Baseball Umpire and Rules Discussions

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


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 


Fair-Foul-Home Plate August 03 2016, 0 Comments

Something worthwhile to go over again and that is situations that parents especially have a problem with when they watch a game and a ball is called fair or foul. I've had three things happen this week that were completely misunderstood that I thought I would go back through again for the parents, grandparents, and even some coaches unfortunately.

First situation: the ball hit the home plate and rolled out only about two or 3 feet into fair territory and the catcher picked it up through the first and the umpire called it fair and the first base umpire called the runner out both correct calls. But the fans in the stands (by the way this was a 10 under baseball game) hollered that he should not have been out and got on the umpire because the ball at the plate. (See below)

Second situation: the ball was hit on the ground and was rolling in foul territory on the third-base line, but the third baseman while standing in fair territory reached over and got the ball and threw the first again I complement the umpires they called it a foul ball no out just a strike in the batter return to the box.  But here comes the defensive coach he says his player was in fair territory therefore the ball was fair and out should've been counted. (See below)

third situation: the ball was bunted and was rolling down the chalk line and was almost ready to go off of the chalk line when the catcher picked it up and threw it the first.  Again the umpires called it correctly it was a fair ball, and the runner was out.  But again the coach created enough conversation that the two young men umpiring actually got together and talked about this. Then thank goodness they decide they were correct. (See below)

all three of these situations have the same exact answer and thought pattern the ball is what determines fair or foul not the player if the ball is touched and the umpire decides if it was over/on fair territory or the reverse it was it on or over foul territory has nothing to do with what was touched.  It does not matter where the ball hits whether it hit home plate withered hits the batters box with their lands off the bat into foul territory know that matters the only thing that determines fair or foul is where is it touched on or before first and third. If a ball passes over first over third after it is hit the ground in front of those bases then it is a fair ball regardless of where it lands.  Then finally in baseball the foul line is part of the fair territory, inbounds if you will there are several sports that the line is out of bounds, such as football, but there are many other sports such as soccer where the line is inbounds so in reality we have to know what the sport is we start to talk about lines. In baseball the lines are fair. 

I welcome any and all comments and questions I've coached and umpired for 40 years and believe I can give you accurate information and if not I will find out.  But nobody is seen in every situation.

Coach/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


Catch or No Catch February 05 2016, 0 Comments

When an umpire sees the ball thrown more into a player you have to determine if it was a catch for an out or babbled ball that was not got for an out.

Let's cover two basic situations through the first baseman:  the ball is thrown to the first baseman who deflects it off his glove and its hits him in the chest then he folded his arms in and holds a firm against his body. Is that a catch or no catch?

No catch a ball must be held firmly in control and either the glove or in the and no parts of his body can be used to secure the ball or be considered a catch. Another dumb example which I've never seen would be if they trapped it between their legs it would be no catch must be with her hands.

A fly ball to the outfielder: the fielder has the ball into his hand as he runs and/or dives for the ball then even though he takes a few steps and falls down or as the ball popped out of his glove is this a catch or no catch?  It's no catch until they secure the ball firmly enough to go on to the next natural act of the game. Catching a ball in the outfield normally consists of securing the ball in the glove and then taking it out and throwing it back to the infield. Therefore outfielder must secure the ball enough to show the ball, be able to do next movement which is turn to throw, to get out the glove to throw, reason to show the secure, stop running and change directions all the acts natural to the game after controlling the ball can't be babbling the ball as he runs regardless how far he runs.

All these rules apply to catches like any fielder infielder or outfielder having to do the next act natural to the game after securing the ball to have it be called the catch.

 

 

 


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.

Force at 2nd Base Yes or N0 November 20 2015, 0 Comments

Situation: Runner on first less than 2 outs. Hard grounder to the first baseman and he touches first throws to second. Can the runner choose to go back to first and try to make it back safely or must he go to second?

As soon as first base was tagged, the force is taken off the runner going to second. This means that there is no force at second base and he can return to first if he wants. This also means that the fielders will have to tag him out instead of just stepping on a base.


Ball Hits the Runner October 21 2015, 0 Comments

A ball is hit to the second baseman, he bobbles it, and the runner from first is running to second base and kicks the ball, what is the call?

There are two potential rulings on this play. The first one is that, assuming that the kicked ball was unintentional, the umpire will not call the runner out and play shall continue. However, if, in the umpire's mind, the kick was intentional, the ball is dead and the runner is out for interference.

There are several other scenarios also to consider, hits the runner before it get to the fielder. Ruling runner is out, ball is dead, and all runners return to the base they were on, batter is awarded 1st base.

Ball pass a fielder, other than the pitcher, how had a chance to field the ball and hits the runner. -- Ruling--  The ball hitting the runner is ignored and ball is live and played on as any batted ball would be.


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.