Formerly the Technical Officials and Competitions Manager for Baseball Australia, Geoff Robertson enjoyed a stellar umpiring career in which he officiated at Olympic Games, at Australian Baseball League level and at international tournaments over many years.

 

Geoff Robertson kindly agreed to provide us with an interesting weekly question and answer segment in which he offered hypothetical game situations and challenged people to consider their ruling before providing the correct interpretation during the following week. After thirty-eight weeks we are pleased to give Robbo a break, while thanking him for his assistance and looking forward to his considered input on judicial matters in the future.

 

The hypotheticals and rulings are posted below.

 

Along with his weekly hypotheticals, Geoff also wrote a series of detailed and thought-provoking monthly articles under the banner The Best Seat in the House. Those articles are listed HERE.

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Eight Rulings

 

A.   A manager lists ten players on the starting lineup card but does not indicate a designated hitter. The plate umpire misses this at the plate meeting and the opposing manager brings this to the plate umpire's attention after the game has started. What action should the plate umpire take?

RULING:  

1. The pitcher will be required to bat in the batting order in the place of the listed player who has not assumed a position on defence, if the team has taken the field in defence, or

2. If the team has not yet taken the field on defence the pitcher will be placed in the batting order in the place of any player as chosen by the manager of that team.

In either case, the player whom the pitcher replaces in the batting order shall be considered to have been substituted for and is removed from the game and the Designated Hitter role for that team shall be terminated for the remainder of the game. Any play that occurred before the violation is brought to the attention of the umpire-in-chief shall count, subject to Rule 6.07 (Batting Out of Turn)

 

B.   Runners on first and second, no outs. The batter hits a sharp ground ball to the third baseman, who fields the ball and throws towards second to start the double play. The runner from second reaches up and touches the thrown ball. Who should the umpire declare out?

RULING:   6.05(m), 7.09(l). Declare the runner out for the interference and the batter out for his teammate's actions. The other runner returns to first.

 

C.   The runner at first gets a big lead and is off and running on the pitch. Second base is fielding straight away and deep. The batter smashes a ground ball up the middle and it hits the runner, who has just slid safely into second base. He is touching the base when the ball hits him. Is the runner out?

RULING:   7.08(f). Even though he is touching the base when hit, the runner is out. Credit the batter with a base hit but declare the runner out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Seven Rulings

 

A.   One out, runners on first and second. The batter smashes a line drive down the rightfield line. The runner from second scores easily, the runner from first is thrown out at the plate. The appeal is made on the batter runner who missed first base en route to second. The appeal is upheld. Does the run score?

RULING:  4.09. Approved ruling. No runner shall score during a play in which the third out is made on the batter runner before he touches first.

 

B.   One out, runner on first and the batter hits a one-hopper to the first baseman. He fields the ball, tags the runner who has not left first base, and then steps on the base before the batter runner gets there. Who is declared out?

RULING:  7.08(e). This is a smart play by the first baseman. The runner is out when tagged because of the force and the batter is out when the base is tagged.

 

C.   Bases loaded, one out and the batter smacks a long ball down the rightfield line. The ball deflects off the fielder's outstretched glove, ricochets off the foul pole above the line of the fence and is retrieved by the outfielder. He fires to the plate to retire the runner from second. What is your ruling?

RULING:  6.09(h). A deflected ball that hits the foul pole above the fence is a home run. This is a grand slam and all runs score.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Six Rulings

 

A.   The right-handed pitcher is on the mound in the wind-up position. As he starts his delivery the right-handed batter steps from the right-hander's box into the left-hander's box. The pitch is delivered and the batter swings and misses. Does the pitch count?

RULING:   6.06(b). The pitch is irrelevant. The ball is dead and the batter is called out for this illegal action.

 

B.   No-one on, one ball and two strikes on the batter. The batter swings and misses on a pitch in the dirt on strike three. The batter heads for the dugout. Just before he steps in, the manager yells at him to run to first base. This surprises the defensive team and he reaches first base safely. Do you allow this?

RULING:   6.09(b). The batter should be called out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate if he is not attempting to advance to first.

 

C.   Runners on first and third, one out. The second baseman fields a lazy pop-up near second, then intentionally drops the ball. He retrieves the ball, steps on second and fires to first for the double. Is the innings over?

RULING:   6.05(l). No, the batter is out on the intentionally dropped ball. The ball is dead and runners remain at first and third with two out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Five Rulings

 

A.   Two balls, two strikes on the batter. The batter makes an effort to avoid a high inside pitch. However he cannot get out of the way soon enough and the ball strikes him on the hands gripping the bat.  The ball settles in foul territory. What is the count?

RULING:   6.08(b). This is considered a hit batter since he did not swing at the pitch.

 

B.   Bases loaded, one out in the bottom of twelve. Batter hits a knee high line drive back up the middle. The pitcher gets a glove on it and the ball deflects into the batter runner on his way to first. All runners advance. Make the call!

