March 20, 2020





I. On-Field Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

II. Medical, Conditioning, and Rehabilitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

III. Handling Situations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

IV. Standards for Removal from the Game . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

V. Teamwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

VI. Crew Alignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

VII. Knowledge of Rules and Interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

VIII. Style and Form of Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

IX. Character . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

X. Uniforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

XI. Dress Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

XII. Personal Appearance While in Uniform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

XIII. Fraternization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

XIV. Responsibilities of Crew Chiefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

XV. Umpire Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

XVI. Dealing with Press and Media; Interviews; Video of Games . . . . . . . . .9

XVII. Public Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

XVIII. Injuries and Illnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

XIX. Email and “Heads Up” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

XX. Integrity of Baseball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

A. Gambling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

B. Gifts to Umpires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

C. Autographs and Memorabilia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

D. Tickets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

E. Baseballs and Other Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

F. Conflict of Interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

G. Letterhead Stationery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

XXI. Arrival in a New City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

XXII. Arrival at the Ballpark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

XXIII. Baseballs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

XXIV. Prior to Start of Game . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

XXV. Ground Rules Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

XXVI. Between Games of a Doubleheader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

XXVII. Weather Situations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

XXVIII. Crew Consultation and Getting the Play Right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

XXIX. Dropped Third Strikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

XXX. Protested Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

XXXI. Pace of Game Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19




Major League Baseball expects energetic and earnest work from each umpire

on the staff. MLB Umpires should be focused on every pitch of every game without

regard to factors such as the score, inning, weather, or standing of the teams


MLB Umpires should display hustle, concentration, and an alert, confident

demeanor in order to project a professional appearance on the field.


MLB Umpires should refer to Article 8.A of the Basic Agreement, which


The Office of the Commissioner may establish fitness and

wellness standards that are reasonably related to the duties and

tasks expected of a Major League umpire. Each umpire must

keep himself in first-class physical condition. By reporting for

duty each season, each umpire shall be deemed to represent that

he has no physical or mental conditions known to him which

would prevent or impair performance of his duties and that he is

in first-class physical condition.

MLB will provide umpires annually with a separate document detailing fitness

and wellness standards.


Handling situations on the field is a challenging aspect of professional umpiring.

MLB Umpires must keep the game under control and not exacerbate a situation.

To this end, Major League Baseball recognizes that every situation is

unique and that umpire discretion is an essential element of the job. However,

Major League Baseball strives for staff uniformity in dealing with situations on

the field. Umpires shall exercise independent judgment consistent with the following


• MLB Umpires should remain calm, confident, and non-confrontational in

order to maintain an appearance of fairness and impartiality.

• MLB Umpires should be a steadying influence on the game. Umpires must

be able to sort out complex and important situations and should not hesitate

to make unpopular decisions.

• MLB Umpires should not ignore occurrences on the field that, in their judgment,

require their attention to maintain control and order. However, when

difficult situations arise, it is essential that umpires stay “above the fray”

and not adopt the emotional level of a particular player or manager. Every

judgment should be made with common sense and knowledge of the Rules.




• MLB Umpires should attempt to listen to managers and players if their

comments and demeanor are reasonable. Umpires should not initiate an

argument, should avoid profanity, and should not insist on the “last word”

or follow a player or manager who is walking away. However, MLB Umpires

must command respect during difficult situations and never tolerate personal


• MLB Umpires should not use language that, if used by a player or manager

towards the umpire, would result in discipline.

• MLB Umpires should not initiate physical contact with players, coaches, or

managers. As a preventative technique, umpires should avoid finger-pointing

or aggressive gestures during an argument.

• MLB Umpires are expected to keep control of the game and should attempt

to defuse any potential confrontation between players, coaches, or managers

of the opposing teams. However, if a bench-clearing fight develops,

umpires should stay clear and let coaches, managers, and other players

break up the fight. Umpires should attempt to identify offenders and, after

consultation with their crew, take whatever action they deem necessary, if



MLB Umpires are entrusted with the authority to remove any participant

from a game. This responsibility should never be taken lightly. Major

League Baseball recognizes that every situation is unique and that umpire discretion

is essential to proper rule enforcement. While there are unique and extraordinary

circumstances, players and Clubs look to the MLB umpiring staff for uniformity

in applying consistent standards for ejection. The following general principles

should be considered when deciding whether to eject a player, coach, manager,

or other person from a game:

• Use of profanity specifically directed at an umpire or vulgar personal

insults of an umpire are grounds for ejection.

• Physical contact with an umpire is a ground for ejection.

• Refusal to stop arguing, and further delaying the game after the umpire has

provided a player or manager adequate opportunity to make a point, is a

ground for ejection. The umpire should warn the player or manager that he

has been heard and that he should return his position or be ejected.

• If a player, coach, or manager leaves his position to argue balls and strikes

(including half swings), he should be warned to immediately return or he

will be automatically ejected.

