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

What is a strike?

What is a strike?

What is a strike? That seems like such a simple question and I think that if we asked most players, coaches and even umpires we would get this answer: A pitch that is in the strike zone or is swung at. While that answer would not be incorrect it is not the whole answer. So let’s look at this topic in the words of Paul Harvey – “the rest of the story”. It’s always best to start looking at the definitions and in NFHS Rule 2-56-1 a strike is defined much as in the paragraph above – any pitch that enters any portion of the strike zone without first touching the ground or a pitch swung at by the batter and missed. However this rule goes on to list several other ways in which a strike may be called, all for specific actions by the batter or the offense. While the definitions of the strike zone...
Courtesy Runners

Courtesy Runners

Courtesy runners are a staple of high school baseball and they were actually allowed in professional baseball up through 1950. The primary purpose of courtesy runners is to speed up the game, but the original intent was an entitlement for prima donna pitchers. The runner had to take a position in front of home plate and could not run until the ball was batted. That seems inconceivable in the modern game. Courtesy runners are also prohibited in official NCAA contests so the material that follows is strictly for NFHS rules provided the rule has been adopted by the state association (NFHS 2-33, NCAA 5.8f, pro 3.04 Cmt). A courtesy runner is a player who runs for another player without officially entering the game. Such a player cannot have previously been in the game as a player. Each pitcher...
Catcher’s Interference Twice

Catcher’s Interference Twice

The Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros played at Minute Maid on June 24. In the bottom of the second, Tony Kemp was batting with the bases loaded and one out when Kemp’s swing made contact with the mitt of Royals’ catcher Drew Butera. Plate ump Lance Barrett ruled the ball dead because it was a foul ball. He sent Kemp to first and awarded all runners one base because they were all forced to advance. Kemp’s presence on first base created the force for all three runners. You can view this play by going to the link below: https://www.mlb.com/video/gurriel-scores-on-interference/c-2191220583?tid=6479266 or go to MLB.com, June 24, KC@HOU: “Gurriel comes home on catcher’s interference” Catcher’s Interference: 5.05 (b) (3); 8-1-1-e; 8-2e The catcher can interfere with the batter in...
To Play or Not to Play?

To Play or Not to Play?

In a recent season, a heavy, wet spring snowfall wiped out baseball for several days with about 10 days remaining in the season. Schools were pressed to get all their games played. A “no game” would severely hurt their chances to qualify for the post season. A particular game between district rivals had grave implications for both teams, but had been rescheduled for a fine, sunny day. The problem was the field wasn’t as dry as the air and there wasn’t another suitable make up day.   The posturing started the day of the game with a call to the state office from a former umpire turned assistant coach for the visiting team. He wanted to know that if the umpires determined the field was unplayable, could they direct the game be played at the visiting team’s field, which was in pristine condition....
Rule 5.09 (b) (9)

Rule 5.09 (b) (9)

A rather obscure rule that is universal in all playing codes came alive in the Yankees-Orioles game at Yankee Stadium on April 6.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Yankees had Giancarlo Stanton on third base and Gary Sanchez on first with one out when Neil Walker tapped a grounder back to O’s pitcher Richard Bleier. Bleier ran at Stanton to create a rundown.  During the rundown, Sanchez reached third base. With Sanchez parked on third, Stanton ran through the base several feet down the left field line. O’s catcher Caleb Joseph tagged Sanchez then headed for Stanton who ran beyond third base and to his left.  Stanton was tagged by Joseph a good distance from the base.  When that occurred, third base ump Ron Kulpa pointed to Stanton and made the out call. O’s manager Buck Showalter...
Four Umpire System

Four Umpire System

As we approach the end of the summer many umpires are assigned to work various championship tournaments at all levels – state, regional, national, etc. These tournaments may use more than the standard two umpires per game on some or all of the championship assignments. Umpires need to be prepared and study the three umpire system mechanics which are included in both the USA Softball and National Federation manuals. At times, for various reasons, some tournaments and their directors decide to use four umpires per game. This may be great in some ways but there are no published mechanics covering the four umpire system in the high school or USA Softball manuals. What are umpires to do? I recall my first four umpire assignment back in 1972 where our crew chief told us that everyone should...
Questions

Questions

Below are nine questions that I received during my spring training tour in Florida and Arizona. The answers provided are from Pro rules. I have noted, when necessary, where there is a difference between the Pro rule and theNFHS and NCAA rule. 1.  Infield Fly Rule situation. The bases are loaded and one out when the batter hits a pop fly near first base in fair territory. The umpires invoke the IFR. The runner on first base, who is several feet off the bag, is tracking the fly ball instead of locating the first baseman who is about to make the catch. The runner unintentionally runs into the first baseman who makes the catch in fair territory. Should a double play be called? A. Yes. The batter is called out under the Infield Fly Rule and the runner is called out for interference because he...
How Rules Are Made

How Rules Are Made

Last month we talked about a “fake rule”. This happened on April Fools’ Day when in the words of USA Softball’s Managing Director of Communications, Codi Warren, “an individual unknown to us spread false information on their social media account regarding USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) play requirements that made it seem as if it came from USA Softball’s official Twitter account…our Twitter account was not hacked and the tweet did not come from the USA Softball National Office.  It was simply an altered image that the individual inserted into a post for the purpose of impersonating the USA Softball Twitter account.” The tweet stated that both USA Softball and USSSA had adopted a rules change, to be effective almost immediately, that would require certain defensive players to wear face masks.  This...