RULING:   6.08(d). The ball is in play and the home side wins 3-2.  

 

C.   The runner on second is stealing on the pitch. The batter hits a line drive to the shortstop fielding back of the dirt. The ball strikes the runner and continues in flight to the shortstop and is caught. Is the batter out?

RULING:   6.08(d), 7.08(f). The batter is awarded first base but the runner is declared out for being hit by a fair ball.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Four Rulings

 

A.   Runner on third, one out and the batter lifts a high fly ball to leftfield as the umpire signals catcher's interference. The ball is caught for the second out as the runner from third tags and scores. As the plate umpire, what is your next move?

RULING:   6.08(c). This is an option play. You would first enforce the interference penalty, batter awarded first and runner returns. Then if the manager advised you would let him accept the play and score the run.

 

B.   Bases loaded, one out, scores tied in the bottom of the ninth. The batter hits a knee-high line drive that the pitcher reaches for and can't get. The ball hits the umpire positioned in the infield. It might have been a base hit, might have been a double play. What's the call?

RULING:   6.08(d). Game over, the batter is awarded first base and the runner on third is forced to score.

 

C.   Runner on third. The batter steps into the batter's box and is getting set as the pitcher fires a fastball right down the middle of the plate. The surprised batter steps out to regroup. As the umpire, what action do you take?

RULING:   8.05. The pitcher delivered before the batter was reasonably set. This is an illegal pitch and ruled a balk.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Three Rulings

 

A.   Runner on third, one out. The batter swings and misses for strike three. The catcher drops the ball as the batter heads for first. The catcher picks up the ball and as he cocks his arm his hand hits the umpire's mask and the ball is thrown wildly. The runner scores and the batter advances to second. What's the ruling?

RULING:   5.09(b). The batter is declared out, for the second out. The ball is dead and the runner from third must return.

 

B.   The DH hits to rightfield and as he rounds first he injures himself. The manager puts in a pinch runner. Does this terminate the DH role?

RULING:   6.10(b). The runner may be substitued for the DH and the runner becomes the DH.

 

C.   Runner on second, one out. The batter swings and misses strike three, with the ball lodging in the catcher's mask. What's the ruling?

RULING:   5.09(g). The ball is declared dead, the batter is awarded first and the runner is awarded third.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-Two Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, 2-2 on the batter and the runner steals on the pitch. The batter swings and tips the ball. The ball strikes the catcher's protector and rebounds into his mitt. He fires to second in time to retire the runner. How many outs are there?

RULING:   6.05(b) 2.00 Foul Tip. Since the tip did not first touch the catcher's hand or mitt before touching the protector it's a foul ball. Runner returns, count remains.

 

B.   The starting pitcher is replaced by a knuckleball pitcher and the catcher changes his mitt to the largest legal mitt possible to match catching the knuckleball easier. Do you allow this?

RULING:   1.12. The catcher may use a mitt that measures up to 38 inches in circumference for any pitcher.

 

C.   Runners on first and second and the batter hits a triple, scoring both runners. The defensive team appeals that the runner from second missed third. You agree and call the runner out. They then appeal the other runner missed second to which you also agree and call him out. The offensive manager argues that the first appeal nullifies any further appeal. Is he right?

RULING:   7.10 Notes. An appeal is not considered a play, so successive appeals may be made if the ball is not thrown out of play. He is wrong.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty-One Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first and the first baseman is fielding shallow expecting the sacrifice bunt. The batter lays down the bunt and it is fielded by the first baseman. The batter runner stops and to avoid being tagged retreats towards home plate. Do you allow this or call the batter runner out?

RULING:   7.08(a.l). This is a legal ploy, until the runner reaches home plate. At that time he will be called out for leaving his baseline to avoid being tagged. The other runner remains at second.

 

B.   Bases loaded in the bottom of the last and the score is tied at 5-5. The batter hits a line drive that bounces over the fence for a ground-rule double. What is the final score?

RULING:   10.07(f). The home team wins 6-5. Only as many runs as are needed to win are recorded in this situation.

 

C.   A right-handed pitcher enters the game when a left-handed pinch hitter is sent to bat. The ambidextrous pitcher switches glove hands and prepares to pitch left-handed. Is this legal?

RULING:   The pitcher may change arms on the arrival of a pinch hitter, although the pitcher must indicate first. No other changes can be made for that time at bat.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirty Rulings

 

A.   The batter chops a ball down the first base line. The pitcher rushes over to field the ball. He stumbles and falls as he secures the ball. As he is rising the batter/runner is unable to avoid him and contact occurs between the fielder's back and the runner's left shoulder. The pitcher turns and tags the runner. What do we have? An out? Interference? Or obstruction?

RULING:   2.00. Since the pitcher had fielded the ball, no obstruction or interference has occurred. This is considered a natural collision and the out stands.