• If a Replay Review is initiated, no uniformed personnel from either Club

shall be permitted to further argue the contested calls or the decision of the

Replay Official. On-field personnel who violate this provision shall be ejected.

In circumstances in which Replay Review is not available (e.g., the call

is not reviewable, no Manager Challenge or Crew Chief review is available

or, after the eighth inning, the Crew Chief has communicated that he has

declined to initiate Replay Review), if a manager, coach, or player makes

reference to having observed a video replay that purportedly contradicts the




call under dispute, such person is subject to immediate ejection from the


• Use of histrionic gestures (e.g., jumping up and down, violently waving

arms, or demonstrations) while arguing with an umpire, or stepping out of

the dugout and making gestures toward an umpire, are grounds for ejection.

Throwing anything out of a dugout (towels, cups, equipment, etc.) is a

ground for automatic ejection.

• Actions by players specifically intended to ridicule an umpire are grounds

for ejection. Examples include drawing a line in the dirt to demonstrate

location of a pitch or leaving equipment at the plate after striking out with

less than two outs.

• Throwing equipment in disgust of an umpire’s call may be a ground for ejection.

Umpires are encouraged to utilize equipment violations as an intermediary

step to warn and discipline a player while attempting to keep the

player in the game. If the violation is deemed extremely severe, the umpire

may eject the offender immediately.

• Any player, manager, or coach who fails to comply with an order from an

umpire to do or to refrain from doing anything that affects administering

the rules and regulations governing play is subject to ejection in accordance

with Official Baseball Rule 8.01. Examples of this include failure to stay

within the lines of the batter’s box after warning from the umpire, refusal

to submit a piece of equipment for the umpire’s inspection, etc.

• Team personnel may not come onto the playing surface to argue or dispute

a warning issued under Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c)(9). If a manager,

coach, or player leaves the dugout or his position to dispute a warning, he

should be warned to stop; if he continues, he is subject to removal from the


• When a determination is made that a pitcher has intentionally thrown a

pitch at a batter, the umpire must either warn or eject. Rule 6.02(c)(9) does

not give the umpire the discretion to allow the opposing pitcher an opportunity

to retaliate in kind before the warning or ejection. Nor does the Rule

mandate, even in an instance where a pitcher has intentionally thrown at

the head of a hitter, that the pitcher must be ejected. Which of the two

options is elected by the umpire under Rule 6.02(c)(9) is at the discretion of

the umpire, but the elected option will be based on all the surrounding circumstances.

In assessing those circumstances, the umpire will take into

account the Rule 6.02(c)(9) Comment, which states that pitching at a batter’s

head is unsportsmanlike, highly dangerous and condemned within the


Any pitcher who the umpire deems to have thrown intentionally at a batter

after a warning has been issued earlier in the game will be immediately

ejected from the game. In addition, the manager of the offending pitcher’s

team will also be ejected from the game. If a pitcher is so disqualified, the

substitute pitcher shall have time for a full warm-up similar to the time

allowed when an injured pitcher is removed from the game.

• Arguing after a Replay Review.

While the standards listed here may justify an ejection, Official Baseball Rule

8.01(d) grants umpires the discretion to eject any participant “for objecting to deci-




sions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language.” In addition, there are situations

listed in the Official Baseball Rules and the Rule Interpretations portion of

this manual that result in immediate ejection. These situations include violations

such as arguing a “step balk,” pitcher in possession of a foreign substance, batter

charging the pitcher with the intention of fighting the pitcher, pitcher intentionally

throwing at a batter after a warning, etc.


Games are to be officiated by a crew of umpires—not four individuals.

Umpires should officiate and communicate as a team and should assist and support

one another on the field at all times. Each umpire should attempt to anticipate

the other umpires on the crew in both mechanics and consistency in decisionmaking.

Umpires should avoid any conduct that would suggest to Club personnel

or fans the existence of dissension or friction within the crew.


Crew Chiefs shall decide rotation assignments when a new umpire joins a

crew. It is suggested that a substitute umpire who joins a crew from the Minor

Leagues should start at 2nd or 3rd base. When a substitute umpire joins a crew

from another Major League crew, consideration should be made of the substitute’s

last plate game. Minor League umpires should not start behind the plate when

joining a crew from the Minor Leagues.

Normal crew rotation is home–third–second–first–home, and this should be

followed unless extenuating circumstances prevent it. The Crew Chief should contact

the Umpiring Department in advance should an exception become necessary.

Subject to the discretion of the Crew Chief, should a plate umpire be unable to

finish a game due to injury or illness before the game is an official game, the second

base umpire should assume plate responsibilities for the remainder of the game.

The next rotation for this umpire would then be third base. Should the plate

umpire become injured or hurt after the game has reached regulation game status,

the second base umpire should assume plate responsibilities for the remainder of

the game. The next rotation for this umpire should be first base. In either scenario,

if preventable, the Crew Chief should not place an umpire that has already

worked a plate game during that series as the replacement plate umpire.

