- The batter hits a line drive into the right-center field gap. The absent-minded first baseman is standing near his
regular position, watching the baseball. As the batter-runner rounds first he nearly runs into the first baseman, but veers
around him and proceeds to try for a triple.
The first baseman has violated a rule. What is the violation called?
Correct answer is "c," obstruction. The only other baseball term offered as an answer was "interference." Many people
who claim to know baseball very well cannot tell the difference between obstruction and interference. If you watch a lot
of baseball, you most likely have heard a major league announcer confuse the two, referring to obstruction as "interference."
After reading and studying Jaksa and Roder's Rules of Professional Baseball, you will be one of the few people
able to distinguish between the two!
- Runner on first, stealing on the pitch. The batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop, who throws to second, but R1
is safe at second. The second baseman then tries to throw out the batter-runner, but the ball gets by the first baseman and
goes into the dugout, out of play. Ruling?
- R1 stays at second, batter-runner stays at first.
- R1 to third, batter-runner to second.
- R1 scores, batter-runner to second.
- R1 scores, batter-runner to third.
The correct answer is "c," R1 scores and the batter-runner is awarded second. Advanced umpires are the ones who can
correctly award bases on overthrows, and readily distinguish between interference and obstruction. Major League umpire
Jeff Nelson has said of Jaksa and Roder's manual, "The chapters on interference and obstruction alone are worth the price
of the book." Jaksa and Roder will take you quickly and easily to an advanced level by explaining these rules in straightforward
language, and by illustrating them with clear examples.
- True or False?
The home team, which is using the third base dugout, is batting. The batter hits a high fly ball that will come down near the
third base dugout. The third baseman goes over and it appears he will easily catch the ball. However, he trips over two fielding
gloves that were illegally left lying on live ball territory by the home team, and he fails to catch the ball. The batter is
out due to interference by the home team players.
The correct answer is "false." The rules do not provide for an out on this play. Amazingly, there are several rules
violations in the Official Baseball Rules that have no penalization mandated, or even suggested. You will find
them all clearly identified in The Rules of Professional Baseball by Jaksa and Roder. Where appropriate, you
will find that we offer carefully considered penalizations. You can legally apply these penalizations under
rule 9.01c, which allows an umpire to rule on anything not specifically covered by the rulebook. In places where
Jaksa and Roder do not suggest a penalization, such as in the play above, you'll be working it the way the pros do!
- R2, no outs. The batter-runner bunts the pitch and is running to first on fair territory, illegally outside the
45-foot running lane. The catcher fields the bunt and throws to first. The ball just barely touches the batter-runner's
shoulder. The first baseman flinches, but catches the ball for an out at first. He then throws home against R2, who is
- Batter-runner is out for running lane interference, R2 scores.
- Batter-runner is out due to the tag of first base, R2 scores.
- The ball became
dead when it touched the batter-runner outside the running lane-running lane interference. R2 goes back to second base.
- Same as 'c' except the runner goes back to third base.
The correct answer is arguable; it is either "b" (batter-runner is out due to the tag of first base, R2 scores) or "c"
(the ball became dead when it touched the batter-runner outside the running lane-running lane interference. R2 goes back
to second base).
Jaksa and Roder suggest that letter "b" is correct. Most umpires believe that if the runner is struck by the ball outside
the running lane, it is automatically interference, so "c" might be the enforcement on the field. However, the rules
state that it is purely the umpire's judgment as to whether the runner has interfered with the fielder taking the throw
at first. What it boils down to is that the Official Rules fail to offer enough specific information.
The Rules of Professional Baseball by Jaksa and Roder identifies the many rules that are deficient in
this manner. Our manual will help you be aware of the problem rules. Since you will have already "experienced"
hese plays in your mind, you'll never be left guessing on the baseball field.
- True or False?
The first baseman dives to his right to field a sharp ground ball. The pitcher is running down the first base line
to cover the bag. The first baseman throws ahead of the pitcher, who is approaching first base with the runner.
The pitcher reaches for the throw, but misses it and falls on the first base bag. In attempting to touch the base,
the runner steps on the pitcher rather than the base. The runner tumbles past first base. The catcher has backed up
the play, and runs the ball over and tags the batter-runner. The batter-runner is out because he failed to touch first. T or F?
The correct answer is "true," at least according to how professional umpires are likely to officiate the play. The
problem lies with the fact that the Official Rules fail to define the "act of fielding" a batted or thrown ball. This
failure has many implications, as you could guess. Is the pitcher's fall during the play in question part of his attempt to
field the throw? If so, there would be no obstruction. Has the pitcher's fielding try ended as soon as he missed the throw?
If so, there is obstruction and the batter-runner is not out. Jaksa and Roder fill this gap, and many others, such as: When
is a fielder or ball considered "on" dead ball territory? How do you identify an appeal play? What are the requirements in
order for a tag to be an out? What is a "play" as it relates to appeals? Amazingly, the official rulebook does not
answer these, and many other, basic questions.
- R3, R1, two outs. Ground ball up the middle, just past the pitcher's right side. The shortstop gloves the ball in
front of second base and attempts to tag the sliding R1 instead of tagging the base. The tag is missed, but R1 slides
past the base without touching it. As R1 scrambles back to the base, the shortstop tags him before he is able to return.
R3 scored before the tag was applied for the third out (a 'time play'). The defense appeals that R1 missed second base,
hoping to get a force out-an 'advantageous fourth out' - to negate the run.
- The appeal is upheld; R1 is out and the run cannot score since the third out is now a force out.
- The appeal is not allowed, the run scores.
- The umpire should simply call R1 out for being out of the baseline, thus avoiding this whole mess.