 

B.   The pitcher is in his windup as the catcher settles into his position and inadvertently touches the batter's bat. The pitch is delivered, the batter does not swing and the ball is out of the zone. What is the call?

RULING:   6.08(c). Since the pitcher had not delivered the ball at the time of the interference, the umpire shall call time and the batter and pitcher start over with no penalty.

 

C.   No outs, batter hits a line drive into leftfield. The batter/runner rounds first but collides with the base umpire, and both fall to the ground. The ball is fielded and thrown to the first baseman, who tags the dazed runner off the base. What is the call?

RULING:   2.00, 5.09(b). This play stands. No umpire interference is called unless the umpire is hit by a fair batted ball or interferes with a catcher's throw.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Nine Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, the batter hits a single into rightfield. The runner advances to third but misses second. The ball is fielded to the short stop, who is standing on second base. What is the call?

RULING:   2.00/7.10. This is an appeal play. Appeals must be made by verbal request or in an unmistakable manner. The runner is not out at this time.

 

B.   No runners on base, the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher. 14 seconds later he engages the rubber to commence his windup. Is this legal?

RULING:   8.04. No, the pitcher must deliver the pitch within ten seconds of receiving the ball.

 

C.   Runner on first. While on the mound but before he assumes his position on the rubber the pitcher attempts to pick off the runner. The ball sails past the first baseman into the stands. What is the award?

RULING:   7.05 (g, h). The runner is awarded third base.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Eight Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, no outs, 1-1 count. The batter squares around to sacrifice bunt but changes his mind. At the last split second he tries to pull the bat out of the strike zone but the ball hits his forearm which is still over the plate in the zone. What is the call?

RULING:   2.00 Strike/6.08(b). The ball is dead and the count goes to one ball and two strikes.

 

B.   Runner on second, three-two count on the batter with one out. The pitcher hastily delivers a quick return pitch before the batter is set. The ball passes through the middle of the strike zone. What is the call?

RULING:   8.05(e). This is a balk with runners on. Move the runner to third and the count remains 3-2.

 

C.   The catcher fields a throw from the rightfielder ahead of the charging runner. There is a hard collision at the plate and the catcher is knocked to the ground. As he is falling he juggles the ball, but is able to maintain possession without dropping it. Meanwhile the runner touches home plate. What is the call?

RULING:   2.00. Tag. A tag must be made while the fielder holds the ball firmly and securely. This is not a legal tag, and the runner is safe.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Seven Rulings

 

A.   The batter hits a line drive that is deflected off the pitcher's foot and is caught by the first baseman, who tags first base before the batter runner can reach it. How is he out?

RULING:   2.00. In Flight. This ball is considered in flight, so the batter is out caught.

 

B.   Runners on first and third and the batter hits a pop-up near the third base dugout. The third baseman collides with the runner off third base and the ball falls in foul territory. In your opinion the ball would have been caught if there was no collision. What's your decision?

RULING:   7.09(l). Declare the runner out for the interference and the batter continues to bat.

 

C.   Top of the ninth and the defensive manager brings in a right hander. The first scheduled hitter is right-handed so the offensive manager sends up a left handed pinch hitter for him. The defensive manager wants to bring in another pitcher. Is this legal?

RULING:   3.05(b). The pitcher brought in to start the ninth must pitch to at least one batter. This latter change would not be legal.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Six Rulings

 

A.  Runner on first, one out, the centrefielder makes what appears to be a spectacular over-the-head catch as he crashes into the centrefield wall. Upon contact with the fence, the ball pops out and goes over the wall. Is the batter out? Place the runner from first.

RULING:   2.00. Catch in flight. 7.05(a). This is not considered a catch, as all runners are awareded four bases. Score two runs.

 

B.  The batter assumes a position towards the front of the batter's box. As he swings, his front foot is in mid-air, outside the box. He connects with the ball and hits a single to the outfield. Is this a legally batted ball?

RULING:   6.06(a). The base hit stands. For the batter to be declared out he must have one or both feet on the ground iutside the batting box when he contacts the ball.

 

C.  The batter hits a sinking line drive to right centrefield. The two outfielders converge on the catch. The ball lands in the centrefielder's glove just before they collide, both falling to the ground. The centrefielder's glove comes off with the ball securely in the glove. The right fielder picks the ball from the glove. Is the batter out?

RULING:   2.00. Definitions. Catch. The fielder did not prove possession. When the glove came off his hand he lost firm and secure possession. The batter is not out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Five Rulings

 

A.   No outs, runner on third, no count on the batter. The batter takes ball one as the runner attempts to steal home on the pitch. The batter interferes with the catcher's attempt to tag the runner at the plate. What's the call?

RULING:   7.08(g). The runner is called out for the batter's interference. One out, one ball on the batter, play resumes.

 

B.  The catcher drifts back to catch a pop-up in foul territory. The ball deflects off his chest protector and is trapped in his mitt against his chest. He then holds the caught ball up in his mitt for the umpire to see. Is this a legal catch?

