YOU MAKE THE CALL

Balls



Below is a sample of the best baseball ruling questions (66 of them). Learn the answers by clicking on the "Answer" button following each question. Each button should take you directly to the proper answer. If you still question the ruling, please visit the
Baseball's Official Rules link on the "Fun Stuff" page.

Players, Field, Equipment

1. The home manager turns in two lineup cards which it develops are not identical. The umpire's copy shows the shortstop batting seventh and the pitcher hitting ninth. The card which is to be given the visitor's manager, however, lists the pitcher in both the No. 7 and 9 spots, an error which the umpire failed to note. In the third inning, the visiting skipper comes to the plate, pulls out the lineup card and asks for a ruling. What is it? Answer

2. A hard-hitting catcher twists his knee running the bases and is limping slightly. The manager, in an effort to keep his slugger in the lineup, orders the catcher to switch positions with the first baseman. They do so but the umpires are not informed. What is the penalty? Answer

3. Angered by a close play at the plate, the catcher argues heatedly with the ump, forgetting the batter-runner, a very fast man, is steaming around the bases. In frustrated anger, the catcher insults the umpire and is ejected by the offended official. The catcher keeps on arguing with the umpire, forgetting about the batter who races around to score. Does the run count? Answer

4. A runner is on first when the batter singles to left. As the runner rounds second, he is hit on the head by the throw from the outfield and is knocked unconscious. The batter-runner, the next batter and the coaches ask the umpire to call time, but he refuses. Is this correct? Answer

5. The base runner slides hard into third base and the loose bag slides away from him. The fielder applies the tag. Is the runner out? Answer

Starting, Ending the game

6. As umpires approach the plate to start a game, a light rain is falling. After the managers hand their lineups, the rain becomes heavier and the manager of the home team declares the game postponed. Can he do this? Answer

7. The host club leads 4-2 after four innings. In the top of the fifth, the visitors score a run but are retired with the bases loaded. At that point, a cloudburst causes the umpire to call the game. Is this a legal contest?Answer

8. The score is tied 5-5, when the home team comes to bat in the last half of the fifth inning. With two out and a runner on second, a sudden thunderstorm stops play and ends the game? Is this a tie game? Answer

9. The visiting team is leading 5-4 after four and one-half frames. But the home team goes ahead 6-5 on a homer with one on after two are out. Before another man can bat, rain washes out the game. What is the final score? Answer

10. After five complete innings, the visiting team leads 4-3. They score three more runs in the top of the sixth before play is terminated because of a downpour. Is the score 4-3 or 7-3? Answer

11. Entering the last half of the fifth inning, the visiting club is ahead 3-2. Then the first batter leads off the home ha;f of the frame with a homer. At this point, heavy rain begins to fall and play is stopped and never resumed. What is the final score? Answer

Batting out of Order, Substitutions

12. Numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the batting order are due to bat in the inning. Number 7 leads off and doubles and number 6 sacrifices him to third. Number 5 then comes to the plate and takes one pitch before defense appeals. What is the ruling? Answer

13. With the bases empty and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the number 8 batter is due up. His manager feels the batter has little chance to hit safely and, with no more pinch hitters available, decides it would be better to open the eighth with his lead-off man. Therefore, he tells the number 8 hitter to stay put and sends out number 9, the pitcher, who pops out to end the inning. No appeal is made, the teams change sides and the eighth inning starts. Who is the proper batter when the home team comes to bat again? Answer

14. The batter is replaced by a pinch-hitter with the count of three balls and one strike. At the same time, a new pitcher is brought in. The pinch-hitter eventually strikes out. How do you score it? What if the pinch-hitter had walked? Answer

15. With one on and two out, a new pitcher enters the game and - before making a single pitch - picks the runner off first base to end the inning. The hurler scheduled to lead off for his team, is replaced by a pinch-hitter. Is this legal? Answer

Batter's Rights, Restrictions

16. A delivery by the pitcher hits the ground in front of the plate and the umpire calls out "Ball." But the pitch skips over the plate and the batter slams it over the right field wall. Is this a homer? Answer

17. The offensive club's pitcher is at bat with two out and a two-and-two count. He swings and misses a pitch in the dirt. The catcher grabs the ball on the bounce and, as is customary on third out, tosses the ball to the hurler. The latter keeps the ball and makes for first base to give his helmet and gloves to the first-base coach on his way to the dugout. Realizing he isn't out because the pitch was caught on the bounce, he drops the ball and shoots off towards first. What is the ruling? Answer

