Baseball Rules Myths

All of the Following Statements are FALSE. Click on the link to go to the reference for each myth.
Differences between the ML and NFHS are noted. Thanks to Mike Sweeney - Waycinden Area, IL Chief Umpire.

 

The hands are considered part of the bat

The batter-runner must turn to his right after over-running first base

If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, its a strike

If a batted ball hits the plate first it's a foul ball

The batter cannot be called out for interference if he is in the batters box

The ball is dead on a foul tip

The batter may not switch batters boxes after two strikes

The batter who batted out of order is the person declared out

The batter may not overrun first base when he gets a base-on-balls
See Steve's note below

The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first after a dropped third strike

If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, its an automatic strike

The batter is out if his foot touches the plate

The batter-runner is always out if he runs outside the running lane after a bunted ball

A runner is out if he slaps hands or high-fives other players, after a homerun is hit over the fence

Tie goes to the runner

The runner gets the base he's going to, plus one on a ball thrown out-of-play

Anytime a coach touches a runner, the runner is out

Runners may never run the bases in reverse order

The runner must always slide when the play is close

The runner is always safe when hit by a batted ball while touching a base

A runner may not steal on a foul tip

It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball

An appeal on a runner who missed a base cannot be a force out

A runner is out if he runs out of the baseline to avoid a fielder who is fielding a batted ball

Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called

No run can score when a runner is called out for the third out for not tagging up

A pitch that bounces to the plate cannot be hit

The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces

If a fielder holds a fly ball for 2 seconds its a catch

You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal

The ball is always immediately dead on a balk

If a players feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball

The ball must always be returned to the pitcher before an appeal can be made

With no runners on base, it is a ball if the pitcher starts his windup and then stops

The pitcher must come to a set position before a pick-off throw

The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw

If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a homerun

The ball is dead anytime an umpire is hit by the ball

The home plate umpire can overrule another umpire at anytime

 

Rules References

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The hands are considered part of the bat.

The hands are part of a person's body. If a pitch hits the batter's hands the ball is dead; if he swung at the pitch, a strike is called (NOT a foul). If he was avoiding the pitch, he is awarded first base.

Rules: 2.00 PERSON,
TOUCH, STRIKE (e) and 6.05(f) Official Baseball Rules

The batter-runner must turn to his right after over-running first base.

The batter-runner may turn left or right, provided that if he turns left he does not make an attempt to advance. An attempt is a judgment made by the umpire. The requirement is that the runner must immediately return to first after overrunning or over-sliding it.

Rule: 7.08(c and j)
Official Baseball Rules

If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, its a strike.

A strike is a judgment by the umpire as to whether the batter attempted to strike the ball. Breaking the wrists, or the barrel of the bat crossing the plate are simply guides to making the judgment of an attempt, these are not rules.

Rule: 2.00 STRIKE
Official Baseball Rules

If a batted ball hits the plate first its a foul ball.

The plate is in fair territory. There is nothing special about it. If a batted ball hits it, it is treated like any other batted ball.

The batter cannot be called out for interference if he is in the batters box.

The batter's box is not a safety zone. A batter could be called out for interference if the umpire judges that interference could or should have been avoided.

Rules: 2.00
INTERFERENCE, 6.06(c) Official Baseball Rules

The ball is dead on a foul-tip.

There is nothing "FOUL" about a foul-tip. It is a strike and the ball is alive. A foul-tip is the same as a swing and a miss. To be a foul-tip, by rule, the ball must go sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher's hand or glove AND BE CAUGHT.

Confusion arises on this because people commonly call any ball that is tipped or nicked a foul-tip. It is not a foul-tip, by rule, unless the nicked or tipped ball is caught. If it is not caught, it is simply a foul-ball. A foul-ball is a dead ball. A foul-tip (a legally caught nick) is a live ball strike, just like a swing and a miss.

Read the rule in the Official Baseball Rules

The batter may not switch batters boxes after two strikes.

The batter can switch boxes at any time, provided he does not do it after the pitcher is ready to pitch.

Rule: 6.06(b)
Official Baseball Rules

The batter who batted out of order is the person declared out.

The PROPER batter is the one called out. Any hit or advance made by the batter or runners due to the hit, walk, error or other reason is nullified. The next batter is the one who follows the proper batter who was called out.

Rule: 6.07(b, 1)
Official Baseball Rules

The batter may not overrun first base when he gets a base-on-balls.

Rule 7.08(c and j) simply state that a batter-runner must immediately return after overrunning first base. It doesn't state any exceptions as to how the player became a runner. It could be a hit, walk, error or dropped third strike.

See Official Baseball Rules

Steve's note: I have discussed this myth, which appears quite often, with both a former ML crew chief and a college-level interpreter who both perceive this statement as TRUE, that a batter-runner may NOT over-walk first base. The interpretation is that a base-on-balls is an awarded base under ML rules. The protection ends when the batter-runner reaches the awarded base (1st).