RULING:   2.00. Catch. The ball is considered in flight even though it hits his person. The out stands.

 

C.   One out, runners on second and third. The batter hits a ground ball to the third baseman who traps the runner off base and a rundown develops. The runner makes it safely back to third. By then the runner from second is standing on third. Both runners are tagged. Who is declared out?

RULING:   7.03. The oroginal runner still has the rights to third base. The runner from second should be called out when tagged.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Four Rulings

 

A.   Runners on first and third, one out, the runner from first is stealing on the pitch when the batter hits a fly ball to rightfield which is caught for the second out. The runner on third tags and scores, but the runner from first is slow getting back to first and is thrown out for the third out before he can re-touch. Does the run score?

RULING:   4.09(a). The run counts. It scored before the third out was made. The third out was not a force out since the batter had been put out.

 

B.   The batter hits a ground ball to the first baseman, the pitcher comes over to take the toss from the first baseman, but contact occurs between the pitcher and the batter runner as they converge on the first base bag. Is the batter runner guilty of interference?

RULING:   2.00. No, the pitcher is guilty of obstruction since he is not fielding a ball in flight near him. Runner is safe and the ball is dead.

 

C.  Bases are load with two out, batter hits a home run over the fence. The batter misses first and is called out on appeal. How many runs score?

RULING:   4.09 (a.1). No runs score. The third out was made on the batter runner before he touched first base.

 

D.   With a runner at first, the batter smashes a line drive towards first base. The runner while still in contact with the base leans in trying to avoid being hit, but does not avoid the fair ball. What is your ruling?

RULING:   7.09(m), 6.08(d). The runner is out. Award the batter first base. Being on the base does not give the runner immunity.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-Three Rulings

 

A.   The baserunner on first is running on the pitch, the batter hits a line drive to rightfield. He makes the catch and fires the ball to first base to double up the runner, but the throw is wild and goes into the first base dugout. Where do you place the runner?

RULING:   7.05(g).  Third base, he is awarded two bases from the last base he legally occupied.

 

B.   One out, runners on first and third. On 3-2 count the batter swings and misses, the pitch eludes the catcher's mitt, hits him in the mask and deflects behind his chest protector. The catcher has no idea where the ball is as he darts around looking for ir. Runner from third scores, runner from first advances to third and the batter goes to second. Can you sort out this mess?

RULING:   6.05(c), 5.09(g).  The batter is out on strike three with first occupied and one out. The ball is dead and all runners move up one base. So we have two outs, one run scored and a runner on second.

 

C.   The batter hits an apparent double, but stumbles rounding first and falls to the ground injured. The first base coach assists him to his feet and he stumbles back to first. He is unable to continue in the game. Can the DH courtesy run for him?

RULING:   7.09(i).  Sorry, no need for a substitute runner because the runner is called out when the coach physically assisted him.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS.:     Quiz Number Twenty-Two Rulings

 

A.   Runners on second and third. The ball is hit to the shortstop who throws home trapping the runner from third in a rundown between third and home. The runner on second advances to and is standing on third. The runner in the rundown in desperation reaches out and touches the ball, deflecting it away from the catcher, and scores. Make a call.

RULING:   7.08(b). Call the runner out for interfering with the throw and send the following runner back to second.

 

B.   The batter hits a sharp line drive back to the pitcher. It strikes him on the arm and he is forced to leave the game. How many warm-up pitches is the new pitcher allowed?

RULING:   8.03. When a sudden emergency occurs the new pitcher shall be given as many pitches as the umpire deems necessary.

 

C.   Runner on first, batter hits a long fly ball to left field. The runner touches second and takes a few steps towards third. The ball is caught and the runner returns to first without retouching second base. The ball is thrown to the first baseman, who tags the runner who is standing on first. Is the runner out?

RULING:   7.10(b). The defensive team informs the umpire of their appeal, the runner is out even though he is standing on the base when tagged.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty-One Rulings

 

A.   A ballboy is stationed down the leftfield line against the fence. The visiting manager objects to him being there. What action do you take?

RULING:   4.15(c). The ball boy is authorised to be there.

 

B.   Two outs, bases loaded. The batter hits a home run and all runners cross the plate, but the batter runner missed second. The umpire upholds the appeal and declares the batter runner out, for the third out. How many runs score?

RULING:   4.09(a). Three runs count. In this case preceding runners are not affected by following runners unless the third out is a force out. This appeal is not a force out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twenty Rulings

 

A.   The batter hits a home run. As he rounds third the base coach informs him that he failed to touch second. The runner stops, retouches third and then returns to retouch second, then proceeds back to third and to home. Does the run count?

RULING:   7.06(b). This is an appeal play. The run counts unless the defensive team properly appeals at second. When the ball is dead a runner may not return to touch a missed base after he has touched the next base.

 

B.   The centrefielder comes in and plays directly behind the second baseman on the dirt. Is this allowed? 

RULING:   4.03(c). This is legal. 

