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

Stop it Now

Stop it Now

Events that Result in an Immediate Dead Ball Part I   An immediate dead ball is something every umpire understands. It is obvious the ball becomes dead when a foul is not caught or a batted, thrown or pitched ball goes out of play. However there are many other acts which also cause the ball to become immediately dead. Umpires must recognize those acts and should not allow play to continue. We’ll begin with acts of interference. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. Bat hits ball twice. After hitting or bunting a fair ball, if the bat, still held by the batter, hits the ball a second time in fair territory outside the batter’s box, it is interference. If the batter drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s...
We're Underway

We're Underway

Softball season is now underway in all but the coldest parts of the country. While the southern states always receive a head start we are now getting plays and questions from around the country. This month we will look at some of those plays. What are the rules on ribbons in the hair?  Ribbons are considered headwear and must be black, white, beige, or school colors.  The colors need not be the same for all team members.  A logo on the ribbon may be any color.  (Rule 3-2-5).  Ribbons, like any other part of the uniform may not have reflective adornments – examples would be glitter or rhinestones. From a coach - We have white jerseys as part of our uniform, but we also have team hoodies that are green with name and numbers on them and school logo. The umpire stated that if everyone was...
The Second Play in the Infield: A Rare Base Award

The Second Play in the Infield: A Rare Base Award

Do you know the difference between the “first play” and “second play” in the infield when it comes to making a base award? Let’s start with a very common play. The runner on first base is going with the pitch when the batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop. The shortstop has no chance to make a play on the runner going to second so he throws to first but air mails the ball into the stands. The runner, who was on first, had reached second base by the time the shortstop released the ball. Where would you place the runner? The answer is third base. Even though the runner was on second base at the time of the throw, he would be awarded two bases from his position on the bases at the time of the pitch because the errant throw was the “first play” by the infielder. Since first base was the...
Relief Pitchers

Relief Pitchers

When baseball began, there were no relievers. One player usually pitched the entire game and most teams didn’t have more than two pitchers. In 1876, George Bradley of the St Louis Brown Stockings, started all 64 of his team’s games and completed 63 of them; he sat out four innings all year. Granted, the pitchers of the 19th century bore little resemblance to what is "pitching" today. At one time, the distance from the pitcher to home plate was less than 50 feet, hitters could call for a "high" or "low" pitch, pitchers could throw the ball from a running start, and curveballs and overhand pitches were illegal. The game changed over time and it became impossible for a team to rely on a single pitcher. Full-time relief pitchers did not emerge until after 1950 and from there the rules regarding...
A Swing or a Bunt?

A Swing or a Bunt?

Each season we seem to get questions on many of the same topics but also we always have some new topics. This year one of those new topics has been difference between a bunt and a slap hit. The difference is really only important when there is a foul batted ball with two strikes but this situation does occur quite often. Under Rule 7-4-9 a batter is out on strikes when she has two strikes and bunts the ball foul with the ball being not caught. If the ball is swung at (not bunted) the ball is foul and the time at bat continues. This rule is the same in baseball however the “slap hit” is not at all prevalent in that game. Softball umpires must therefore be able to identify the difference between the bunt and the “slap”. In order to understand almost any rule in any sport it is important to first...
No Right of Way

No Right of Way

There are times in the game of baseball when the fielder has the right of way and it’s the responsibility of the runner to avoid the fielder such as when a fielder is in the act of fielding a ground ball or a fly ball. Then there are times when the runner has the right of way and it’s the responsibility of the fielder to relinquish space to the runner such as when a runner is approaching a base and the fielder is not in possession of the ball or in the act of receiving a throw. And there are times when both the fielder and the runner have the right of way which is the primary focus of this column. When a batted or bunted ball is front of the plate and the runner is attempting to go to first while the fielder is attempting to make the play, both have the right of way and there should be no...
It's All in the Name

It's All in the Name

Last month we covered the USA Softball Mechanics Points of Emphasis for 2017.  Keep in mind that we all need to get used to the USA Softball name – it’s the new and rebranded name of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) effective with the 2017 season.  This change has been in the works for some years and not only reflects the organization’s position as the National Governing Body of the sport but the return of both softball and baseball to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games program.   There are over forty NGBs in the United States and I’m told that softball was the only one that did not have the name formatted as it now is.  For umpires there are no changes other than a new name and of course a new uniform which will be phased in over the next four years and offer more options – especially for...
Pinch Hitters

Pinch Hitters

Pinch hitting was almost unknown in the early days of the game. Rosters were limited, and every player was expected to take his regular turn at bat. Substitutes were usually only allowed for injuries. Pinch hitters started to be used more often early in the 20th Century. Pinch hitters are used principally in two situations: to replace a weak hitter (pitcher or a light-hitting defensive specialist), or to gain a platoon advantage i.e., left-handed batter against a right-handed pitcher or vice versa. In some instances, a coach will send a pinch hitter to execute a specific play, such as a sacrifice bunt. As with other substitution rules, the substitute must stay in the game and the player they replace may not come back in unless the re-entry rule applies in NFHS play. A pinch hitter may be...