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


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


What is you Opinion September 20 2016, 0 Comments

This is a big deal now at the major-league level so what your opinion:

it really is a simple question do you like instant replay are not you think it helps the game or hurts it. I would like to get a discussion started.

As an umpire we all have to make immediate and instantaneous decisions without the help of replay. But as technology and the ability for instant replay progresses I think it's a good deal but at what point does it stop. Why do we need umpires at all we can just put in sensors, cameras, and tracking devices are not call safe and out, balls and strikes.  And have a single umpire there to rule on situations that come up for placement of runners or enforcement of the rule. As we watch a game at every level the decisions outside of safe out or ball strike are actually rare. That one umpire could handle that.

What do you think?

Umpire Arnald Swift 


Run Score Yes or No after Tag March 02 2016, 0 Comments

Runner on third touches home before batter is tagged out by first baseman does the run count?

Assuming that the batter has not yet touched first base then no, the run does not score since a run cannot score on a play where the batter-runner is put out before touching first base. However, if the runner had already touched first base and then was tagged out attempting to advance to second then the run does score because the runner from third scored before this happened


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. 


Can a firstbaseman have one foot in foul territory March 17 2015, 0 Comments

Is it legal for the first baseman to have his feet, one or both, in foul territory while holding a runner at first base? Kevin

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Rule you must have eight players in fair territory- catcher is only one that can start in foul territory. The rule is really designed to keep a coach from placing a player behind the catcher during an intentional walk, or some other defensive scheme before a live pitch.

To answer your question directly if you have 1 foot in foul territory and be considered okay, but he may not have both feet in foul territory which by the way is very difficult to do but that would be illegal.

I can tell you right now it's an extraordinarily rare call on first baseman while he is holding a runner on base.  As the proper position for a first baseman right or left-handed is to place his heel on the front inside corner so as to be able to receive the ball, swipe tag, and not have the runner interfere with his receiving the ball by getting in between him and the ball. If your first base with his standing in foul territory he's cheating himself.

Umpire Arnald Swift