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Nineteen Rulings

 

A.   Situation, bottom of the ninth, score is tied 5-5, bases are loaded with two outs. Batter hits a home run over the centrefield fence. The runners from third and second cross the plate. The batter runner then over runs the runner from first and is called out. What is the final score?

RULING:   4.11. The score is 6-5. In this case the game ends immediately when the winning run scores.

 

B.   With one ball and two strikes the count, the pitcher throws a sharp breaking fork ball that beats the hitter. He starts to swing then tries to hold back. The umpire rules strike three on the swing and the batter disagrees. He requests that the umpire ask his partner. Should the umpire get help?

RULING:   9.02(c). No, appeals on checked swings may only be made when ball has been called.

 

C.   Runner on first, full count on the batter who checks his swing. Umpire calls ball four. The catcher asks the plate umpire to get help. The base umpire reverses the call to strike three and declares the batter out. The runner on hearing the ball four call has started a slow trot to second and is tagged. Is the runner out?

RULING:   9.02(c). Base runners must be alert that a reversed call may be made. The ball is in play and the runner is out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Eighteen Rulings

 

A.   The batter hits a weak grounder along the first base line in foul territory. The ball rolls up to and strikes his bat lying on the ground and deflects into fair territory where it is fielded and thrown to the first baseman for the out. Or is it?

RULING:   6.05. It is a foul ball. A batted ball that strikes any equipment in foul territory is considered dead at the time of contact.

 

B.   Runner on third, one out, batter hits a long fly ball down the leftfield line. The leftfielder is under the ball preparing for the catch when a spectator reaches over the fence and tries to catch the ball, but touches the ball and it falls uncaught as the runner scores. What is your ruling?

RULING:   3.16. The batter is declared out on the spectator interference for the second out, but the run scores because of the distance from home plate to where the interference occurred.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Seventeen Rulings

 

A.   Batter squares around to bunt, his right foot is touching the batter's box line and home plate. He lays down the bunt and is safe at first. Is he?

RULING:   6.03/6.06(a). The batter is safe. To be declared out a batter must have a foot on the ground entirely outside the box. The line is considered part of the box

 

B.   Top of the fifth with two outs. May the umpire order the stadium lights turned on, or must he wait until the innings is over to be fair to both sides?

RULING:   4014. The umpire may order the lights turned on whever he deems further play hazardous.

 

C.   On releasing the ball the pitcher throws it into the ground and it bounces and enters the strike zone. The batter swings and hits the bounced pitch into rightfield for a base hit. Or is it?

RULING:   2.00. Definition of a ball. It is a base hit, a ball that bounces can be hit.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Sixteen Rulings

 

A.   Two strikes on the batter when he swings at the next pitch and tips the ball. The ball goes directly onto the catcher's protector, it bounces off his chest and is caught in the mitt. Is the batter out?

RULING:   6.05(b)/2.00. Foul tip. The batter is not out, it is a foul ball. To be legal it muct first touch his hand or mitt.

 

B.   Two strikes on the batter when he swings at the next pitch and tips the ball. The ball deflects off the catcher's mitt onto his chest. The catcher smothers the ball against his chest. Is the batter out?

RULING:   6.05(b). The batter is out. The third strike is legally caught as it touched his glove first.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Fifteen Rulings

 

A.   One out, bottom of the ninth, score tied with a runner on first. The batter hits a home run and the runner advances to second, thinks the game is automatically over by the home run and he cuts across the diamond. The batter continues and touches all bases. Is the game over?

RULING:   7.08(a)/4.09(a)/7.05(a). Game over. The runner is declared out for the second out because he abandoned the bases, but the batter runner legally scored the winning run with two outs.

 

B.   Runner on first and third. The batter hits a line drive up the middle. The ball strikes the pitcher's rubber and defelcets directly into the dugout between first base and home. What's the award?

RULING:   2.00. It is a foul ball, no award of bases.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Fourteen Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first and third, squeeze play is on as the batter squares to bunt and the runners start. The catcher reaches out and touches the bat. The batter yells at the catcher. The pitcher halts his delivery and a balk is called by a base umpire. You as the plate umpire sort this out.

RULING:   7.07. Forget the balk. First we have the catcher interference, which is penalised by awarding the batter first and all others one base.

 

B.   There are two strikes on the batter. He decides to surprise the defence and squares around to bunt. The pitcher is surprised alright and he uncorks a wild pitch/ The batter tries to avoid the pitch but the ball hits the bat and runs foul. Is the batter out for bunting on the third strike?

RULING:   6.05(d)/2.00 Bunt. The batter is not out. Since it was clearly not his intention to bunt the wild pitch, this is a foul ball.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Thirteen Rulings

 

A.   With a runner on second base a wild pitch eludes the catcher. The ball bounces towards the backstop near the ball boy. Trying to get out of the way, he accidentally kicks the ball and the runner takes an extra base to score. Does the play stand?

