TIME LIMITS GAME RESTRAINTS

Time limits game restraints. One of the differences in Baseball as opposed to other sports is that there is no clock. However time limits and game restraints do at times restrict the time a baseball game is played. Some of these game limits are Darkness, Rain, and sometimes situations that are beyond control. For example in the 1989 World Series game three had time limits game restraints because of an earthquake! 

One of the beautiful parts of baseball is that there is no time clock. One team must outscore the other in the prescribed amount of innings. In amateur baseball it is usually seven and sometimes nine. In the MLB it is nine innings. However in the case of a tie at the end of regulation the game continues until either team has a chance to outscore their opponent.
There are a prescribed amount of outs to be recorded and then the game can end.

Many times in amateur baseball the umpires find themselves in a situation where they must deal with time limits and game restraints. Usually because of darkness, or weather. Some amateur baseball leagues have a ten run rule. The ten run rule is designed to be a time limit on a game where one team has a 10 run lead or more and the game ends. Usually after the team that is behind has had a chance to catch up by the fifth inning. (This rule may be in affect in some leagues check with the coaches at the pre-game conference if you are not sure.)

Let’s take a look at a scenario an amateur umpire may need to deal with in a baseball game. It is getting dark and you are ready for the top of the seventh inning.(the last inning) The home team has a 3 run advantage. Many times in an amateur game if the visiting team has the lead in the beginning of an inning and the home team does not record the go ahead run in the bottom of the inning, the score reverts back to the score as it was at the end of the last completed inning. Please note that High School and College leagues have these rules and some summer leagues do also. These rules dictate how the game will end.

If there are no rules that revert back to a previous inning you need to think about a few issues. First what does the visiting team need to do to tie or win the game? The most important thing for an amateur umpire to think about is there enough daylight for them to do what they need to do? Remember the visiting team needs to score 3 runs to tie and 4 to go ahead. The visiting team if they either tie or go ahead also would need to get three outs and if it is a tie after the home team bats the game would continue. How much time would this take? Consider even if the team batting scored all their runs on home runs or what if a batter walk or there were several hits. Consider the time? It would take up to 15 or 20 minutes and also remember the warm up time between innings. It is recommended that you do not start an inning if you can not finish it. As it begins to get dark time is your enemy. You do not know what might happen in a half inning. Don’t get yourself into trouble. An umpire can stop a game for darkness or rain at his discretion.

You may catch some grief from the managers especially the losing manager if it is still light enough to play when you call the game. However if you must stop play for darkness in the middle of the inning and chances are a team has the opportunity to win or tie with men on base especially with bases loaded you have created a really bad situation for yourself. What if the tying or winning run is on third?

NEVER START AN INNING THAT YOU CAN NOT FINISH!

If you keep players on the field and there is any question of darkness or any other safety issue or the risk of injury it puts “you the umpire” in possible legal jeopardy.

******************************************************************************************************************************************

ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF SAFETY!

IF YOU START AN INNING REMEMBER YOU ARE TELLING BOTH TEAMS YOU INTEND TO FINISH IT! IT IS JUST THAT SIMPLE! 

In some situations there are games that have a predetermined limit of time. For example in tournament and lower level High School games there may be a two hour time limit game restraint where an inning can not start after the two hours has elapsed. If there is a two hour limit to a game one of the umpires must keep track of the time. The time starts when the first pitch is thrown. The pre-game meeting is what it says it is don’t start the clock the. The players deserve all of the two hours of playing time.

Another reason that a game may have time limits is if there is a curfew. Make sure the coaches know the time of the curfew. Let everyone know the time on your watch as to eliminate any discrepancies that may arise. When there are time limits know what the game situation is. No matter what the score or situation in the game keep the time limit in effect. If as an umpire you extend a game beyond the time you could be legally liable if someone is hurt. Also your insurance may not cover you if you as an umpire do not adhere to the league rules.

In summer baseball in Twilight and Adult leagues many times there is a limit imposed. The leagues determine when the time limit is, adhere to it and keep yourself out of trouble.

Always keep in mind your job as an amateur umpire is to work the game according the rules. Don’t short players on time when there is a reasonable chance that the next inning can be played.

ALWAYS STAY WITH THE RULES WHEN IT COMES TO

TIME LIMITS GAME RESTRAINTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *