Top 40 Baseball Rule Myths
1. HANDS RULE MYTH The hands are part of a person's body. If a pitch hits the batter's hands the ball is dead; if he swung at the pitch, a strike is called (NOT a foul). If he was avoiding the pitch, he is awarded first base. Rules: 2.00 PERSON, TOUCH, STRIKE (e) and 6.05(f)
2. RIGHT TURN RULE MYTH The batter-runner may turn left or right, provided that if he turns left he does not make an attempt to advance. An attempt is a judgment made by the umpire. The requirement is that the runner must immediately return to first after overrunning or oversliding it. Rule: 7.08(c and j)
3. BREAKING WRISTS RULE MYTH A strike is a judgment by the umpire as to whether the batter attempted to strike the ball. Breaking the wrists, or the barrel of the bat crossing the plate are simply guides to making the judgment of an attempt, these are not rules. Rule: 2.00 STRIKE
4. HIT PLATE RULE MYTH The plate is in fair territory. There is nothing special about it. If a batted ball hits it, it is treated like any other batted ball.
5. BATTER BOX INTERFERENCE RULE MYTH The batter's box is not a safety zone. A batter could be called out for interference if the umpire judges that interference could or should have been avoided. The batter is protected while in the box for a short period of time. After he has had time to react to the play he could be called for interference if he does not move out of the box and interferes with a play. Many people believe the batter's box is a safety zone for the batter. It is not. The batter MAY be called out for interference although he is within the box. The key words, impede, hinder, confuse or obstruct apply to this situation. An umpire must use good judgment. The batter cannot be expected to disappear. If he has a chance to avoid interference after he has had time to react to the situation and does not, he is guilty. If he just swung at a pitch, or had to duck a pitch and is off-balance, he can't reasonably be expected to then immediately avoid a play at the plate. However, after some time passes, if a play develops at the plate, the batter must get out of the box and avoid interference. The batter should always be called out when he makes contact and is outside the box. Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.06(c)
6. FOUL-TIP RULE MYTH There is nothing foul about a foul-tip. If the ball nicks the bat and goes sharp and direct to the catcher's hand or 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. If the nicked pitch first hits the catcher somewhere other than the hand or glove, it is not a foul-tip, it is a foul ball. Rules: 2.00 FOUL-TIP, STRIKE
7. SWITCH BOX RULE MYTH The batter can switch boxes at any time, provided he does not do it after the pitcher is ready to pitch. Rule: 6.06(b)
8. OUT OF ORDER RULE MYTH The PROPER batter is the one called out. Any hit or advance made by the batter or runners due to the hit, walk, error or other reason is nullified. The next batter is the one who follows the proper batter who was called out. Rule: 6.07(b, 1)
9. OVERRUN FIRST BASE RULE MYTH Rule 7.08(c and j) simply state that a batter-runner must immediately return after overrunning first base. It doesn't state any exceptions as to how the player became a runner. It could be a hit, walk, error or dropped third strike. In Little League the runner may overrun. In FED rules he may not and in Professional baseball, he may not. In other programs that use the OBR he may if that is how the program rules it. To overrun means that the runners momentum carried him straight beyond the base after touching it. It does not mean to turn and attempt to advance. Nor does it mean that he stepped over it or stopped on it and then got off of it.
10. DROPPED THIRD STRIKE RULE MYTH The batter may attempt first base anytime prior to entering the dugout or a dead ball area. The batter becomes a runner when the third strike is not caught. Therefore, if there are 2 outs and there is a runner at first, first and second, or bases loaded, the batter creates a force by becoming a runner. These runners are all forced to advance and an out may be obtained by making a play on any one of them. If the bases are loaded the catcher may step on home or throw to third, second or first. Rule: 6.05(c), 6.09(b) Casebook interpretation
11. BUNTING STRIKE RULE MYTH A strike is an attempt to hit the ball. Simply holding the bat over the plate is not an attempt. This is umpire judgment. Rule 2.00 STRIKE Rule 2.00 BUNT is a batted ball not swung at, but INTENTIONALLY met with the bat. The key words are "intentionally met" If no attempt is made to make contact with a ball outside the strike zone, it should be called a ball. An effort must be made to intentionally meet the ball with the bat.
12. SECOND BAT HIT RULE MYTH The rule says the BAT cannot hit the ball a second time. When the BALL hits the bat, it is not an out. Also, when the batter is still in the box when this happens, it's treated as simply a foul ball. If the batter is out of the box and the bat is over fair territory when the second hit occurs, the batter would be out. Rules: 6.05(h) and 7.09(b)
13. FOOT TOUCHES PLATE RULE MYTH To be out, the batter's foot must be ENTIRELY outside the box when he contacts the pitch and the ball goes fair or foul. He is not out if he does not contact the pitch. There is no statement about touching the plate. The toe could be on the plate and the heel could be touching the line of the box, which means the foot is not entirely outside the box. Rule: 6.06(a)
14. RUNNING LANE RULE MYTH The runner must be out of the lane AND cause interference. He is not out simply for being outside the lane. He could be called for interference even while in the lane. This is a judgment call. The runner may step out of the lane a step or two before the base if he moves from within the lane to out of it. If he is out of the lane the whole distance to the base and is hit with a throw, he should be out. Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.05(k), 7.09(k)
15. HIGH FIVE RULE MYTH The ball is dead on a homerun over the fence. You can't be put out while the ball is dead except when you pass another runner. Rules: 5.02, 7.05(a)
16. THE TIE RULE MYTH There is no such thing in the world of umpiring. The runner is either out or safe. The umpire must judge out or safe. It is impossible to judge a tie.