Even when a Crew Chief leaves a crew, the Crew Chief remains responsible

for proper application of rotation assignments and should review this with the

crew. If, however, a Crew Chief is absent for an extended illness or injury, this

responsibility reverts to the acting Crew Chief. While the Office of the

Commissioner may consider seniority along with other factors that it may deem

appropriate when exercising its discretion to appoint an acting Crew Chief, seniority

shall not control in the Office of the Commissioner’s choice of acting Crew


When a Major League umpire leaves a crew for less than three days, the

umpire should not skip a turn to work the plate.

When an umpire returns to a crew following an injury or illness, the Office of

the Commissioner (Director of Umpire Medical Services) will specify the returning




umpire’s position in the rotation, but an umpire who returns following injury or

illness must be capable of working home plate.


Umpires must possess a complete knowledge of and proficiency in all Official

Baseball Rules, interpretations, policies, and regulations of Major League

Baseball, including those contained in the Rule Interpretations portion of this

manual. Umpires shall enforce rules, interpretations, and regulations without

regard to personal preference.

As stated in Article 10.A of the Basic Agreement,

Each umpire agrees to accept, abide by and comply with this

Agreement, the Major League Constitution and Major League

Rules, the Major League Baseball Umpiring Manual, and any and

all amendments to those documents which are hereafter adopted

by the Clubs or the Office of the Commissioner, as well as all

umpire instructions and directives issued by the Office of the

Commissioner consistent with this Agreement. The Office of the

Commissioner shall have the exclusive authority to discipline an

umpire who violates any provision of any such document,

instruction or directive and to terminate the employment of an

umpire for disciplinary, performance or other reasons.


Major League Baseball strongly encourages individualism in style and form of

basic umpire mechanics and recognizes that the individual styles of veteran

umpires have evolved over a number of years. However, certain fundamentals

should be evident in signals and calls:

• Major League umpires shall make a signal on all calls with the exception of

“ball.” Signals are to be visible, crisp, and clear. Voice calls should be clearly


• All signals should project decisiveness to the teams, fans, and media.

Signals should not be slow to the point of appearing uncertain or causing

confusion for the fans and media.

• MLB Umpires are expected to increase the assertiveness of their call (signal

and voice) as the play becomes closer or more exciting. A casual, laidback

mechanic is not appropriate in a crucial, close play, nor are over-elaborate,

excessive signals an acceptable technique.

• Following a Replay Review, the Crew Chief should utilize clear and concise

hand signals to indicate all calls and determinations made by the Replay

Official. The signals should be made to correspond with the order in which

the calls occurred on the field.

♦ On plays where the Replay Official determines that there was no interference

on a potential violation of Rule 6.01(j) (“Slide Rule”), the Crew

Chief should point to the base with the left hand where the potential




violation occurred, hold the right hand up chest high with palm out

and then wave the right hand outward to the right side, while also

stating “no interference.”


• MLB Umpires are expected to exhibit and uphold the standards of integrity

of the umpiring profession.

• The image of an MLB Umpire demands honesty and a sense of high ethical


• MLB Umpires should make every decision based on the circumstances and

facts presented, regardless of an umpire’s past history with a particular

player or Club. No umpire should ever threaten a player, manager, coach,

or Club with future retaliation.

• MLB Umpires should accept constructive criticism from umpiring supervisors.

• As specified in Article 9.F of the Basic Agreement,

Off the field, umpires shall conduct themselves in a manner

consistent with an exemplary image and reputation of Major

League umpires. Umpires may be disciplined for just cause for

engaging in conduct involving a clear act of moral turpitude that

is in violation of federal, state, or local law or is materially detrimental

or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball,

including but not limited to acts of domestic violence or sexual


• See also Article 9 of the Basic Agreement.


Major League Umpires should take pride in their appearance. Uniforms and

caps shall be kept clean, pressed, and in first-class condition. Major League

Baseball will replace any uniform that is no longer in condition to be used in a

Major League game.

MLB Umpires’ uniforms shall be worn only in the dressing room and on the

field. Umpires may not sit in the stands or enter public areas of the stadium while

in uniform. Any use of the uniform off the field must have prior written permission

from the Office of the Commissioner.

Pursuant to Article 19.A of the Basic Agreement:

The Office of the Commissioner shall provide to all umpires

covered by this Agreement necessary uniforms, caps and equipment,

including, but not limited to, plate shoes, base shoes, shin

guards, face masks, chest protectors, sunglasses, pants, shirts,

jackets and gloves, and shall provide properly-identified equipment

trunks. The Office of the Commissioner shall provide plate

coats only to those umpires who request one. The parties agree

that during any Major League game umpires may only wear such




uniforms, caps and any other items of equipment, clothing

(including pins or other insignia) and footwear provided or

approved by the Office of the Commissioner. Umpires are prohibited

from altering their uniforms and caps in any manner. The

Office of the Commissioner shall consult with the Union on the

design of uniforms, caps and appropriate protective equipment

for umpires.


