Top 40 Baseball Rule Myths – (each statement is a Myth)
1. The hands are considered part of the bat.
2. The batter-runner must turn to his right after over-running first base.
3. If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, it's a strike.
4. If a batted ball hits the plate first it's a foul ball.
5. The batter cannot be called out for interference if he is in the batter's box.
6. The ball is dead on a foul-tip.
7. The batter may not switch batter's boxes after two strikes.
8. The batter who batted out of order is the person declared out.
9. The batter may not overrun first base when he gets a base-on-balls.
10. The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first after a dropped third strike.
11. If the batter doesn't pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, it's an automatic strike.
12. The batter is out if a bunted ball hits the ground, bounces back up, and hits the bat while the batter still holds the bat.
13. The batter is out if his foot touches the plate.
14. The batter-runner is always out if he runs outside the running lane after a bunted ball.
15. A runner is out if, after a homerun is hit over the fence, he slaps hands or high-fives other players.
16. Tie goes to the runner.
17. The runner gets the base he's going to, plus one on a ball thrown out-of-play.
18. Anytime a coach touches a runner, the runner is out.
19. Runners may never run the bases in reverse order.
20. The runner must always slide when the play is close.
21. The runner is always safe when hit by a batted ball while touching a base.
22. A runner may not steal on a foul-tip.
23. It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball.
24. An appeal on a runner who missed a base cannot be a force out.
25. A runner is out if he runs out of the baseline to avoid a fielder who is fielding a batted ball.
26. Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called.
27. No run can score when a runner is called out for the third out for not tagging up.
28. A pitch that bounces to the plate cannot be hit.
29. The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces.
30. If a fielder holds a fly ball for 2 seconds it's a catch.
31. You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.
32. The ball is always immediately dead on a balk.
33. If a player's feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball.
34. The ball must always be returned to the pitcher before an appeal can be made.
35. With no runners on base, it is a ball if the pitcher starts his windup and then stops.
36. The pitcher must come to a set position before a pick-off throw.
37. The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw.
38. If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a homerun.
39. The ball is dead anytime an umpire is hit by the ball.
40. The home plate umpire can overrule the other umps at anytime.
The Top-40 Baseball Rules Myths - ANSWERS
1. The hands are part of a person's body. If a pitch hits the batter's hands the ball is dead; if he swung at the pitch, a strike is called (NOT a foul). If he was avoiding the pitch, he is awarded first base.
Rules: 2.00 PERSON, TOUCH, STRIKE (e) and 6.05(f)
2. The batter-runner may turn left or right, provided that if he turns left he does not make an attempt to advance. An attempt is a judgment made by the umpire. The requirement is that the runner must immediately return to first after overrunning or oversliding it.
Rules: 7.08(c and j)
3. A strike is a judgment by the umpire as to whether the batter attempted to strike the ball. Breaking the wrists, or the barrel of the bat crossing the plate are simply guides to making the judgment of an attempt, these are not rules.
Rule: 2.00 STRIKE
4. The plate is in fair territory. There is nothing special about it. If a batted ball hits it, it is treated like any other batted ball.
5. The batter's box is not a safety zone. A batter could be called out for interference if the umpire judges that interference could or should have been avoided.
Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.06(c)
6. 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.
Rules: 2.00 FOUL-TIP, STRIKE
7. The batter can switch boxes at any time, provided he does not do it after the pitcher is ready to pitch.
8. The PROPER batter is the one called out. Any hit or advance made by the batter or runners due to the hit, walk, error or other reason is nullified. The next batter is the one who follows the proper batter who was called out.
Rule: 6.07(b, 1)
9. Rules 7.08(c and j) simply state that a batter-runner must immediately return after overrunning first base. It doesn't state any exceptions as to how the player became a runner. It could be a hit, walk, error or dropped third strike.
10. The batter may attempt first base anytime prior to entering the dugout or a dead ball area.
Rules: 6.05(c), 6.09(b) Casebook interpretation
11. A strike is an attempt to hit the ball. Simply holding the bat over the plate is not an attempt. This is umpire judgment.
Rule 2.00 STRIKE
12. The rule says the BAT cannot hit the ball a second time. When the BALL hits the bat, it is not an out.
Rules: 6.05(h) and 7.09(b)
13. To be out the batter's foot must be ENTIRELY outside the box when he contacts the pitch. There is no statement about touching the plate. The toe could be on the plate and the heel could be touching the line of the box, which means the foot is not entirely outside the box.
14. The runner must be out of the box AND cause interference. He is not out simply for being outside the lane. He could be called for interference even while in the lane. This is a judgment call.
Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.05(k), 7.09(k)
15. The ball is dead on a homerun over the fence. You can't be put out while the ball is dead except when you pass another runner.
