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

Awarding the Cycle - Part II

Awarding the Cycle - Part II

Hitting for the cycle is anomaly. On August 14, 2015 in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Matt Kemp became the first player in San Diego Padres’ history to accomplish the feat. All MLB teams have now had a player do it as least once. Last month, we began an examination of the acts by which umpires could award a cycle by rule by discussing awards of first base. Here are the ways two, three and four bases could be awarded to a batter. Two bases. There are two ways for a batter to get a two-base award and first is somewhat common – the erroneously named “ground rule double.” The award is in the rules and the ground rules are not a factor (NFHS 8-3-3c; NCAA 8-3o1; pro 5.05a6-8/6.09e-g, 5.06b4B/7.05f). The batter is awarded two bases is when his fair batted ball bounces and passes over, through...
NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2016

NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2016

It seems that each season goes by faster than the previous one.  While it’s hard to get used to the fact that 2017 is almost upon us, the rules changes adopted by both the National Federation and ASA/USA Softball are again going to be relatively easy for umpires to handle the coming season.   While there are a few more rules changes this year the new items are not in the “major” category and indications are that the rules makers of both organizations believe that their games are in good shape. The most significant NFHS changes relate to equipment and uniform changes. Umpires (and likely coaches and players as well) will most certainly welcome the change to Rule 3-2-15 which states that equipment to be inspected by the umpires, including all bats and helmets, shall be placed in a single location...
Awarding Bases

Awarding Bases

“Always know where the ball is,” is a basic tenet for umpires. Unfortunately, concentration of the ball can lead to neglect or lack of awareness of the overall play. In several of my columns I have noted the lack of proper visual skills on the part of runners and infielders. Failure to observe a teammate or an opponent in the immediate vicinity often results in interference and obstruction plays. As a result of a couple of plays that took place in the 2016 season, you can add umpires to the list. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-0 in St. Louis on April 14. In the third inning, the Cards’ Randal Grichuk hit a shot to deep center off Wily Peralta that went off the glove and over the wall of leaping Brewers’ center fielder Keon Broxton for a two-run homer. However, Brandon...
The Infield Fly

The Infield Fly

The Infield Fly rule has multiple layers that can be further complicated when interference occurs in the same play. The Red Sox and Blue Jays played in Toronto on Sept. 9. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Jays had Jose Bautista on second and Troy Tulowitzki on first with one out when Dioner Navarro hit a pop fly several feet in fair territory near first base. It was a classic Infield Fly rule situation. As Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez was tracking the ball, “Tulo” returned to first and collided with Ramirez while the ball was in the air. First base ump James Hoye called interference on Tulowitzki and he was called out. But inexplicably, the Infield Fly rule was never invoked and Navarro was allowed to stay at first base. If Tulowitzki was the only runner on base, that would...
Awarding the Cycle

Awarding the Cycle

Just about every baseball fan knows what hitting for the cycle means: the accomplishment of one batter hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. While getting four hits in a game is a significant accomplishment, the cycle is more of a conversational oddity than a statistic of excellence. It is though, a feat that is very rare. At the end of the 2015 season roughly 210,000 MLB games had been played, giving the 18 starters 3,780,000 opportunities to hit for cycle. It’s been done 306 times (.008%) and is as rare as a no-hitter. No records are kept of awards that would be equivalent to a cycle and it is highly doubtful it has ever occurred and is not likely to ever occur, but it is interesting to understand how umpires would award a cycle by rule. Of course, the player...
Movement from the Plate and Use of Holding Zone

Movement from the Plate and Use of Holding Zone

We all know that outstanding plate umpires must have the ability to do a great job calling balls and strikes plus excellent plate mechanics.  We just never hear anyone talk about a great umpire who does well on most everything but has shortcomings on balls and strikes.  However, it is also important to be able to move and cover plays involving runners.  Plate umpires have many duties beyond the strike zone – fair/foul, trailing the batter runner, and covering for the base umpire who chases a ball to the outfield.  Among the most important responsibilities are calling plays at third base and home plate.  At the plate a safe/out call definitely makes a difference in the score and at third base we know the runner is close to being able to score. First, we should talk about the importance of using...
Championships

Championships

Each year at this time umpires around the country achieve their goal of working National Championship play. For instance, in ASA/USA Softball, thousands of umpires are assigned to roughly 100 National Championships in all age groups and in both Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch. Many umpires arrive at these championships well prepared and knowing what to expect. A few, perhaps those with little or no National Championship experience, don’t get all the necessary coaching and mentoring and don’t know what to expect. This month we look at some suggestions to help umpires, new or experienced, be prepared to head to championship play. The first several items are all related and together come to an umpire’s appearance. We all know that umpires come in all sizes and shapes – it’s easy to say that umpires...
The Unexpected

The Unexpected

Umpiring a baseball game usually consists of a series of routine decisions. For the plate umpire, it’s mostly balls and strikes with a smattering of fair or foul and the less frequent safe or out, probably at the plate, but possibly at third. For his partner on the bases, it’s mostly safe or out with some fair or foul down the first base line sprinkled in. Those are the bread and butter calls, but the true test comes when the unexpected occurs. Umpires don’t like surprises, but they happen and we must be ready for them. Interference or obstruction? Ruling on interference is a somewhat routine act in a football game, but in baseball it’s not simply a matter of interference or not. The third choice is obstruction. Here are some guidelines to assist when the dreaded surprise occurs. When opposing...