With respect to umpire attire when not in uniform, Article 9.G.1 of the Basic

Agreement provides:

While traveling to and from work assignments or at a ballpark

or other workplace, umpires are required to be groomed

and attired in a neat, professional manner that presents a positive

image about the Office of the Commissioner to the public.

Dress when in hotels, restaurants, or other public places shall be

what is recognized as proper for the locale, activity and surroundings.

Crew chiefs shall be responsible for their crews’ compliance

with this rule.


Article 19.B of the Basic Agreement provides as follows:

When performing duties during games, umpires are required

to be groomed in a neat, professional manner that presents a positive

image about the Office of the Commissioner to the public.

Umpires’ tattoos and other forms of body art must be covered by

their uniform so they are not visible, and all piercings must be



MLB Umpires should avoid excessive casual, unnecessary conversations with

players, coaches, managers, or spectators during the progress of a game.

MLB Umpires may not visit Club offices unless official business requires otherwise.

To avoid appearances of impropriety, umpires should be cautious regarding

any casual fraternization with Club employees.

See also Article 9 of the Basic Agreement.


Specific Crew Chief duties include, but are not limited to the following:

• Enforcing the rule prohibiting visitors in the umpires’ dressing room. (See

Section 5 (“Inner Perimeter”) of the 2019 Best Stadium Operating





• When weather or other circumstances dictate, maintaining communication

with the head groundskeeper in order to quickly locate them during the

game if it becomes necessary to utilize the grounds crew to cover or repair

the field or to have the lights turned on.

• Making the final decision in the case of conflicting rulings as provided for

in Official Baseball Rule 8.03(c).

• Making any decisions regarding delays or if a game is to be officially called

or forfeited. When an umpire other than the Crew Chief is working home

plate, such umpire must consult the Crew Chief before suspending play

because of weather.

• Overseeing the transfer of lineup cards and other pertinent information for

any suspended game in which his crew is involved.

• Discussing matters with media representatives as detailed in Section XVI

herein and Article 9.E of the Basic Agreement.

• Encouraging, initiating, and leading periodic discussions and reviews of situations,

plays, and rules with the crew.

• Ensuring that the crew’s dress to and from the ballpark and during travel

complies with Major League Baseball policies.

• Assigning responsibilities for maintaining time limits during the game

(such as between-inning breaks) as outlined in the Major League Baseball

2019 Standards and On-Field Operations Regulation 2-7 (“Pace of Game

Procedures”) and other directives and ensuring that all such timings are


• Applying Major League Baseball’s guidelines on crew alignment when a

new umpire joins a crew.

• Ensuring that each umpire on the crew checks daily for MLB email.

• Assuring that the crew properly utilizes the Mechanics for the Four-Umpire

System as outlined in this manual. The Crew Chief should hold a discussion

regarding mechanics whenever a new umpire joins the crew.

• Ensuring the timely filing of all required reports as detailed in Section XV

below and Article 9.H of the Basic Agreement.

• Reporting to the Office of the Commissioner, if observed or reported to the

Crew Chief, any irregularity in field conditions at any ballpark or other

non-compliance—or suspected non-compliance—with any other regulation

or rule as set forth by the Office of the Commissioner, the Official Baseball

Rules, or policies contained in this manual. Such irregularity may include

condition of the home or visiting pitching mounds, security control, markings

or non-markings of the playing surface, violations with respect to display

of signage, public address announcer problems, communication problems

with the local weather service or groundskeepers, suspected illegal

equipment, violations with regard to audio or video replay at the ballpark,

ground rule irregularities, etc.

• As specified in Article 4.C.3 of the Basic Agreement, “The Crew Chief

shall coordinate and direct his crew’s compliance with the Office of

the Commissioner’s rules and policies.”





Umpire reports—including, but not limited to, incidents such as ejections,

warnings, bench-clearings, brawls, equipment violations, protested games (even if

the protesting Club wins the game), reports of light failure, delay in starting a

game, a game called prior to completion, reports on pitchers’ mounds, or pace of

game violations—are to be handled in accordance with Article 9.H of the Basic

Agreement and Section XXX of this manual.

Article 9.H provides as follows regarding the reporting of incidents:

1. Umpires will report by phone any ejection, warning or

incident within two hours after the game in which the incident

occurred; except in the case of doubleheaders, in which case the

two-hour reporting time shall begin following the second of the

two games. The telephone call shall be placed to a designee of the

Office of the Commissioner. The umpire shall report which player,

Club and umpiring personnel were involved, and what

actions, if any, were taken by the umpire.

