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

Odd Plays of 2017

Odd Plays of 2017

Every year plays occur that challenge the obscure and distant rules of the game. Let’s look back at some that took place during the 2017 season. April 6: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a pitched ball got stuck in front of St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina’s chest protector when the Redbirds hosted the Chicago Cubs. Matt Szczur led off the top of the seventh facing Brett Cecil. On the 0-2 pitch, Cecil threw a breaking ball that bounced in the dirt before reaching the plate. Szczur swung at the pitch, but failed to make contact, resulting in the third strike. The ball bounced up toward Molina and stuck on the front side of his chest protector. The incident resembled backyard Velcro baseball. Szczur ran to first where he was allowed to remain. Molina had no idea what happened,...
Flipping the Calendar

Flipping the Calendar

Last month we looked at the USA Softball and NFHS rules changes for 2018. Although there are a few changes to each code the new items are not earth shattering. As is often the case the Points of Emphasis can be more important to both umpires and the game than the actual rules changes. As we flip the calendar to 2018 let’s take look at the new POEs which are existing rules that the rules makers have identified as needing attention. For those who have to take an annual NFHS rules test you can count on being asked about these items. The points come from issues brought up from those involved in the game all across the country. For 2018, the NFHS has three emphasis items: Coaches’ Responsibility for certifying legal equipment at the Pregame Conference, Batter Hit by Pitch, and Courtesy Runner for...
Coaches Will Be Coaches

Coaches Will Be Coaches

The vast majority of coaches at the college and high school levels are highly intelligent people. Almost all of them have a college degree and most of them are accomplished educators. However, anytime you put someone onto a baseball field they can morph into an inexplicable creature. Here are some conversations initiated by coaches that probably never should have happened. Batter hit by pitch. In the first instance, the batter clearly swung at a pitch that hit his arm and was properly called out on strikes. The coach accepted the umpire’s explanation especially after he asked his batter what happened and the player replied that the pitch had hit his wrist. The next coach was recalcitrant. His behavior was fueled by the fact it wasn’t clear if the batter had swung or checked his swing as the...
Pinch Runners

Pinch Runners

One of the most embarrassing acts a player can commit is to get picked off as a pinch runner. A pinch runner is a substitute who comes in for another player who is already on base. This substitution can be made for an injured player or one that is simply slow. Exceptionally fast runners are sometimes used to attempt a steal. In other cases, the change is made in advance of a defensive substitution. 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 runner may be substituted by another pinch runner before the inning ends. If the runner stays in the game, he would have to both hit and play the field, although there is no requirement to play the same position as the...
NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2018

NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2018

It seems that each season goes by faster than the previous one.  As we approach the holiday season it’s a fact that the 2018 is almost upon us and it’s time to look at the rules changes adopted by both the National Federation and ASA/USA Softball.  While there are only a few rules changes this year some of the new items are definitely will impact the game but most are still not in the “extremely significant” category.  All indications are that the rules makers of both organizations believe that their games are in good shape. Let’s first look at the five NFHS changes.  In Rule 2-65-2 intentional walks will now be permitted without pitches being thrown.  The new rule states that a request for an intentional base on balls can now be made prior to or during an at-bat by the defensive coach, pitcher...
Backswing Interference

Backswing Interference

I think coaches are often intimidated to challenge or protest an umpire’s rule interpretation. I’m aware that conferences throughout the country handle protests differently, but if the machinery exists  to handle a rule misinterpretation, the coach owes it to his your players to exercise that right. Of course, it’s imperative that the coach has a keen understanding of the rule he is protesting. And needless to say, if the umpire has a solid understanding of the rule, a protest would not be upheld. Let’s take the topic of backswing interference and the controversy that surrounded it in the deciding Game Five of the 2017 NLDS played between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals, a game won by the Cubs, 9-8. Backswing interference occurs when the batter’s follow-through swing hits...
2017 Play Situations and the Rules Supplement

2017 Play Situations and the Rules Supplement

It’s time again to take look at some of the play situations that have come in during the past few months.  As I’ve said in the past when we look at some of the unusual things that can occur in a softball game we must look first to the rule book, then to the case book, and we must at times even study the intent of the rule to determine how an interpretation can solve a play.   However, one of the most overlooked assets we have in the USA Softball book is the Rules Supplement which contains roughly thirty pages of interpretation and commentary.  Much of it’s been around for decades and it was written to help cover situations that aren’t always as clear as they should be in the rules.  Originally this section was called “Points of Emphasis” but since it was the same each year it was more accurately...
Relievers: Legal and Illegal

Relievers: Legal and Illegal

At the end of the 19th century, 84% of professional games were completed by the starting pitcher. As relief pitchers became more in vogue, the complete-game starter has virtually disappeared and the number of complete games is now down to about 4%. The idea that all good pitchers should be starting pitchers is still in the minds of some, but don’t tell Marino Rivera that a pitcher who doesn’t make a good starter cannot thrive in relief. The original concept of relief pitching was to use another starter when the original starter didn't have his best stuff or simply ran out of gas. Once teams realized that a pitcher could be a dedicated reliever and still be an asset to his team, specialists were developed to the point where some pitchers are used almost exclusively against either right-handed...