18. After beating out a grounder, the batter overruns first base by about 20 feet. He comes to a stop in fair territory, turns in the direction of second base and leisurely returns to first base. Is he liable to be put out? Answer

19. With two strikes, a weak-hitting pitcher is trying to sacrifice. When the pitcher attempts to bunt an inside pitch the ball strikes his hand holding the lower part of the bat. The ball goes fair, the pitcher picks up the ball and fires it over the first baseman head while the batter and the other runners advance two bases. You make the call! Answer

After a Strikeout, Walk

20. With a runner on first base and none out, the batter strikes out, but the catcher drops the ball. The batter runs to first and the runner on first heads toward second. The catcher recovers the ball and throws wildly past first base. The runner form first scores and the batter winds up at third. What is the ruling? Answer

21. With a 3-and-2 count on the hitter, the base runner takes off from second base and steals third. The pitch, high and inside, nicks the batter's helmet and bounds to the backstop, so the runner from second races home while the batter goes to second. What's the call? Answer

22. With two out, the bases loaded and a 3-and-2 count on the batter, all runners break with the pitch. The batter strikes out, but the ball sails past the catcher and lodges in the umpire's mask. Before the ball is extracted, three runners score. Do the runs count? Answer

23. There are two outs and a 3-and-1 count on the batter when the stupid runner on third tries to steal home. The pitch is low and inside and he is tagged out. What about the batter? Answer

24. The leadoff man walks. After ball four, the catcher returns the ball to the pitcher who starts walking around the mound in disgust. Meanwhile the runner reaches first and, walking off the base a few steps, bends to pull up his socks. The pitcher then fires to the first baseman who tags the runner. Is the runner out? Answer

Legal Out

25. A hard grounder is hit at the first baseman. It hops off his glove and drops inside his shirt, which was not buttoned at the top. Seeing he will be unable to extricate the ball before the batter reaches first, the fielder places his hand over the shirt to grasp the ball and beats the man to first. Is this legal? Answer

26. The batter hits a pop fly behind second base with runners at first and third with one out. The second baseman camps under the ball, then steps aside and deliberately allows it to fall untouched. The batter, assuming he would be an easy out, does not run on the play. The second baseman picks up the ball and fires it to the first baseman who tags the runner on first, then the bag. How many are out? Answer

27. On a hard ground smash, the pitcher snares the ball, but the force of the hit entangles the ball in the glove webbing. To save time, the pitcher tosses the glove with the ball still in it to the first baseman, who steps on the bag ahead of the runner. Is the batter out? Answer

28. A high fly to left field appears to be an easy out, but the outfielders are startled to see the ball and a night hawk collide. Recovering quickly, the left fielder catches the ball while the center fielder nabs the bird. What is the proper decision? (I believe something similar happened to Dave Winfield in Seattle while he was playing for the Yankees. He actually killed the bird on a relay throw during pre-game practice and was booed by the crowd). Answer

Advancing on the Bases

29. With the bases loaded, one out and a 1-and-1 count on the batter, the runner on third gets a good jump and tries to steal home. A he slides over the plate the pitch hits him in the strike zone and bounces a few feet away. The catcher recovers in time to nail the runner from second to third while the runner on first stays there. How should the umpire rule? Answer

30. A high pop fly comes down near the first-base dugout. The first baseman catches the ball, then steps down into the dugout A runner on second tags up and heads toward third and the first sacker, slightly off balance, fires the ball into left field and the runner continues home. Does the run count? Answer

31. There are runners on first and second when the batter singles to left. After the first runner rounds third, he's caught in a rundown, but the catcher throws wildly to left. The runner heads for the plate but slips on a muddy spot and falls. The runner from first comes behind him, helps him regain his feet and both cross the plate. Is this legal? Answer

32. A runner steals second base and the catcher's throw is much too high. As he slides into the bag, the second baseman throws his glove and stops the ball. Where should the umpire place the runner? Answer

33. A runner at third base attempts to score on a ground ball to short. Before he reaches the plate, however, the throw strikes him in the head and knocks him unconscious. The catcher retrieves the ball and tags the fallen runner. Is he out? Answer

34. A two-out bases-loaded drive carries over the right fielder's head and three runs score while the batter advances to third. En route, however, he misses second base. The shortstop calls for the ball, touches second and appeals. What is the ruling?
Answer