Rules: 5.02, 7.05(a)
16. There is no such thing in the world of umpiring. The runner is either out or safe.
17. When a fielder other than the pitcher throws the ball into dead ball area, the award is 2 bases. The award is from where the runners were at the time of the pitch if it is the first play by an infielder before all runners have advanced or from where each runner was physically positioned at the time the ball left the throwers hand on all other plays.
18. Rule 7.09(I) says the runner is out if the coach PHYSICALLY ASSISTS the runner. Hand slaps, back pats or simple touches are not physical assists.
19. In order to correct a base running mistake, the runner MUST retrace his steps and retouch the bases in reverse order. The only time a runner is out for running in reverse, is when he is making a travesty of the game or tries to confuse the defense.
Rules: 7.08(I), 7.10(b)
20. There is no "must slide" rule. When the fielder has the ball in possession, the runner has two choices; slide OR attempt to get around the fielder. He may NOT deliberately or maliciously contact the fielder, but he is NOT required to slide.
Rule: 7.08(a, 3)
21. The bases are in fair territory. A runner is out when hit by a fair batted ball, except an infield-fly.
Rules: 5.09(f), 7.08(f)
22. There is nothing foul about a foul-tip. If the ball nicks the bat and goes to the catcher's 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.
Rules: 2.00 FOUL-TIP, STRIKE
23. A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will count.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, 4.09
24. A runner must touch all the bases. If the runner misses a base to which he was forced because the batter became a runner and is put out before touching that base, the out is still a force play. If this is the third out, no runs may score. The base can be touched or the runner can be touched, either way it's a force out.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, TAG, 7.08(e), 7.10(b)
25. The runner MUST avoid a fielder attempting to field a BATTED ball. A runner is out for running out of the baseline, only when attempting to avoid a tag.
Rules: 7.08(a), 7.09(L)
26. An Infield-fly is no different than any other fly ball in regard to the runners. The only difference is that they are never forced to advance because the batter is out whether the ball is caught or not.
Rules: 2.00 INFIELD-FLY, 6.05(e), 7.10(a)
27. Yes it can. This is not a force play. A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will count.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, 4.09, 7.10(a)
28. A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. The batter may hit any pitch that is thrown. (If the ball does not cross the foul line, it is not a pitch.)
Rule: 2.00 PITCH
29. A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. If the batter is hit by a pitch while attempting to avoid it, he is awarded first base.
Rules: 2.00 PITCH, 6.08(b).
30. A catch is legal when the umpire judges that the fielder has COMPLETE control of the ball. The release of the ball must be voluntary and intentional.
Rule: 2.00 CATCH
31. You can tag a base with ANY part of the body.
Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, PERSON, TAG, 7.08(e)
32. If a throw or pitch is made after the balk call, the ball is delayed dead. At the end of the play the balk may be enforced or not depending on what happened. On a throw; if ALL runners advance on the play, the balk is ignored. If not, the balk award is enforced from the time of pitch. On a pitch; if ALL runners INCLUDING the batter, advance on the play, the balk is ignored. Otherwise, it is no-pitch and the balk award is made from the time of the pitch.
Rule: 8.05 PENALTY
33. The position of the player's feet or any other part of the body is irrelevant. A ball is judged fair or foul based on the relationship between the ball and the ground at the time the ball is touched.
Rule: 2.00 FAIR, FOUL
34. An appeal may be made anytime the ball is alive. The only time the ball must go to the pitcher, is when time is out. The ball cannot be made live until the pitcher has the ball while on the rubber and the umpire says "Play." If time is not out, the appeal can be made immediately.
Rules: 2.00 APPEAL, 5.11, 7.10
35. A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. If the ball is not delivered, it is not a pitch. If this happens with runners on base it is a balk.
Rule: 2.00 PITCH
36. The pitcher is required to come to a complete stop in the Set position before delivering the pitch, not before making a throw.
37. If the pitcher steps off the rubber he is no longer the pitcher, he is a fielder. He can throw to a base from the rubber, provided he does not break any of the rules under rule 8.05.
38. As long as the fielder is not touching the ground in dead ball territory when he catches the ball, it is a legal catch if he holds onto the ball and meets the definition of a catch. If the catch is not the third out and the fielder falls down in dead ball territory, all runners are awarded one base. If the fielder remains on his feet in dead ball territory after the catch, the ball is alive and he may make a play.
Rules: 2.00 CATCH, 6.05(a), 7.04(c)
39. If an umpire is hit by a batted ball before it passes a fielder, the ball is dead. On any other batted or thrown ball, the ball is alive when the umpire is hit with the ball. Umpire interference also occurs when the plate umpire interferes with the catcher's attempt to prevent a stolen base.
Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 5.09(b), 5.09(f)
40. The umpire who made a call or ruling may ask for help if he wishes. No umpire may overrule another umpire's call.
Rules: 9.02(b, c)