Updated: April 2017
5.00 — Putting the Ball in Play. Live Ball.
At the time set for beginning the game the umpire shall call “Play.”
After the umpire calls “Play” the ball is alive and in play and remains alive and in play until for legal cause, or at the umpire’s call of “Time” suspending play, the ball becomes dead. While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runs may be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result of acts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk, an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playing field). Should a ball come partially apart in a game, it is in play until the play is completed.
The pitcher shall deliver the pitch to the batter who may elect to strike the ball, or who may not offer at it, as he chooses.
The offensive team’s objective is to have its batter become a runner, and its runners advance.
The defensive team’s objective is to prevent offensive players from becoming runners, and to prevent their advance around the bases.
When a batter becomes a runner and touches all bases legally he shall score one run for his team.
A run legally scored cannot be nullified by subsequent action of the runner such as but not limited to an effort to return to third base in the belief that he had left the base before a caught fly ball.
When three offensive players are legally put out, that team takes the field and the opposing team becomes the offensive team.
If a thrown ball accidentally touches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball is alive and in play. However, if the coach interferes with a thrown ball, the runner is out.
The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out, when —
(a) A pitched ball touches a batter, or his clothing, while in his legal batting position; runners, if forced, advance;
(b) The plate umpire interferes with the catcher’s throw; runners may not advance. NOTE: The interference shall be disregarded if the catcher’s throw retires the runner.
(c) A balk is committed; runners advance; (See Penalty 8.05).
(d) A ball is illegally batted; runners return;
(e) A foul ball is not caught; runners return. The umpire shall not put the ball in play until all runners have retouched their bases;
(f) A fair ball touches a runner or an umpire on fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touches an umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher, runners advance, if forced. If a fair ball goes through, or by, an infielder, no other infielder has a chance to make a play on the ball and the ball touches a runner immediately behind the infielder that the ball went through, or by, the ball is in play and the umpire shall not declare the runner out. If a fair ball touches a runner after being deflected by an infielder, the ball is in play and the umpire shall not declare the runner out;
Rule 5.09(f) Comment: If a fair ball touches an umpire working in the infield after it has bounded past, or over, the pitcher, it is a dead ball. If a batted ball is deflected by a fielder in fair territory and hits a runner or an umpire while still in flight and then caught by an infielder it shall not be a catch, but the ball shall remain in play.
If a fair ball goes through, or by, an infielder, and touches a runner immediately back of him, or touches a runner after being deflected by an infielder, the ball is in play and the umpire shall not declare the runner out. In making such decision the umpire must be convinced that the ball passed through, or by, the infielder and that no other infielder had the chance to make a play on the ball, runners advance, if forced;
(g) A pitched ball lodges in the umpire’s or catcher’s mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, runners advance one base.
If a foul tip hits the umpire and is caught by a fielder on the rebound, the ball is “dead” and the batsman cannot be called out. The same shall apply where such foul tip lodges in the umpire’s mask or other paraphernalia.
If a third strike (not a foul tip) passes the catcher and hits an umpire, the ball is in play. If such ball rebounds and is caught by a fielder before it touches the ground, the batsman is not out on such a catch, but the ball remains in play and the batsman may be retired at first, or touched with the ball for the out.
If a pitched ball lodges in the umpire’s or catcher’s mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, on the third strike or fourth ball, then the batter is entitled to first base and all runners advance one base. If the count on the batter is less than three balls, runners advance one base.
(h) Any legal pitch touches a runner trying to score, runners advance.
The ball becomes dead when an umpire calls “Time.” The umpire-in-chief shall call “Time” —
(a) When in his judgment weather, darkness or similar conditions make immediate further play impossible;
(b) When light failure makes it difficult or impossible for the umpires to follow the play; NOTE: A league may adopt its own regulations governing games interrupted by light failure.
(c) When an accident incapacitates a player or an umpire; (1) If an accident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to which he is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of one or more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.
(d) When a manager requests “Time” for a substitution or for a conference with one of his players;
(e) When the umpire wishes to examine the ball, to consult with either manager, or for any similar cause;
(f) When a fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators are on the field. As pertains to runners, the provisions of 7.04(c) shall prevail. If a fielder after making a catch steps into a bench, but does not fall, the ball is in play and runners may advance at their own peril.
(g) When an umpire orders a player or any other person removed from the playing field. (h) Except in the cases stated in paragraphs (b) and (c) (1) of this rule, no umpire shall call “Time” while a play is in progress.
After the ball is dead, play shall be resumed when the pitcher takes his place on the pitcher’s plate with a new ball or the same ball in his possession and the plate umpire calls “Play.” The plate umpire shall call “Play” as soon as the pitcher takes his place on the plate with the ball in his possession.
6.00 — The Batter.
(a) Each player of the offensive team shall bat in the order that his name appears in his team’s batting order.
(b) The first batter in each inning after the first inning shall be the player whose name follows that of the last player who legally completed his time at bat in the preceding inning.
(a) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat.
(b) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup. Penalty: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call “Ball” or “Strike,” as the case may be.
The batter leaves the batter’s box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call “Time.” The batter is not at liberty to step in and out of the batter’s box at will.
