Umpires Wanted

Umpire Information


As umpires, we have to be aware of the needs and expectations of our primary clientele - the players and managers. We also should know that the title "umpire" means that we automatically put on a great many hats; that is, we assume a variety of roles when we become umpires. You cannot separate the expectations or the roles from the performance of the job. Have you ever taken the time to consider how others perceive us as umpires. If you were a player, parent, coach, sponsor or any other person involved with the game, what would you expect of the umpires? Which of these would be on your list?

Umpires are expected to be:

  • Neatly dressed
  • Prompt and on-time
  • Approachable
  • Well educated in the rules
  • Clear in making calls
  • Poised, in control and in charge on the diamond
  • Consistent
  • Able to display good judgment and make accurate calls
  • Able to explain and clarify rules and rule interpretations
  • Confident
  • Prepared
  • Flexible
  • Hustling all the time
  • Decisive
  • Able to display rapport
  • Unbiased and objective
  • Able to make the tough call
  • Enforce the rules in an unbiased fashion
  • Respectful to the sport and its participants

There may be others points that you may wish to add to the list.

Quite a list, isn’t it! How do you measure up?

Some Commonly Held Misunderstood Beliefs

Here, in no particular order, are some beliefs about the game of baseball and its rules which are surrounded by misconceptions and misunderstanding:
All of these statements are false.
  1. When a batter is hit by a pitch, the hands are considered part of the bat.
  2. If a batted ball hits the plate first, it is foul.
  3. On an illegal pitch or balk, the ball is dead immediately.
  4. The batter cannot hit a pitch that bounces first.
  5. A runner must turn right after overrunning 1st base.
  6. On an overthrow that goes out of play, each runner gets the base he was going to, plus one.
  7. A runner may crash into a fielder in order to try to make him drop the ball.
  8. A fielder may never be blocking the path of a runner trying to reach the bag.
  9. It is a catch if an outfielder holds the ball "long enough" before tripping, falling or colliding with another fielder and dropping the ball.
  10. Runners cannot advance on an infield fly.
  11. The runner is automatically out if a base coach touches him/her.
  12. A runner stealing on a pitch that is foul tipped by the batter and caught by the catcher must return to his/her base.
  13. If a batted ball hits a runner, the runner is always out.
  14. Tie goes to the runner.
  15. Runners may not run the bases in reverse order.
  16. When fielding a batted ball, the fielder must yield to an advancing runner.
  17. A batter who runs up in the batter’s box should be called out.
  18. A batter who is standing in the batter’s box cannot be called out for interference.
  19. It is a strike on a check swing if the batter breaks his/her wrists.
  20. An umpire who is hit by a thrown ball has committed interference.
  21. The fielder must tag the base with the ball in his possession in order to record a force out.
  22. In order for interference to be called, it must be intentional.
  23. On an attempted bunt, it is a strike if the batter holds the bat across the plate as the pitch crosses.
  24. You have to touch the base involved while holding the ball to make an appeal.
  25. A throw to a base to try to retire a runner who left that base on a caught fly ball is a force out if the ball beats the runner to the bag.

Did you immediately recognize these as being false?

How many of these false statements did you question in your mind?

Make sure that you do not fall victim to these mistaken ideas.

Umpire FAQ

Q: What is the proper method for handling a roster check?

A:Once a roster check is called you should get a board member if there is one present. If not, go to the bucket and take out the roster check form and have the player in question fill out the questions with you present. From there the game may continue as scheduled. The manager calling the roster check must turn in their $50 check to the SPAA office within 1 business day of calling the roster check. THE UMPIRE DOES NOT ACCEPT THE ROSTER CHECK FEE!!


Q: What is a foul tip?

A:There is nothing foul about a foul-tip. If the ball nicks the bat and goes sharp and direct to the catcher's hand or glove and is caught, this is a foul-tip by definition. A foul-tip is a strike and the ball is alive. It is the same as a swing-and-miss. If the ball is not caught, it is a foul ball. If the nicked pitch first hits the catcher somewhere other than the hand or glove, it is not a foul-tip, it is a foul ball.


Q: Hit by Pitch

A: When a Batter Should Not be Awarded First Base

It may seem obvious when a batter is hit by a pitch and awarded first base, but there are some cases where a base may not be awarded.  1) If the ball touches the batter as the batter swings at the ball.  2) The ball touches the batter in the strike zone. 3) If the batter makes no attempt to get out of the way of the ball. 4) If the ball hits the bat in the act of swinging and then touches the batter.

When a Batter Should be Awarded First Base

In addition to a batter being hit out of the strike zone while attempting to get out of the way, there are a couple of misconceptions about being hit by the pitch where people will think the batter should not be awarded first and in fact they should be.  1) The hand is not part of the bat. 2) A pitched ball that hits the batter after bouncing is not a dead ball. 3) A pitched ball that touches the players clothing but not the player.  4) A pitched ball hits a batter and then hits the bat.

Q: Fielder's Balk

A: Fielder's Balk - There is none!!! Rule 4.03 states the following:

4.03 - When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.

(a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. PENALTY: Balk.

A balk is the penalty for 4.03(a), not 4.03 in general.


When the umpire sees such a infraction, he/she should instruct the player of the infraction to move into fair territory.

Q: Two Players on a Base

A: Two Runners Occupying a Base - Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged. The preceding runner is entitled to the base.  See Rule 7.03 for further details.