The ABUA is the largest membership association for amateur baseball umpires in the U.S.

The ABUA's purpose is to improve the overall quality of umpiring in youth league, high school and college baseball through innovative teaching and educational programs, and superior educational resources.The ABUA protects its members with the most comprehensive insurance package in the industry
(Liability, Medical & Lost game fees)!

The ABUA provides a national organization and network where individual umpires and local associations can promote professionalism, integrity and a love of the game.

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In The News

Rules Questions

Rules Questions

While most states are just starting the 2016 high school softball season, some of the southern states are well into the season and the northern states are wrapping up the “meeting season” and scrimmages.  As a result the rules questions are coming in – let’s take a look at some of the best questions received so far this month: Play - Runner on first base - no outs - count on the batter is 0-2 - when the pitcher releases the ball, the runner on first base attempts to steal second base - the batter swings at the pitch and misses - the catcher drops the 3rd strike - the batter-runner runs to first base even though the umpire said strike 3 the batter is out - the catcher then throws the ball into right field.  When the catcher threw the ball, she was throwing the ball to first base because...
The Mechanics of Missed Pitches

The Mechanics of Missed Pitches

In last month’s Newsletter, we discussed the frequency of missed pitches. Purportedly MLB umpires miss 14% of the pitches. Whatever the truth is, amateur umpires, no matter how good they are, can be expected to miss a few more than that. It’s tough to beat the consistency developed from working the plate every other day for 10 years in the minor leagues. Accept the fact pitches will be missed and learn to live with it. Dwelling on a missed pitch is prone to causing additional missed pitches. Umpires usually know when they are having trouble. Go back to the basics and check yourself. The fundamentals of sound plate mechanics include striving for the same view on every pitch, proper timing and use of circumstantial evidence. Position. The position an umpire takes is critical to getting...
The Costly Souvenir

The Costly Souvenir

During the 2015 season, Red Sox right fielder Rusney Castillo provided a souvenir for a fan by throwing the ball into the stands after he made a catch for what he thought was the third out. However, it was only the second out and Abraham Almonte, the Indians’ runner on first base, was awarded two bases on the throw into the stands and was sent to third base. In this play, Almonte returned to first base and tagged­up before he went to third base, his awarded base. But what if he didn’t retouch first base? What would be the ramifications? Whenever a fielder makes a catch for a putout and subsequently throws the ball into dead ball territory, any runner attempting to advance, must tag­up or retouch his original base, the last base he legally occupied at the start of play, which is...
Applying the Incorrect Rule

Applying the Incorrect Rule

Have you ever seen a game in which the umpires applied the incorrect rule regarding the termination of the game? Have you ever seen a defensive team appeal two runners in the same play for not touching the next base when forced? How about if it involved a game­ending play? If so, is the order of appeals important in such situations? OK­fasten your seat belts since you are about to take a wild ride through the dangerous mountains and curves of the baseball rule book relating to the above questions. The Aug. 9, 2015, game between the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field had all of the elements listed above. Here’s what happened. With the score tied 3­3 in the bottom of the tenth inning, the D’Backs had the bases loaded with one out when Chris Owings hit a...
Missing a Pitch

Missing a Pitch

No matter how “missed pitch” is defined, every umpire is going to call a strike on a pitch that isn’t a strike by rule and call a ball when the pitch was actually a strike – in every game. One estimate, from within the ranks of MLB umpires, is that MLB umpires miss 3‐5 pitches per game. A study of over one million pitches by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Wertheim using data from the cameras installed in selected MLB stadiums beginning in 2007 showed an error rate of 14.4%. That rate of course, is against the rule book strike zone and not the practical strike zone used by all umpires. The average number of pitches thrown in an MLB game in 2010 was 292 which would mean umpires missed roughly 42 pitches per game. Prep games are only seven innings and in states where there is a mercy rule,...
Having Good Judgment

Having Good Judgment

In January we discussed the importance of good plate mechanics and how the use of good mechanics would help to support the National Federation’s 2016 Point of Emphasis on strike zone. This is an important topic because most anyone involved in the game will agree that an umpire who is not strong calling balls and strikes will not be extremely successful. There are many other parts of the game where we can have a few “chinks in the armor” and get away with it but calling balls and strikes is not one of them. For this reason, just as I wrote last month about this topic, I have been talking plate mechanics as I make the clinic and meeting rounds this winter. As mentioned last month there are many reasons that mechanics are important but the primary one is that the use of solid mechanics...
NFHS Rule Changes

NFHS Rule Changes

The NFHS Baseball Rules Committee made only two rule changes for the 2016 season and one is announced as a clarification. This month we’ll discuss those changes and the 2016 points of emphasis. We’ll also review the changes which went into effect for 2015. Rule 3‐3‐1q was added and states that a coach, player, substitute, attendant or other bench personnel shall not “have any physical contact, spitting, kicking of dirt or any other physical action directed toward an umpire.” Those actions were virtually universally recognized as actions worthy of ejection and their addition to the rules removes any remaining doubt. In an effort to promote preventive officiating and reduce ejections, umpires are required to issue a formal warning to coaches and record it when restricting a coach...
Working the Plate

Working the Plate

Last month we looked at some of the National Federation Points of Emphasis for the 2016 high school softball season. One of the three POEs is the strike zone. While it is obvious that every umpire is going to be somewhat different in calling balls and strikes we must work to make the strike zone as consistent as possible and in accordance with the written rules. The strike zone is that space over any part of the plate between the batter’s forward armpit and the top of the knees. It’s important to note that this assumes the batter’s natural stance and that any part of the ball touching any part of the strike zone should result in a strike. In the Federation conference call where POEs were covered with state association personnel it was mentioned that the Rules Committee had received...