Once a batter has taken his position in the batter’s box, he shall not be permitted to step out of the batter’s box in order to use the resin or the pine tar rag, unless there is a delay in the game action or, in the judgment of the umpires, weather conditions warrant an exception.
Umpires will not call “Time” at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims “dust in his eyes,” “steamed glasses,” “didn’t get the sign,” or for any other cause.
Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for “Time” once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched.
If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a “set position” with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from “scratch.”
(c) If the batter refuses to take his position in the batter’s box during his time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take his proper position and the regular ball and strike count shall continue. If the batter does not take his proper position before three strikes have been called, the batter shall be declared out.
Rule 6.02(c) Comment: The umpire shall give the batter a reasonable opportunity to take his proper position in the batter’s box after the umpire has called a strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(c) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(c).
The batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box.
The line of the batter’s box is considered within the box.
A batter has legally completed his time at bat when he is put out or becomes a runner.
A batter is out when —
(a) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;
Rule 6.05(a) Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of runners shall be as described in Rule 7.04(c) Comment.
(b) A third strike is legally caught by the catcher.
“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.
The “dropped third strike” rule is really the “if not legally caught” rule. If a pitch bounces at the plate and the catcher makes a clean catch, the batter still becomes a runner with the right to advance to first base because the ball was not caught BEFORE it struck the ground.
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.
(c) A third strike is not caught by the catcher when first base is occupied before two are out;
(d) He bunts foul on third strike;
(e) An Infield fly is declared;
(f) He attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him;
(g) His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball;
(h) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball;
If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference be called.
If batted ball hits part of broken bat in foul territory, it is a foul ball.
If a whole bat is thrown into fair or foul territory and interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, interference shall be called, whether intentional or not.
In cases where the batting helmet is accidently hit with a batted or thrown ball, the ball remains in play the same as if it has not hit the helmet. If a batted ball strikes a batting helmet or any other object foreign to the natural ground while in foul territory, it is a foul ball and the ball is dead.
If, in the umpire’s judgment, there is intent on the part of a base runner to interfere with a batted or thrown ball by dropping the helmet or throwing it at the ball, then the runner would be out, the ball is dead and runners would return to last base legally touched.
(i) After hitting or bunting a foul ball, he intentionally deflects the course of the ball in any manner while running to first base. The ball is dead and no runners may advance.
(j) After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base;
(k) In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line and the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball.
Rule 6.05(k) Comment: The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.
(l) An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases.
APPROVED RULING: In this situation, the batter is not out if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground, except when the Infield Fly rule applies.
(m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play;
The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.
CONTACT RULE (All Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball Divisions) — If a runner attempting to reach home plate intentionally and maliciously runs into a defensive player in the area of home plate, he will be called out on the play and ejected from the game. The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for crashing the defensive player, rather than trying to reach home plate. Obviously, this is an umpire’s judgment call.
A Runner is never required to slide, only to avoid malicious contact.
(n) With two out, a runner on third base, and two strikes on the batter, the runner attempts to steal home base on a legal pitch and the ball touches the runner in the batter’s strike zone. The umpire shall call “Strike Three,” the batter is out and the run shall not count; before two are out, the umpire shall call “Strike Three,” the ball is dead, and the run counts.
A batter is out for illegal action when —
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box. If a batter hits a ball fair or foul while out of the batter’s box, he shall be called out. Umpires should pay particular attention to the position of the batter’s feet if he attempts to hit the ball while he is being intentionally passed. A batter cannot jump or step out of the batter’s box and hit the ball.
(b) He steps from one batter’s box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch;
(c) He interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home base.
EXCEPTION: Batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out, or if runner trying to score is called out for batter’s interference.
If the batter interferes with the catcher, the plate umpire shall call “interference.” The batter is out and the ball is dead. No player may advance on such interference (offensive interference) and all runners must return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference. If, however, the catcher makes a play and the runner attempting to advance is put out, it is to be assumed there was no actual interference and that runner is out — not the batter. Any other runners on the base at the time may advance as the ruling is that there is not actual interference if a runner is retired. In that case play proceeds just as if no violation had been called.
If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the back swing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play.
(d) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc. No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand. In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League President.
Rule 6.06(d) Comment: A batter shall be deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if he brings such a bat into the batter’s box.
6.07 BATTING OUT OF TURN.
(a) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place.
(1) The proper batter may take his place in the batter’s box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter’s time at bat.
(b) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first pitch to the next batter of either team, or before any play or attempted play, the umpire shall
(1) declare the proper batter out; and
(2) nullify any advance or score made because of a ball batted by the improper batter or because of the improper batter’s advance to first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, and a hit batter or otherwise. NOTE: If a runner advances, while the improper batter is at bat, on a stolen base, balk, wild pitch or passed ball, such advance is legal.
(c) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and a pitch is made to the next batter of either team before an appeal is made, the improper batter thereby becomes the proper batter, and the results of his time at bat becomes legal.
(1) When the proper batter is called out because he has failed to bat in turn, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of the proper batter thus called out;
(2) When an improper batter becomes a proper batter because no appeal is made before the next pitch, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of such legalized improper batter. The instant an improper batter’s actions are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the legalized improper batter.
