Baseball Umpire and Rules Discussions

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


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?


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.

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

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.