2. Within twenty-four (24) hours following the conclusion of

the game, the umpire shall file electronically or by facsimile the

incident report with the Office of the Commissioner. When travel

commitments require, the time to report may be delayed by the

umpire with prior notice by telephone to the Office of the Com –




Major League Baseball’s policy regarding interviews and dealing with the

press is specified in the Basic Agreement, Articles 9.E.1, 9.E.2, and 9.E.3:

1. An umpire shall not speak with a member of the media

regarding a controversial call, play or ejection in a game for a

period of fifteen (15) minutes following the completion of the

game. After the fifteen-minute post-game cooling off period, a

crew chief (or another crew member, with the consent of, and in

the presence of, the crew chief) may on the day of the game discuss

a rule interpretation, an unusual play, or a controversial

call, play or ejection with a pool reporter. Otherwise, there shall

be no public comment by umpires on matters governed by this

Article 9.E.1 unless and until public relations support has been

sought and received pursuant to Article 9.E.2, below.

2. Should a controversial call, play or ejection, or other

urgent dispute not involving instant replay occur during a game,

the Office of the Commissioner shall, on an on-call basis, promptly

provide to the umpire and crew involved press and public relations

advice and assistance in responding to media inquiries. At




the request of the Office of the Commissioner, and after public

relations advice and assistance has been provided by the Office

of the Commissioner, the crew chief (or another crew member)

shall discuss such calls with members of the media promptly following

a game. Subject to Article 9.E.5 below, the Office of the

Commissioner shall not discipline an umpire for comments made

to the media at the Office of the Commissioner’s request pursuant

to this paragraph. An umpire may choose to consult with the

Union prior to speaking with the media.

3. Notwithstanding Article 9.E.1 and 9.E.2 above, a controversial

call, play or ejection, or other urgent dispute regarding a

decision by the Replay Official that occurs during a game shall be

addressed centrally by the Office of the Commissioner. The

Office of the Commissioner shall not identify the Replay Official

who reviewed a particular play.

Prior to writing a report or speaking with the media after a game concerning

a controversial incident, it is suggested that umpires review video footage of the

situation and discuss the matter within the crew.

All Clubs have been instructed to have functioning DVR recorders in each

umpire dressing room for review after every game. In addition, each Crew Chief

has been provided with an MLB.TV account to review games online, and the

Umpiring Department Video Coordinator can provide digital clips or DVD copies

if requested.


As stated in Article 9.E.5 of the Basic Agreement,

An umpire shall not make public statements that create an

appearance of lack of impartiality toward a player or Club, that

are critical of the Commissioner of Baseball, or that otherwise

are inimical to the best interests of Major League Baseball.


Major League Baseball’s policy regarding the reporting of injuries and illnesses

is outlined in Article 8.F of the Basic Agreement:

An umpire is required to report any injury or medical condition

that might affect his performance, no matter how minor, by

immediately contacting in writing the appropriate medical official

designated by the Office of the Commissioner and his Crew

Chief. An umpire also is required to report to the Major League

Baseball Umpire Medical Consultant any prescription medications

being taken, with such information to be protected by the

physician-patient privilege and to be subject to disclosure only as

necessary in the event of an emergency. An injured or ill umpire




may not leave his assigned city without making such contact with

the appropriate medical official and receiving permission to

leave the city.


Umpires are to check daily for official MLB email. The Crew Chief is responsible

for ensuring this is done. “Heads-Up” information will be electronically

transmitted to crews at least 24 hours in advance of a series. Umpires are to

respond immediately to any “request for return receipt” that accompanies an MLB

email. Any “emergency” or last-minute information that is emailed will be preceded

by a telephone call to the crew.

It is important that crews advise the Umpiring Department in a timely manner

(see Basic Agreement Article 9.H) via phone or email whenever a situation

occurs that has the potential for future “trouble” between Clubs in order that other

crews may be advised via the Heads-Up Program.


Certain policies are intended to protect the integrity of Major League Baseball

and the image of Major League Baseball Umpires as impartial and professional

arbiters. These policies are set forth in Article 9 of the Basic Agreement, Rule 21 of

the Major League Rules, and in this manual. These policies include the following:


• Any umpire who bets any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection

with which the umpire has no duty to perform shall be declared

ineligible for one year.

• Any umpire who bets any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection

with which the umpire has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently


• Any umpire who places bets with illegal bookmakers, or agents for illegal

bookmakers, shall be subject to such penalty as the Commissioner deems

appropriate in light of the facts and circumstances of the conduct. An illegal

bookmaker is defined as an individual who accepts, places or handles

wagers on sporting events from members of the public as part of a gambling

operation that is unlawful in the jurisdiction in which the bets are accepted.

• Any umpire who operates or works for an illegal bookmaking business shall

be subject to a minimum of a one-year suspension by the Commiss ioner.

• If an umpire is contacted (either in person, by telephone, or otherwise) by

anyone for the purpose of influencing the umpire to do an improper act that

would affect the outcome of a game, the umpire must advise the Office of

the Commissioner immediately.





