base can be touched or the runner can be touched, either way it's a force out.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, TAG, 7.08(e), 7.10(b) Official Baseball Rules
25. The runner MUST avoid a fielder attempting to field a BATTED ball. A runner is out for running out of the baseline, only when attempting to avoid a tag.
Rules: 7.08(a), 7.09(L) Official Baseball Rules
26. An Infield-fly is no different than any other fly ball in regard to the runners. The only difference is that they are never forced to advance because the batter is out whether the ball is caught or not.
Rules: 2.00 INFIELD-FLY, 6.05(e), 7.10(a) Official Baseball Rules
27. Yes it can. This is not a force play. A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will count.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, 4.09, 7.10(a) Official Baseball Rules
28. A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. The batter may hit any pitch that is thrown.
Rule: 2.00 PITCH. (If the ball does not cross the foul line, it is not a pitch.)
29. A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. If the batter is hit by a pitch while attempting to avoid it, he is awarded first base.
Rules: 2.00 PITCH, 6.08(b).
30. A catch is legal when the umpire judges that the fielder has COMPLETE control of the ball. The release of the ball must be voluntary and intentional


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.