Returning on the Bases

35. With a runner on first, the hitter lashes a line drive to right field. Off with the crack of the bat, the batter rounds second as the right fielder makes a sensational catch. As the runner retouches second and races back toward first base, the relay throw bounces into the stands. What is the disposition of the runners? Answer

36. A runner is on first base when the batter hits a shot toward left-center. Certain the ball will go for extra bases, the runner runs full tilt and is around second base when the center fielder makes a great diving catch. In his haste to return to first, the runner misses second base. Meanwhile, the outfielder's return throw goes past the first baseman and into the dugout as the runner regains first base. What about the runner? Answer

37. The batter socks a homer over the left field fence. He is midway between second and third when the first base coach, noting that the runner stepped over first, attracts his attention. The batter-runner retouches second, goes back and tags first, then continues around the bases. Is this legal? Answer

38. With runners on second and third, a groundball is hit to the third baseman. The runner on third is caught in a rundown and the man on second advances to third. The ball is thrown to third baseman who tags the runner from second who is standing on the third base bag and tags the runner sliding back into third. Who is out? Answer

Appeal Plays

39. On a fly to short center, the runner tries to score from third, but a strong throw beats him by several feet. The runner slides around the catcher and not only avoids the tag but misses the plate by at least a foot. Hoping to bluff it out, the runner nonchalantly starts for the dugout, but the backstop starts chasing him. trying to avoid the catcher, the runner circles around him while trying to get back to the plate. What should the umpire do and why is the catcher stupid? Answer

40. There are men at first and third with one out. The hitter's long blast to right field prompts the runner at third to tag up and hold, but the runner on first figures the ball won't be caught and takes off. As he rounds second, the outfielder makes the catch of the year and the runner on third races home. The other runner, in a rush to return to first, fails to retouch second. The opponents tag the bag and appeal. The runner is called out, retiring the side. Does the run count? Answer

41. A runner is on first with two out when the batter slugs a double, putting runners at second and third. Before the next pitch, the pitcher makes a quick pick-off throw to second, at which point the first baseman asks for the ball and appeals that the batter who doubled had missed first. The umpire knows the bag was missed. How should he rule? Answer

42. A double steal is attempted with one out. The runner is safe easily at second, but the catcher's throw reaches third far ahead of the front man, who stops short of the bag and is caught in a hot box between third and second. The runner who is on second hustles back toward first. As he retraces his steps, a wild throw goes into right field. On the error, the runner again changes directions and is able to score, but doesn't touch second base on his dash home. Was he obligated to touch second a second time? Answer

43. The bases are loaded with two out when the batter hits safely to right. Two runners score, but the third man overruns third base and is tagged out in a rundown. The batter advances to second but misses first en route. The first baseman notes the mistake, calls for the ball and appeals. The umpire calls the batter out? Do the runs count? Answer

Interferences, Obstructions

44. With nobody out and a runner leading off third, a batted ball strikes third base, bounces up and strikes the runner standing in foul territory. What is the ruling? Answer

45. First and second are occupied with one out. While the runners are attempting a double steal, the batter accidentally interferes with the catcher. Despite the interference, the catcher pegs out the runner at second while the other man goes to third. You make the call. Answer

46. With a runner on third, the pitcher winds up. He pays little heed to the runner who decides to steal home. The batter, realizing what is going on, backs off and in doing so prevents the catcher from making a play on the runner. Is there a penalty? Answer

47. Runners on first and third, nobody out. The batter flies to left. The runner at third tags up and scores after the play. The throw from the outfield is to the left of the catcher, strikes the hitter in the on-deck circle and caroms away as the runner from first advances to third? Is this interference? Answer

48. A (stupid and/or really fast) runner tries to steal second with none out. On the pitch, the batter misses for a third strike and steps across the plate, interfering with the catcher's throw. What is the proper call? Answer

49. There is a runner on third with one out and the score tied in the last half of the ninth. As the batter swings, his bat tips the catcher's glove, but he still manages to loft a deep fly to right center. After the catch, the runner on third scores easily, but the defensive team claims the interference nullifies the sac fly. Is this claim correct?
Answer

50. The pitcher is at bat with runners on second and third with two out and the manager signals for a steal. The catcher, in his anxiety to get the runner coming home, jumps in front of the plate and interferes with the batter's swing. However, he succeeds in tagging the runner before he reaches home. What is the call?
Answer