This rule is specifically TRUE in NFHS Rulebook. A base-on-balls is considered a live-ball base award and therefore the runner is protected to the base(s) awarded and no further. If they run through the base, they are at-risk once they've touched the awarded base.

The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first after a dropped third strike.

When a third strike is called, or is swung at and missed and the catcher does not make a legal catch, the batter may attempt to reach first base if it is unoccupied when there are less than 2 outs, or even when it is occupied when there are 2 outs. Occupied means it was occupied at the time of the pitch. The fact that the runner attempts to steal does not make the base unoccupied. Time of pitch is defined as the moment the pitcher starts his windup or commits to a pitch to the plate.

To be legally caught the ball must be caught in-flight. This means if the catcher catches the ball cleanly on a bounce it is NOT a legal catch.

The batter may run to first anytime before he leaves the dirst circle surrounding home plate. He is not out simply because he walks off toward the dugout. If the bases are loaded with 2 out and the catcher does not make a legal catch of a third strike, a force play goes into effect because the batter has now become a runner. The catcher may step on home plate to force out the runner from third or tag the batter or throw to any other base.

Rule 2.00 BALL
casebook
Rule 6.09(b) Official
Baseball Rules

If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, its an automatic strike.

A strike is an attempt to hit the ball. Simply holding the bat over the plate is not an attempt. This is umpire judgment.

Rule 2.00 STRIKE
Official Baseball Rules

The batter is out if his foot touches the plate.

To be out the batter's foot must be ENTIRELY outside the box when he contacts the pitch. There is no statement
about touching the plate. The toe could be on the plate and the heel could be touching the line of the box, which means the foot is not entirely outside the box.

Rule: 6.06(a) Official Baseball Rules

The batter-runner is always out if he runs outside the running lane after a bunted ball.

The runner must be out of the box AND cause interference. He is not out simply for being outside the lane. He could be called for interference even while in the lane. This is a judgment call.

Rules: 2.00
INTERFERENCE, 6.05(k), 7.09(k) Official Baseball Rules

A runner is out if he slaps hands or high-fives other players, after a homerun is hit over the fence.

The ball is dead on a homerun over the fence. You can't be put out while the ball is dead except when you pass another runner.

Rules: 5.02, 7.05(a)
Official Baseball Rules

Tie goes to the runner.

There is no such thing in the world of baseball umpiring. The runner is either out or safe.

The runner gets the base he's going to, plus one on a ball thrown out-of-play.

When a fielder other than the pitcher throws the ball into dead ball area, the award is 2 bases. The award is from where the runners were at the time of the pitch if it is the first play by an infielder before all runners have advanced or from where each runner was physically positioned at the time the ball left the throwers hand on all other plays.

Rule: 7.05(g)
Official Baseball Rules

Anytime a coach touches a runner, the runner is out.

The runner is out if the coach PHYSICALLY ASSISTS the runner. Hand slaps, back pats or simple touches are not physical assists.

Rule: 7.09(I)
Official Baseball Rules

Runners may never run the bases in reverse order.

In order to correct a base running mistake, the runner must retrace his steps and retouch the bases in reverse order. The only time a runner is out for running in reverse, is when he is making a travesty of the game or tries to confuse the defense.

Rules: 7.08(I),
7.10(b) Official Baseball Rules

The runner must always slide when the play is close.

There is no "must slide" rule. When the fielder has the ball in possession, the runner has two choices; slide OR attempt to get around the fielder. He may NOT deliberately or maliciously contact the fielder, but he is NOT required to slide.

Rule: 7.08(a, 3)
This rule does not apply to professionals

The runner is always safe when hit by a batted ball while touching a base.

The bases are in fair territory. A runner is out when hit by a fair batted ball, except an infield-fly.

Rules: 5.09(f), 7.08(f) Official
Baseball Rules

A runner may not steal on a foul tip.

There is nothing foul about a foul-tip. If the ball nicks the bat and goes to the catcher's glove and is caught, this is a foul-tip by definition. A foul-tip is a strike and the ball is alive. It is the same as a swing-and-miss. If the ball is not caught, it is a foul ball.

Rules: 2.00 FOUL-TIP, STRIKE
Official Baseball Rules

It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball.

A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will count.

Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, 4.09
Official Baseball Rules

An appeal on a runner who missed a base cannot be a force out.

A runner must touch all the bases. If the runner misses a base to which he was forced because the batter became a runner and is put out before touching that base, the out is still a force play. If this is the third out, no runs may score. The base can be touched or the runner can be touched, either way it's a force out.

Rules: 2.00 FORCE PLAY, TAG,
7.08(e), 7.10(b) Official Baseball Rules

A runner is out if he runs out of the baseline to avoid a fielder who is fielding a batted ball.