The umpire shall not direct the attention of any person to the presence in the batter’s box of an improper batter. This rule is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams. There are two fundamentals to keep in mind: When a player bats out of turn, the proper batter is the player called out. If an improper batter bats and reaches base or is out and no appeal is made before a pitch to the next batter, or before any play or attempted play, that improper batter is considered to have batted in proper turn and establishes the order that is to follow.
To illustrate various situations arising from batting out of turn, assume a first-inning batting order as follows: Abel-Baker-Charles-Daniel-Edward-Frank-George-Hooker-Irwin
PLAY (1). Baker bats. With the count 2 balls and 1 strike,
(a) the offensive team discovers the error or
(b) the defensive team appeals.
RULING: In either case, Abel replaces Baker, with the count on him 2 balls and 1 strike.
PLAY (2). Baker bats and doubles. The defensive team appeals
(a) immediately or
(b) after a pitch to Charles.
RULING: (a) Abel is called out and Baker is the proper batter; (b) Baker stays on second and Charles is the proper batter.
PLAY (3). Abel walks. Baker walks. Charles forces Baker. Edward bats in Daniel’s turn. While Edward is at bat, Abel scores and Charles goes to second on a wild pitch. Edward grounds out, sending Charles to third. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately or
(b) after a pitch to Daniel.
RULING: (a) Abel’s run counts and Charles is entitled to second base since these advances were not made because of the improper batter batting a ball or advancing to f first base. Charles must return to second base because his advance to third resulted from the improper batter batting a ball. Daniel is called out, and Edward is the proper batter; (b) Abel’s run counts and Charles stays on third. The proper batter is Frank.
PLAY (4). With the bases full and two out. Hooker bats in Frank’s turn, and triples, scoring three runs. The defensive team appeals
(a) immediately, or
(b) after a pitch to George.
RULING: (a) Frank is called out and no runs score. George is the proper batter to lead off the second inning. (B) Hooker stays on third and three runs score. Irwin is the proper batter.
PLAY (5). After Play (4) (b) above, George continues at bat.
(a) Hooker is picked off third base for the third out, or
(b) George flies out, and no appeal is made. Who is the proper leadoff batter in the second inning?
RULING: (a) Irwin. He became the proper batter as soon as the first pitch to George legalized Hooker’s triple; (b) Hooker. When no appeal was made, the first pitch to the leadoff batter of the opposing team legalized George’s time at bat.
PLAY (6). Daniel walks and Abel comes to bat. Daniel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Abel, Abel is out, Daniel is removed from base, and Baker is the proper batter. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Abel. Daniel’s walk is now legalized, and Edward thereby becomes the proper batter. Edward can replace Abel at any time before Abel is put out or becomes a runner. He does not do so. Abel flies out, and Baker comes to bat. Abel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Baker, Edward is out, and the proper batter is Frank. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Baker. Abel’s out is now legalized, and the proper batter is Baker. Baker walks. Charles is the proper batter. Charles flies out. Now Daniel is the proper batter, but he is on second base. Who is the proper batter?
RULING: The proper batter is Edward. When the proper batter is on base, he is passed over, and the following batter becomes the proper batter.
The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when —
(a) Four “balls” have been called by the umpire;
If, in advancing, the base runner thinks there is a play and he slides past the base before or after touching it, he may be put out by the fielder tagging him. If he fails to touch the base to which he is entitled and attempts to advance beyond that base he may be put out by tagging him or the base he missed.
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless
(1) the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or
(2) the batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; if the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, if shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.
(c) The catcher or any fielder interferes with him. If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference.
Rule 6.08(c) Comment: If catcher’s interference is called with a play in progress the umpire will allow the play to continue because the manager may elect to take the play. If the batter runner missed first base, or a runner misses his next base, he shall be considered as having reached the base, as stated in Note of Rule 7.04(d).
Examples of plays the manager might elect to take:
1. Runner on third, one out, batter hits fly ball to the outfield on which the runner scores but catcher’s interference was called. The offensive manager may elect to take the run and have batter called out or have runner remain at third and batter awarded first base.
2. Runner on second base. Catcher interferes with batter as he bunts ball fairly sending runner to third base. The manager may rather have runner on third base with an out on the play than have runners on second and first. If a runner is trying to score by a steal or squeeze from third base, note the additional penalty set forth in Rule 7.07.
If the catcher interferes with the batter before the pitcher delivers the ball, it shall not be considered interference on the batter under Rule 6.08(c). In such cases, the umpire shall call “Time” and the pitcher and batter start over from “scratch.”
(d) A fair ball touches an umpire or a runner on fair territory before touching a fielder. If a fair ball touches an umpire after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or having touched a fielder, including the pitcher, the ball is in play.
The batter becomes a runner when —
(a) He hits a fair ball;
(b) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught, providing
(1) first base is unoccupied, or
(2) first base is occupied with two outs;
Rule 6.09(b) Comment: A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.
c) A fair ball, after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or after having been touched by a fielder, including the pitcher, shall touch an umpire or runner on fair on fair territory;
(d) A fair ball passes over a fence or into the stands at a distance from home base of 250 feet or more. Such hit entitles the batter to a home run when he shall have touched all bases legally. A fair fly ball that passes out of the playing field at a point less than 250 feet from home base shall entitle the batter to advance to second base only;
(e) A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(f) Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases;
(g) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(h) Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only.
