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

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...
Trickery

Trickery

Trickery is defined as “the practice of crafty underhanded ingenuity to deceive or cheat.” In the game of baseball, however, there is a fine line between an act that is legally crafty and one that is outright illegal. There is no one section in the rule book that outlines what is permissible and what is not when it comes to trickery and cheating. It’s obvious and in the rules that it’s illegal to doctor the baseball or cork a bat etc. But there are many gray areas. It’s importance for umpires, players and coaches to ascertain a misdemeanor from a felony when it comes to baseball law. In some situations, it might depend which umpire is sitting on the bench. Let’s start with a couple of plays from last season. The pièce de résistance of all infield stunts is the hidden ball trick. On...
Softball Rebranding - Fick's Fast Pitch

Softball Rebranding - Fick's Fast Pitch

As we mentioned a couple of months ago USA Softball is 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 reflects the organization’s position as the National Governing Body of the sport and the return of both softball and baseball to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games program. For umpires (and others) 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 shirt colors. Right now, we all need to work on saying USA Softball rather than ASA. For me, that could take years to get used to. USA Softball has adopted some Mechanics Points of Emphasis for this season and also made some updates to its...
2017 Annual Rules Quiz

2017 Annual Rules Quiz

It’s time for my annual rules quiz. Below are 10 True or False questions based on the Pro rules. Where there is a distinction between the Pro, NCAA and NFHS rule, I have noted it in my answer section. Therefore, if you would rather take the test under NFHS or NCAA rules, you can do so. If you get all 10 correct, consider yourself a “rules guru;” A score of 8-9 correct answers places you in the category of a rules expert; If you get 6-7 right answers, you are living in the average lane; A score of 4 or 5 places you in the category of “rules challenged.” Any score less than 4 correct puts you in rules crisis. And you should deny that you ever took this quiz. OK-number your papers from 1-10 and simply write “True” or “False” for each question. The answers are found at the end of the quiz. Good...
NFHS Rule Change Review

NFHS Rule Change Review

The NFHS Baseball Rules Committee made five rules changes for the 2017 season. This month we’ll discuss those changes and the 2017 points of emphasis. We’ll also review the changes which went into effect for 2016. Pitch count. The rules now require a pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown in a game. Most states had restrictions in place based on the number of innings pitched. The policy will afford pitchers a required rest period between pitching appearances. The NFHS is committed to allowing state associations to determine pitch count restrictions because of the disparity in the length of HS baseball seasons and the number of games played. A model plan was developed by Bert Borgmann of the Colorado High School Activities Association over a three-year period which...
NCAA Rule Changes for 2017

NCAA Rule Changes for 2017

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee made a variety of changes and editorial revisions for the 2017 season. Here they are in the approximate order of significance. Collisions. In the interest of safety, the collision rule (8-7) has been revised. When a runner is attempting to score, there are restrictions on both the runner and the catcher which are designed to prevent an avoidable collision. A runner may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision. The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner...
Type B Obstruction

Type B Obstruction

In recent columns I have focused on the subject of how poor visual skills leads to a variety of rules infractions such as passing the runner, interference, obstruction etc. In my previous column, I covered obstruction plays when there is a play being directly made on the runner such as a runner being obstructed during a rundown or when the batter-runner is obstructed before reaching first base. Playing under Pro and NCAA rules, these are known as Type A obstruction plays. Unless there is a thrown ball in flight before the obstruction is called, the ball is dead immediately and the runner is awarded the next base after the last base he legally touched. Playing under NFHS rules, the ball is always a delayed dead ball and the runner is guaranteed at least one base from the point of the infraction....