Rules Plainspoken
Make Sense of the Rules of Baseball



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What does Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity have to do with a bang-bang play at first base? And why do spectators and umpires looking at the same sequence of events so often describe them so differently? Well, we have a theory!

Most of us work a wide range of levels, ranging from maybe as low as 10-year-olds up to adult league ball, and maybe even college ball. Moving from field to field, level to level, requires some adaptations. Adapt or die, they say. So adjust.

The rule that governs batter's interference, Rule 6.06(c), is pretty straightforward. What's not straightforward is interpreting and applying the rule. In fact, few calls generate more heated arguments than this one. So let's go over it.

I come up with 33 ways to get an out. That said, there are a few points where I had to do a little interpreting of the rules, so I could be off by a few. Take a look at the list and let me know what you think.

There are two legal pitching positions – the windup position8.01(a) ] and the set position8.01(b) ]. The definitions of the windup and the set positions, and what differentiates the two, is primarily the position of the pitcher's feet relative to the pitching rubber.

You have probably seen the YouTube video of the play in the girl’s softball game where the base runners advancing to home are knocked to the ground by the catcher, who is not only not in possession of the ball, but is also blocking the plate. Over on the UB Blog.

 


New for you at the UmpireBible


Major League Baseball has rewritten the Official Rules of Baseball. This went into effect in the 2015 season, but we're still trying to figure out how we're going to reconcile forty years of baseball rules interpretations (the baseball equivalent of case law). What formerly was Rule 1.11(a)(3) is now Rule 3.03(c); what was once Rule 6.01 is now Rule 5.04(a); 7.02 is now 5.06(b)(1); and on and on, for 154 rows on the spreadsheet I'm tracking this on.

But the UmpireBible is here to help. We created cross-reference tables — two of them. One takes the 2014 rules and lists their 2015 pairings; the other takes the 2015 rules and lists their 2014 pairings. You can download them for free here, compliments of the UmpireBible.

 

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I just plain got tired of trying to learn the rules of baseball by flipping endlessly from reference to reference. Do you know that the subject of base awards (just base awards) has 36 rules references? How's a guy to learn about awarding bases when you're flipping around 36 rules. Can't be done. So I set out to write about the rules of baseball in a logical and plainspoken manner and, well, I suppose I got carried away.
So welcome to the UmpireBible.

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UmpireBible is physically located in the Seattle, Washington, area. But that's pretty irrelevant on the Internet.


For all matters great and small, reach us at NickG@UmpireBible.com