Latest News

Our Rule of the Week Series.

If you aren’t already signed up to receive our Rule of the Week email, subscribe here:

Dropped Strike Three Confusion

When a batter interferes with the catcher after a dropped third strike, he is declared out, the ball is dead, and all runners return to the base previously occupied at the time of the pitch. Intent does not matter in this case.

Be Careful Where You Drop the Bat

When a batter bunts a ball, then drops his bat on the ball or in the area of the bunted ball, different rules apply. Did the batter intent to interfere? Did the bat make contact with the ball? What is the call for these different scenarios. This video answers your questions.

When Can a Batter Leave the Box?

Major League Baseball has attempted to speed up the pace of the game by implementing “speed up” rules. One of the most looked at rules regarding the pace of play is the Batter’s Box Rule. When can a batter step out of the box? Does your favorite player violate this rule? Find out here.

On-Deck Batter Called for Interference

If the on-deck batter impedes the catcher while the catcher is attempting to make a play on a runner, he can be called for interference. But who is called out? The batter? The on-deck batter? A runner? Which runner? This 2:13 video explains all.

Two Strike Bunt Goes Foul (But is NOT Strike Three)

When a batter fouls off a two-strike bunt attempt it is usually called strike three. But if the batter pulls back the bat and the pitch touches the bat and rolls into foul territory, it is still a foul ball, but is it strike three? It happened in a major league game, Reds & Brewers, August 29, 2018. You won’t believe how it turned out!

Runner Advances on Infield Fly

Runners are legally permitted to advance on an Infield Fly, but they do so at their own risk of being tagged out. If the umpire calls Infield Fly and the ball is dropped by the fielder and the runner(s) then attempt to advance, how does the defense retire the runner? This video examines all the necessary scenarios.

The Double Set Balk

With a runner on base and the pitcher in his set position, he must hold the ball with both hands in front of his body and come to a complete stop. If he starts and stops again, that is called a “double set balk.”

Can a Pitcher Speed-Up His Windup to Catch Runner Stealing Home?

Pitchers panic when they see a runner trying to steal home. They rush their delivery, speed up everything and sometimes they commit a balk in the process. What does the rulebook say about a pitcher speeding up his windup? Ted Barrett and Chris Welsh discuss this play in this short video.

Can a Pitcher Waggle his Glove While in the Stretch?

With runners on base, the pitcher must be wary of any movement that could be construed as a balk. So, can a pitcher waggle his glove in an attempt to get the catcher to roll through the signs? Yes. This video answers the question with a clear interpretation from MLB umpire ted Barrett.

Pitcher’s Wild Throw Goes Out of Play

When a pitcher attempts a pick-off at a base and his throw is wild and goes out of play, the runners move up. But how may bases? Umpires place runner depending on HOW the pick-off move was performed. Did the pitcher step and throw or did he step off first. It makes a difference.

Can Batter Carry Bat Around the Bases?

What happens when a batter decides to carry his bat with him to first base? If he hits a home run can he carry it all the way around the bases? What if he causes interference with the bat? Baseball rules can be weird and misunderstood. This one minute video clears up a lot of questions.

Runner Physically Assists Runner

What happens when one runner passes another on the base paths? May one runner on base push another runner to keep him from passing? This action is not specifically addressed in the Official Baseball Rules so it is tacitly approved. May a coach physically assist a runner in the same fashion? This video answers all these questions.

Ball Slips From Pitcher’s Hand During Pitch to the Plate

If a pitcher loses the handle on the ball and it slips out of his hand during his delivery to the plate it could be a balk, ball or ruled a no pitch. Do you know the difference? It happened in a big league game and everyone was confused except the umpires. Learn the rule here.

Pitcher Drops Ball

When a pitcher drops the baseball with runners on base it is a balk. But what he if bobbles the ball and is able to catch it before it hits the ground? Is there a circumstance where a pitcher who is in contact with the rubber may drop the ball and it NOT be a balk? Yes, learn the rule with this video.

