Baseball Rule Myths Every Umpire Should Know

Baseball is part of our culture. It’s unofficially declared America’s pastime because of the role it played in American lives at the turn of the 20th century, bringing hope at times where hope was hard to come by. Parents have been taking their children to ballgames and playing a casual game of catch before bed for over 150 years. With all that wonderful history has come some of the most off-base and far fetched myths imaginable. Here are some of the more common myths someone entering umpire school should know.

1. A tie goes to the runner.
There can be no tie. The runner is either out or safe.

2. A batter is out if his foot touches home plate.
To be out, the batter’s foot must be all the way outside the batter’s box when he makes contact with a pitch. There is no special rule about touching home plate.

3. A batter can’t be called out for interference if he is in the batter’s box.
A batter can be called out for interference if the umpire decides interference could or should have been avoided.

4. The hands are part of the bat.
Hands are part of the body. A pitch that hits the batter’s hands is a dead ball. If the batter swung it’s a strike. If he did not swing, he is awarded first base.

5. The ball is dead on a foul-tip.
A foul-tip is not a foul ball. If the ball nicks the bat and goes hard and direct to the catcher’s glove, its a foul-tip, its a strike, and the ball is live. If the ball is not caught, it is a foul ball.

6. If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while bunting, it’s an automatic strike.
A strike is an attempt to hit the ball. Simply holding the bat over the plate is not an attempt. This is a judgement call for an umpire.

7. The batter who batted out of order is the person declared out.
The player who should have been up to bat is the one called out.  A hit or advance made by the batter or runners due to the hit, walk, error, etc. is nullified. The next batter should be the one who follows the batter who was called out.

8. A batted ball that hits home plate its a foul ball.
Home plate is in fair territory. If a batted ball hits it, it is like any other batted ball.

9. If a fielder holds a fly ball for 2 seconds it’s a catch.
A catch is legal when the umpire judges a fielder has control of the baseball. The release of the ball must be intentional.

10. The batter does not get first if hit by a pitch that bounced.
If the batter is hit by a pitch while attempting to avoid it, he is awarded first base. It doesn’t matter how the pitch got to the batter.

Don’t miss out on some of our follow up posts on baseball rule myths.

Rule Myths Part 2,  Rule Myths Part 3