Tamarac Little League: Stump the Ump

Stump the Ump

Part 7

If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball 
2 people said False.  2 people said True.  The answer is "False".

The position of a player's feet have nothing to do with whether a ball is fair or foul. The "condition" of the ball is based solely on where the ball is with respect to the foul line. The rule book emphasizes this by including the following phrases:

Under 2.00 FAIR BALL:

A fair fly shall be adjudged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on fair or foul territory at the time such fielder touches the ball.

Under 2.00 FOUL BALL:

A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on foul or fair territory at the time that fielder touches the ball.

Stump the Ump

Part 6

A runner cannot be called out if hit by a batted ball while standing on a base.
 person said False.  6 people said True.  The answer is "False".

If the batted ball has not touched a fielder, and if there is an infielder who could make a play on the batted ball behind the runner, a runner can, indeed, be called out when hit by a batted ball, even if he or she is in contact with the base. The only time that being in contact with the base absolutely protects a runner is during an infield fly situation. [7.08(f) EXCEPTION]

Stump the Ump

Part 5

A batted ball that hits the plate is a foul ball.
2 people said True. 2 people said False.  The correct answer is "False".

For the purposes of a fair/foul determination, home plate is no different from the ground. As it happens, all of home plate is in fair territory, so if a batted ball touches it, it has merely struck part of fair territory.

A ball that touches the ground before passing either first or third base is not yet a fair or foul ball. It is merely a ball over fair or foul territory.

This may seem like just a bit of semantics, but the distinction is very real. The ball does not become fair or foul until it either "settles" (stops rolling) or touches something other than the ground - a player, a fence, etc. At that time, the ball is then rendered fair or foul based on its position at the time it settles or is touched. How the ball got there (the path it followed before being touched) has nothing to do with the fair/foul determination.

Stump the Ump

Part 4

Tie goes to the runner.
3 people said False.  The answer is ... maybe.

Bill Klem, a Hall of Fame umpire, who worked the National League from 1905 through 1941, and then served as Chief of National League Umpires until his death in 1951, has been quoted as saying, "There's no such thing as a tie - it's either this, or it's that!"

If you want a literal reading of the rulebook, however, you will find that it is split on the issue. Regarding a batter,

6.05(i) A batter is out when... after hitting a fair ball, the batter-runner or first base is tagged before said batter-runner touches first base

Thus, to gain the out on the batter-runner, the base has to be tagged before the runner touches it. This would imply that, under this rule, a tie would go to the runner, since the defense failed to touch the base "before" the runner did.

Regarding a runner, however

7.08(e) A runner is out when... failing to reach the next base before a fielder tags said runner or the base after that runner has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner.

Here, it is the runner who has the obligation to get to the base "before" the tag of the base is made. In this case, if a tie truely happened, the runner would be out, because he/she did not reach the base before the tag.

Thus, if you want a literal interpretation of the "black and white" in the rulebook, a tie goes to the runner at first, but to the defense at any other base. Like Bill Klem, however, umpires generally do not recognize the existence of a tie - the runner either beat the throw, or he did not, and that's that.

Stump the Ump

Part 3

A pitch that bounces as it comes in cannot be hit.
3 people said False, 3 said True.  The answer is "False".

If a pitch bounces, the only thing that changes is that it can no longer become a called strike. With this single exception, the pitch is alive and in play.

  • If the batter swings at the pitch and misses, it is a strike.
  • If the batter hits the ball in fair territory, the batted ball is alive and in play.
  • If the batter hits the ball foul, it is simply a foul.
  • If the bounced pitch hits the batter, all the standard hit-by-pitch rules apply.

Stump the Ump

Part 2

If a pitch hits a player's hands it's considered a foul ball, since hands are considered part of the bat.
5 people said False. 3 people said True.  The answer is "False".

The hands are not part of the bat. They are part of the arm.

Don't believe it? Try this. Hold a bat in your hand at arm's length. Now open your hand. Did the bat hit the ground? Good, gravity works. Where is your hand? I'll bet it's not on the ground. So your hand is not part of the bat.

The relevant rules are 5.09(a); 6.05(e); and 6.08(b). When a player is hit on the hand by a pitch, the umpire must evaluate the situation just as he would if the pitch had hit him elsewhere:

* If the pitch was in the strike zone the ball is dead, runners return to the last legally touched base, and the batter gets a strike. If that was the third strike, the batter is out.

* If the batter was in the process of swinging, just as in the previous case, the ball is dead, runners return to the last legally touched base, and the batter gets a strike. If that was the third strike, the batter is out. 

* If the pitch was not in the strike zone and the batter was not swinging at it, but the batter makes no attempt to get out of the way, the ball is dead, runners return, a ball is charged to the batter and he/she must continue to bat. (Unless that was ball four.) 

* If none of the above conditions apply, the ball is dead, the batter is awarded first base, and runners advance only if forced.

Remember - when a batter is hit anywhere by a pitch, the ball is immediately dead, whether or not a base award is made.  

Stump the Ump

Part 1

The runner must slide at home plate.  3 people said no, 2 said yes.  The answer is "no".

There is never any situation in which a runner is required to slide. The relevant rule is:

7.08(a)(3) -- Any runner is out when ... the runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make the tag;

First, notice that the runner has two options -- he or she may slide, or he or she may attempt to get around the fielder. The choice is up to the runner. Second, notice that the rule says that, if the runner does not elect to slide, that he or she must attempt to get around the fielder. It does not say that the runner must not contact the fielder.

Finally, read the last half of the rule again. For this paragraph to even apply, the fielder must have the ball and be waiting to make the tag. Thus, for example, if the runner arrives just as the ball is hitting the catcher's glove, this rule probably doesn't apply either. Only once the catcher is in position to make the tag does the runner acquire the obligation to slide or attempt to avoid. In fact, if contact occurs before the fielder has the ball, then the fielder is probably guilty of obstruction.

Little League has made this abundantly clear in Make The Right Call, a Little League publication with commentary on how the rules should be applied. In there, it says:

There is no "must slide rule." The rule is, "slide or attempt to get around." The key in this situation is "fielder has the ball and is waiting to make a tag." If the fielder (any fielder, not just the catcher) does not have the ball, and there is a collision, you CANNOT call the runner out. However, if the umpire determines that the runner deliberately attempted to injure the fielder, the umpire could eject the runner for unsportsmanlike conduct.