• Any player or person connected with a Club who gives, or offers to give, any

gift or reward to an umpire for services rendered or to be rendered, in

attempting to defeat a competing Club will be declared permanently ineligible.

• Any player or person connected with a Club who gives, or offers to give, any

gift or reward to an umpire for the umpire’s decision on anything connected

with the playing of a game will be declared permanently ineligible.

• Any umpire who renders, or promises to render, any decision otherwise

than on its merits, or who solicits or accepts a gift or reward for any service

or decision will also be declared permanently ineligible.

• Any umpire who, having been offered any gifts or reward, or having been

solicited to render any decision otherwise than on its merits, and fails to

inform the Commissioner immediately of the offer and the facts and circumstances

connected with the offer, will be declared permanently ineligible.


An umpire shall not, directly or indirectly, ask players, managers,

coaches or other Major League Club personnel for autographs.

If an umpire desires an item or an autograph for a charity

event, another special or unique reason, or the umpire’s own

personal, non-commercial use, the umpire is to contact the Office

of the Commissioner, which will contact the Club(s) involved on

the umpire’s behalf. Except in the case of unusual circumstances,

or when a request is for an excessive quantity, the Office of the

Commissioner shall use its best efforts to satisfy an umpire’s

request for such items or autographs.


An umpire may not directly or indirectly ask for additional complimentary

tickets beyond what is permitted under the Basic Agreement.

1. Each umpire may request up to six (6) tickets, for championship

season games in which the umpire is working. An umpire

may not, directly or indirectly, ask for additional complimentary

tickets from any Club.

2. If an umpire requires additional tickets, the umpire may

purchase them from the home Club on the same basis and on the

same terms and conditions as they are available to the general


3. No umpire may contact any Club for complimentary tickets

to any game to which he is not assigned.




Umpires and the Union are prohibited from selling, or trading

for anything of value, any tickets supplied to them by the

Office of the Commissioner or any Major League Club(s).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it shall be permissible for an

umpire to transfer, through the CompTix system, up to six (6) of

his complimentary tickets to championship season games to

another Major League umpire on the same crew.


An umpire shall not, directly or indirectly, ask for, take, sell

or market for sale Major League Club or Office of the

Commissioner property, such as balls, bats, uniforms, line-up

cards or the like. An umpire shall not, directly or indirectly, validate

or certify any ball, bat, uniform or other object as genuine

or as actually used in any game.


1. No umpire may, in any manner, act as an advisor or agent

in recommending players to, or securing players for, any professional

baseball Club. Nor may an umpire, except with the prior

written consent of the Office of the Commissioner, act as umpire

or otherwise engage in exhibition games for any Club or other

organization during the championship season or in the spring

training season prior thereto, or approach or solicit players to

engage in exhibition games during the championship season or

between playing seasons.

2. Absent the prior written consent of the Office of the

Commissioner, no umpire may accept compensation or anything

of value from any Major League Club or any third party unrelated

to the Office of the Commissioner for any services or information

related to his activities as a Major League umpire other than

the compensation provided or allowed under the terms of this

Agreement. Such consent shall be withheld only in those cases in

which the Office of the Commissioner determines that the proposed

activity is likely to create an appearance of a conflict of

interest or otherwise could adversely affect the impartiality of

Major League umpires.

3. Notwithstanding any prohibitions in this Section C, and

without either asking for or receiving consent from the Office of

the Commissioner, an umpire may participate in and be paid (or

otherwise receive compensation or value) for baseball fantasy

camps, speaking engagements, personal autograph appearances,

social and/or charitable programs, events and functions, baseball

clinics, or umpire schools, provided that such activities are not




sponsored by Major League Clubs. Except as otherwise provided

in Article 9.B, Article 25.A and B and this Article 9.C, there shall

be no limitation placed on an umpire’s right to participate in, nor

actual participation in, any business, social, political or other



An umpire may not use Office of the Commissioner letterhead

for any purpose without the consent of the Office of the



Any changes in starting times not previously reported to umpires by Major

League Baseball must be relayed to the entire crew and to the Umpiring

Department. Delivery of equipment trunks should also be confirmed when the

crew contacts the Club. (Contact the Umpiring Department immediately if equipment

trunks are late.)


Umpires are required to arrive at the ballpark no later than one hour prior to

the scheduled starting time.

On a crew’s first visit to each city, umpires should arrive early enough to walk

around the ballpark and familiarize themselves with ground rules and irregularities

of the park that could affect play. Crew Chiefs are required to report to the

Office of the Commissioner any irregularity concerning field conditions or Club

violations of requirements set forth by the Office of the Commissioner, the Official

Baseball Rules, or this manual.


