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

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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

Observations From This Season

Observations From This Season

As we reach the end of another softball season it seems like an ideal time to take a look at notes that have accumulated while watching games this year. It seems like so many of the issues that come up, especially in the area of mechanics, are seen repeatedly not only throughout the year but even season after season. Let’s a look at twelve things umpires can work on for 2019 and yes, so much of it is an easy fix! 1. Calling Time – This is an example of any easy one. How hard is it to raise two hands instead of one? Time is called with both hands in the air – holding up the pitcher is done with one hand only and using the hand away from the batter. Switch over to the left hand to hold play for a left handed batter – that keeps the pitcher from being unable to see your signal because the batter...
Mid-Play Runners

Mid-Play Runners

Although umpires have the ability to call “time” at any point in the game, they must be careful to not do so while a play is in progress. The rules outline situations when play should be suspended and those include granting a request for “time” from a player or coach (NFHS 5-2-1; NCAA 6-5, pro 5.12). Once an umpire calls “time,” no player can be put out (except a dead-ball appeal in NFHS), but a runner can correct a base running infraction or proceed to advance to awarded bases. NFHS and NCAA rules specifically state that “time’ should not be called after a base on balls is awarded until the batter-runner has advanced and touched first base. The rationale for that is the batter-runner has a right to attempt to steal second immediately after reaching first. A pro interpretation supports...
Inning-Ending Time Play

Inning-Ending Time Play

An inning-ending “Time Play” can be created in different ways to help produce a run. Umpires must be alert and have command of the rule. Taking a run away from a team because of lack of knowledge of the rule or falling asleep on the play is unacceptable. Because the plate umpire makes the final ruling since he sees the whole play in front of him, it’s imperative that he is in proper position to see the runner crossing the plate and the tag of the trail runner. The plate umpire must back-up a few feet to get a proper perspective of the play. Some teams are coached to manufacture “Time Plays.” It’s critical that the umps are prepared to make the proper judgment. Let’s look at some. When the third out is a force out at second base with the bases loaded or when there are runners on first and...
Intervening Play

Intervening Play

One of the common criticisms of annual rules testing is “those” plays never happen. Well sometimes they do and the umpires must be ready when that happens. On a particularly nice baseball day in Colorado, an unusual play happened, not once, but twice; different games of course. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules.   In the English language, “intervene” means to come between or to occur in time between other events. Thus, - an intervening play is a play that comes in between two other events. The only situation in which the placement of runners differs if there is an intervening play is if the batter-runner has not touched first at the time of interference. The effect of an intervening play is to change the base to which runners must return from the...
2018 Rules Q's

2018 Rules Q's

During the 2018 season I received many rules related questions. I will cover several in this column and will share others in the future. Unless noted, my answers would apply for all three playing codes-Pro, NCAA and NFHS. Q. There’s a runner on first, catcher’s interference is called and the batter safely makes it to first as a result of the play. If the runner on first (after safely reaching second base), makes an attempt for third base during the play and gets thrown out, does the offensive coach have the option to negate that out because of the initial interference rewarded to the batter? Or does the defense get to keep the out, because the runner on first advanced past second base at his own risk? A. The out would stand. The manager of the offensive team would have no option....
First in all 50!!!

First in all 50!!!

On July 22, 2018 Tim Sabin became the first USA Softball umpire to work a game in each and every one of the fifty states.  Sabin worked the plate in a USA Softball of Hawaii fast pitch competition at the Patsy C. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to achieve this remarkable accomplishment. Sabin worked his first game at Cincinnati’s Rumpke Park back in 1997 on April Fools’ Day!  He started as a Slow Pitch umpire wanting to see how he liked that role in the game.  Soon he purchased equipment and added the Fast Pitch game. In just his third year of umpiring added three states – Kentucky (a college game at Thomas More University), Indiana (an ASA National Championship at Twin Lakes Park in Bloomington), and an invitational tournament in Canton, Michigan. Tim had...
Squeeze...Inter…Obstr...!?!?

Squeeze...Inter…Obstr...!?!?

The following scenario would be perfect for discussion at an umpire’s meeting. The Rays hosted the White Sox on Aug. 3. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Rays had Joey Wendle on third with one out when Mallex Smithlaid down a suicide squeeze against Juan Minaya, scoring Wendle. Leaping to the plate, Wendle made contact with White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez who fired wildly past first base with nobody covering allowing Smith to advance to second base. You can view the play by going to the link below: https://www.mlb.com/video/smiths-game-tying-squeeze-bunt/c-2343617683?tid=6479266 or go to MLB.com, Aug. 3, CWS@TB, “Smith ties game with suicide squeeze” If you watch the play carefully, you will notice that Smith made contact with Narvaez as the White Sox catcher was pursuing...
Plays From Across The Country

Plays From Across The Country

It’s been several months since we looked at some of the play situations that have been sent in from across the country. Let’s take a look at some of the latest! 1. A question came up in regards to the age of people in the media area. When a student is doing a feed for the schools web page or something like that, do they need to wear a helmet if they are under 18? Ruling - The umpires don't have any jurisdiction over this, nor do the playing rules.   So the answer is that it is up to game management or the school program.  That said, I strongly discourage media areas – and look for a 2019 rules change to keep them off the field. 2. Question from a Coach – I have a question about rule 3-2-7c dealing with wristbands for pitchers. We wore wristbands last year for my pitcher and catcher and they...