RULING:   3.15 No. Even though the intereference was accidental, a kick is considered intentional and the extra base advance is nullified.

 

B.   Runners on first and second. The batter smashes a ground ball past the diving shortstop. The ball hits the umpire who is positioned behind the infielder. Is the ball dead or alive? Place the runners.

RULING:   6.08(d). The ball is alive and in play since it has passed an infielder. Runners advance at their own risk.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Twelve Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first is off and running on the pitch, the batter hits a fly ball to right field and rounds first base, the ball is dropped by the right fielder. The original runner is half-way between first and second on his way back to first. The fielder throws to first but the ball sails into the stands. Where do you place the runners?

RULING:   The runner from first is awarded third base and the batter/runner is held at second. In certain cases it is impossible to award all runners two bases.

 

B.   Runner on third, two outs, two strikes on the batter. Runner is stealing home and the pitch hits him in the strike zone. Does the run count?

RULING:   No, the batter is declared out on strike three for the third out and the run does not count. 6.05(n)

 

C.   Runners on first and third, the infield is playing shallow to make a play at the plate. The batter smashes a hot ground ball right between the first baseman’s legs who does not lay a glove on the ball. The ball strikes the runner advancing from first. Who is out?

RULING:   7.09(m). No-one. The ball is alive and in play.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Eleven Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, the batter swings and hits the pitch but the catcher’s mitt touched the bat and interference is called. The ball falls in for a base hit and the runner goes to third as the batter-runner stops at first. The defensive team appeals that the runner missed second en route to third. The umpire agrees and calls him out. Does this play stand?

RULING:   6.08(c). Yes, the play proceeds without reference to the interference since the runner and batter/runner advanced at least one base. A runner who misses a base is considered to have reached it.

 

B.   Runner on third, the batter hits a short pop-up near the third base dugout. The third baseman gets to the fence in time and reaches over the fence into the stands to make the catch. He makes the catch but is off balance and falls in among the spectators. The runner tags but is thrown out by the third baseman. Is this a double play?

RULING:   7.04(c). The batter is out on the legal catch. The runner is awarded home, since the fielder fell into a dead ball area, no double play.

 

C.   The batter squares around to bunt, he gets the bat on an outside pitch and in  doing so has one foot entirely on home plate when he contacts the ball. The ball rolls foul, is the batter out?

RULING:   6.06(a). Yes, the batter is out for having his foot on the ground entirely outside the batter's box when he contacted the ball. It does not matter if the ball was fair or foul.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Ten Rulings

 

A.   The umpires and mangers have left home plate after the meeting to discuss ground rules and the exchange of line up cards. The plate umpire then discovers that the visiting manager has listed a player twice on the line up card. Does the umpire say something or keep his mouth shut?

RULING:   4.01(d). Obvious errors that are noticed before the call of "Play" should be pointed out and corrected.

 

B.   Top of the first innings. The batter walks, the next batter doubles to right, the umpire then realises that there has been no left field. Do you leave the runners, let the plays stand, place the left fielder, or do you start the innings over?

RULING:   1.01, 4.17. No action may take place with less than nine defensive players on the field. The innings starts over.

 

C.   Runner on second, batter hits a ground ball to third baseman who throws to first to retire the batter runner. Runner from second rounds third and is racing for home. First baseman’s throw to the catcher hits the batter-runner who is not in the runner’s three foot lane. Is the runner declared out at the plate?

RULING:   7.09(k). No, he has a right to be there and cannot interfere with a throw by the first baseman by being out of the lane.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Nine Rulings

 

A.   Runner on second base, batter hits a double to score the runner. The catcher picks up the bat and appeals to the umpire that the pine tar exceeds the 18 inch limitation, the umpire agrees. Is the batter out? Does the run score?

RULING:     1.10/6.06(d). Pine tar does not qualify as "doctoring" the bat. The bat is removed from the game but the play stands.

 

B.   With a runner on third the pitcher starts his wind up and midway through his delivery the batter steps out of the batter’s box. The surprised pitcher stops in mid stride and holds the ball. Is this a balk?

RULING:     6.02(b). The ball is dead and no balk should be called. The batter may not step out after the pitcher styarts his motion. Start from "scratch".    

 

C.   After a run saving catch by the right fielder the opposing manager approaches the umpire to complain that he thinks he is using an illegal glove, one that measures more than 12 inches from top to bottom. Upon closer examination the umpire agrees.  Is the out nullified and does the run count?

RULING:     1.14. No the out stands. The glove is removed from the game. The umpire submits a report to the governing body and any penalty is the responsibility of the governing body.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Eight Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, the batter hits a pop-up near the third base dugout. The catcher goes over near the edge of the dugout. One of his team mates holds him up to prevent him from falling into the dugout. He makes the catch as he is being supported. Does the out stand? Is the runner awarded second?

RULING:   2.00, Catch/7.04(c) This is completely legal. The out stands.

