Baseball Rule Three

3.01(a) Baseball rule three talks about the playing lines. They are not always applied to the field before each game in amateur baseball. As an umpire on an amateur field, lines may be missing or faint. This is where good judgment, wisdom and common sense come into play!

Example: If there is no defineable batter’s box, do not call the batter out for hitting the ball outside of the batter’s box.

                              PRE GAME CONFERENCE

                                           “YOU ARE ASKING FOR CONTROVERSY”

If a coach or player says something and there is not a line we recommend you say “put in a line and I can call it”. If you are questioned, remember it is your JUDGMENT. Say “the batter was clearly out of the batter’s box”. If there are no foul lines beyond the bases, as seen many times, try to judge a call based on the foul pole and if it is close call it FOUL! Why? To avoid an argument use wisdom and good judgment in this case.

Denny Rotz and I worked an Adult League game in Hagerstown, MD. I worked the plate, he worked the bases. I lost a long foul ball in the lights. I saw it hit the wall about 12′ to the foul side of the foul pole. I called it “FOUL”! The manager argued that it went out fair. I did not see it. I had to call it foul based on my judgment. I asked Denny but he was not in position to see it as he was outside the first base line when the ball was hit and watching the runner touch the base. I told the manager I did not see it go out fair. I asked the left fielder between innings because I knew him. He told me the ball did in fact go out fair. All I saw was a foul ball and made my decision based on that. The manager accepted my explanation. However, the batter told me the next season that he lost the Home Run Crown because of the call. He tied with someone else. He was the catcher and we talked before the game. He was a good sport and understood that I did not see it and based my call on what I saw. If you don’t see it, make a judgment on what you did see.                                                                                                                     

3.01(c)(d) This subsection of baseball rule three pertains to the supply of baseballs. Make sure all baseballs are the same brand. Each league may have a certain regulation as to what brand they use. In some leagues in amateur baseball it does not matter.

Example:  American Legion Baseball requires American Legion baseballs be used.

Many of you are given new baseballs still in the original plastic bags. It is the umpire’s responsibility to judge the fitness of the baseball. It behooves us to take the shine off. If you are given “pearls” rub them down (during a game also if time permits)

We usually pick up dirt from the field, moisten it and rub the shine off the baseball.

3.01(e)  Please note after a home run is hit out of the playing field, do not deliver another baseball to the pitcher or catcher until the batter has crossed the plate. Why? An umpire must watch to see if the runner has touched all the bases and crossed the plate then deliver another baseball. If there is an appeal and you are not looking, it spells trouble!

3.01(f)  This subsection of baseball rule three deals with rosin bags. In amateur baseball as an umpire you will see very little use of the rosin bag. Still know the rule pertaining to it. LOOK IT UP IN THE RULE BOOK.(a pitcher is allowed to put the rosin bag in his pocket during inclement weather)

3.02  You need to know that a player cannot intentionally discolor or damage the baseball according to baseball rule three. As an umpire if you can’t determine which player damaged or discolored the baseball the PITCHER IS EJECTED! (Also refer to Rule 8.02:(a) (2) through (6).

3.03  There are no courtesy runners in MLB. However, local amateur leagues may allow such runners. Umpires need to ask and know any particular league rules and make sure each team is aware of them in the pre-game conference.

Example:  Some of the leagues we have worked have had courtesy runners for several different situations.

     1.  With two outs just for the catcher.

     2.  With two outs for the pitcher and catcher.

     3.  For any player at any time.

Again ask in the pre-game conference if there are any specific courtesy runner rules you should know about.  

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