7.00 — The Runner
A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base. If a runner legally acquires title to a base, and the pitcher assumes his pitching position, the runner may not return to a previously occupied base.
In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order. If forced to return, he shall retouch all bases in reverse order, unless the ball is dead under any provision of Rule 5.09. In such cases, the runner may go directly to his original base.
(a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies. (b) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced.
Each runner, other than the batter, may without liability to be put out, advance one base when —
(a) There is a balk;
(b) The batter’s advance without liability to be put out forces the runner to vacate his base, or when the batter hits a fair ball that touches another runner or the umpire before such ball has been touched by, or has passed a fielder, if the runner is forced to advance;
A runner forced to advance without liability to be put out may advance past the base to which he is entitled only at his peril. If such a runner, forced to advance, is put out for the third out before a preceding runner, also forced to advance, touches home plate, the run shall score. Play. Two out, bases full, batter walks but runner from second is overzealous and runs past third base toward home and is tagged out on a throw by the catcher. Even though two are out, the run would score on the theory that the run was forced home by the base on balls and that all the runners needed to do was proceed and touch the next base.
(c) A fielder, after catching a fly ball, falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators are on the field;
Rule 7.04(c) Comment: If a fielder, after having made a legal catch, should fall into a stand or among spectators or into the dugout or any other out-of-play area while in possession of the ball after making a legal catch, or fall while in the dugout after making a legal catch, the ball is dead and runners shall advance one base, without liability to be put out, from his last legally touched base at the time the fielder fell into, or in, such out-of-play area.
(d) While he is attempting to steal a base, the batter is interfered with by the catcher or any other fielder.
NOTE: When a runner is entitled to a base without liability to be put out, while the ball is in play, or under any rule in which the ball is in play after the runner reaches the base to which he is entitled, and the runner fails to touch the base to which he is entitled before attempting to advance to the next base, the runner shall forfeit his exemption from liability to be put out, and he may be put out by tagging the base or by tagging the runner before he returns to the missed base.
(e) A fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.
Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance —
(a) To home base, scoring a run, if a fair ball goes out of the playing field in flight and he touched all bases legally; or if a fair ball which, in the umpire’s judgment, would have gone out of the playing field in flight, is deflected by the act of a fielder in throwing his glove, cap, or any article of his apparel;
(b) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril;
(c) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a fair ball. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril;
(d) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a thrown ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play;
(e) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a thrown ball. The ball is in play; In applying (b-c-d-e) the umpire must rule that the thrown glove or detached cap or mask has touched the ball. There is no penalty if the ball is not touched. Under (c-e) this penalty shall not be invoked against a fielder whose glove is carried off his hand by the force of a batted or thrown ball, or when his glove flies off his hand as he makes an obvious effort to make a legitimate catch.
(f) Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines;
(g) Two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;
APPROVED RULING: If all runners, including the batter-runner, have advanced at least one base when an infielder makes a wild throw on the first play after the pitch, the award shall be governed by the position of the runners when the wild throw was made.
In certain circumstances it is impossible to award a runner two bases. Example: Runner on f first. Batter hits fly to short right. Runner holds up between first and second and batter comes around first and pulls up behind him. Ball falls safely. Outfielder, in throwing to first, throws ball into stands.
APPROVED RULING: Since no runner when the ball is dead, may advance beyond the base to which he is entitled, the runner originally of first base goes to third base and the batter is held at second base. The term “when the wild throw was made” means when the throw actually left the player’s hand and not when the thrown ball hit the ground, passes a receiving fielder or goes out of play into the stands. The position of the batter-runner at the time the wild throw left the thrower’s hand is the key in deciding the award of bases. If the batter-runner has not reached first base, the award
is two bases at the time the pitch was made for all runners.
The decision as to whether the batter-runner has reached first base before the throw is a judgment call. If an unusual play arises where a first throw by an infielder goes into stands or dugout but the batter did not become a runner (such as catcher throwing ball into stands in attempt to get runner from third trying to score on passed ball or wild pitch) award of two bases shall be from the position of the runners at the time of the throw.
(For the purpose of Rule 7.05(g) a catcher is considered an infielder.) Play. Runner on first base, batter hits a ball to the shortstop, who throws to second base too late to get runner at second and second baseman throws toward first base after batter has crossed first base. Ruling — Runner at second scores. (On this play, only if batter-runner is past first base when throw is made he is awarded third base.)
(h) One base, if a ball, pitched to the batter, or thrown by the pitcher from his position on the pitcher’s plate to a base to catch a runner, goes into a stand or a bench, or over or through a field fence or backstop. The ball is dead;
APPROVED RULING: When a wild pitch or passed ball goes through or by the catcher, or deflects off the catcher, and goes directly into the dugout, stands, above the break, or any area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be one base. One base shall also be awarded if the pitcher while in contact with the rubber, throws to a base, and the throw goes directly into the stands or into any area where the ball is dead. If, however, the pitched or thrown ball goes through or by the catcher or through the fielder, and remains on the playing field, and is subsequently kicked or deflected into the dugout, stands or other area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be two bases from position of runners at the time of the pitch or throw.