51. With a runner trying to steal second, the catcher gets off a throw which strikes the umpire stationed between the mound and second. While the pitcher is recovering the ball, the runner dashes into third safely. Is he entitled to that base? Answer

52. With two out and the bases loaded, the batter grounds a fair ball sharply past third base. The ball then bounces into foul territory, strikes a wall, ricochets and hits a policeman stationed in the bullpen. Is the ball dead? Answer

53. Racing toward third base on a triple, the runner collides with an umpire who is in the base line. The runner falls and is tagged out. What's the proper call? Answer

54. A runner is on third with one out when the squeeze sign is flashed. The first baseman catches the sign and charges toward the plate while the pitcher, seeing the runner start for home, makes a hurried delivery. The first baseman catches the pitch before it reaches the batter and tags the runner. Is this permissible? Answer

55. Runners at second and third, one out and a 3-and-2 count on the batter. The next pitch is strike three. The catcher, thinking this is the third out, flips the ball to the plate umpire and walks away. The umpire catches the ball and rolls it toward the mound while two runners race across the plate. What about it? Answer

Force Plays

56. The batter has a 3-2 count with runners on first and second and none out. On the next delivery, he swing hard but misses. Both runners are off with the pitch and the batter, seeing the catcher drop the ball, runs to first. Retrieving the ball, the catcher tosses to the third baseman who touches the bag. Is this a force out? Answer

57. The bases are loaded with none out when the batter grounds sharply to the third baseman. Momentarily forgetting he is forced, the runner on third dashes back to third base. After fielding the ball about three feet from the bag, the 3rd baseman steps on the base, tags the runner who has dived back to third, and fires to first before the batter-runner makes it there. What is the result? Answer

Infield Fly

58. With runners at first and second and none out, the batter hits a low pop-up toward second base. But the second baseman, who had been holding the runner on base is out of position. Dashing in at full speed, he dives for the ball and misses. Although he umpire makes no call, the runners feel this is an Infield Fly and hold their bases. The second baseman recovers, throws to the third baseman who relays the ball to the shortstop at second. What is the proper call? Answer

59. With runners on first and second, the batter lifts a one-out pop-up along the first-base line. After the ump declares "Infield Fly if fair," the ball lands on foul ground halfway between home and first, then spins into fair territory, where it is picked up by the pitcher. The runner form second tries to go to third but is pegged out by the hurler. What should the umpire rule? Answer

60. With the base loaded and none out, the batter attempts to bunt but pops the ball into the air between the plate and the pitcher's mound. The ball strikes the ground and spins back to the catcher, who is standing on home plate. The backstop then tosses to the third baseman, standing on the bag, who relays the ball to the second baseman on second. All runners held their bases, fearing the ball would be caught. What is the result of the play? Answer

61. There are three men on base and one out when the batter lofts a high pop over second base. As the second sacker drifts out under the ball, the umpire calls "Infield Fly." Then the center fielder, who had been playing shallow, races in and tries to make a catch over his teammate's shoulder. However, he drops the ball, retrieves it and fires over first base. When the play ends, two runs have scored, and runners are on second and third. What about it? Answer

62. With men on first and second and none out, the next hitter is expected to sacrifice (wimpy national league ya know...). He shortens up as if to bunt but at the last moment draws back and swings away. He hits a low looper no more than ten feet off the ground toward the third baseman. The umpire calls "infield fly." Is he right in doing so?
Answer

Balk, Illegal Pitch

63. Instead of taking a stretch with runners on base, the pitcher simply brings his hands together in front of him, pauses briefly, then delivers. Sometimes he pauses for several seconds and other times he pitches almost immediately after bringing his hands together. Is this legal? Answer

64. In a prearranged surprise play, the pitcher, from the set position, tosses to the third baseman. Third is unoccupied, but the third sacker quickly fires to second, retiring a runner there. Is there anything wrong?
Answer

65. There are runners at first and third with two out. As the pitcher starts his delivery, the umpire signals balk. The pitcher, however, continues and the batter connects for an apparent extra-base hit. Both runners cross the plate and the hitter pulls up at second. Then the shortstop calls for the ball, touches second and appeals that the runner form first missed second base. The umpire agrees and calls out the runner. How about that?
Answer

66. There is runner on second when the pitcher, while delivering, commits a balk. The batter hits a grounder to the third baseman, who bluffs the runner back to second but throws too late to get the batter. What about it?
Answer

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