Not So Simple: Catcher’s Interference

Catcher’s Interference is one of the rare rules in baseball where a manager can decide to accept the interference or result of the play. If during a swing a batter’s bat makes contact with the catcher’s mitt interference might or might not be called. There are several levels to this rule which all coaches and players should know. Do you?

Umpire Hit by Batted Ball

If an umpire is hit by a batted ball it could mean that the batter is awarded 1B and is credited with a hit. However, there are circumstances where an umpire is hit by a batted ball and the ball remains in play as if nothing happened. Do you know the difference? Chris welsh and Ted Barrett explain the rule and the video tells the story.

Best (Legal) Way to Break Up Double Play

Recent restrictive sliding rules prevent dangerous slides like roll blocks and sweep slides. So, if a runner wants to legally disrupt an infielder making a throw after a play at the base (usually 2b), the pop-up slide is the way to go. It has many benefits. It is safer for the runner and the fielder and it rarely deemed illegal (interference).

Bat Boy Interference

When a bat boy or ball boy comes in contact with a live and in play thrown or batted ball it could mean something. Then again, it might mean nothing. It all depends on whether the bat boy intentionally interfered.
This video show examples of bat boy interference and NON bat boy interference. It also provides a quick and easy-to-understand of this often misunderstood rule.

Franco Misses Home, Called Safe Anyway

On a play at the plate that involves a “no tag, no touch,” the umpire is expected to make no signal. In a recent MLB game in Los Angeles where the Dodgers hosted the Phillies, this play happened. When Maikel Franco attempted to score on a base hit, he missed the plate, but the Dodger catcher also missed the tag. Poor umpiring mechanics influenced the Dodgers not to appeal the play and it cost them a run.

How To Legally Confuse the Defense

A base runner who is called out on the base paths but continues to run as if he is still in the play is not violating the baseball rules. He will be called out for interference only if he hinders or impedes a following play on another runner. Smart coaches make this rules loophole part of their strategy and it often works. This short video produced by Chris Welsh, Baseball Rules Academy, explains the rule and gets you up to speed.

Thrown Ball Detached Equipment Rule

If a fielder tosses his glove at a thrown ball and it makes contact with the ball, it is a violation of the detached equipment rule. The penalty is two bases awarded to all runners including the batter runner. There are a few other layers to this rule which are explained in this excellent video by Baseball Rules Academy. Once a violation of the thrown ball detached equipment rule happens, the ball is NOT dead until the play is over.

Fielder Throws Glove at Batted Ball

When a fielder throws his glove at a batted ball, it is a violation of baseball rule, 5.06(4)(C), the detached equipment rule. There is no penalty if the glove does not make contact with the ball but if the glove makes contact, all runners, including the batter runner are awarded three bases. This video examines the rule and shows several examples of cases where fielders tossed their glove at batted balls. MLB Umpire explains the nuances of this rule in a short, informative video.

Special Report:
Lineup Snafu Mets Bat Out of Turn

The Mets batted out of turn when they played the Reds May 9, 2018. Manager, Mickey Callaway, claimed it was an administrative error that cause the lineup in the dugout to be different than the one given to the umpires. Confusion reigned and we all get a lesson in the baseball rules surrounding batting out of order.

Red Sox Catcher Nabbed on Detached Equipment Rule

Baseball gloves are made for scooping baseballs. Catcher’s masks are made for protection. So, don’t confuse the two. When Red Sox catcher, Christian Vazquez, scooped a pitch with his mask he violated a simple but lesser known baseball rule that governs detached equipment. The infraction allowed two runners to move up one base. The detached equipment rule has many layers. This video explains what happens when a catcher uses detached equipment to field a pitched ball. MLB Umpire, Ted Barrett explains in clear terms so that you will never be confused again.

Is it Legal to Step on Home Plate?