(i) One base, if the batter becomes a runner on Ball Four or Strike Three, when the pitch passes the catcher and lodges in the umpire’s mask or paraphernalia. If the batter becomes a runner on a wild pitch which entitles the runners to advance one base, the batter-runner shall be entitled to first base only. The fact a runner is awarded a base or bases without liability to be put out does not relieve him of the responsibility to touch the base he is awarded and all intervening bases.
For example: batter hits a ground ball which an infielder throws into the stands but the batter-runner missed first base. He may be called out on appeal for missing first base after the ball is put in play even though he was “awarded” second base. If a runner is forced to return to a base after a catch, he must retouch his original base even though, because of some ground rule or other rule, he is awarded additional bases. He may retouch while the ball is dead and the award is then made from his original base.
(j) One base, if a fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.
When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal “Obstruction.”
(a) If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction.
The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.
When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls, “Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.
(b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction. Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.
NOTE: The catcher, without the ball is his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The baseline belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.
If, with a runner on third base and trying to score by means of a squeeze play or a steal, the catcher or any other fielder steps on, or in front of home base without possession of the ball, or touches the batter or his bat, the pitcher shall be charged with a balk, the batter shall be awarded first base on the interference and the ball is dead.
Any runner is out when —
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; or
(2) after touching first base, he leaves the baseline, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base;
Rule 7.08(a) Comment: Any runner after reaching first base who leaves the baseline heading for his dugout or his position believing that there is no further play, may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases. Even though an out is called, the ball remains in play in regard to any other runner. This rule also covers the following and similar plays: Less than two out, score tied last of ninth inning, runner on first, batter hits a ball out of park for winning run, the runner on first passes second and thinking the home run automatically wins the game, cuts across diamond toward his bench as batter-runner circles bases. In this case, the base runner would be called out “for abandoning his effort to touch the next base” and batter-runner permitted to continue around bases to make his home run valid. If there are two out, home run would not count (see Rule 7.12). This is not an appeal play.
Play: Runner believing he is called out on a tag at first or third base starts for the dugout and progresses a reasonable distance still indicating by his actions that he is out shall be declared out for abandoning the bases.
(b) He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball; A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not. If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional. If the umpire declares the hindrance intentional, the following penalty shall apply. With less than two out, the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter out. With two out, the umpire shall declare the batter out. If, in a run-down between third base and home plate, the succeeding runner has advanced and is standing on third base when the runner in a run-down is called out for offensive interference, the umpire shall send the runner standing on third base back to second base. This same principle applies if there is a run-down between second and third base and succeeding runner has reached second (the reasoning is that no runner shall advance on an interference play and a runner is considered to occupy a base until he legally has reached the next succeeding base).
(c) He is tagged, when the ball is alive, while off his base.
EXCEPTION: A batter-runner cannot be tagged out after overrunning or over sliding first base if he returns immediately to the base.
APPROVED RULING: (1) If the impact of a runner breaks a base loose from its position, no play can be made on that runner at that base if he had reached the base safely.
APPROVED RULING: (2) If a base is dislodged from its position during a play, any following runner on the same play shall be considered as touching or occupying the base if, in the umpire’s judgment, he touches or occupies the point marked by the dislodged base.
(d) He fails to retouch his base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught before he, or his base, is tagged by a fielder. He shall not be called out for failure to retouch his base after the first following pitch, or any play or attempted play. This is an appeal play; Runners need not “tag up” on a foul tip. They may steal on a foul tip. If a so-called tip is not caught, it becomes an ordinary foul. Runners then return to their bases.
(e) He or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner. However, if a following runner is put out on a force play, the force is removed and the runner must be tagged to be put out. The force is removed as soon as the runner touches the base to which he is forced to advance, and if he over slides or overruns the base, the runner must be tagged to be put out. However, if the forced runner, after touching the next base, retreats for any reason towards the base he had last occupied, the force play is reinstated, and he can again be put out if the defense tags the base to which he is forced;
Rule 7.08(c) Comment: PLAY. Runner on first and three balls on batter: Runner steals on the next pitch, which is fourth ball, but after having touched second he over slides or overruns that base. Catcher’s throw catches him before he can return. Ruling is that runner is out. (Force out is removed.)
Over sliding and overrunning situations arise at bases other than first base. For instance, before two are out, and runners on first and second, or first, second and third, the ball is hit to an infielder who tries for the double play. The runner on first beats the throw to second base but over slides the base. The relay is made to first base and the batter-runner is out. The first baseman, seeing the runner at second base off the bag, makes the return throw to second and the runner is tagged off the base. Meanwhile runners have crossed the plate. The question is: Is this a force play? Was the force removed when the batter-runner was out at first base? Do the runs that crossed the plate during this play and before the third out was made when the runner was tagged at second, count? Answer: The runs score. It is not a force play. It is a tag play.
(f) He is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder. The ball is dead and no runner may score, nor runners advance, except runners forced to advance.
EXCEPTION: If a runner is touching his base when touched by an Infield Fly, he is not out, although the batter is out; if two runners are touched by the same fair ball, only the first one is out because the ball is instantly dead. If runner is touched by an Infield Fly when he is not touching his base, both runner and batter are out.