The runner must avoid a fielder attempting to field a BATTED ball. A runner is out for running out of the baseline, only when attempting to avoid a tag.

Rules: 7.08(a), 7.09(L) Official Baseball Rules

Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called.

An Infield-fly is no different than any other fly ball in regard to the runners. The only difference is that they are never forced to advance because the batter is out whether the ball is caught or not.

Rules: 2.00 INFIELD-FLY, 6.05(e),
7.10(a) Official Baseball Rules

No run can score when a runner is called out for the third out for not tagging up.

Yes it can. This is not a force play. A force play is when a runner is forced to advance because the batter became a runner. When the batter is out on a caught fly, all forces are removed. An out on an a failure to tag-up, is NOT a force out. Any runs that cross the plate before this out will
count.

Rules: 2.00 FORCE
PLAY, 4.09, 7.10(a) Official Baseball Rules

A pitch that bounces to the plate cannot be hit.

A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. The batter may hit any pitch that is thrown.

Rule: 2.00 PITCH. (If the ball does not cross the foul line, it is not a pitch.)

The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces.

A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. It doesn't matter how it gets to the batter. If the batter is hit by a pitch while attempting to avoid it, he is awarded first base.

Rules: 2.00 PITCH, 6.08(b)

If a fielder holds a fly ball for 2 seconds its a catch.

A catch is legal when the umpire judges that the fielder has COMPLETE control of the ball. The release of the ball must be voluntary and intentional.

Rule: 2.00 CATCH
Official Baseball Rules

You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.

You can tag a base with ANY part of the body.

Rules: 2.00 FORCE
PLAY, PERSON, TAG, 7.08(e) Official Baseball Rules

The ball is always immediately dead on a balk.

It is not. If a throw or pitch is made after the balk call, the ball is delayed dead. At the end of the play the balk may be enforced or not depending on what happened. On a throw; if ALL runners advance on the play, the balk is ignored. If not, the balk award is enforced from the time of pitch. On a pitch; if ALL runners INCLUDING the batter, advance on the play, the balk is ignored. Otherwise, it is no-pitch and the balk award is made from the time of the pitch.

Rule: 8.05 PENALTY
Official Baseball Rules

This Rule is TRUE in NFHS Rulebook. If the ball is pitched, all action on the play is negated. All runners are awarded one base and the count on the batter remains the same.

If a players feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball.

The position of the player's feet or any other part of the body is irrelevant. A ball is judged fair or foul based on the relationship between the ball and the ground at the time the ball is touched.

Rule: 2.00 FAIR, FOUL
Official Baseball Rules

The ball must always be returned to the pitcher before an appeal can be made.

An appeal may be made anytime the ball is alive. The only time the ball must go to the pitcher, is when time is out. The ball cannot be made live until the pitcher has the ball while on the rubber and the umpire says "Play." If time is not out, the appeal can be made immediately.

Rule: 2.00 APPEAL,
5.11, 7.10 Official Baseball Rules

With no runners on base, it is a ball if the pitcher starts his windup and then stops.

A pitch is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. If the ball is not delivered, it is not a pitch. If this happens with runners on base it is a balk.

Rule: 2.00 PITCH

The pitcher must come to a set position before a pick-off throw.

The pitcher is required to come to a complete stop in the Set position before delivering the pitch, not before making a throw.

Rule: 8.05(m)
Official Baseball Rules

The pitcher must step off the rubber before a pick-off throw.

If the pitcher steps off the rubber he is no longer the pitcher, he is a fielder. He can throw to a base from the rubber, provided he does not break any of the rules under rule 8.05

Official Baseball Rules

If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a homerun.

As long as the fielder is not touching the ground in dead ball territory when he catches the ball, it is a legal catch if he holds onto the ball and meets the definition of a catch. If the catch is not the third out and the fielder falls down in dead ball territory, all runners are awarded one base. If the fielder remains on his feet in dead ball territory after the catch, the ball is alive and he may make a play.

Rules: 2.00 CATCH,
6.05(a), 7.04(c) Official Baseball Rules

The ball is dead anytime an umpire is hit by the ball.

If an umpire is hit by a batted ball before it passes a fielder, the ball is dead. On any other batted or thrown ball, the ball is alive when the umpire is hit with the ball. Umpire interference also occurs when the plate umpire interferes with the catcher's attempt to prevent a stolen base.

Rules: 2.00
INTERFERENCE, 5.09(b), 5.09(f) Official Baseball Rules

The home plate umpire can overrule the other umps at anytime.

The umpire who made a call or ruling may ask for help if he wishes. No umpire may overrule another umpire's call.

Rules: 9.02(b, c)
Official Baseball Rules

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Steve Orinick and stevetheump.com are not responsible for any errors, perceived or otherwise that may be contained in the myths and rules above.