Standards and On-Field Operations Regulation 3-5 (“Storage and Handling of

Baseballs”) provides general protocols for the storage, handling and preparation

for game use of baseballs. Game baseballs will be brought to the umpires’ locker

room no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the game. These game balls

should be reviewed for consistency (e.g., texture, shape, etc.) and compliance with

the color standard depicted with the “Mudding Application Standards” information

posted in each umpires’ dressing room. After being approved by the umpires, the

MLB Authenticator should seal the ball bag with the tamperproof authentication

hologram, and oversee it being placed it in the home dugout. The ball bag should

remain with the lid closed in plain view of the MLB Authenticator throughout the

game in order to periodically confirm ball consistency and handling standards. In

the event additional game balls are needed, the ball boy/girl should alert the home

plate umpire. The Resident Security Agent (“RSA”) or MLB Authenticator should




then accompany the umpire room attendant and/or ball boy/girl to retrieve additional

rubbed game balls from the allotment in the storage area.

In the event of a rain delay, the ball bag should be returned to the umpire’s

room. When the game is resumed, the steps set forth above should be followed

(except for application of the hologram) to return the ball bag to the home dugout.

An MLB Authenticator will monitor Club compliance with these protocols. At the

end of the game, the plate umpire should return any baseballs in the umpire’s possession

to the MLB Authenticator. As stated in the Basic Agreement, umpires are

not to take baseballs for personal use.


Unless an official of the home Club or the Office of the Commissioner has

given prior notice that the official starting time will be delayed, all umpires are to

enter the field together and proceed directly to home plate five minutes prior to

starting time. In certain stadiums, based on pre-game formats, five minutes may

not be sufficient to start the game on time. The Crew Chief should fix the time for

arriving at the plate early enough to permit the ground rules discussion to be completed

so that the game begins promptly at the official starting time. Umpires

should use their best efforts to start all games on time.

If the home Club wishes to delay the starting time of a game for extenuating

circumstances, the Crew Chief should accommodate the delay but inform the visiting

Club and the Umpiring Department of the irregularity. However, a Club may

not change the scheduled starting time by more than 30 minutes without prior

approval from the Office of the Commissioner. In these situations, the crew will

be so notified.

If the home team requests the crew to enter the field prior to the National

Anthem, the Office of the Commissioner asks that umpires comply. Should such

request create a hardship, Crew Chiefs should report this fact to the Umpiring

Department. The Office of the Commissioner will resolve such conflict directly

with the Club.

Clubs are expected to have their starting pitchers ready so that the game is

able to start promptly at game time. Problems in this regard should be reported

to the Umpiring Department.

Prior to the game, umpires should determine that all rules governing field

markings are strictly complied with. In particular, the Crew Chief should inspect

batter’s and catcher’s boxes to see that they conform with rules. Base umpires

should inspect their respective bases to assure that they are properly attached and

in good order. Umpires should also be alert for pitching mounds that are not regulation

in height or slope.


Ground rules are not permitted to conflict with Official Baseball Rules (see

Official Baseball Rule 4.05) and are posted in each dugout, clubhouse, and umpire

dressing room. Conflicts or problems with ground rules should be reported immediately

to the Umpiring Department by the Crew Chief.




Umpires will be provided ground rules for each park on an annual basis.

Clubs may not change ground rules during the season unless prior approval

has been obtained by the Office of the Commissioner.

Umpires should not hesitate to ask questions about ground rules during

the meeting at home plate prior to a game. With the assistance of the

MLBUA/MLB Ground Rules Committee, the Office of the Commissioner has

established a set of Universal Ground Rules for use in all Major League ballparks.


The second game of a doubleheader shall start promptly 30 minutes after the

first game has been completed.

Exception: When a twi-night game is scheduled as a makeup game before an

originally scheduled night game, a Club may wait longer than 30 minutes between

games in order to conform to the starting time of the originally scheduled night


Advance approval must be obtained from the Office of the Commissioner if a

period of more than 30 minutes is desired between games of a doubleheader.

When play is suspended because of rain early in the first game of a doubleheader,

umpires must be certain to wait an adequate length of time before calling

off the game; because if the first game is postponed, the second game must be postponed

as well.

The Crew Chief is the timekeeper and sole judge as to whether or not the second

game is to start. The home Club management or manager has no jurisdiction

in determining this.

At the conclusion of the first game, the Crew Chief shall advise both managers

of the exact starting time of the second game.

Between games of a doubleheader, the Crew Chief shall have control of the

groundskeeper and assistants for the purpose of making or keeping the playing

field fit for play.


See Official Baseball Rule 4.04 and Standards and On-Field Operations Reg –

ulation 2-6 (“Issues Relating to Curfews, Game Suspensions, and Postponements”)

regarding umpire responsibilities for rain and other weather situations.

Names of weather contacts are provided annually to umpires. In addition,

dedicated weather services are available to all umpires, and local radar is also

available at many ballparks. Modern weather technology has improved the prediction

of rain in local areas, and umpires should know fairly accurately at game

time what the weather conditions are likely to be.