(g) He attempts to score on a play in which the batter interferes with the play at home base before two are out. With two out, the interference puts the batter out and no score counts;
(h) He passes a preceding runner before such runner is out;
(i) After he has acquired legal possession of a base, he runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game. The umpire shall immediately call “Time” and declare the runner out. If a runner touches an unoccupied base and then thinks the ball was caught or is decoyed into returning to the base he last touched, he may be put out running back to that base, but if he reaches the previously occupied base safely he cannot be put out while in contact with that base.
(j) He fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or over sliding that base. If he attempts to run to second he is out when tagged. If, after overrunning or over sliding f first base he starts toward the dugout, or toward his position, and fails to return to first base at once, he is out, on appeal, when he or the base is tagged; Runner who touches first base in overrunning and is declared safe by the umpire has, within the intent of Rule 4.09(a) “reached first base” and any run which scores on such a play counts, even though the runner subsequently becomes the third out for failure to return “at once,” as covered in Rule 7.08(j).
(k) In running or sliding for home base, he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to the base, when a fielder holds the ball in his hand, while touching home base, and appeals to the umpire for the decision. This rule applies only where runner is on his way to the bench and the catcher would be required to chase him. It does not apply to the ordinary play where the runner misses the plate and then immediately makes an effort to touch the plate before being tagged. In that case, runner must be tagged.
It is interference by a batter or a runner when —
(a) After a third strike he clearly hinders the catcher in his attempt to field the ball. Such batter-runner is out, the ball is dead, and all other runners return to the bases they occupied at the time of the pitch.
Rule 7.09(a) Comment: If the pitched ball deflects off the catcher or umpire and subsequently touches the batter-runner, it is not considered interference unless, in the judgment of the umpire, the batter-runner clearly hinders the catcher in his attempt to field the ball.
(b) He intentionally deflects the course of a foul ball in any manner;
(c) Before two are out and a runner on third base, the batter hinders a fielder in making a play at home base; the runner is out;
(d) Any member or members of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate or teammates;
(e) Any batter or runner who has just been put out hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate; 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.
(f)If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.
(g) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire shall call the batter- runner out for interference and shall also call out the runner who had advanced closest to home plate regardless where the double play might have been possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such interference.
(h) In the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or f first base.
(i) With a runner on third base, the base coach leaves his box and acts in any manner to draw a throw by a fielder;
(j) In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line and, in the umpire’s judgment, interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, or attempting to field a batted ball; The lines marking the three foot lane are a part of that “lane” but the interpretation to be made is that a runner is required to have both feet within the three foot “lane” or on the lines marking the “lane.”
(k) He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, provided that if two or more fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the umpire shall determine which fielder is entitled to the benefit of this rule, and shall not declare the runner out for coming in contact with a fielder other than the one the umpire determines to be entitled to field such a ball; When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called. “Obstruction” by a fielder attempting to field a ball should be called only in very flagrant and violent cases because the rules give him the right of way, but of course such “right of way” is not a license to, for example, intentionally trip a runner even though fielding the ball. If the catcher is fielding the ball and the first baseman or pitcher obstructs a runner going to first base “obstruction” shall be called and the base runner awarded first base.
(l) A fair ball touches him on fair territory before touching a fielder. If a fair ball goes through, or by, an infielder, and touches a runner immediately back of him, or touches the runner after having been deflected by a fielder, the umpire shall not declare the runner out for being touched by a batted ball. In making such decision the umpire must be convinced that the ball passed through, or by the fielder, and that no other infielder had the chance to make a play on the ball. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner deliberately and intentionally kicks such a batted ball on which the infielder has missed a play, then the runner shall be called out for interference. PENALTY FOR INTERFERENCE: The runner is out and the ball is dead.
Any runner shall be called out, on appeal when —
(a) After a fly ball is caught, he fails to retouch his original base before he or his original base is tagged; “Retouch,” in this rule, means to tag up and start from a contact with the base after the ball is caught. A runner is not permitted to take a flying start from a position in back of his base.
(b) With the ball in play, while advancing or returning to a base, he fails to touch each base in order before he, or a missed base, is tagged.
APPROVED RULING: (1) No runner may return to touch a missed base after a following runner has scored.
(2) When the ball is dead, no runner may return to touch a missed base or one he has left after he has advanced to and touched a base beyond the missed base.
PLAY. (a) Batter hits ball out of park or ground rule double and misses first base (ball is dead) — he may return to first base to correct his mistake before he touches second but if he touches second he may not return to first and if defensive team appeals he is declared out at first.
PLAY. (b) Batter hits ball to shortstop who throws wild into stand (ball is dead) — batter-runner misses first base but is awarded second base on the overthrow. Even though the umpire has awarded the runner second base on the overthrow, the runner must touch first base before he proceeds to second base. These are appeal plays.
