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Umpiring Myths

 
MYTH #1 – “The hands are part of the bat.”
 
If a batter is hit on the hands while swinging at a pitch, or while his hands are in the strike zone, it is a strike.  Otherwise, he is a hit batter and he gets first base.  In all cases the ball is dead and no runners may advance.  See Rule 2.00 BALL, PERSON, STRIKE (e), (f), TOUCH, also Rule 6.08(b).  THE HANDS ARE PART OF THE PERSON.
 
MYTH #2 – “He held the ball for two seconds before he dropped it.  That’s a catch.”
 
The length of time the ball is held has nothing to do with the determination of a catch.  The release of the ball must be VOLUNTARY AND INTENTIONAL.  See Rule 2.00 CATCH.  The fielder must prove that he had COMPLETE CONTROL of the ball before releasing it.
 
MYTH #3 – “The catch was made on the outfield grass, that’s not an Infield Fly.”
 
Infield fly is a judgment call.  It is based on whether the ball can be caught with ORDINARY effort.  See Rule 2.00 INFIELD FLY.
 
MYTH #4 – “He gets 1 plus 1 on an overthrow.”
 
There is no such thing.  Awards of bases can be 1, 2 or 3 bases depending on the circumstances.  The award can be based on where the runners are physically standing, or in MOST cases, from where they are at the time of the pitch.  It makes no difference which direction the runner is running.  If a runner is being chased back towards first from second and the ball is thrown out-of-play, the runner is awarded THIRD BASE.  Two bases closer to home, from where he stood at the time the throw was RELEASED.  See Rule 7.05(g).
 
MYTH #5 – “The batter turned to the left after crossing first – he’s out when tagged.”
 
The runner is out only if the umpire judges that he made an ATTEMPT to go to second.  No place in the rules does it say that a runner must turn to the right after crossing first base.  See Rule 7.08(c) EXCEPTION and Rule 7.10(c).
 
MYTH #6 – “The ball is dead on a foul tip.”
 
A foul tip is a ball that goes SHARP AND DIRECT from the bat to the catcher’s glove AND IS CAUGHT.  If it IS caught, it is a STRIKE and the ball is alive.  If it is not caught, it is a foul ball and the ball is dead.  See Rule 2.00 FOUL TIP.
 
MYTH #7 – “Tie goes to the runner.”
 
There is no such thing.  This is a judgment call by the umpire.  No place in the rules does such a statement exist.
 
MYTH #8 – “On that throw to home the catcher was blocking the base path before he caught the ball.  Call Interference!”
 
When the defense blocks the base (plate) or base line and does not have possession of the ball, the call is OBSTRUCTION, not interference. See Rule 2.00 OBSTRUCTION.  Also see Rule 7.06(a) and (b).
 
 
 
MYTH #9 – “The batter who batted out of order is out.”
 
After the incorrect batter completes his at-bat and an appeal is made, the PROPER batter (the one who should have batted) is out.  The improper batter (the one who did bat) is removed from base and any advance made by the runners because of his batted ball is nullified.  The next batter due up is the one who FOLLOWS the proper batter.  See Rule 6.07.
 
MYTH #10 – “The batter isn’t out for interference with the catcher if he stays in the batter’s box.”
 
This is a judgment call.  If the batter swings at a pitch and is off-balance and unavoidably interferes with the catcher, he should not be called out.  If he had just let a pitch go and had an opportunity to avoid the catcher’s play, but didn’t, he interfered.  See Rule 2.00 INTERFERENCE and Rule 6.06(c).
 
MYTH #11 – “The batter backed out of the box as the pitch was coming to the plate.  That’s an automatic strike.”
 
If the batter is in the box and steps out during delivery of the pitch, the umpire will call “Ball” or “Strike” as the case may be.  If the offense is stalling and the batter refuses to get in the batter’s box, then the umpire shall call a strike on the batter without the need for a pitch to be delivered.  The ball is dead and no runners may advance.  See Rules 6.02(b) & (c).
 
MYTH #12 – “The pitch hit the ground before the batter hit it.  The ball is dead.”
 
Little League rules state that a pitch is “a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher.” Nowhere do the rules say anything about how the pitch must be delivered. If a pitch touches the ground before entering the strike zone and is not swung at, it is a “ball.”  If the pitch bounces up and hits the batter, the batter is awarded first.  If the pitch is hit, it is ruled like a normal pitch.  See Rule 2.00 IN FLIGHT, PITCH and Rule 5.03.
 
MYTH #13 – “The base coach touched the runner.  The runner is out.”
 
Again, this is a judgment call by the umpire.  If the coach obviously and intentionally physically stops a runner or helps him up after the runner has fallen, the runner is out.  Merely touching him or making an incidental touch as the runner is stopping are not grounds for an out call.  See Rule 7.09(i).
 
MYTH #14 – “Half of the batter’s foot was outside the box when he hit the ball.  He’s out.”
 
A batter is out when he makes contact with a pitch and his foot is ENTIRELY outside the lines of the batter’s box AND TOUCHING THE GROUND.  He is out on either a fair or foul ball and the ball is dead.  He is NOT out if he swings and misses or if he does not swing.  See Rule 2.00 ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL and Rule 6.06(a).
 
MYTH #15 – “The batted ball hit the plate first, that’s a foul ball.”
 
Home plate is positioned BETWEEN the first and third base foul lines – it is in FAIR territory.  Therefore, a ball that hits it, or comes to rest upon it, is a fair ball.  Also, all bases are in fair territory.  Therefore, any batted ball that touches a base is considered a fair ball, regardless of where it bounces after touching the base.  See Rule 2.00 FAIR BALL and FAIR TERRITORY.
 
MYTH #16 – “Holding the bat over the plate constitutes an attempt to bunt the ball.”
 
To constitute a bunt, the ball must be INTENTIONALLY met with the bat.  The mere fact of holding the bat across the plate DOES NOT constitute a bunt attempt.  See Rule 2.00 BUNT.