Umpire Resource

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Umpire Resource

This page is intended to provide information for our Club umpires, and anyone else interested in knowing what it takes to umpire.  Before you question that call, you might want to make sure you know what you are talking about.  And then you might want to take a turn at umpiring yourself to know what if feels like with everyone staring at you and waiting for the safe/out call.

PBC Umpire Director - Fred Engel  The Umpire Director recruits and schedules the 8U division umpires, and hires umpire organizations to provide accredited umpires for the 10U divisions and up, and most travel teams.

Are You Interested in Umpiring?  We hire our own umpires for the 8U division, and can refer you to accredited umpire organizations if you are interested in older divisions.

  • Umpire Application - on the Online Forms page on the left menu.  
  • Umpire Guide this guide is intended to help our new umpires who are usually starting out in the 8U division.
  • Intramural Rules - under INTRAMURAL Baseball on the left menu.
  • Northern League Umpire Group (formerly Blizzard) - Tom Hader 443-848-2221  Northern League does most of our intramural games, and some travel games.

Umpire Incident Report Form.  This form is online under Online Forms on the left menu, and is to be used by umpires who observe unsportsmanlike behavior during a game.  It may also be used by others to also report unsportsmanlike behavior.

Think You Know Baseball?

There are lots of websites devoted to baseball rules, and quizzes to test how well you know baseball.  Here's two we downloaded:  


Below is a  running log of real game situations that have happened in our games, with some commentary about the rules affecting the play, and whether the right call was made.  If you have commentary to add to these, or additional game scenarios you'd like to see listed and addressed here, please email

Obstruction at First Base?

 The Situation - Bases empty and a ground ball to shortstop.  The throw from shortstop to 1st base is up the line toward home plate so that the firstbaseman has to take 2-3 steps toward home but also steps into foul territory to catch the high throw, putting him directly in the path of the batter-runner trying to get to first base.  The batter-runner runs further into foul territory to avoid contact or a tag but does not step back to first after he passes the fielder.  The fielder seeing that the runner has run past the base, touches 1st base. 
 The Call - The umpire calls the runner out.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call if the judgement of the umpire is that the batter-runner had an opportunity to safely reach 1st base after avoiding a collision, which is what the umpire thought.  The fielder has a right to catch the ball, and the throw required him to be in the batter's path in order to do it.  The runner has a right to the base path, but must avoid contact.  If the umpire judges the runner avoided contact by slowing down or altering his path, and that alone caused him to be out, the umpire could rule him safe.  In this case, the runner did alter his path, but he had an opportunity to reach the base and did not do that.

Outfield Overthrow to First Base

 The Situation - Bases empty and a ball hit to the outfield.  The throw from right field goes to firstbase.  The batter-runner rounds first and the throw from right field rolls out of play. 
 The Call - The umpire awards the runner 3rd base.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call only if the batter-runner had reached first base before the ball was thrown.  An outfielder might throw to first base after the batter has rounded first and the outfielder thinks he can throw behind the runner to get him out before the he returns to the bag - that would definitely mean 3rd base (two from 1st) on an out-of-play overthrow.
In many cases, a right fielder is throwing to first because he has a chance to get the player out before he has reached 1st base, which means his throw begins before the batter is on first, and that would only award 2nd base (two from home plate) on an out-of-play overthrow.
The situation above happened in an 8U game, where we frequently cannot explain why a 7 or 8 year old does what he does.  And of course the position of the runner when the throw is started is a judgement call of the umpire.

Overthrow on a Pick-off Attempt

 The Situation - Runner on first, and pitcher overthrows out of play on a pick-off attempt.
 The Call - The umpire awards the runner 3rd base because he judged the pitcher to have stepped off the rubber with his back foot before stepping toward first base for the throw.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call.  The general rules on an overthrow by the pitcher attempting a pick-off are:
1. If the pitcher's foot is still engaged on the rubber, the award is one base.
2. If the pitcher's back foot is NOT engaged on the rubber, the award is two bases.
Why? Pitcher overthrows are normally once base, but when a pitcher steps off the rubber, he is now just an infielder.  And overthrows out of play by an infielder is two bases from the point of throw.  This might suggest the pitcher should always make pick-off attempts while engaged, but that can be difficult for young right-handed pitchers, and it also leaves them subject to balk calls if they don't step properly.  Pitchers should learn both ways.