(c) He overruns or over slides first base and fails to return to the base immediately, and he or the base is tagged;
(d) He fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged. Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play. If the violation occurs during a play which ends a half-inning, the appeal must be made before the defensive team leaves the field. An appeal is not to be interpreted as a play or an attempted play. Successive appeals may not be made on a runner at the same base. If the defensive team on its first appeal errs, a request for a second appeal on the same runner at the same base shall not be allowed by the umpire. (Intended meaning of the word “err” is that the defensive team in making an appeal threw the ball out of play. For example, if the pitcher threw to first base to appeal and threw the ball into the stands, no second appeal would be allowed.) Appeal plays may require an umpire to recognize an apparent “fourth out.” If the third out is made during a play in which an appeal play is sustained or another runner, the appeal play decision takes precedence in determining the out. If there is more than one appeal during a play that ends a half-inning, the defense may elect to take the out that gives it the advantage. For the purpose of this rule, the defensive team has “left the field” when the pitcher and all infielders have left fair territory on their way to the bench or clubhouse. If two runners arrive at home base about the same time and the first runner misses home plate but a second runner legally touches the plate, the runner is tagged out on his attempt to come back and touch the base or is called out, on appeal, then he shall be considered as having been put out before the second runner scored and being the third out. Second runner’s run shall not count, as provided in Rule 7.12. If a pitcher balks when making an appeal, such act shall be a play. An appeal should be clearly intended as an appeal, either by a verbal request by the player or an act that unmistakably indicates an appeal to the umpire. A player, inadvertently stepping on the base with a ball in his hand, would not constitute an appeal. Time is not out when an appeal is being made.
The players, coaches or any member of an offensive team shall vacate any space (including both dugouts) needed by a fielder who is attempting to field a batted or thrown ball. PENALTY: Interference shall be called and the batter or runner on whom the play is being made shall be declared out.
Unless two are out, the status of a following runner is not affected by a preceding runner’s failure to touch or retouch a base. If, upon appeal, the preceding runner is the third out, no runners following him shall score. If such third out is the result of a force play, neither preceding nor following runners shall score.
8.00 — The Pitcher.
Legal pitching delivery. There are two legal pitching positions, the Windup Position and the Set Position, and either position may be used at any time. Pitchers shall take signs from the catcher while standing on the rubber. Pitchers may disengage the rubber after taking their signs but may not step quickly onto the rubber and pitch. This may be judged a quick pitch by the umpire. When the pitcher disengages the rubber, he must drop his hands to his sides. Pitchers will not be allowed to disengage the rubber after taking each sign.
(a) The Windup Position. The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot free. From this position any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption or alteration. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward and one step forward with his free foot. When a pitcher holds the ball with both hands in front of his body, with his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and his other foot free, he will be considered in the Windup Position.
Rule 8.01(a) Comment: In a Windup Position, a pitcher is permitted to have his “free” foot on the rubber, in front of the rubber, behind the rubber or off the side of the rubber. From the Windup Position, the pitcher may: (1) deliver the ball to the batter, or (2) step and throw to a base in an attempt to pick-off a runner, or (3) disengage the rubber. (If he does he must drop his hands to his sides). In disengaging the rubber the pitcher must step off with his pivot foot and not his free foot first. He may not go into a set or stretch position — if he does it is a balk.
(b) The Set Position. Set Position shall be indicated by the pitcher when he stands facing the batter with his pivot foot in contact with, and his other foot in front of, the pitcher’s plate, holding the ball in both hands in front of his body and coming to a complete stop. From such Set Position he may deliver the ball to the batter, throw to a base or step backward off the pitcher’s plate with his pivot foot. Before assuming Set Position, the pitcher may elect to make any natural preliminary motion such as that known as “the stretch.” But if he so elects, he shall come to Set Position, before delivering the ball to the batter. After assuming Set Position, any natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption. Preparatory to coming to a set position, the pitcher shall have one hand on his side; from this position he shall go to his set position as defined in Rule 8.01(b) without interruption and in one continuous motion.
The pitcher, following his stretch, must
(a) hold the ball in both hands in front of his body and
(b) come to a complete stop. This must be enforced. Umpires should watch this closely. Pitchers are constantly attempting to “beat the rule” in their efforts to hold runners on bases and in cases where the pitcher fails to make a complete “stop” called for in the rules, the umpire should immediately call a “Balk.”
Rule 8.01(a) Comment: WIth no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpire’s judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball. See Rule 8.05(e) Comment.
(c) At any time during the pitcher’s preliminary movements and until his natural pitching motion commits him to the pitch, he may throw to any base provided he steps directly toward such base before making the throw. The pitcher shall step “ahead of the throw.” A snap throw followed by the step directly toward the base is a balk.
(d) If the pitcher makes an illegal pitch with the bases unoccupied, it shall be called a ball unless the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise. A ball which slips out of a pitcher’s hand and crosses the foul line shall be called a ball; otherwise it will be called no pitch. This would be a balk with men on base.
(e) If the pitcher removes his pivot foot from contact with the pitcher’s plate by stepping backward with that foot, he thereby becomes an infielder and if he makes a wild throw from that position, it shall be considered the same as a wild throw by any other infielder.
The pitcher, while off the rubber, may throw to any base. If he makes a wild throw, such throw is the throw of an infielder and what follows is governed by the rules covering a ball thrown by a fielder.
The pitcher shall not —
(a) (1) While in the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s plate, touch the ball after touching his mouth or lips, or touch his mouth or lips while he is in contact with the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher must clearly wipe the fingers of his pitching hand dry before touching the ball or the pitcher’s plate.
EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand.
PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule, the umpires shall immediately remove the ball from play and issue a warning to the pitcher. Any subsequent violation shall be called a ball. However, if the pitch is made and a batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a hit batsman or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation.