Umpires, in consultation with the designee of the Office of the Commissioner,

should reach the conclusion, when postponing a game, that bad weather conditions

are likely to continue, or that the field is too wet and dangerous for players to continue

the game.




The Crew Chief shall contact home Club management when it is decided to

terminate play so that the management can alert the ballpark staff that the game

will be called.

If there is a second or subsequent delay in the same game, the umpires must

wait at least 30 minutes after any such delay before calling the game.

Former National League Rule 4.1(d), which required that a game stopped

after 12:45 a.m. be called immediately, is no longer is in effect. Umpires are to

exercise their judgment as to whether to call a game depending on the facts and

circumstances of the particular situation, regardless of whether or not the time of

12:45 a.m. has been reached.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, from September 1 through the end of the season

(including the postseason), the Chief Baseball Officer (or his designee) shall be

the sole authority empowered to determine whether a game shall not be started

because of unsuitable weather conditions or the unfit conditions of the playing



As the Casebook Comments to Official Baseball Rule 8.00 point out, the first

requisite as an umpire is to get all decisions ultimately correct. Umpire dignity

is important—but never as important as getting the play right.

In line with this reasoning, the following guidelines should be followed:

• An umpire is urged to seek help when that umpire’s view is blocked or positioning

prevents such umpire from seeing crucial elements of a play. An umpire is

also encouraged to seek help in instances when that umpire has doubt and a

partner has additional information that could lead to a proper ruling.

• Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) states, “No umpire shall criticize, seek to

reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by

the umpire making it.” Therefore, except in special situations such as those

referred to below, the umpire making the call must be the one to seek assistance

of a partner.

• In a limited number of situations, a partner may have critical information

that is unknown to the umpire making the call. When the partner is certain

that the umpire making the call could benefit from such additional information,

the partner should alert the other umpire that there is additional,

important information that should be shared. While the mechanics of

bringing this information to the attention of the umpire who made the call

is left to the crews (walking towards the partner, inconspicuous signal, etc.),

crucial, potential call-changing information should not be withheld on a

play that has clearly been missed. As noted in the Official Baseball Rules,

“Each umpire team should work out a simple set of signals, so the proper

umpire can always right a manifestly wrong decision when convinced he

has made an error.” Nevertheless, the ultimate decision to change a

call rests with the umpire who made the call.

• Prior to the initiation of Replay Review, the umpires may confer among

themselves at any time and change any call (whether or not the call is




reviewable) in accordance with Official Baseball Rule 8.02. If a reviewable

call is changed in this fashion, the new call shall be subject to Replay

Review as provided in these Regulations.

If a Club indicates that they would like to hold on a ruling and one or

more of the umpires would like to confer on the original call, such consultation

must occur prior to a manager invoking Replay Review. In such circumstance,

umpires should clearly indicate to both dugouts that they

intend to confer on the original call and that the manager should hold any

challenge until after the crew’s consultation. Once a manager signals for a

challenge, umpires are obligated to go to Replay.

Plays such as the following lend themselves to the philosophy described


♦ Deciding whether a fly ball that left the playing field was fair or foul.

♦ Deciding whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a

ground-rule double.

♦ Cases where a foul tip is dropped by the catcher, causing it to become a

foul ball.

♦ Cases when an umpire clearly errs in judgment because a ball is dropped

or juggled after making a tag or force.

♦ Spectator interference plays.

♦ Balks called by an umpire who clearly did not realize the pitcher’s foot

was off the rubber.

♦ If an umpire’s error such as a missed count or number of outs clearly

affects the play, every attempt should be made to correct the error.


Crews shall address a procedure whereby assistance can be given by wing

umpires on dropped third strikes and foul tips near the dirt. It is realized that the

overall dynamic of the play could be ultimately affected by the possible change of

a call, but all efforts should be made by the crew to sufficiently communicate and

correctly call the play.

If the plate umpire signals the batter swung on a third strike, then a second

mechanic by the plate umpire shall indicate that the batter has been declared out.


Whenever the game is played under protest, the umpires shall inform the

opposing manager of such, and the Crew Chief shall utilize the replay headsets to

inform the Replay Operations Center that the game is being played under protest

and state the grounds for the protest. The Replay Operations Center will then

inform the press box, broadcasters and public address announcer that the game is

being played under protest and direct the fans to be notified. When a game has

been protested, the umpires must telephone the incident hotline immediately after

the game and report the manager’s reason for protest. The umpires shall also file




a written report to the Office of the Commissioner within 24 hours after the game

has been completed. Batting order cards in possession of the plate umpire shall

be sent to the Office of the Commissioner with the umpire’s report of protest.


Umpires are required to enforce the Commissioner’s Pace of Game Procedures

as set forth in the Standards and On-Field Operations Regulation 2-7 (“Pace of

Game Procedures”) and other directives issued by the Office of the Commissioner.

Umpires should avoid unnecessarily calling “Time,” not only on behalf of the

batter, but also on the bases.



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