Infield Overthrows in 8U

 The Situation - Runner on 1st and a ground ball hit to the shortstop.  The shortstop fields the ball and ovethrows the secondbaseman on 2nd base, the ball rolling into centerfield.  The runner on 2nd takes off for third and the centerfielder throws to 3rd base in time for the thirdbaseman to tag the runner out.
 The Call - The umpire called the runner out at 3rd base.
 The Commentary - This is NOT the correct call in 8U.  Because we want to encourage the infielders to make throws, on any infield hit (the batted ball does not leave the infield), runners shall not advance beyond the base they are running to, on any overthrow to any base, whether the ball stays in play or not.  When the overthrow occurs, the umpire should immediately call time and a dead ball.  The fielding team cannot have it both ways - protected from an overthrow, and still be able to throw out a runner.
Note: this does not include an overthrow by an infielder after a ball has been thrown back into the infield by an outfielder.  For example, a batted ball to the outfield is thrown back to the secondbaseman who then throws to the thirdbaseman attempting to get a runner out at 3rd base.  If the ball is overthrown and stays in play, runners may try to advance.  If the ball is overthrown out of play, runners advance two bases from the base they had last reach when the infield throw was made (not when the ball went out of play).

Overthrow from the Outfield

 The Situation - Bases empty and a ball hit to the outfield.  The batter-runner attempts to get to 2nd base and the throw from the outfield is overthrown.  So the runner gets up and is on his way to 3rd base as the ball rolls out of play. 
 The Call - The umpire awards the runner 3rd base, but does not allow him to go home.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call.  The general rule is two bases on a ball thrown out of play - but the critical points are (1) two bases not yet attained, and (2) where the runner is when the fielder begins his throw.  Assuming the runner was not yet at 2nd when the fielder made the throw (does not matter how close or far from 2nd), then the runner is awarded 2nd and 3rd, even though by that time he had already passed 2nd base.
You will frequently hear this referred to as "the base he was going to + one".  Strictly speaking though, if a runner was going back to 1st from 2nd in a run-down play, and the ball is overthrown out of play, the runner gets 2nd and 3rd even though he was "going to 1st" - because he had already attained 1st and his direction does not matter, he was between 1st and 2nd when it went out of play, so he gets 2nd and 3rd.

Fielder Obstruction

 The Situation - Runner on 1st with one out, and a ball hit to the outfield.  The umpire moves into the infield to get a closer look at a possible throw to 2nd or 3rd base.  The throw eventually comes to 2nd base and the secondbaseman tags the batter-runner out before he reaches 2nd base.
 The Call - The umpire called the batter-runner out at 2nd, but it was argued immediately by the coach that the firstbasemen had obstructed the runner as he was rounding first.  The umpire did not see the obstruction, and so he did not change the call.
 The Commentary - This was the correct no-call on the obstruction because the umpire did not see it.  There are many eyes on the field, and the base coaches or spectators frequently see things that the umpire cannot due to angle, poor positioning, etc.  But you can't assume obstruction if you don't see it.  Of course, fielder obstruction happens a lot in little league baseball, and the umpire should try to leave himself in a position to see all bases in at least peripheral view whenever possible.
Note - assuming there was obstruction, and that the umpire did see it, then the runner is safe at 2nd if, and only if, it is the judgement of the umpire that the obstruction caused the batter-runner to be out, but he should err on the side of the runner.
Also note - assuming again that there was obstruction, and that the umpire did see it, but this time that the runner had safely reached 2nd base - at that point the obstruction is over because he is safe on base.  Now if the runner decides to continue and go for 3rd base, then he is back on his own.  He does not get 3rd base freely, even if it seems without the obstruction at 1st base he would have easily went all the way round to third.

Runner Interference

 The Situation - Bases loaded with 2 outs.  A ball hit to the outfield easily brings in the runners on 2nd and 3rd, and the the runner on 1st slides in safely on a close play.  However, the throw from the outfield came in while the last runner was still rounding third, and the two runners who had scored were standing in the catcher's way to retrieve the throw from the backstop and also on his way back to the plate.
 The Call - The umpire called the last runner out due to the interference.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call.  The umpire should judge whether the player would have been safe without the interference, but must err on the side of the catcher.  A runner will almost always be called out if he inteferes, and only if the accidental interference had absolutely no way to affect the outcome of a play would there be a no-call.

Not Running Through the Orange Base (8U)

 The Rule - In the 8U Division we use two first bases that are attached to each other - a white base where the 1st base would normally be, and an orange base next to it in foul territory.  The white base is for the fielder to use on a ground ball, and the orange base is for the runner.  The fielder is required to tag the white base to make an out, while the runner is supposed to touch the orange base on infield ground balls.  If a fielder is on the orange base and contact is made, the runner is safe.  The runner may touch the white base, but if he is on the white base and contact is made, the runner is out.
 The Situation - On a ground ball infield hit, the batter-runner steps on the white base and then steps off it towards second base.  The throw to the firstbaseman is caught cleanly and he touches both the white base and the batter-runner who is still off the base.
 The Call - The umpire called the batter-runner out by a tag because he judged the batter-runner to be attempting to go to second base.
 The Commentary - The call was correct.  The batter-runner is out because he was off the base, and in the umpire's judgement he was attempting second base.
Note1 - he was not out because he didn't touch the orange base, because there was no contact with the first baseman.
Note2 - he was not out because he turned left instead of right, because there is no requirement to turn in a particular direction, just that he return directly to the base.  But fhe does have to RUN through the base, which implies the next step will be up the line and not a 90 degree turn toward 2nd base.

