Common Baseball Rules Misconceptions
FALSE WINDUP RULE MYTH
A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. If the ball is not delivered, it is not a pitch. Therefore
it cannot be a ball. If this happens with runners on base it is a balk. The rule for LL is different. It is an
illegal pitch and a ball with or without runners on base. Rule: 2.00 PITCH.
MUST SET TO PICK RULE MYTH
The pitcher is required to come to a complete stop in the Set position before delivering the pitch, not before
making a throw. Rule: 8.05(m).
MUST STEP OFF RUBBER TO PICK RULE MYTH
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.
DEAD BALL ON BALK RULE MYTH
In Federation rules it is, not in any others. 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.
HANDS RULE MYTH
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).
BREAKING WRISTS RULE MYTH
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.
FOUL-TIP RULE MYTH
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,
NO STEAL ON FOUL-TIP RULE MYTH
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.
SWITCH BOX RULE MYTH
The batter can switch boxes at any time, provided he does not do it after the pitcher is ready to pitch. Rule:
NO FIRST BASE ON BOUNCED PITCH RULE MYTH
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).
NO HIT ON BOUNCED PITCH RULE MYTH
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. A pitch that bounces before reaching the plate may never be a called strike
or a legally caught third strike. Rule: 2.00 PITCH. (If the ball does not cross the foul line, it is not a pitch.)
HIT PLATE RULE MYTH
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.
BATTER BOX INTERFERENCE RULE MYTH
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.
The batter is protected while in the box for a short period of time. After he has had time to react to the play
he could be called for interference if he does not move out of the box and interferes with a play.
Many people believe the batter's box is a safety zone for the batter. It is not. The batter MAY be called out
for interference although he is within the box. The key words, impede, hinder, confuse or obstruct apply to
An umpire must use good judgment. The batter cannot be expected to disappear. If he has a chance to avoid
interference after he has had time to react to the situation and does not, he is guilty. If he just swung at a
pitch, or had to duck a pitch and is off-balance, he can't reasonably be expected to then immediately avoid a
play at the plate. However, after some time passes, if a play develops at the plate, the batter must get out of
the box and avoid interference. The batter should always be called out when he makes contact and is
outside the box. Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE, 6.06(c)
DROPPED THIRD STRIKE RULE MYTH
The batter may attempt first base anytime prior to leaving the home plate dirt area. The batter becomes a
runner when the third strike is not caught. Therefore, if there are 2 outs and there is a runner at first, first
and second, or bases loaded, the batter creates a force by becoming a runner. These runners are all forced to
advance and an out may be obtained by making a play on any one of them. If the bases are loaded the
catcher may step on home or throw to third, second or first. Rule: 6.05(c), 6.09(b) Casebook interpretation
FOOT TOUCHES PLATE RULE MYTH
To be out, the batter's foot must be ENTIRELY outside the box when he contacts the pitch and the ball
goes fair or foul. He is not out if he does not contact 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. Rule: 6.06(a)
BUNTING STRIKE RULE MYTH
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. Rule 2.00 BUNT is a batted ball not swung at, but INTENTIONALLY met
with the bat. The key words are "intentionally met". If no attempt is made to make contact with a ball
outside the strike zone, it should be called a ball. An effort must be made to intentionally meet the ball with
SECOND BAT HIT RULE MYTH
The rule says the BAT cannot hit the ball a second time. When the BALL hits the bat, it is not an out. Also,
when the batter is still in the box when this happens, it's treated as simply a foul ball. If the batter is out of
the box and the bat is over fair territory when the second hit occurs, the batter would be out. Rules: 6.05(h)
OUT OF ORDER RULE MYTH
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)
RUNNING LANE RULE MYTH
The runner must be out of the lane 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. The runner may step out
of the lane a step or two before the base if he moves from within the lane to out of it. If he is out of the lane the whole distance to the base and is hit with a throw, he should be out. Rules: 2.00 INTERFERENCE,
OVERRUN FIRST BASE RULE MYTH
Rule 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. In Little League the runner may overrun. In FED rules he may not and in Professional
baseball, he may not. In other programs that use the OBR he may if that is how the program rules it. To
overrun means that the runners momentum carried him straight beyond the base after touching it. It does
not mean to turn and attempt to advance. Nor does it mean that he stepped over it or stopped on it and then
got off of it.
RIGHT TURN RULE MYTH
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 over sliding it. Rule: 7.08(c and j).
THE TIE RULE MYTH
There is no such thing in the world of umpiring. The runner is either out or safe. The umpire must judge out
or safe. It is nearly impossible to judge a tie.
HIT BY BALL ON BASE RULE MYTH
The bases are in fair territory. A runner is out when hit by a fair batted ball while touching a base, except
when hit by an infield-fly or after the ball has passed a fielder and no other fielder had a play on the ball.
If the runner is touching first or third, he is not out unless the ball touches him over fair territory. If one foot
is on the base and the other is in foul ground and he is hit on the foul ground foot, he is not out. It is a foul
ball. (If the ball has not passed beyond first or third.) Rules: 5.09(f), 7.08(f).
DEAD BALL WHEN UMPIRE IS HIT RULE MYTH
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,
OUT OF THE BASELINE RULE MYTH
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)
NO ADVANCE ON INFIELD FLY RULE MYTH
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)
MISSED BASE APPEAL RULE MYTH
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).
FLY BALL FORCE OUT RULE MYTH
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
NO RUN ON THIRD OUT RULE MYTH
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)
FAIR FEET, FAIR BALL RULE MYTH
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 by the fielder.
Rule: 2.00 FAIR, FOUL
FOOT TAG RULE MYTH
You can tag a base with ANY part of the body. Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, PERSON, TAG, 7.08(e)
2 SECOND CATCH RULE MYTH
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
FIELDER OVER THE FENCE HOMERUN RULE MYTH
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 after catching the ball, 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.
(Except FED in which case the ball is dead and 1 base is awarded.) Rules: 2.00 CATCH, 5.10(f), 6.05(a),
APPEAL RULE MYTH
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. Rule: 2.00 APPEAL, 5.11, 7.10
OUT-OF-PLAY BALL RULE MYTH
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. Rule: 7.05(g)
COACH TOUCH RULE MYTH
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.
HIGH FIVE RULE MYTH
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)
MUST SLIDE RULE MYTH
There is no "must slide" rule. When the fielder has the ball in his 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. If the fielder does not have possession but, is in the act of fielding, and contact
is made, it is a no-call unless the contact was intentional and malicious. Rule: 7.08(a, 3) this rule does not
apply to professionals.
REVERSE BASE RUNNING RULE MYTH
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)
HOME PLATE UMPIRE RULE MYTH
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)