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Ask the Ump

Ask The Ump Special Feature Locked In: The Plate Mechanic Myth By Roland Wiederaenders

Publisher’s Note: CBP reprises this article, originally appearing in the Winter 2004 edition of “Officials’ Quarterly,” for it’s common sense approach to umpiring behind home plate, particularly working at the youth league level. The skills, mechanics and philosophy the author discusses are timeless and thus relevant to game applications today. At the time of its first… Continue reading

Ask The Ump Special Feature: The Definitive Case for Preventive Officiating

Most veteran, youth league umpires know the importance of preventive officiating. Many of us learned this in mechanics clinics taught by college level or minor league umpires. Others of us have learned the concept in our state association and annual rules interpretation meetings. Anyone who has worked with or around kids for any appreciable length of… Continue reading

Ask The Ump Special Feature: The Definitive Case for Interference

Probably no rule application in baseball gets more hotly debated than interference, particularly batter’s interference. Several examples of interference, all of which occurred in youth ball games that I umpired in 2013, warrant a closer look.

In one situation a runner attempting to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a ground ball to short interfered with… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 27

Play: With a runner on 2nd and one out, the batter hits a soft liner over the shortstops’ head into short left field for a single. The runner on 2nd does not run, thinking that the ball might be caught. The batter is obstructed rounding 1st and continues running to 2nd, where the defense tags both… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 26

Play: As a pitcher, how can I lengthen my stride to the plate? Do you know any drills that I can do to work on this?

Ruling: One way that ‘Ask The Ump’ has seen hard throwers have improved control, while simultaneously increased velocity, is to concentrate on reaching as far back as you can, as… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 25

Play: Runner on third one out. batter hits ball to left field which is caught. Runner stays at third. Ball thrown in to third baseman. The Batter who is out continues to round first and pretend he is a runner drawing the throw from the third baseman who over throw’s scoring the runner from third. Totally… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 24

Play: The catcher, seeing that the runner from 3rd is attempting to steal home, reaches out over the plate to catch the pitch and then tag the runner. Is this a balk?

Ruling: This is a balk only if the catcher obstructs the batter in some way.

Rule 7.07 implies that the act of the catcher… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 23

The Running Lane to 1st Base

Play: After a dropped third strike, my batter walks back to the dugout, but he doesn’t enter the dugout. What is the baseline for him to run to first base?

Ruling: This situation may pose problems depending on (1) where the batter actually is located when he/she decides to run… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 22

Play: In a game versus Iona, Fordham rallies from 9-1 down to tie the game. With the score tied at 9 in the bottom of the 8th and bases loaded, Fordham goes ahead with game-winning hit. The base runner at first scores by leaping over the Iona catcher and landing on home plate with a handstand,… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 21

Play: Batter hits low line drive that strikes the front of the pitching rubber and caroms into the air. Before it hits the ground, an in-fielder catches the ball. Is it an out?

I’ve been playing for 35 years and never saw this call: The ump called the batter out. I always believed the rubber was… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 20

Play: Can you slide past the base on the right or left side of the base and still be safe at second?

Ruling: Often, the force of a runner’s slide takes the runner beyond the base. This does not afford the runner protection, however, from being tagged out while not in contact with the base.

The… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 19

Play: While coaching first base for a Middlesex County Legion team I came across a situation I would like you to clarify. The pitcher contacted the rubber with his toe in the set position with a runner on first(his heel in the air). My job of course is to watch the heel of the pitcher to… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 18

Play: There are 2 outs in the top of the 7th with the tying run on 2nd and a 2-2 count on the batter. The pitcher throws a fastball that hits the dirt requiring the catcher to block the pitch and the umpire calls strike 3 on the pitch. Their catcher jumped up and tug the… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 17

Play: Why is it that most umpires don’t stand directly over the plate and hide behind the catcher most of the time?

Ruling: Umpires generally receive their training from or through the local umpiring chapters, sanctioned by the State High School Associations to which they belong. All scholastic, certified umpires must belong to a local chapter… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 16

Play:Tigers-Twins game of September 29, 2009: Gerald Laird hit a foul ball behind home plate, about a row or two back into the seats. Jason Maurer, the catcher, reaches back into the crowd to catch the ball. Just before he catches the ball, a fan touches the ball but Maurer still catches it. The umpire… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 15

Play:A batter swings at a third strike, the ball hits the dirt, and the catcher catches it cleanly off the bounce. Does the catcher have to tag the batter or throw to 1st in order to record the out?

Ruling: Yes, provided there are less than two outs with no runner on 1st base, or… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 14

Play:A runner stands on 2nd base after hitting a double. Time is not called. The pitcher without the ball returns to the mound area within the 9-foot radius. The second baseman tags the runner when the runner leaves the base to take a lead prior to the next pitch. Is the runner out due to… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 13

Play: The runner from 3rd is hit by a pitch in the strike zone while attempting to steal home.

Ruling: The ball is dead when it hits the runner, a strike is registered, and, provided it’s not strike three and the third out of the inning, the run counts.

Sources: Major League Baseball Rule 5.09(h); NFHS 5.1.1(a)

Ask the Ump – Play 12

Play:With two outs, instead of catching a low line drive hit directly at him, the pitcher covers the ball with his glove, so that he traps the ball on the ground. The covering umpire – in this case the Home Plate umpire – gives no signal and does not give an “out” call. All defensive… Continue reading

Ask the Ump – Play 11

Play:In MLB if a defensive player other than the catcher is in foul territory at the time of the pitch, is it a balk if runner(s) are on base?

Ruling: At the MLB level as well as the high school level, and any other level for that matter, the catcher is the only defensive player… Continue reading

New Jersey Baseball & New Jersey Baseball Online are your original source for stories about the human interest side of baseball. Coverage ranges from travel team baseball and showcase tournaments to girls’ softball and women’s fast pitch to recruits and prospects; health & nutrition; sportsmanship; the best batting cages & baseball training academies, women in baseball, youth baseball baseball history, sports officiating and umpiring, field maintenance, mens' amateur baseball, and many others. NJB is also your first and best source for baseball rules and interpretations through our unique Ask The Ump feature.


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