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

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...
The Controversial Baseline Rule

The Controversial Baseline Rule

Pro rule 5.09 (b) (1) (2); formerly 7.08 (a) (1) reads,” Any runner is out when he runs more than three-feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.” The rule covers all playing codes. Excluding rundowns, when a runner is attempting to advance from one base to another, he has no restricted baseline until a tag attempt is made. If a runner anticipates an imminent tag attempt, he can legally divert his base path. He does not need to stay in a direct line to the base. His responsibility to avoid the fielder when the fielder is making a play is clearly outlined...
Two is a Crowd

Two is a Crowd

Most would say three is a crowd. It’s hard to argue with that, but two can also be a crowd when it is two runners on the same base. Bases are designed for sole occupancy, just like phone booths (remember those?) and toilets on aircraft. When two runners end up on the 15” square bag, there will be at least one out and maybe two. Twin runners can occur at any base, but third base appears to be the most prevalent. The key is for umpires to understand who the rightful occupant is. It is helpful if the players understand who has a sanctuary and who does not, but that won’t always happen. The rule is simple: The preceding runner is entitled to the base unless he was forced to advance (NFHS 8-2-8a, NCAA 8-1c, pro 5.06a2/7.03a). We’ll begin the review of double occupancy with a lone runner on first...
Batter HBP After Balk

Batter HBP After Balk

I’m aware that many of the readers of this publication work under NFHS or NCAA rules during the spring months. However, many summer leagues operate under Pro rules for the most part. Whether you are coaching or umpiring, a review of balk situations under the Pro playing code, is worth a look. Unlike NFHS rules, when a balk is called, the ball is not dead and “Time” should not be called unless the pitcher does not deliver the pitch or throw to a base. I recently received this interesting question regarding a batter who was hit by a pitch in a recent Bowling Green game. Q. With a runner on first, the pitcher balks and hits the batter with the pitch. What’s the call?A. The batter is awarded first base and the runner on first would go to second base. Let me explain. When a batter is hit by a...
The Goal

The Goal

Being selected to work a National Tournament is a goal for thousands of umpires around the country. Once selected, proper preparation improves the likelihood of an umpire meeting the next goal which is to have a successful championship experience and excel both on and off the field. Among the most important factors in doing all this is to follow the rules and mechanics of the organization, do what you are told to do, and to work on continuous improvement during the course of the championship. Recently I had the opportunity to observe a National Championship where a solid umpire did not do well in his some of his postgame and off the field responsibilities. As a result he did not meet his personal goal for the event. As we can all learn from what we see others do – right or wrong – let’s look...
Time Plays Explained

Time Plays Explained

When the third out occurs by a back runner just before or just after a lead runner crosses the plate and that out is not the result of a force out or the batter-runner being retired before reaching first base for the third out, you have a “Time Play.” If the runner advancing home crosses the plate before the third out, the run scores. If he doesn’t, the run does not score. The term “Time Play,” is not found in the Official Baseball Rules. This is umpire lingo but the term might make it easier for young umpires and players to understand the rule which is universal. The Dodgers hosted the Brewers on June 16. It took instant replay to confirm the Dodgers' tying run in the bottom of the sixth inning which was the result of a “Time Play.” With one out the Dodgers had Joc Pederson on third and...
Interference by the Offense

Interference by the Offense

There are several ways offensive players can be charged with interference. Some of the uncommon forms of interference can be committed by members of the offense who are permitted to be on the field, but are not directly participating in the game. Those would include the base coaches and the on-deck batter. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules. On-deck batter. The on-deck circle has a five foot diameter and it is recommended it be placed at least 37 feet from home plate. NCAA rules also specify a minimum 30 foot distance from the plate (1-5e). In NFHS play, the next batter up not need be in the on-deck circle, but if he wishes to warm-up he must use his team’s on-deck circle (1-2-3). In pro, the next batter up must be in the circle and he is the only...