(2) Expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(3) Rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;
(4) Apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;
(5) Deface the ball in any manner; or
(6) Deliver a ball altered in a manner prescribed by Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (5) or what is called the “shine” ball, “spit” ball, “mud” ball or “emery” ball. The pitcher is allowed to rub the ball between his bare hands.
PENALTY: For violation of any part of this Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (6):
(a) the pitcher shall be ejected immediately from the game and shall be suspended automatically.
(b) If a play follows the violation called by the umpire, the manager of the team at bat may advise the plate umpire-in-chief that he elects to accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation.
(c) Even though the team at bat elects to take the play, the violation shall be recognized and the penalties in subsection (a) will still be in effect.
(d) If the manager of the team at bat does not elect to accept the play, the umpire-in-chief shall call an automatic ball and, if there are any runners on base, a balk.
(e) The umpire shall be sole judge on whether any portion of this rule has been violated. Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6)
Comment: If a pitcher violates either Rule 8.02(a)(2) or 8.02(a)(3) and, in the judgment of the umpire, the pitcher did not intend, by his act, to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty set forth for violations of 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6). If the pitcher persists in violating either of those Rules, however, the umpire should then apply the penalty.
(b) Have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section (b) the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game.
(c) Intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher, when the batter is in position, except in an attempt to retire a runner.
PENALTY: If, after warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher shall be removed from the game.
(d) Intentionally Pitch at the Batter. If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to:
1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
2. May warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager. If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game. (League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05.) To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be — and is — condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.
When a pitcher takes his position at the beginning of each inning, or when he relieves another pitcher, he shall be permitted to pitch not to exceed eight preparatory pitches to his catcher during which play shall be suspended. A league by its own action may limit the number of preparatory pitches to less than eight preparatory pitches. Such preparatory pitches shall not consume more than one minute of time. If a sudden emergency causes a pitcher to be summoned into the game without any opportunity to warm-up, the umpire-in-chief shall allow him as many pitches as the umpire deems necessary.
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when —
(a) The pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery; if a left-handed or right-handed pitcher swings his free foot past the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber, he is required to pitch to the batter except to throw to second base on a pick-off-play.
(b) The pitcher, while touching his plate, feints a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw;
(c) The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base.
Rule 8.05(c) Comment: Requires the pitcher, while touching his plate, to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. If a pitcher turns or spins off of his free foot without actually stepping or if he turns his body and throws before stepping, it is a bulk. A pitcher is to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base, and is required to throw (except to second base) because he steps. It is a balk if, with runners on first and third, the pitcher steps toward third and does not throw, merely to bluff the runner back to third; then seeing the runner on first start for second, turn and step toward and throw to first base. It is legal for a pitcher to feint a throw to second base.
(d) The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;
(e) The pitcher makes an illegal pitch; A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box, with runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.
(f) The pitcher delivers the ball to the batter while he is not facing the batter;
(g) The pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch while he is not touching the pitcher’s plate;
(h) The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
(i) The pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate or while off the plate, he feints a pitch;
(j) The pitcher, after coming to a legal pitching position, removes one hand from the ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base;
(k) The pitcher, while touching his plate, accidentally or intentionally has the ball, slip or fall out of his hand or glove;
(l) The pitcher, while giving an intentional base on balls, pitches when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box;
(m) The pitcher delivers the pitch from Set Position without coming to a stop.
PENALTY: The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out, unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk.
Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner. If there is doubt in the umpire’s mind, the “intent” of the pitcher should govern. However, certain specifics should be borne in mind:
(a) Straddling the pitcher’s rubber without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk.
(b) With a runner on first base the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base.
A professional league shall adopt the following rule pertaining to the visit of the manager or coach to the pitcher:
(a) This rule limits the number of trips a manager or coach may make to any one pitcher in any one inning;
(b) A second trip to the same pitcher in the same inning will cause this pitcher’s automatic removal;
(c) The manager or coach is prohibited from making a second visit to the mound while the same batter is at bat, but;
(d) If a pinch-hitter is substituted for this batter, the manager or coach may make a second visit to the mound, but must remove the pitcher. A manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit to the mound when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber.
TRIPS TO THE MOUND (All Divisions) — The second trip in the same inning to the same pitcher shall automatically result in the removal of that pitcher from the game AS A PITCHER ONLY. If the manager or coach goes to the catcher or infielder and that player then goes to the mound or the pitcher comes to him at his position before there is an intervening play (a pitch or other play) that will be the same as the manager or coach going to the mound. Any attempt to evade or circumvent this rule by the manager or coach going to the catcher or an infielder and then that player going to the mound to confer with the pitcher shall constitute a trip to the mound. If the coach goes to the mound and removes a pitcher and then the manager goes to the mound to talk with the new pitcher, that will constitute one trip to that new pitcher that inning. In a case where a manager has made his first trip to the mound and then returns the second time to the mound in the same inning with the same pitcher in the game and the same batter at bat, after being warned by the umpire that he cannot return to the mound, the manager shall be removed from the game and the pitcher required to pitch to the batter until he is retired or gets on base. After the batter is retired, or becomes a base runner, then this pitcher must be removed from the game. The manager should be notified that his pitcher will be removed from the game after he pitches to one hitter, so he can have a substitute pitcher warmed up. The substitute pitcher will be allowed eight preparatory pitches or more if in the umpire’s judgment circumstances justify.