 

B.   The offensive first baseman makes the third out of the innings. He hurt himself as he swung and missed the pitch. As he is being treated in the dugout a reserve player goes to first base and warms up the infielders. The original first baseman recovers and goes back to first. Is this legal, or has his stand-in officially become the first baseman?

RULING:   3.08 (a.3) For an unannounced fielder to be considered officially in the game, play must commence. This is legal. You see this often when reserves often warm up the pitcher.

 

C.   The baserunner on first is running on the pitch and the batter flies out to rightfield. The rightfielder throws to first to double up the runner but throws into the stands. Seeing the ball out of play, the returning runner stops in his tracks, reverses course and proveeds around second to third. Do you allow this?

RULING:   7.05(g)/7.05 end notes.Yes, since the proper award is two bases, however the runner may be declared out for failing to retouch first even though the ball was dead.....if a proper appeal is made.

 

D.   Runner on first takes off for second on the pitch. The batter swings at the pitch and the ball hits him. What is your ruling?

RULING:   2.00/6.08(b) The ball is dead, declare a strike on the batter and return the runner to first base.

 

E.   No one on base, no outs, two strikes on the batter. On the next pitch the batter swings and misses a pitch that hits the ground but is scooped up cleanly by the catcher. Is the batter out?

RULING:  6.05(b) The batter is not out since the third strike was not legally caught before touching the ground. He may attempt to reach first base.

 

F.   Batter is standing in the box and a pitched ball grazes the sleeve of his undershirt, but not his arm. The defensive manager argues that since the batter was not actually hit, he should not be awarded first base. What do you rule?

RULING:   6.08(b)/2.00 Person. You award him first base, if he or his clothing is touched while in a legal batting position.

 

 

Robbo's Hypotheticals:     Quiz Number Seven Rulings

 

A.   Runner on first, batter hits an apparent triple. Runner from first misses second, then after he touches third his coach tells him to go back and touch second. He retouches third and starts for second when he sees the batter-runner heading for third. The batter-runner retreats, to second and first. The runner returns to second base and holds. The second baseman tags the runner on second and appeals that he cannot retouch after he has touched the next base. What is your ruling?

RULING:   While the ball is alive runners may retreat after touching the next base. In dead ball situations (EG home run) they may not. 7.02/7. 10(b)

 

B.   Top of the first innings and the first batter of the game is at bat. The pitcher throws three wild pitches and the disgruntled manager goes to the mound to change pitchers. Is this allowed?

RULING:   3.05(a). No, he must pitch to the first batter or his substitute until such batter is put out or reaches first base.

 

C.   Two strikes on the batter and a runner on third. The batter swings and misses, the ball passes the catcher and lodges in the umpire's mask. What's your ruling?

RULING:   5.09(g). The ball is ruled dead, the batter is awarded first base and all runner advance one base. The runner from third scores.

 

D.   Runner on first, the batter hits a fly ball to leftfield. As the ball hits the leftfielder's glove the runner tags and breaks for second. The ball is juggled and the leftfielder drops it, but the centrefielder backing up makes the catch before the ball hits the ground. The defensive side appeals that the runner left the base before the ball was caught. Is the runner out for leaving too soon?

RULING:   2.00. Catch. No, the runner may tag up and advance the instant the first fielder touches the ball.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Six Rulings

 

A.   Runners on first and second, no outs, the batter hits a pop-up just into the outfield grass behind second base, thinking the infield fly rule will be invoked the runners hold. The ball falls untouched to the ground and the defensive team turns an easy double play. Does the play stand? Can the offensive manger appeal the decision? Can the umpires, if they decide that they have erred, revoke the call and invoke the infield fly?

RULING:   Rule 2. Infield Fly. Although the umpires may have erred in failing to call the infield fly, umpires judgment must govern and the play stands. Umpires may remain alert for these situations.

 

B.   The runner on first base is running on the pitch, as he races for second his helmet falls to the ground. The batter hits the pitch towards the hole between first and second, and the ball strikes the helmet. The second baseman is unable to field the ball for the routine put out. Is the runner out?

RULING:   6.05 (h). When no intent is evident, a ball that strikes a helmet remains in play.

 

C.   Same situation, but the ball ricochets to the second baseman who throws to first to beat the batter/runner. Is a runner out? Which one? Maybe the ball is dead and all advance. Make a call!

RULING:   6.05(h). When no intent is evident, a ball that strikes a helmet remains in play.

 

D.   Runner on third base, the batter hits a high fly ball to left field. The runner assumes a position several feet beyond third base and times his running start so that he is at full speed when the fielder makes the catch and touches third after the ball is caught. He scores easily. The defensive side appeals third? Does the run score?

RULING:   The runner is out if a proper appeal is made. This is an improper tag-up or re-touch. Rule 7.10(a)

 

E.   After the starting pitcher tires the defensive manger brings in a new pitcher. How many warm-up pitches can he have?