17. OUT-OF-PLAY BALL RULE MYTH When a fielder other than the pitcher throws the ball into dead ball area, the award is 2 bases. The award is from where the runners were at the time of the pitch if it is the first play by an infielder before all runners have advanced or from where each runner was physically positioned at the time the ball left the throwers hand on all other plays. Rule: 7.05(g)
18. COACH TOUCH RULE MYTH Rule 7.09(I) says the runner is out if the coach PHYSICALLY ASSISTS the runner. Hand slaps, back pats or simple touches are not physical assists.
19. REVERSE BASERUNNING RULE MYTH In order to correct a base running mistake, the runner MUST retrace his steps and retouch the bases in reverse order. The only time a runner is out for running in reverse, is when he is making a travesty of the game or tries to confuse the defense. Rules: 7.08(I), 7.10(b)
20. MUST SLIDE RULE MYTH There is no "must slide" rule. When the fielder has the ball in his possession, the runner has two choices; slide OR attempt to get around the fielder. He may NOT deliberately or maliciously contact the fielder, but he is NOT required to slide. If the fielder does not have possession but, is in the act of fielding, and contact is made, it is a no-call unless the contact was intentional and malicious. Rule: 7.08(a, 3) this rule does not apply to professionals.
21. HIT BY BALL ON BASE RULE MYTH The bases are in fair territory. A runner is out when hit by a fair batted ball while touching a base, except when hit by an infield-fly or after the ball has passed a fielder and no other fielder had a play on the ball. If the runner is touching first or third, he is not out unless the ball touches him over fair territory. If one foot is on the base and the other is in foul ground and he is hit on the foul ground foot, he is not out. It is a foul ball. (If the ball has not passed beyond first or third.) Rules: 5.09(f), 7.08(f)
22. NO STEAL ON FOUL-TIP RULE MYTH 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
23. FLY BALL FORCE OUT RULE MYTH 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
24. MISSED BASE APPEAL RULE MYTH 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)
25. OUT OF THE BASELINE RULE MYTH 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)
26. NO ADVANCE ON INFIELD FLY RULE MYTH 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)
27. NO RUN ON THIRD OUT RULE MYTH 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 tagup, 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)
28. NO HIT ON BOUNCED PITCH RULE MYTH 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. A pitch that bounces before reaching the plate may never be a called strike or a legally caught third strike. Rule: 2.00 PITCH. (If the ball does not cross the foul line, it is not a pitch.)
29. NO FIRST BASE ON BOUNCED PITCH RULE MYTH 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. 2 SECOND CATCH RULE MYTH 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. Rule: 2.00 CATCH
31. FOOT TAG RULE MYTH You can tag a base with ANY part of the body. Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, PERSON, TAG, 7.08(e)
32. DEAD BALL ON BALK RULE MYTH In Federation rules it is, not in any others. If a throw or pitch is made after the balk call, the ball is delayed dead. At the end of the play the balk may be enforced or not depending on what happened. On a throw; if ALL runners advance on the play, the balk is ignored. If not, the balk award is enforced from the time of pitch. On a pitch; if ALL runners INCLUDING the batter, advance on the play, the balk is ignored. Otherwise, it is no-pitch and the balk award is made from the time of the pitch. Rule: 8.05 PENALTY
33. FAIR FEET, FAIR BALL RULE MYTH The position of the player's feet or any other part of the body is irrelevant. A ball is judged fair or foul based on the relationship between the ball and the ground at the time the ball is touched by the fielder. Rule: 2.00 FAIR, FOUL
34. APPEAL RULE MYTH An appeal may be made anytime the ball is alive. The only time the ball must go to the pitcher, is when time is out. The ball cannot be made live until the pitcher has the ball while on the rubber and the umpire says "Play." If time is not out, the appeal can be made immediately. Rule: 2.00 APPEAL, 5.11, 7.10
35. FALSE WINDUP RULE MYTH A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. If the ball is not delivered, it is not a pitch. Therefore it cannot be a ball. If this happens with runners on base it is a balk. The rule for LL is different. It is an illegal pitch and a ball with or without runners on base. Rule: 2.00 PITCH.
36. MUST SET TO PICK RULE MYTH The pitcher is required to come to a complete stop in the Set position before delivering the pitch, not before making a throw. Rule: 8.05(m)
37. MUST STEP OFF RUBBER TO PICK RULE MYTH If the pitcher steps off the rubber he is no longer the pitcher, he is a fielder. He can throw to a base from the rubber, provided he does not break any of the rules under rule 8.05
38. FIELDER OVER THE FENCE HOMERUN RULE MYTH As long as the fielder is not touching the ground in dead ball territory when he catches the ball, it is a legal catch if he holds onto the ball and meets the definition of a catch. If the catch is not the third out and the fielder falls down in dead ball territory after catching the ball, all runners are awarded one base. If the fielder remains on his feet in dead ball territory after the catch, the ball is alive and he may make a play. (Except FED in which case the ball is dead and 1 base is awarded.) Rules: 2.00 CATCH, 5.10(f), 6.05(a), 7.04(c)
39. DEAD BALL WHEN UMPIRE IS HIT RULE MYTH If an umpire is hit by a batted ball before it passes a fielder, the ball is dead. On any other batted or thrown ball, the ball is alive when the umpire is hit with the ball. Umpire interference also occurs when the plate umpire interferes with the catcher's attempt to prevent a stolen base. Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 5.09(b), 5.09(f)
40. HOME PLATE UMPIRE RULE MYTH The umpire who made a call or ruling may ask for help if he wishes. No umpire may overrule another umpire's call. Rules: 9.02(b, c)