The correct answer is "b" (the appeal is not allowed, the run scores), at least according to how professional umpires
are likely to officiate this play. In theory, Jaksa and Roder agree with answer "a" (the appeal is upheld; R1 is out and
the run cannot score since the third out is a force out), but felt it necessary to write the rule as it is likely to be
enforced on the field, as in answer "b." The problem lies in the fact that the Official Rules do not specifically
define what constitutes an appeal. As our quiz question shows, when appeals meet force plays, the rules are especially
Imagine how strong an umpire you will be when you can see plays like this and get them right! You will not only get them
right, but will amaze those around you by being able to give specific reasons for your ruling.
- R1, R3, one out, home team at bat, fifth inning. Squeeze play; runners stealing on the pitch. The batter attempts
to bunt over the head of the charging first baseman. He pops the ball over the first baseman's head, but the pitcher
makes a spectacular diving catch (taking attention away from R3). R3 touches home as the catch is made. He sees that
R1 will be out easily, and he proceeds quietly to his dugout. The pitcher tosses the ball to first base for an easy
retouch appeal, and R1 is the third out. The pitcher's trainer and manager sprint onto the field to check their pitcher
for injury. A normal change of half-innings ensues; no one, including the plate umpire, deals with R3's failure to retouch
or his run (which obviously scored before the third out-a time play). After nine innings, the scoreboard says the score is
2-2, and the visiting team eventually wins by an apparent score of 4-2 after 12 innings. In their locker room after the
game, the umpires discuss the fifth inning double play, and realize that the run scored for the home team. What should they do?
- Nothing. It is up to the home team to find the error.
- The umpires must inform the official scorer and the two managers
that the home team won the game in eight-and-a-half innings by a score of 3-2.
- The 4-2 final score stands; the mistake was not recognized before
the end of regulation play, so the extra innings must count.
- The 4-2 final score stands; the mistake was not recognized before the
umpires left the field.
- The umpires must refer the matter to the league president, commissioner,
or supervisor by telephone.
In professional rules, the "correct" answer is "b," the umpires must inform the official scorer and the two managers that the
home team won the game in eight-and-a-half innings by a score of 3-2.
Don't feel bad if you got this one wrong. There is nothing written to cover this situation in the Official Rules.
You will find other, similar game-ending situations in The Rules of Professional Baseball that are not
treated, or inadequately treated in the Official Rules.
NFHS (high school) rules directly treat the situation in which there is an error in the score. In the quiz question,
letter "d" would be the correct answer for a high school game. The scoring error must be found before the umpires leave
the field, or the final score stands. You will find these vital rule differences in Jaksa and Roder's Rule Differences
Edition, which includes NCAA, NAIA, and NFHS rule differences.
- R1. Line drive at the first baseman who dives, but can only trap the ball for 'no catch.' R1, believing there is a
catch, returns to first. The fielder tags first base and then R1 (who is touching first). Ruling?
- Both runners were forced to advance during the play, so both runners
- The batter-runner is out, removing the force against R1, who is safe.
- R1 is out for interfering with the play by running the wrong
direction. The batter-runner is out on the tag of first. Double play.
- R1 is out as soon as he touches first, because the batter-runner
was entitled to the base. The ball is dead, and batter-runner is placed at first.
The correct answer is "b," the batter-runner is out, removing the force against R1, who is safe. The force
was removed against R1 when first base was touched because the following runner (the batter-runner) was out.
Thus, R1 was not forced at the time he was tagged, and since he was touching first base, he is safe. Incidentally, had
the fielder tagged R1 and then first base, he would have had a double play. Even though R1 was touching first, he was
forced to advance, so he would have been out if he was tagged before the first base bag. Such a play can happen quickly,
so you can see how it is important to not only know the rules, but to be able to recall them in seconds on
the baseball field. You can be that type of an umpire after a thorough study of Jaksa and Roder's manual.
- The batter hits a deep and high fly ball into the right field corner. The right fielder gets under the ball at the fence,
near the foul pole. He is standing on foul territory. The fielder jumps and touches the ball with his glove while the ball
is over fair territory. The ball deflects off his glove and travels over the fence on the foul side of the foul pole. Ruling?
- Home run. The ball was fair and traveled over the home run
- Foul ball. The fielder was on foul territory when he touched the ball,
and the ball was foul when it went over the fence.
- Ground rule double. The ball was fair but traveled over the fence
over foul territory.
The correct answer is "c," ground rule double. The position of the ball when it is touched is the important thing in
regard to whether the ball is fair or foul, not the position of the player.
Jaksa and Roder's Rules of Professional Baseball takes the concepts basic to baseball and makes them so clear
that you can't help but see the game in a new light. Concepts like fair and foul can appear complicated, but they
really are not. Armed with a clear understanding of the basics, your confidence level will soar!
R3, one out. The batter swings, contacts the catcher's mitt, and hits a deep fly ball to right field. The plate umpire
correctly signals 'interference' on the catcher. R3 tags up and scores. Ruling?
- The ball is immediately dead on the catcher's interference and the batter-runner is
awarded first base. R3 back to third.
- Since the offense scored, the play stands.
- The umpire goes to the offensive manager and asks him whether
he would like the interference enforced (batter-runner awarded first, R3 back to third), or the results of the play
(batter-runner out, R3 scores).
- The umpire allowed the entire play to occur. Then, since the
batter-runner did not reach first, he enforces the interference (batter-runner awarded first, R3 back to third). He will
grant the offensive manager the results of the play if the manager requests such, but he does not offer the option.
The correct answer is "d." The rulebook does not specifically state whether the manager should be offered the option
to take the play, or whether he must request it. A strict interpretation of the rulebook's language is used, and the manager
must request his option to take the results of the play. The Jaksa and Roder manual clears up the murky situations in the
rulebook and tells you exactly how professional umpires handle these plays!