RULING:   Rule 8.03 applies. The umpire shall allow eight warm-up pitches.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Five Rulings

 

A.   One out, runners on first and second. The batter hits a double to left field on which the runner from second scores, but runner from first is thrown out at the plate. The batter advances to second, but is declared out on appeal for missing first. Does the run score?

RULING:   No runs score as the runner crossed the plate on a play in which the batter-runner made the third out before he touched first base. 4.09(a)

 

B.   Two outs, runner on third, no count on the batter. The batter takes ball one as the runner attempts to steal home on the pitch, the batter interferes with the catchers attempt to tag the runner sliding into home plate. What is your ruling?

RULING:   With two outs, the batter is declared out for his interference, with less than two outs the runner would be declared out. 6.06(c) and 7.08(g)

 

C.   Runner on first, the right handed pitcher has stopped at the bottom of his stretch motion. The runner breaks for second, the pitcher turns towards first, without hesitating he continues his turn and throws to the second baseman for the putout. Is this a balk?

RULING:   8.05. Approved ruling, this is a legal play. It is not considered throwing to an unoccupied base or failing to throw to first. The runner is out.

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Four Rulings

 

A.   One out, runners on second and third, the batter hits a double and both runners come home. The runner from third missed home plate and the runner from second properly touched. Realising that he missed the plate the runner from third returns and touches the plate, before the catcher appeals. Do both runs count?

RULING:   Only one run counts. He may not return after a following runner has scored.

 

B.   Runner is stealing home when the batter hits a high fly to centre field, the runner slides across the plate as the ball falls in for a base hit. Thinking the ball was caught, the runner gets up, retouches home plate and heads back to third, but is tagged before reaching it. What’s your call?

RULING:   Run scores, 5.06 & 7.08(i). A legally scored run cannot be nullified by subsequent action unless such action is to confuse or create a travesty.

 

C.   One out, runner on third base, two strikes on the batter. The runner is stealing home and the pitch hits the runner in the batter’s strike zone. What’s the ruling?

RULING:  Run counts and batter is out on strike three. 6.05(n)

 

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Three Rulings

 

A.   One out, runners on first and second. The batter hits a double to left field on which the runner from second scores, but runner from first is thrown out at the plate. The batter advances to second, but is declared out on appeal for missing first. Does the run score?

RULING:   No runs score as the runner crossed the plate on a play in which the batter-runner made the third out before he touched first base. 4.09(a)

 

B.   Two strikes, one out, runner is stealing second on the pitch. The batter swings so hard that his follow-through contacts the catcher before the catcher can secure the ball. In the umpires judgement the contact was unintentional. What’s your ruling?

RULING:   The batter is out on strike three. The ball is dead and the runner returns to first base 6.06(a)

 

C.   Runner on first, and an improper batter is up. The runner advances to second on a wild pitch. The improper batter then hits a line drive to right field to score the runner.  The defensive manager properly appeals the batting out of order and the umpire upholds the appeal for the first out. What do you do with the runner who scored?

RULING:   Rule 6.07(b), put the runner back on second, his advance to second on the wild pitch is legal, but his advance on the base hit is nullified

 

Robbo's HYPOTHETICALS:     Quiz Number Two Rulings

 

A.   The batter hits a line drive base hit to right field and overruns first base making no attempt to go to second base. In returning to first he steps into fair territory. The right fielder fires the ball to first base who tags the batter-runner before he gets back to first. Is he out?

RULING:   No, he may overrun first base even on a clean base hit. If he attempted to advance and was tagged, he would be out.

 

B.   One out, runner on third base, two strikes on the batter. The runner is stealing home and the pitch hits the runner in the batter’s strike zone. What’s the ruling?

RULING:     Run counts and batter is out on strike three. 6.05(n)

 

C.   Batter hits down the right field line, the ball lands in fair territory and bounces into the screen on the foul pole. The right fielder picks up the ball and throws into second base where the batter/runner is tagged short of the base. Is the batter/runner out?

RULING:     Fair ball, batter hit a ground rule double as the screen is considered part of the foul pole and is fair. Batter is awarded second.

 

 

Robbo’s HYPOTHETICALS:    Quiz Number One Rulings

 

Batter mis-hits a pitched ball which lands in fair territory just in front of home plate. The batter/runner reaches the 45' line but is running outside it. Consider the following:

 

1. The catcher lobs the ball over the batter/runner's head and over the first baseman's head.

2. The catcher attempts to throw, but holds back because the batter was in line with the throw.

3. The catcher hesitates to throw, then throws too late to beat the batter/runner.

 

What's YOUR call? Please feel free to comment on our FACEBOOK page.

 

RULING:   In all of the above examples the batter/runner should not be given out for interference. There has been no interference on the fielder fielding the ball, i.e. the first baseman. In regard to the running lane, a batter-runner cannot be guilty of  interference for altering the throw of the catcher or of any other fielder, i.e. the fielder throws poorly, hesitates to throw, or does not throw.