Two Runners on the Same Base

 The Situation - A runner on 1st base moves to 2nd base on a hit to the outfield and stays there, while the batter-runner catches up to him and also stands on 2nd base.  Neither one of them is tagged by a fielder, and the lead runner eventually moves on to 3rd base without being tagged.
 The Call - The umpire makes no call, both runners are safe on 2nd and 3rd base.
 The Commentary - The umpire made the correct no-call.  Two runners may occupy the same base as long as the trailing runner does not pass the lead runner, and also as long as a fielder does not tag the trailing runner.  If a fielder had tagged the lead runner while both were on base, there still would have been no out as the lead runner has the right to the base he is on.  If a fielder had tagged the trailing runner while both were on base, the trailing runner should be called out.
Note that since neither was tagged, the lead runner can attempt to move on to 3rd, or the trailing runner could have tried to move back to 1st, or both. Note also that if the trailing runner had passed the lead runner, then the trailing runner is automatically called out, and the lead runner is still free to stay on the base or attempt to make the next base.

Batting Out of Order

 The Situation - Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs.  The batter hits a single that scores the the two runners.  Before the first pitch is thrown to the next batter, it is noticed that the batter who hit the single was not the correct batter.
 The Call - The umpire called the batter who should have been up out, but allowed the two runs to count.
 The Commentary - The skipped batter was correctly called out, but the single and 2 runs should not have been allowed.  Because the skipped batter was the third out, the inning should have ended by ignoring the last play, and the batter who followed the skipped batter in the lineup should have led off the next inning.  If the skipped batter had not been the third out, then the runners should have been positioned where they were before the single was hit, and the batter who followed the skipped batter in the lineup would have batted next, even if he was the batter who just hit the single!
Three basic rules of batting out of order are:
1. If at least one pitch is thrown to the current batter, then the previous batter is considered the last legal batter, even if that last batter had himself batted out of order.
2. If the current batter is not the correct batter, and he hasn't completed his at bat, then the correct batter can simply take his place, and assume the pitch count.  Nobody is called out.
3. If the batter who just completed his at bat was not the correct batter, and if no pitches have been thrown to the next batter, then the batter who should have been up is called out, and the resulting play of the incorrect batter is wiped out and runners are repositioned where they were before the last pitch.  The next batter in the lineup after skipped batter is to bat next, even if he is the person who just batted out of order!

Runner Interference

 The Situation - Runner on 1st base when a ground ball was hit to the firstbaseman, who set up to field the ball directly in the base path of the runner going from 1st base to 2nd base.  The runner made contact with the fielder who missed the ball.
 The Call - The umpire called the runner out, and awarded the batter first base.
 The Commentary - This was the correct call.  The runner must avoid contact with a fielder who is in the act of making a play on a batted ball.  Only if the fielder is not in the act of making a play, then the fielder could be called for obstruction, and the umpire could award the runner 2nd base if the runner had been put out AND the umpire judges he would have been safe if he had not been obstructed.

Fair/Foul Call

 The Situation - 2 runners on base when a ground ball up the first base line starts foul but then bounces back to hit 1st base before rolling on into the foul part of the outfield, but stays in play.
 The Call - The umpire started to call foul ball and motion foul with his hands.  When the ball hit the base, the umpire motioned fair ball with his hand but said nothing as would be consistent with a fair ball call.  The fielders were slow to react to the corrected call which may have contributed to the batter completing an inside the park 3-run home run!
 The Commentary - Firstly, a foul ball should not be called until it is touched in foul territory, or when it is definite that it will not become a fair ball.  Foul balls are motioned by both hands up, and yelling "foul ball".  Fair balls are motioned by pointing into fair territory, and not making any audible call, so as to not confuse it with a "foul ball".  So the umpire should have waited to make the call, but since he began to make a foul call, he should then have been very audible and very expressive to make it clear that it was in fact a fair ball.
General rule here is to make sure you aren't confusing the players.  For example, if the umpire calls a runner out, and then notices that the fielder has dropped the ball, he must emphatically call the runner safe to make it clear to everyone that his first out call was wrong.