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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2018 MLB Rule Books STILL AVAILABLE!!!

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In The News

Coach Speak

Coach Speak

“Kids Say the Darndest Things” was a comedy featurein Art Linkletter's radio show “House Party” and the television series, “Art Linkletter's House Party,” which together aired mostly five days a week from 1945 to 1969. Coaches are also known to say the darndest things. Here are some of them with an analysis. “If they steal our signs, we can throw at them.” The pitch barely nicked the batter who reacted as if hit batsmen are part of the game and nothing untoward appeared to the man behind the plate. As the hitter dropped his bat though, the catcher uttered “That’ll teach you.” The umpire immediately interpreted that as a confession. “What was that about?” Before the player could respond, his coach was out of the dugout asking what was going on. The umpire explained the apparent conspiracy between...
NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2019

NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2019

Each year at this time we look at the rules changes for the upcoming season. As we approach the holidays it’s a fact that the 2019 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 again only a few rules changes this year only one of the new NFHS items will have a major impact on the game as most of the items are not in the “extremely significant” category. All indications are that the rules makers of both organizations believe that their games are in good shape with USA Softball being especially reluctant to make significant changes. Let’s first look at the NFHS changes.  Clearly, the major change here is a revision in the penalty for an illegal pitch.  Throughout Rule 6 we see changes in the penalty...
Batter-Runner Interference

Batter-Runner Interference

I think most baseball fans, players, coaches and perhaps some young umpires, take for granted the 45-foot, 3-foot wide RUNNER’S LANE the last 45-feet between home and first base without knowing its purpose. A little history. In the early days of baseball, the foul lines intersected the bases. Because of that, there were many collisions between the batter-runner and the fielder taking the throw at first base, usually the first baseman. To eliminate these collisions, in 1881 the bases were moved more toward the infield side of the line with the foul line running through the outer portion of the bases where it is today. The RUNNER’s LANE was added to the foul line between home and first.  The objective was to keep the batter-runner away from the fielder who is “taking” the throw, usually from...
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....
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