Most players and coaches believe that if a batter steps on home plate he should be automatically called out. The Official Baseball Rules makes no reference to stepping on home plate. It says a batter is out if he makes contact with a pitch while one or both of his feet are on the ground entirely outside of the batters box. This video explains the rule and offers some great coaching tips, too.

Illegally Batted Ball

A batter is not automatically out when he swings at a pitch while out of the batter’s box. However, if he makes contact with the pitch while he has one or both feet completely out of the box, he is to be called out. Umpires should watch for this infraction during a hit and run play and when a batter attempts to hit a pitch during an intentional walk.

Are Laces Part of the Glove?

When a fielder tags a runner with his glove but only the laces of the glove make contact with the runner, is that a legal tag? Most people don’t this rule but it is clearly defined in the official baseball rulebook. This video shows a MLB play where the laces might have touched the runner.

Evan Gattis Abandonment Causes Triple Play

When a runner gives up his efforts to advance to the next base he can be ruled out for abandonment. Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros forgot how many outs there were in a game against the Mariners, April 19, 2018, and jogged back to the dugout even though he was safe at first. What resulted was a triple play.

The Real Strike Zone Explained

A MLB game averages around 300 pitches, so we’d better know what is a strike and what is not a strike? Many misconceptions revolve around the strike zone. Ted Barrett tackles this rule in a must watch video. Learn the definition of the official strike zone once and for all.

Umpires! Get in the “Slot”

The “Slot” is the spot where home plate umpires should position themselves to get the best view of the pitch and the field. It allows the umpire to see clearly the ball out of the pitcher’s hand all the way into the catcher’s glove. This video has some archived footage of John McSherry teaching home plate umpiring techniques. He is joined by Dodgers’ catcher, Steve Yeager, in this 1980’s vintage instructional vignette.

When a Batter Causes a Balk

Baseball rules are clear in the situation where a batter does something in the batter’s box to cause a pitcher to commit a balk. The batter might feign that he has something in his eye or he might simply step out of the batter’s box without obtaining “time out” by the umpire.

If the umpire determines that the action of the batter caused the pitcher to balk, then it is a rare case of “do over” for batter and pitcher. MLB Umpire, Ted Barrett, and MLB TV Analyst, Chris Welsh explain the rule with this short video.

When a Pitch in the Dirt Hits the Batter

Baseball rules are specific in describing what happens when a pitch goes into the dirt and then hits the batter. MLB Umpire, Ted Barrett and Cincinnati Reds TV Analyst Chris Welsh, discuss all the possibilities and offer insightful interpretation. Coaches, umpires and players should learn this rule and watch this quick Rule of the Week video.

Fair Ball or Foul Ball – How to Tell the Difference

When a ground ball bounces near or over the base and then goes into foul territory, it can be confusing for baseball coaches, players and umpires. MLB Umpire, Ted Barrett and MLB TV Analyst, Chris Welsh, discuss this play and make it clear and easy to understand.

What is the difference between a foul ball and a foul tip. It is important to know the difference because with a foul tip the ball is alive and in play. With a foul ball, the ball is dead. Can a runner advance on a foul tip? What does the catcher do on a foul tip? What happens if a batted ball touches the umpire and is then caught by the catcher? This video examines the foul ball – foul tip rule.

Batted Ball Touches Batter in Batter’s Box

What happens when a batter makes contact with a pitch and the ball touches his body then bounces into fair territory? Is this a fair or a foul ball? How should the umpire make the call? Can a batter run to 1B on this play? This video explains this rule – foul ball.

UI Umpire Interferes with Catcher’s Throw to Pitcher

Baseball Rules Academy and MLB Umpire, Ted Barrett, explains the baseball rule regarding when an umpire interferes with a catcher’s throw back to the pitcher. In this case, the ball is dead, all runners return to their base and it is a “do over.”

Visit Gerry Davis Sports; use promo code “RULES” on checkout, and receive 15% off your order!

Don't strike out!

Become a part of the largest baseball rules community in the world!

Get free access to baseball forums, rules analysis and exclusive email content from current and former Major League Baseball players and umpires.