Spring Training 2020 Rules Test


Below are 10 True and False questions. To qualify as a full time Major League umpire, you must get all 10 correct. A score of 9 correct answers places you in Triple-A with the possibility of being a replacement for vacationing MLB umpires. A score of 7-8 proper answers places you in Double-A, while a score of 5-6 correct answers buries you in the low minors. If you scored less than 5, don’t tell anyone that you took this test.

Good luck.

  1. When fan interference occurs, the ball is dead, and all runners should be awarded two bases. True or False?
  2. The batter hits a towering fly ball that goes out of play about 10 rows in the seats behind the batter’s on-deck circle. As the catcher is about to pursue the ball, the batter impedes the catcher by bumping into him. Because the batter interfered with the catcher, the batter should be called out. True or False?
  3. The batter hits a long fly ball that is caught in the webbing of the center fielder’s glove in the left center field gap. The manager of the offensive team requests the umpires to check the legality of the fielder’s glove claiming the glove exceeds the 13-inch limit from the top of the four fingers to the heel of the glove. The umps check and determine that the length of the glove is in violation of the rule. The umps should nullify the catch and award the batter first base. True or False?
  4. There’s a runner on first base and no outs when the batter hits a flare that falls between the pitcher and the first baseman. The runner on first, not knowing if the ball will be caught, anchors himself at first base. The ball falls to the ground. The batter-runner and the runner, who was originally on first base, are both standing on the base when the first baseman grabs the ball, runs over and tags both runners. The first base umpire correctly calls the batter-runner out because the lead runner always has the right to the base when two runners occupy the same base, and both are tagged. True or False?
  5. The batter extends his bat while preparing to bunt and never pulls it back when he is hit by the pitch. Because the batter kept his bat extended, by rule, he was attempting to bunt, and the pitch should be ruled a strike and not a hit by pitch. True or False?
  6. There’s a runner on second base when the batter hits safely to right field. The runner on second is thrown out at the plate and the batter-runner remains at first base. The umpire ruled catcher’s interference but correctly allowed the play to stand because both the runner on second base and the batter-runner each advanced at least one base on the play which nullified the catcher’s interference.  True or False?
  7. There’s a runner on third and one out when the batter executes a suicide squeeze bunt. The pitcher fields the ball and throws home too late to get the runner advancing to the plate. The catcher then fires the ball to first base where the batter-runner is called safe. But the plate umpire rules that the batter-runner is out for violating the Runner’s Lane interference rule the last 45-feet between home and first base. The umpires should call the batter-runner out but allow the runner, who was on third base to score. True or False?
  1. The team at bat has Smith on second and Jones on first with one out when Brown doubles down the right field line. Smith easily crosses the plate, but Jones is thrown out at third base for the second out. The defensive team successfully appeals that Brown missed first base on his way to second and is called out. No run should score on the play. True or False?
  1. The relief pitcher enters the game in the seventh inning with one out and a runner on first base. He makes one pitch and the batter hits into a double play. Because of the new three-batter rule, the pitcher must face two batters in the eighth inning.True or False?
  1. Whenever a defensive player obstructs a runner, the ball is dead immediately and all runners are awarded one base. True or False?


  1. False. When fan interference occurs, the umpires can arbitrarily place the runner/s to the base they would have made had there been no interference. It’s possible to award one runner more than one base and another runner only one base.
  2. False. Because the ball was not playable, interference should not be called. The batter remains at bat.
  3. False. The catch is allowed. The only penalty is to remove the glove from the game. Each team is limited to two appeals per game. Any player who refuses to remove an illegal glove is ejected
  4. False. The lead or preceding runner has the right to the base when two runners are tagged while occupying the same base unless the lead runner is forced to advance from that base. In this play, the lead runner was forced to advance to second. Therefore, the trail or batter-runner has the right to the base.
  5. False. The batter must make an attempt to intentionally bunt the ball. By merely holding the bat still should not be interpreted as an attempt to bunt.
  6. True. The catcher’s interference is nullified if the batter and the runner/s all advance at least one base on the play. The play stands.
  7. True. When there is an intervening play (the throw to the plate), the run counts unless the batter-runner interference was the third out of the inning.
  8. True. When the batter-runner makes the third of the inning before he touches first base, no run can score on the play.
  9. False. The relief pitcher must face three batters unless the inning ends first. If the same pitcher started the eighth inning, he would have to face at least two batters but he would not be required to start the inning.
  10. False. The ball is dead only when there is a play being directly made on the runner such as when a runner is in a rundown. When there is no play being directly made on a runner at the moment the obstruction occurs, the ball remains alive and in play and  there is no guarantee base award for the obstructed runner. If the obstructed runner attempts to advance beyond the base he is protected to, he does so at his own risk.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant:  Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, D’backs, Dodgers, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, the FOX Regional Sports Networks, ESPN, and the White Sox TV announcers.


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